10 Things You Must Know Before You’re First Visit To India

Visiting India for the first time? Gear up for a holiday like never before. For the country has so much to offer, you’ll be left spoilt for choice.

Your visit to India would culminate to a perfect combination of cultures, contemporary lifestyles, traditions and much more. It is a vast country, extending from the mountain peaks in the north to the mighty backwaters down south. While there are world renowned landmarks such as the Taj Mahal that are a must visit, there are also couple of other destinations that are undiscovered gems.

But, before your first visit to India, here are some things you need to prepare yourself for.

1. Be Wary Of Agents And Hawkers

Amidst the beauty of the country, one must be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, which they usually are. Certain unauthorized agents and hawkers might mislead you into purchases or lead you to a scam. In fact, certain times taxi or rickshaw drivers persistently force you to visit a hotel or agency for the sake of commissions. Make sure you find yourself a registered guide or agent ahead of your trip. Tailor-made plans are available to fit your schedule when visiting India.

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2. Beware Of The Delhi Belly

India has disreputable fame amongst travellers for Delhi belly (an upset stomach). Nobody wishes to fall ill during a short trip, particularly when it comes to stomach issues. With certain precautions, you can remain worry-free through the trip.

  • Do not consume tap water as its usually not fit for consumption. Carry a bottle with you from the hotel
  • Avoid Having fruits and fruit-based dishes from street peddlers.
  • Let your stomach get used to the local food before indulging in anything spicey
  • Be careful when indulging in street food in unhygienic areas
  • Carry a sanitizer and tissues with you at all times
  • Have an antacid on you in case of emergencies

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3. Hygiene 101

When you’re on the voyage, it is important that you remain cautious of your personal hygiene. Sanitation is not a common sighting in public places in India largely due to the population. There is an unlikely chance of finding hand wash or tissue papers in public places. Certain products are recommended on your carry on such as wipes, sanitizer, a pocket shattaf (a lifesaver), a toilet seat spray (very important) and a pocket soap. These products are essential when you’re visiting India.

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4. Language No Bar

If you are on a guided trip – there is little you need to worry about language barriers. But if you are concerned about getting around on your own, it is recommended you download a translation app for your rescue as India has a multitude of languages. It is also great if you wish to network with the local residents to understand their culture better. Certain common phrases like Namaskar (hello), Dhanyavaad (thank you) and other commonly used terms can be of help at times. English is a commonly spoken language so there is little left for worry.

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5. Getting Around

In major metropolitans such as Mumbai and Delhi there are abundant options when it comes to getting around. Metros, buses, rickshaws and much more are available at your disposal. Certain cities also have Uber available and you can continue using your Uber UAE app. Check with your hotel if they provide pick up services from the airport, if they don’t there would be a prepaid taxi counter available at most international terminals. Transport is generally affordable around the city. If you’re someone who dreads air travel – here are some hacks for you.

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6. Safety Check

With little steps, you can ensure their safety while travelling without freaking out with what appears on the news. Certain things to ensure while you’re there are –

  • Do not carry huge quantities of cash on you. Most cities accept card payments
  • Carry a travel safety kit which has all the essentials you need
  • Get yourself a travel SIM card
  • Do not engage in heated arguments with peddlers

Do not get hassled by the daily news around crime rates. In fact ladies, safety should not be your inhibition from taking that solo trip. Here are some destinations for you to explore.

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7. Respect the Culture

Visitors need to be mindful of the cultural norms of the country. In accordance with the modest practices – you need to alter your dressing styles and other gestures. Simple acts such as covering arms and legs, removing shoes before entering homes etc. are considered as a good practice. Showing your respect for the culture creates a good impression on the people. Also, it is important to dress appropriately before entering places of worship such as Temples.

8. Public Display of Affection

India has some reservations when it comes to public displays of affection. Visitors need to ensure they do not engage in any sort of indecent behaviour in public that can raise alarms. In certain parts of India, showing emotions in public can get you prosecuted. Try to be vigilant and watchful of these regulations when you’re visiting India.

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9. Erratic Weather Conditions

The weather in India varies drastically over time. Heat, monsoon rain, storms etc. are a common occurrence in most states. India experiences tropical weather throughout the year. Hence, the best time to travel to India depends greatly on the destinations solely. One needs to always be prepared for different weather conditions too when it comes to clothing and other essentials while visiting India.

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10. Money Matters in India

Credit cards and Debit Cards are accepted in major cities and tourist attractions in India. ATM machines are common in small towns as well as public places. You can get local currency at the airport itself. It is recommended you get cash from authorized centres only. Carry Indian rupees in small denominations only as it comes in handy when you’re on the go.

Sweta Swaminathan
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