India, you either love it or you hate it. Fortunately for me it turned out to be option number 1. From the moment that I arrived I got overwhelmed by all of the different senses but damn… what a trip!
It’s a country that speaks to the imagination of a lot of people due to its culture and the diversity of tourism opportunities.
India is the perfect place for wildlife safari’s, desert safari’s, adventurous activities and discovering historical and spiritual places.
If it’s your first time traveling to India I highly recommend starting with exploring Rajasthan. Also known as Land of the Kings and for its historical hill forts & palaces.
The best time to visit India is between the months of October and March. This is when the monsoon season has ended and the country is starting to warm up again.
It’s best to avoid the months of May and June. I traveled through Rajasthan in May and the heat was brutal at times and it would be no exception to face 43°C in the early morning.
You’ll have a lot more fun exploring during the Winter months. Do know that in December and Januari it can become pretty cold in the North and you’ll often find the Taj Mahal covered in fog during these months.
Language – Did you know that there are more than 22 languages spoken in India? The first official language was Hindi but English is the second-most widely spoken second language. India thrives on touristic activities and in the more popular cities you’ll have no problem communicating in English.
Currency – The official Indian currency is the Indian Rupee which is the equivalent of 1 INR = 0,011 Euro.
Credit cards & ATM’s – Cash is absolutely king in India so make sure you take out enough cash. It’s not always easy to find a working ATM so when you do make sure to take advantage of it!
Safety – Generally speaking, India can be considered an unharmed destination for tourists, but you should be aware of certain things like pickpockets and scams. If you’re traveling solo as a girl do know that you have to be careful in some places. Try to avoid going out at night in big cities and be aware of your surroundings.
Culture Shock – It’s bound to happen so it’s best to prepare yourself and accept that things will not be as you’re used to at home.
Bring a Medicine Kit – Our bodies aren’t used to the bacteria in the water and food in India and this often ends in tourists suffering from “Delhi Belly”. The safest bet is to bring something with you against diarrhea so you don’t have to go find a pharmacy there.
Dress conservatively– You’ll draw a lot of unwanted attention from both men and woman if you dress in a too revealing way. Take a look at my Packing Guide for India to know what to bring with you!
Get a SIM card – I always get mine as soon as I land at the airport. This way I don’t have to rely on WiFi and it’s easy to search for directions and reviews.
Watch out for religious scams – At many of the temples and mosques, you may be pressured to make a donation or to buy a sacred offering. For example, a holy man might put a red dot on your forehead or wrap a string around your wrist, then ask you for money. If it sounds like the price would be very high for a local to do, it is probably not a real spiritual offering but just a way of getting money from tourists.
Know how to haggle – Haggling is a natural part of shopping in India but it can feel strange if you come from a culture where this is not the case. Here you’re actually expected to haggle and if you don’t you’ll end up paying a lot more.
Watch Out for Pickpockets – Just like in any other country you have to watch your belongings. It’s always safe to only bring a copy of your passport when you go sightseeing and leave your original at your hotel room.
Carry Hand Sanitizer & Tissues – You won’t find these in public restrooms so it’s best to be prepared.
Eat Vegetarian – I did this as much as possible during my trip in India and the variety of meals is endless. It reduces your risk of getting sick from badly prepared meat.
Common travel scams – Drivers usually have deals with hotels and vendors. They may try to persuade you to change hotels or tell you yours is closed. Always ask to be dropped of at your original destinations. The only reason for this is that they would earn a fee.
Eat with your hands – In many parts of India cutlery is not used but never eat with your left hand as traditionally this is the one used to clean yourself after using the toilet and it is seen as rude and unclean.
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