Things To Know Before Travelling To India

  • Nov 3, 2022

Things To Know Before Travelling To India

Beautiful, chaotic, colorful, inspiring India is a place unlike any other, offering an incredible contrast of sights, smells, sounds and tastes. It's a country that will undoubtedly get under your skin – one way or another. But as enthralling as it can be, it also can cause culture shock and can leave even the most seasoned of travelers overwhelmed. To keep your trip enlightening, not exhausting, keep these tips in mind when traveling to India's vibrant cities, breathtaking coastlines and enchanting countryside locations.

  1. Research, Research, Research
  2. India houses a diverse range of bustling destinations and can't-miss attractions – from majestic temples to striking natural landmarks to superlative beaches and lively cities. Instead of trying to see it all on one trip, pick one part of the country to focus on and get immersed in it. For a taste of classic India, head to the Golden Triangle, which touches three of the country's most famous destinations: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Or, spend time in India's southern states to explore stunning beaches along Goa's coast or visit Mumbai's vibrant city center. Alternatively, you can head to India's northern and central regions for some of the country's most fascinating religious relics and sites, like the marble temples of Rajasthan or the carved edifices of Khajuraho.

  3. Be Mindful of What You Eat
  4. "Delhi belly" isn't just a myth, but a real ailment many visitors leave with after indulging in too many curries and street-side snacks. Although there's a high chance you'll experience some gastrointestinal discomfort while you visit, you can avoid serious illness (or spending your vacation holed up in your hotel) by staying mindful of everything you eat. Avoid most street food carts (as they often don't follow strict health codes), eat only peeled fruits and vegetables and try to eat food that's been only boiled or fried. And when it comes to water, don't drink from the tap and skip the ice.

  5. Stay in a Reputable Hotel
  6. This is especially true for first-timers, particularly those without extensive international travel under their belt. There's no denying India's great cities can be dangerous, so booking a stay in a hotel brand you know will take the stress out of visiting the bedazzling cities. The Grand Hyatt Mumbai and the Grand Hyatt Goa, for example, offer homey amenities, like elegant fine dining establishments, spacious rooms and an English-speaking staff.

  7. Bring Cash
  8. Although some areas accept credit cards, the primary currency across India is cash – especially once you reach the more rural parts of India. To avoid extra hassles, bring plenty of cash for cabs and tuks tuks, for restaurants and markets and especially for shopping. Many of the city bazaars (bustling shopping centers) are a shopper's paradise, so don't skip picking up those Sri Lanka cinnamon sticks or that homespun elephant scarf due to a lack of funds.

  9. Explore Outside the Cities
  10. Home to more than a billion residents, India can certainly be described as crowded and bustling. However, the densest populations can be found in the big cities, offering some refuge for weary travelers in the countryside. Instead of spending your entire trip in a city, spend just a few days taking in urban areas before recharging your batteries along the backwaters of Kerala or getting lost in the expansive, rolling desert hills of Zanskar, where the only other people you'll see are farmers and nomads.

  11. Get a Visa
  12. Obtaining a visa is a must. In fact, India requires U.S. citizens to have a visa before entering the country and most embassies require at least one month's notice to prepare one. However, if you're in a bind, you can apply for one online for a heftier fee. Just keep in mind that you'll have to wait in a different line once reaching the Indian airport if you come in with a e-visa. Prices vary, but usually stay around $60 to $70 for a short-term visa.

  13. Dress Conservatively
  14. India's culture, like many other Southeast Asian countries, is conservative-leaning, so plan ahead when you're packing your bags. Bring scarves and long pants for covering arms and legs when visiting religious sites, and opt for regular t-shirts in lieu of V-necks. Also, it's common to remove shoes when you enter someone's home or a temple, so bring socks if you'd prefer not to go barefoot.