12 Things You Should Know Before Visiting India
If you think about your next trip and you have never been to India before, you should really consider visiting this country. India is at the top of the list of must-visit countries for most travellers and it is easy to see why. This country is famous for its reach culture, ancient customs, sacred religion, unique traditions and unusual food.
The seventh-largest, the second-most populous country, is full of wonders and unexpectedness and doesn’t treat everyone in the same way. To be ready for your trip to extraordinary India there are some essential things to be aware of. Here are 12 important things you should know before travelling to India, hopefully these tips will get you prepared before departing.
1. India is HUGE
India is one of the largest countries in the world and before arriving you should have an idea of where you want to visit. Each area of the country is unqiue and offers a totally different experience. You could seek out scenery and mountains in the North or go in search of the best beach in the South. The choice is yours!
Indian street food is extremely interesting, exotic and also very cheap. But for first-time travelers, some are cooked in unsanitary conditions which can make you vulnerable to stomarch problems. Tourists are quite suseptable to Indian infections, and every bite of unknown street food can potentially lead to illness. If you do not want to spend your holiday in Indian hospital (which is also very confusing), avoid drinking tap water and eating food which doesn't look good. Be sure to also buy diarrhea medication before departing.
3. Be Respectful of the Local Culture
India is full of interesting tourist spots, but it is also a very religious country with unique customs and strict rules. There is a special attitude to clothing you should know about, that is why be aware of places women should cover up. While going to India, make sure you take clothes with long sleeves and scarves to cover your head. Visitors of sacred places are supposed to be barefooted, so mind taking off your shoes before entering temples.
India is famous not only for its culture but also for overpopulation. The poverty inbalance is huge and the poverty rate is very high throughout the country. You will likely encounter people begging for money in the streets, especially in cities, suburbs and little towns. If you would like to do something rewarding and help local people you might want to consider going to volunteer in India - there are lots of projects available with local NGO's and charities. You might also like to view jobs in India or internships in India where you can also make a difference.
There are lots of advantages of using credit cards and do not care about foreign currency, but be ready that not everywhere there is an opportunity to pay with a card for some service or products in shops. Make sure you have enough cash with you or explore the area around to find automated teller machine in case of emergency easily.
If you are not globetrotter or trip to India is your first travel abroad, it is better to rely on service of a travel agency in order not to worry about the hotel you will stay in. Traveling to India without the help of tour-operators, one of the most important things you should do before you travel is to book a reputable hotel. Avoid staying in cheap guesthouses or hostels as price wise there isn't that much difference and it is better to get a higher standard of living.
Indian, as any Asian, culture differs from European a lot. Do not be surprised if you feel confused about invading in your private zone. There is no such respect to your private space as in Europe or America, that’s why Indian people are not embarrassed to come too close to you or stare at you for a long time. Be ready for that.
If you are going to travel solo, especially if you are woman, be extremely careful, especially at night or when going off-the-beaten tracks. Unfortunately, the crime rate in India is high partly due to widespead poverty. There have also recently been some shocking cases of rape and crime against female tourists. Always have your guard up when taking a cab and be curious about the route you are going to. If you are really concerned about safety we highly recommend booking tours of India where you will get an experienced guide.
9. Be Aware of Pickpockets
Overcrowding in tourist spots and popular attractions is common in India. This makes markets, temples and crowded streets are popular and convenient places for thieves and pickpocketing. In order not to become a victim of a crime, keep close contact with your belongings, you might want to use safety pockets or locks on bags and avoid putting money and important documents in your pockets.
Everything concerning traffic in India is crazy. In big cities, there is too much noise on the streets because, regardless of lights and signs for drivers, cars indicate their turns with honking the horn of vehicles. If you are not a skilled driver, do not jeopardize to drive a car by yourself. The traffic is not regulated by strict rules; drivers do not stick to the lines on the roads as well as they don’t mind pedestrian crossings and other traffic regulations.
11. Religions & Call to Prayer
One of the most interesting facts about India is that it is almost the birthplace of four of the world's major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Indian people are very devout and have a certain time for praying during the day. A call to prayer called Azan is usually played on the loud speakers. Respect Indian religion and culture and be ready to hear azan even in the night.
12. There is So Much to Do
Whether you want to visit on a short break, go backpacking or take a gap year in India there are so many different options available. From visiting ancient temples, exploring cities, seeing wildlife or relaxing on incredible beaches. You could apply to teach English in India which will allow you to adapt into the local culture and get paid. Or if the idea of studying abroad in India appeals to you we highly recommend applying. Visit our India travel guide to search options and start planning your dream trip.