Travelling to India, especially if you are a first-time visit can be a massive culture shock. It’s busy and noisy, you get hit by an abundance of different smells, it’s colourful, it’s an assault on the senses. There’s nothing subtle about it. However, if you prepare for your trip properly, India will grow on you and it will end up being one of your most memorable holidays. Whether you are backpacking or going on a guided tour, I’m sure these top tips will help you.
Your Travel Documents
Your passport must have valid for 6 months on your arrival and British Nationals will need a visa. If you are staying for less than 30 days and intend to visit India no more than twice in one year, you can apply for the e-Tourist Visa through this website.
Read a Lot.
Read as much as you can about India to prepare yourself. There are plenty of travel guides to choose from. Also, have a look at a few traveller’s blogs to get a sense of what you might expect and to be prepared for such eventualities as dealing with persistent rickshaw drivers, and haggling. And don’t forget to take the travel guides with you, they will be your bibles!
Vaccinations and Other Health Considerations.
It is advised that you visit your GP 6 weeks before you travel for your vaccinations. It is recommended that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Typhoid. Other vaccinations may be a good idea depending on the nature of your trip and the location. Discuss with your GP. So-called “Delhi Belly” can be avoided with precautions, but remember to take some diarrhoea remedies with you. It is strongly advised that you only drink bottled water and eat only cooked foods, avoiding salads, be cautious of “street” food, at least for the first few days and consider becoming vegetarian for your holiday!
Travel insurance is always a good idea!
You can only buy rupees in India itself. Traveller’s checks are accepted and remember to inform your bank that you will be in India so you can use the ATMs.
Make a Plan.
Public transport can be hit and miss so it’s good to have a basic plan if there are things you particularly want to see and do. It’s wise to concentrate on one area as the country is so big and diverse! Try to book train tickets in advance as they get over crowded. Also, it is wise to book taxi guides, internal flights and boat trip in advance. If you are travelling independently, at least book your first couple of nights’ accommodation before you arrive, and be aware of persistent people at airports and train stations who try to get you to stay in “their hotel.”
What to Pack
Take loose tops and trousers, remember to dress modestly. Comfortable shoes for sightseeing are a must, as is a jumper if you are planning to head to the mountains. Other useful items to pack include hand sanitizer as it can be a bit grubby, insect repellent, Imodium, a torch, and tissues.
With a bit of preparation and common sense, you will be amazed by India!