India is one of the most wonderfully diverse countries in the world to visit, thanks to its unique culture, bustling cities and stunning nature. The thought of travelling this vast country can be slightly daunting or overwhelming for many, even the most experienced traveller if you're not too sure what to expect. If you've already booked our awesome India tour, or even if you're just thinking about it, you won't regret it. Here are some travel tips for first-timers to make sure you have the best time whilst exploring India!
#1. ONLY DRINK BOTTLED WATER
Like many countries in Asia, tap water isn't clean or safe enough to drink, or brush your teeth with (this includes having ice in your drink too)! You may see a few drinking fountains in the airports or cities, or table water at restaurants - one of our first India travel tips is to stay away from these! The locals are used to drinking this every day with no problems; however, for most western people, it can make you sick and ruin your holiday. There are plenty of places to purchase bottled water and don't forget that India is very hot so stay hydrated!
#2. LOCAL FOOD
We always recommend you try the local dishes while travelling, especially in India where they use so many herbs and spices in their food which makes it all delicious! Your group leader will always help suggest new dishes for you to try, and you will even learn to cook some too (even try eating with your hands like a local)!! Street food in India can make you sick and give you the famous Delhi belly if you're not used to it, so we'd advise you stick to restaurants, avoid eating salads, or even ask your group leader for recommendations on the best food spots. Another top travel tip - pack some Imodium or diarrhoea tablets just in case!
#3. WHAT TO WEAR?
One of our India must-see places is to visit Taj Mahal but it's important to be aware of how to respect such temples beforehand. Indian people are very conservative when it comes to the way they dress. Local women are always covered, and wearing mini-skirts or crop tops isn't as acceptable as it is in the western world. To respect the local culture, another tip when travelling around India is to wear loose pants (hareem or hippy pants are always handy), long shorts for men (no hot pants please!), baggy t-shirts, and shawls or sarongs for the ladies (to cover any cleavage or shoulders). Loose fitted clothes made from a light material like cotton are ideal in this hot country to keep you cool. Don't forget, you should also be moderately dressed when entering any religious temples or holy sites.
The average daily wage for most people in India isn't much, therefore, food and drink is very cheap here, but the locals still work hard to deliver an exceptional service to tourists who come to visit. Bus or taxi drivers, waiters in restaurants, local guides etc will expect a tip for their service, even small change to us can mean a lot to the Indian people here! So make sure you always tip, support the locals, and if you are ever unsure if you should, or how much, always ask your group leader for advice!
#5. HAGGLE IN THE MARKETS
India is amazing for shopping; there are some markets to check out in New Delhi, Jaipur and even Kerala if you have time (which are all the must-see places in India too!) Another one of our travel tips for India is always to bargain when shopping for souvenirs to grab yourselves the best price. If you are interested in something from the markets, start at around 60% off the original asking price, then work your way up to an amount you are happy to pay. If you are unhappy and don't want to pay it, you can walk away. Everything in India is super cheap, and you can grab yourself some great presents for yourself and others, but don't forget if you are bartering over a few rupees, they would mean a lot more to the locals than it would to you. Helps support someone who earns a lot less!!
#6. INDIA TIME
Like most places in Asia, everything is on a much more relaxed schedule than we are used to - so expect delays, transport to be late or to be stuck in traffic. When waiting for buses, flights, taxis etc don't forget that India is one of the busiest countries in the world that is famous for its intense traffic and cows in the middle of the road (literally). So grab a chai tea, relax, enjoy the ride, and take in the views!
Our UK team and your group leader are also on hand to help with any other queries or questions you might have. We hope our top India travel tips and tricks will help you as you explore one of the most amazing countries in the world, and will guarantee you have an awesome time! #JustGo
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