Are you thinking of taking a trip to India anytime soon? Well, good for you! India is a country that is brimming with various cultures and hosts a variety of extremely vibrant communities. It can make for an extremely enlightening and entertaining trip. However, just as with going to any foreign country, it is incredibly important to get educated about the land and customs of wherever you are going. With that being said, here are several tips that you may find helpful for your trip to India…
1. Prepare your budget in rupees
As a general rule of thumb, you should always budget out your trip in the currency of the country you will be traveling to, since that is what you will be handling for all of your transactions. In India, this particular currency is the rupee (also known as INR). Currently, at the time this article was written, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 66 rupees. While you are in India, costs will be pretty low. You can usually expect to spend between 500 and 1000 rupees for a very decent hotel room (and that includes room service). Food is, likewise, just as affordable. A huge filling meal at a nice restaurant will only cost between 200 and 300 rupees, making it easy to eat comfortably for around 500 and 800 rupees a day.
2. Plan your route and activities carefully
India is a gigantic country that is packed with interesting activities, so much so that one can easily begin to feel overwhelmed at the abundance of things to do. For this reason, it is important to take the time to plan what this trip is really about, and the exact things that you know you want to do. The truth is that no matter what part of India you are visiting, there is probably too much to do in just one trip, but you can make your vacation the best it can be by planning ahead and knowing exactly what it is that you want. However, make sure that you leave some cushion time in your planning for the kinds of spontaneous adventures that will make memories for you.
3. Get ready to be crowded
India is one of the most populated countries in the world, second only to China with 1.3 billion people living in India at any given moment. This means that anytime you are in a city or population mecca, be prepared to rub shoulders with a lot of inhabitants. Personal space isn’t as much of the zeitgeist in India as it is in the United States. People will get close and cram together anytime they get in a bus, a lift, or even just in the streets. This also means that it can get really loud, so be prepared to be in that kind of environment. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t places in India that you can find some peace, quiet, and privacy, because there certainly are. A trip to the Indian countryside or mountainous regions will involve a lot less people, and will also add a landscape of serene beauty to your trip. Just know that there will be times when you’re going to get friendly with some locals, really quick.
4. Be respective of the culture
India is the world capital of Hinduism, which influences a large portion of the culture there. There is even a movement in India called Hindutva, which is an ideology that suggests that Indian identity must equate with cultural values, although there is still a growing secular liberal movement, as well. Still, many parts of Hindu culture should be respected and even adhered to while in India. It is generally considered polite to remove your shoes before entering one’s home, and especially if you are entering a religious or sacred space. It is also very disrespectful to touch someone with your feet. If you happen to do this by accident, be sure to apologize right away. Also, while you are out in public, it is wise to abstain from kissing, hugging, or otherwise showing any displays of affection to your significant other. Many won’t consider it a huge deal, but you might offend some who are deeply rooted in Hindu belief.
5. Watch what you eat
While in India, it is generally advised that you don’t use tap water or any ice. For the duration of the trip, buy and use bottled water to stay hydrated. Be incredibly careful when eating meat, as well. Only buy and eat meat from shops or restaurants where you see many, many locals doing the same thing, as they will likely have an idea of which places have higher health standards when it comes to food preparation. If you’re up for it, though, many travelers will eat a strictly vegetarian diet when visiting India. This can be a pretty good idea, because many of the inhabitants are vegetarians themselves and the Indian style of cooking is well-suited to a vegetarian diet. This means that there are typically a lot of great vegetarian dishes everywhere you go. If you do go vegetarian, though, avoid salads and stick with vegetables that are cooked.
For more information about the rupee, check out this incredibly informative article here.