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Things to Know Before Visiting India

With its rapidly changing landscape, dizzying diversity, larger-than-life cultural variety, frenetic crowds and stunningly fast-paced cities, India can be quite a sensory onslaught.

Nothing quite prepares you for the cultural shock that is India.

The range of emotions India can put you through—sometimes within the span of a single day—can be immense and can vary from excitement and exhilaration, to wonder, shock and awe.

But that being said, there is no cause to worry as long as you know what to expect and prepare accordingly.

Our comprehensive guide comprising the Dos and Don’ts and How-to-go-about-things-in-India prepares you for your Indian odyssey.

Read on to learn more.

Know that some 16-18 million people worldwide traveled to India during the previous decade before the pandemic hit, making it one of the most traveled regions in the world.

The numbers are slowly getting back to this mark after the disruption of the Covid-19 Pandemic. So, you are in good company.

In the Indian tourist hotspots, you will find a multicultural and cosmopolitan globetrotting crowd from all parts of the world.

Here are our top tips for traveling in India. First-time travelers and even seasoned travelers will find these tips handy.

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1. Slow Down and Don’t Rush It in India


India is massive in every sense of the word.

It is a veritable continent of 1.4 billion people with rapidly changing sceneries, cultures and civilizational traditions. You can’t see it all. Even if you give it an entire lifetime.

To wrap your head around India and make sense of it all, it is important to not rush it. Slow down, Soak it all in and watch it unfold gradually.

The usual top-things-to-do and top-sights-to-see formulas used in the tourism industry elsewhere in the world do not quite apply to India.

The more prudent thing to do is to choose one or two parts of India and travel leisurely in that region and once you have got the hang of things, return for follow-up trips.

If you are travelling in India for the first time, then crisscrossing across the country can get quite challenging in one go. Travel burnout in India is real.

2. Get Your Visa Paperwork in Order. Book in Advance


India is pretty easy to travel to. Tourists from all over the world visit this magnificent country.

But before you book your plane ticket, do check the travel requirements for your particular country.

Some countries require more paperwork and Visa requirements than others. Look up your requirements online well in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.

India offers ELECTRONIC VISAS for many countries of the world. For more information, please consult this official link of the Indian Government for further clarity:

Our dedicated VISA Team will help you secure an e-visa to India for you. Please reach out to us if you need help with the process.

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3. Get Vaccinated and Talk to Your Doctor Before Travelling


The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected travel all over the world, including India.

While the restrictions have been loosened significantly, it is still important to get the necessary vaccinations.

If possible, visit your doctor or your nearest health facility to get the necessary vaccinations. Pack your medicine and a first-aid kit with essential items, in case you might need them.

4. Invest in a Private Tour


Group tours to India are a dime a dozen. They usually cover popular tourist circuits like the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), Mumbai, Varanasi and Kerala.

However, such traditional group tours lump you together with a large group and restrict you to rigid itineraries and destinations.

If you value your comfort, ease and peace of mind, investing in a private tour characterized by 24/7 personalized support and guidance by able travel guides and advisors is a great option.

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5. Spend Time in the Countryside


Mahatma Gandhi considered the Indian villages to be the heart and soul of India. “If the villages perish, India will perish too. It will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost,” he said of the countryside.

The real India lies as much in the countryside in its idyllic villages (tens of thousands of them) as it does in the cities teeming with millions.

We particularly recommend a countryside stay in Rajasthan. There are some lovely Heritage hotels in the countryside in Rajasthan where you can enjoy the quintessential rustic village experience.

6. Stay Hydrated. Be Careful About What You Drink and Eat


India is a land of culinary delights and sumptuous delicacies. But it is also important to careful about what you drink and eat.

Use bottled water and eat at reputable eateries and restaurants. Most leading hotels and resorts in India offer multiple dining options comprising local Indian, European, Chinese and other regional cuisines.

But if you do decide to dine out, do your research and select the best-reviewed restaurants and eateries.

7. Respect Cultural Norms and Dress Sensibly


India does not really have a dress code. No one compels you to dress a certain way.

But do keep in mind that India is a traditional place and dressing appropriately is more prudent and respectful to local culture, especially when you visit places of religious and significant importance.

In the bigger and mid-sized cities, it is fine to dress like you would in the West. But if you are visiting smaller towns/villages, it would be appropriate to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees.

At religious places, you are required to cover your shoulders and wear full pants and remove footwear before entering.

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8. Expect Some Noise


The term first-time visitors use to describe India is ‘sensory overload.’

India can be a sensory overload in every sense of the world. Traffic in its cities can get turbulent and chaotic. The traditional bazaars are crowded with thousands and everywhere you go. Especially during the festivities, you will encounter massive crowds and lots of people.

That might be different from what you are used to. You therefore have to take that your stride, accept it and make your peace with it.

9. Stay Safe: Beware of Tourist Scams and Strangers Offering Your Deals or Offers That Seem Too Good to be True


This advice applies everywhere in the world. There is so much verifiable data and information available online and it does not take much time to cross-check from the internet.

Only trust tour operators that are well-reviewed or recommended by your peers or friends who have availed of their services.

10. Avoid Staying Out Too Late At Night


India’s biggest cities like Mumbai or Delhi never sleep. Eateries are open and there is always something going on.

But if you do not know the city well enough and do not know how to navigate your way around it, it is better not to stay out too late into the night.

In case you wish to go to clubs/pubs at any place, it is advisable to have your tour operator arrange transfers and local support.

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11. Invest in Travel Insurance


Chances are, you might not need it, but it is better to have peace of mind with good travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, cancellations and other unforeseen mishaps.

12. Be Mindful of Transportation


The range of transportation means available in India is huge and you can get around in lots of different ways from point A to point B, anywhere in India.

The Indian railway system is a marvel that connects all the disparate parts of India.

Transportation is quite cheap but it is wise and safer to invest in a cozy private vehicle or a high-end train service that might charge a little more but ensure that you travel comfortably.

13. Pack Accordingly


Usually, you won’t need many layers of clothing in India unless you are planning on traveling to Himalayan North.

In most of India, a pair of comfy trousers and a cotton shirt or tee, with a pair of glasses or a bandana/scarf will do, but it is better to look up the average temperatures during the month you plan on traveling to India and pack accordingly.

Always pack a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and wipes.

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14. Don’t Be Shy of Bargaining. Sometimes It is OK to Low-Ball


Here is the thing, haggling over prices and bargaining is a part and parcel of traditional bazaar experience in India. So, you will have to up your bargaining game in India.

And, sometimes you will have to lowball the prices with vendors to meet them somewhere in middle after their highballing—and that is completely OK.

15. Embrace the Journey


“India hits you like a wave. If you resist, you will be knocked down. But if you dive into it, you will be all right,” is how the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel described India.

There could be no better description of India. Embrace India journey with an open mind.

16. Get a Local SIM Card


India is well connected by 3g and 4g technologies. Connectivity is no longer an issue.

Indian SIM cards are affordable and readily available at international airports upon arrival.

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17. Beat the Crowds


At the tourist attractions, that is. But not literally. Places like the Taj Mahal, Palaces in ‘Pink City’ Jaipur, Khajuraho, Ajanta & Ellora, Red Fort Delhi and the Golden Temple can get extremely crowded during peak tourist hours.

It is advisable to visit early in morning before the crowds take over. Watching a mesmerizing sunrise at a place like the Taj Mahal or the Golden Temple is an unforgettable experience.

18. Learn the Basic Greetings


English is readily understood and spoken everywhere you go in India, so you won’t have a problem communicating with locals.

But it is always a good idea to learn a few local greetings like Namaste (Hello), Acha (good), Dhannayvaad (thank you) and kitna paisa hua (how much is this?).

Not only does it go a long way but it is also sure to put a smile on faces of locals.

19. Get on an Indian Train


The Indian railway system on average carries around 808.6 crores (8.06 billion) passengers annually, making it by far largest passenger carrier in world.

This veritable miracle of train service is what connects the subcontinent into one single whole.

Around its railway stations are little towns, slums and cities where millions eke out a living. The Indian train takes you to heart of Indian matter and offers you a unique glimpse into soul of country.

20. Cash is King in Small Towns


ATM machines are available are over India. Credit & Debit Cards are also accepted at malls and shopping centers in bigger cities but cash is still the king in smaller towns and off-the-beaten-track areas.

Make sure you have it handy.

Changing money is pretty easy in large cities and places on tourist map.

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With over 60 years of collective experience in the travel field as travelers and professionally planning trips for guests from across the world, we strive to showcase the magic of India through our meticulously planned bespoke itineraries. Experience the beauty of the diverse landscapes, vibrant cultures and savor delectable flavors.

Embark on a soul-enriching adventure with our team where we assist you in making the best of your time for a travel experience to savor for lifetime.

sunil gupta

Sunil Gupta

Founder & Managing Director

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