No matter whatever you pack, wherever you plan to visit or whatever you plan to do, you will never be fully prepared for the adventure that is visiting India. India is such a vast country with so much of cultural diversity. The Himalayan range of the North, the greenery of the East, deserts of the West and the beaches of the South, it has everything a traveler is looking for.
India truly is a remarkable place. But to enjoy it thoroughly, you must be prepared. If you’re already there, thinking about going or will go soon, I’ve put together a list of 5 most important things to remember while traveling in India.
The traffic chaos in India
If you can drive a vehicle in India, I am pretty sure that you can then drive it anywhere in the world, whatever the circumstances are. Some of the big cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Pune are over-crowded. The traffic chaos has become a routine for the locals. Like, in Mumbai local train are packed like a sandwich that there is no scope of anything extra. But still, it is said to be a lifeline of Mumbai. Most of the people use the local train for commuting daily instead of their private vehicles. Now in the case of road journeys, what’s making the conditions more dreadful that no one wants to wait. Everyone is in a rush whatsoever the reason be. Brakes are not used regularly, and honking is encouraged.
So I am assuming that people traveling from different parts of the globe can find these conditions awkward. But still, if you take all these as a part of an experience, I am sure you will enjoy the things.
Few things I would like to mention that can help you a bit and add to your experience:
- Prefer train journeys over the road as they are more reliable.(Try “Garma Garam Chai”).Check IRCTC
- Try your best to use public transport while traveling in the city.(To become a sandwich in few cases)
- Cover yourself to beat the pollution, keep scarf and shades handy.
- It’s better to reach your onward journey place early than to miss your flight/train/bus.
The traffic Chaos in New Delhi India
Master the art of bargain
If you have a lot of money to spare, you can skip reading this point. Ha-ha!! India is a shopper’s paradise, but you need to learn the art of bargain to save that extra penny. Generally, vendors will offer a higher price first, especially to foreigners. But if you are good at your bargaining skills, I am sure your backpack will be overloaded once you leave. Want it to be overloaded here are few tips for you.
- The moment they tell you the price of the item, ask them indifferently like – if it’s the best buy they can offer.
- If you still think the price is too high, just walk out. The chances are that you’ll be invited back and you will see a drastic drop in price.
- Don’t ever show your desperation to buy a particular item otherwise they will ask you for a hefty price.
- The best way to know the retail price of an item is to visit several stores selling it. Try checking its rate on the 2-3 shops at least before purchasing.
- Even if you see something like “Fixed Rate,” still few of sellers are open for bargaining.
- For foreigners having an Indian friend, try to take them with you for shopping.
Solo women travelers – Just be extra careful
One of the liveliest topics in India is about women safety. Sadly, a lot of rape cases have been reported of late.Due to this many solo women travelers have expressed concerns about traveling in India.Even many from abroad have opted not to go at all.
But if you can keep certain things in mind while wandering solo across India; I am sure you will have a great time in India as it has so much to offer.
Better check out what Candace Rardon has to say as she experienced it all during her months of traveling solo around India. Is it Safe for women to travel India?
Try to avoid the street food or tap water
The variety of street food you get in India, you won’t’ find it anywhere else. But if you’re not used to the street food you’re probably going to get dodgy stomach. That doesn’t mean you should rule out street food, just let your stomach acclimatize for a few days before trying out. Try to stick to peeled fresh fruits and foods that have been either boiled or fried. You can do a mental assessment of standards of cleanliness. Is the food being cooked freshly or standing there for a while, use of polythene hand gloves, the water being used to cook, busy stall or just attracting a hoard of flies?
It’s always better to buy a packed water bottle of few INR than to fall sick and spend huge INR.I have traveled solo for months backpacking across India. But I have never compromised on the money spend buying packed water bottles.
Indian street food
Modesty of Dress and Culture
I know there is something like Right to Clothing in the amendment. But when it comes to India, it is still a very conservative and diverse country. The Indian culture is often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures. Clothing in India varies depending on the different cast, culture, geography and climatic conditions. Every part of India is different, from the beautiful beaches of Goa to the Architecture in Rajasthan. People look different and are from various cultures. Even if you’re a foreigner, you have to respect the rules if you’re visiting a holy place or some other tourist spot. Like, before entering a temple you need to remove shoes. I would suggest you research the dress code before going to places.
Holi celebrated in Varanasi India
I know these 5 points are not enough when the discussion is about important things to remember while traveling across India. These are the dominant ones and I will try to cover few more at a later stage. Hope you will have a great backpacking journey in India and will take away tons of memories with you!!
Hope you would have enjoyed reading the article. To get regular updates on upcoming blog posts from On a Cheap Trip, please subscribe by entering your name and E-mail address in the Newsletter below. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as well as on Twitter.