It is bamboozling, chaotic, crazy, intoxicating, wonderful, exasperating, squalid, daunting, beautiful, fantastic and overwhelming. That is how you describe India, and so much more. How can you prepare yourself for an ultimate travel experience? Start with these tips on how to travel to India for the first time. If you are planning to leave the crowd in your wake, you need to make sure that you follow these simple guidelines on traveling the beaten track in India.
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Keep a cool head
As well as it is wonderful and lovely, India has a reputation for scams, touts and other known hassles. There are a lot of ways how you can minimize the chances of being cheated and overcharged, but you will have encountered a lot of scammers and fraudsters on your vacation.
So, you need to keep your wits, and you need to remember that deals that sound too good to be true are usually deals that are too good to be true. In particular, be careful when it comes to the rickshaw and taxi drivers, public mass transport in general who insist on taking you to certain locations like hotels, travel agencies or shows.
The cost of their services will most likely be added to your bill, and sometimes their cost of service is more expensive than your plane ticket going to India. One of the most important advice for people who are a first-time visitor in India is to try to have a calm head, no matter what type of problems you face.
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Frustration can quickly sink in if you are visiting this country, and controlling your frustrations and emotions can be a significant factor to enjoy the trip. You need to take a deep breath and calculate your every move. If you need to move on every time you face an awkward situation; you have to so that you can enjoy your time in the country.
If you are getting frustrated and stressed out about losing money along the way or getting scammed, take a deep breath and think about the money you lost and the positive things you just experienced or will be experiencing during the vacation. Is it worth getting frustrated about?
You need to slow down
A lot of people try to stuff too much into their vacation to India, and most of these people experience stress and eventually burns out. To get the most out of your holiday, focus on a few places instead of trying to visit every tourist destination listed in the tour guide. Seeing two to three places on a slow pace can make your vacation enjoyable and rewarding than seeing a lot of tourist destinations, but not having a lot of time to appreciate all the places that you visited.
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Spend a couple of days in one place, and you will be less stressed, have more time to know the locals, as well as your fellow tourist that you meet and have a deeper understanding of the place you are visiting. The exchanges you make with the locals will lead to some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of your vacation.
Escape the crowds
With more or less a billion and a half Indian people, a lot of places in India are usually packed with both locals and tourists. Mayhem and bustle can be fun if there is a festival happening in the city, but it is very easy to reach a certain point of saturation. The good news is, India has a lot of quiet places, so you need to plan a relaxing vacation.
To keep yourself recharged, spend a couple of days in the city, followed by a couple of days in rural areas or the countryside. Head south to the beaches and backwaters of Kerala if you want to improve your inner peace and have your body tanned. If you want to visit the country’s beautiful hill stations or valleys of the Himalayas with Tibetan influence, you can check out Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh or Ladakh.
India has a notorious reputation among travelers for this so-called Delhi belly or upset stomach. No tourist wants to get ill in the middle of their vacation, especially if you are on a short vacation. That is why it pays to take some precautions to avoid an upset stomach. As much as possible, avoid drinking tap water.
Stay away from foods that have been washed using tap water. As a precaution, avoid at all cost eating, dirty ice cream, or ice cream sold on the streets. Also, avoid eating salads and fruits that you have not peeled yourself. Let your body acclimatize for a couple of days before going to a spicy street food venture.
Whenever you go, make sure that you apply the same assessment of cleanliness standards of your country of origin. Make sure that the food stall you are planning to visit, cook their food fresh. Also, check if the place is full of customers, or in a place where there are a lot of flies.
A lot of tourists try to be vegetarian when visiting India, and it is not a bad idea since a slice of small meat that is not cooked properly will do more harm than under-cooked vegetables. Not only that, a lot of Indians are vegans or vegetarians, so, the country can offer some of the best vegetarian food on the planet.
If you plan to eat meat, make sure that it is properly cooked, and stick to the restaurants of stalls that are full of local customers. Having a lot of customers, especially the locals, is the best barometer for the food stall or restaurant’s hygiene standards.
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When you are on the road, you will find out that some of the toilets in the country are less sanitary compared to other places, but these do not have to be considered as a health hazard. Toilet paper is not usually provided (you can always bring the toilet paper provided by the hotel), the hand-and-water method is the preferred method by most locals.
It is okay to use it as long as you have a bar of soap in your bag at all times to wash and sanitize your hands. Antibacterial gel and wipes are also handy to keep in your purse or bag if water is not available for cleaning up your hands before eating.