Organizing a trip to India is not like planning a trip to the neighbor’s house, and it can be a real challenge.
Keep reading for the essential tips for your first time in India, aka the things I wish I knew before traveling to India.
PRE BOOK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Planning doesn’t mean giving up on adventure. It’s just a way to avoid wasting your time looking for your next hotel room, transportation, or a tourist guide while on site. Planning will allow you to focus entirely on your trip.
BE CAREFUL WITH SCAMS
Unfortunately, scams are pretty common in India, especially with first-time visitors. They could start the moment you disembark the airplane and start looking for a cab.
For the most common tourist scams, click here
GETTING SICK IS NOT AN OPTION
India has a very precarious public health care system, and you definitely don’t want to test it. So be extremely careful: don’t drink tap water, eat freshly cooked food, use hand sanitizer every time, and don’t think about trying street food (even many locals don’t dare to eat it).
India is a conservative country, and foreigners, especially women, catch the attention of the locals. Don’t be surprised when locals ask you to take pictures with a group of families or children or even older people. When it happened to me, I felt quite uncomfortable, but after the 100th time, you get used to it.
BARGAINING IS PART OF THE GAME
In local markets and shops in general, it’s almost mandatory to bargain, so be ready to spend a good hour to buy that cashmere scarf you like for half the price they asked.
HIRE A LOCAL GUIDE OR DRIVER
This was one of the best decisions I made when I planned my trip to India. Having a local driving you around will avoid you being scammed, harassed, and will save you so much time and money you can’t even imagine. I personally contacted a state-approved tour company, and for a very reasonable price, I got a driver + a local tour guide at every site I stopped for a week.
APPLY FOR THE e-VISA AND CHECK YOUR PASSPORT
Remember before traveling to India, if you need it, apply for an e-Visa (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in), at least four, and at most 120 days before your arrival date. You’ll need to carry a copy of the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) with you, or you won’t even able to boar the plane. Your passport should also have at least six months’ validity past your arrival date and two blank pages. Be careful: immigration officials are super strict.
HEALTH INSURANCE IS A MUST
When traveling to countries with precarious public health care systems, always take out insurance to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of your pocket. Be sure it covers theft, loss, and medical problems (as well as air evacuation).
DOWNLOAD AN OFFLINE MAP ON YOUR SMARTPHONE
Since the internet is not available everywhere, downloading a map of the places you’ll visit in India is going to be really helpful.
CREDIT CARDS AND CASH
Withdrawing cash in India is not always easy, so, before your trip, check whether your card can access banking networks. Remember to notify your bank that you’ll be using your card in India to avoid having it blocked (it happened to me, and luckily, I had two cards). If you plan to visit countryside areas, carry a reasonable amount of rupees.
What do you think about these travel tips for India?
Have you ever been to India?
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MY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
⚖️ Lawyer turned into Explorer ✈️ Luxury Travel & Content Creator 📧 firstname.lastname@example.org