India is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. With busy cities that are sure to exhilarate and natural landscapes that will take your breath away, India offers it all. However, some people are often apprehensive to visit. There are plenty of stories about the various scams at large in the cities, the illnesses you can pick up from the food and some not so great experiences to be had, but this is true for most countries in the world. As long as you are well-researched and well prepared, then a trip to India is one that will remain in your memory for a lifetime and will change you for the better. Here’s a simple guide to prepare for a travelling to India:
The weather can vary a lot in India, depending on where abouts in the country you visit. However, between the months of November and March it is mostly dry, warm and sunny – making it the ideal time to visit. May is often the hottest month in India, often reaching temperatures up to 45 degrees. Monsoon season is throughout the summer months, but despite heavy showers almost everyday, it doesn’t spoil a visit!
The most important thing is just to be prepared! Take warm clothes year round if you are trekking high into the mountains or plantations, wear sun-cream everyday, and drink plenty of water. Find out what to expect weather-wise in the areas you are visiting before packing!
I’m sure we have all heard the horror stories of getting sick when travelling to India, but don’t be put off! Getting ill from new food and different standards of hygiene is super common wherever you travel, it’s not just India. The most common and likely experience is having a bit of a funny tummy for a couple of days, however, there are ways to avoid this.
It is possible to not get ill at all, and the most important element of this is the water. Indian tap water is the main cause of illness among travellers, alongside cross contamination in street food. There are a few guidelines to follow: Only drink bottled water, ask for no ice if ordering a drink, avoid foods like salads that may have been washed in tap water, use bottled water to brush your teeth, and don’t open your mouth in the shower! It is not necessary to constantly be worried about getting ill, so don’t let it spoil your trip. As long as you are sensible and cautious then there is nothing to worry about!
Safety for Women:
I know plenty of women who, despite never having travelled, will tell all women to never go to India because it’s ‘just too dangerous’. I completely understand that it can feel dangerous and there are some genuine causes for concern in some areas. However, the majority of places feel very safe. It is a good idea to make sure you are never alone, much like walking the streets of London at night. Unfortunately, throughout the world the safety of women is a huge concern, but I truly hope it doesn’t put women off travelling India.
When travelling to India, It’s a great idea to travel in a group, whether that’s a group of friends or a tour group. This ensures you will always be surrounded by people looking out for one another. The advantage of visiting with a tour group means you will have experienced guides able to help whenever needed and able to inform you of the safety of each place visited. There are a few key guidelines to follow as a woman: modest clothing to avoid offending (covering shoulders/chest in most areas), know the emergency number of the country or an emergency contact, share your location with loved ones, and try to be in groups of two or more.
A Few More General Tips:
- Know your currency!
In nearly every scenario, someone will try and take more money from you than you owe. By knowing the exchange rate in your head you can do some quick maths before agreeing on a price to make sure you don’t get ripped off.
2. Don’t flaunt your cash
A discreet bum bag is a great way to go in India. A wallet is risky as it can be taken from a pocket and the rest of your money can be seen when taking it out. A bum bag is difficult to pick-pocket and it’s easy to take out small amounts of money without showing off a bunch of notes!
3. Don’t be scared to haggle
It can feel unnatural to haggle, especially if you’re from England, but embrace it! The street sellers expect to haggle, so their initial prices can be steep. A good haggle will prevent you from over spending, and allows an opportunity to embrace the culture!
4. Patience and an open mind is essential
Whether it’s the constant stream of stressful traffic throughout the cities, or the attention you receive being a tourist; a visit to India is intense. Being patient and open-minded can alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress. Forget what your used to, and remember it’s all part of the experience.
5. Carry toilet paper with you… EVERYWHERE YOU GO
It is often unlikely you can find toilet paper in public bathrooms, and if you are experiencing a bad case of Delhi Belly, you want to be prepared! Some hand sanitizer wouldn’t go amiss either, it takes some time to get used to the different hygiene standards.
Check out our tours to India coming up, HERE!
If you are considering travelling to India and have more questions, just drop us an email or give us a call and we’d be more than happy to talk you through our different options and what to expect. A trip to India will never be regretted, it is one of the most magical and unique countries in the world.