TIPS ON INDIA TRAVEL

1. Choose your route wisely

Think about your interests, what you like to do and tailor your trip accordingly.

2. Slow down

Too many people try to cram too much into a visit to India. Don’t be one of them. Seeing one place slowly is so much more rewarding than seeing many places in a flash. You’ll be less stressed, gain a deeper understanding of where you are and have more time to build relationships with the people you meet.

3.Avoid the crowds

One billion locals get a bit too much for some travelers, but India also has plenty of quiet retreats. If you need to escape the crowds in the sprawling cities, consider heading south to the backwaters of Kerala

4. Stay healthy

Avoid tap water, and any food that may have been washed in it, at all times. No ice, no salads.
Many Indians are vegetarian, so there’s a fabulous choice of vegetarian food. If you do eat meat, make sure it’s well cooked. If in doubt, eat at a place that’s packed with locals.Toilets are bad in India, but they don’t have to be health hazards.

5. Keep cool

India is renowned for its touts and scams, for its in-yer-face hassles and for being generally bloody hectic. There are various ways you can reduce the chances of being overcharged or just plain cheated, but there’s no way you can avoid them altogether, so the single most important piece of advice for any India first-timer is to try to remain calm, no matter what. Frustrations boil over easily in India, and being able to control them, take a deep breath and move on, is key to enjoying your overall experience.

6. Official Taxis

When you arrive in the bigger city airports, it seems like every taxi-wallah (taxi dude) in the city is clamoring for your business. So the best idea is to only take official taxis from the taxi booth. This means going to the booth and telling them where you need to go. They organise you a driver and you get a receipt with the driver’s details on it. This affords you some security as your journey can be traced and the driver knows it.

7. Money Belt, not Fanny Pack

Definitely take a money belt. By this I mean one that’s worn inside the clothes, against the skin. There are two main types, ones which go around your neck and ones which go around your waist. Either is fine. Keep your passport in there as well as your emergency cash (USD50-100) and if you have them, any paper airline tickets. (Your hotel manager may want to keep your passport while you’re checked into a hotel)

8. Pickpockets

Expect pickpockets or bag-snatchers anytime. For this reason, I would recommend not even putting your money and documents in a day pack on your back, because you can’t keep an eye on it while you’re walking and in a crowd it’s easy to be pick-pocketed. Ladies can use a regular handbag for the day’s money, but keep your passport and other important documents in a more secure location. Also, whenever you stop somewhere, try to secure your bag if you can, eg, loop the handle around a chair leg. It may look silly, but it sure beats being robbed.

9. Spare Document Copies

Always photocopy your photo page of your passport, your tickets, visa, itinerary and any other important documents. (It’s a great idea to do this no matter where you’re going). Keep the photocopies separate from the real documents, so that you have backup.

10. Trains and Train Stations

If you’re traveling with other people, always leave at least one person in charge of the luggage at any one time. At the Railway station you can see porter, called ‘Coolie’. These amazing people will stride off with your luggage on their head and your job is to keep up (and keep an eye on your bags, because sometimes that’s all you can see above the crowds). Your bags are safe as long as it was a proper Coolie. They have uniforms and official name badges, but the uniforms themselves can change from city to city. It may be a red jacket or white traditional dress. You’ll get to know the uniforms by just looking for groups of them around the train station.

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