India is one of the largest countries in the world and has a lot to offer apart from sandy beaches and hot desserts. The ancient land is home to some of the most amazing cuisines cherished across the globe, one of the richest cultural heritage, stories, and adventurous history. Probably that is why this South Asian country attracts over 11 million tourists annually, from across the globe. And it wouldn’t be shocking to know you too are planning your escape to India very soon.
But, for anyone traveling to India, here’s a question – are you prepared? Have you planned everything that needs to be planned to ensure a smooth, safe and memorable experience?
Like in most cases, traveling to a foreign country requires a tremendous amount of planning. You can’t just pick your bags and leave! Yeah, it might sound fascinating when movies make it look so easy but it isn’t. Traveling to a foreign country, even India, isn’t easy if you don’t know the land inch by inch. And it goes without saying that if you don’t plan your trip to this ancient land well, your pleasure trip will soon turn into a nightmare. I bet you don’t want that! Do you?
What to do?
Fret not! Here are a few curated ‘tips for people traveling to India’ that you might find useful.
Set realistic expectations:
India, as mentioned above, is one of the largest countries in the world. And unless you are traveling there forever, chances are you won’t be able to visit the entire country. Thus, it is important that you set realistic expectations and make a list of all places you want to explore. Once you do that, find out the average time you need to keep in hand to tick off that place from the list. The aim is to narrow down the list to a feasible point before boarding the flight.
Plan your budget well:
India is cheaper than most countries across the globe, except a few. However, basic things such as food, travel, accommodations, etc. do cost money. Thus, it is important that you plan your budget well in advance depending on the number of days you’ll be traveling for. If you don’t, you will end up stranded in an unknown land without money. And believe me, that isn’t a feeling one would like to experience firsthand.
Keep sufficient cash in hand!
Despite the recent campaigns to promote digital and card-based payments, a striking percentage of India still deals in cash. These people are small-time vendors such as street food shops, vegetable vendors, local buses and autos, etc. And since most of your traveling would involve dealing with these people, it would be wise to carry enough cash in hand to pay for their products and services.
Pre-book your flights and trains:
No matter whether you are a ‘plan it all’ or ‘go with the flow kind of person, ALWAYS prebook your flights and trains, be it inter-city or International flights. Flights for inter-city travel within the country are comparatively cheaper when booked in advance. Talking about trains, it is the preferred mode of travel for most Indians and thus finding a ticket can be difficult if you don’t book in advance. P.S: Unless you are on a tight budget or want to get a taste of real India, avoid traveling in the general coach of the train, even if it is for short distances.
Always know where you are going:
One of the most commonly important tips that apply to any traveler irrespective of the country is to know the country before visiting it. Having a sense of what you can expect, things you should avoid in general, the kind of clothes you should wear depending on the weather, prevailing religious sentiments, etc. You can read about it on the internet or ask the question on Q&A websites such as Quora. There are a lot of active Indian users on the platform who’d be glad to help.
Make sure to buy travel insurance:
Flight cancellation, delays, loss of baggage and essential medication, loss of passport and/or wallet, etc. are quite common during International travel. And it would be unwise to not prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario when traveling to India. How can you do that? The best is to buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers all potential hassles which might stop you from enjoying your trip. And it’s quite easy. You can buy online travel insurance from a provider that suits you. Just type the words “online travel insurance” and you’ll see a whole list of options. Compare and subscribe to the one that suits you.
Know what to eat and what not!
One of the several reasons why India is popular is the street food found there. And if you know someone who’s been there recently, you’d certainly want to make a list of things you can eat without upsetting your stomach. Yeah! Indian delicacies are known for their spices, which may or may not suit every stomach. That said, there still are quite a few food items you can enjoy. Thus, if you are not used to all the spices, better make a list of ‘eatable’ items for yourself. The same is also important to avoid spending too much on food while dining in a fancy restaurant.
Summing up, a trip to India might turn into something you might enjoy. And the key to that is planning. Enjoy!