India is among the top favorite destinations to visit for travelers from around the world. There’s just so much packed into this one country in south-east Asia that you can take multiple trips here and you still won’t be able to grab the whole essence of it. Indeed, being the 7th largest country in the world, India gives you a chance to cover a whole lot more than what you expect from a single trip.
However, if you happen to live in the western hemisphere (just like me), there are a few prep points to follow before you pack your bags for your long-awaited trip to India. There are so many beautiful things that this country has to offer, you just need the right knowledge to make the most out of your trip.
So, without further ado, here is a list of 5 really crucial points that every westerner, or any outside tourist in general, should remember and follow before they come to India.
1. Know Your India
While generalizing any country other than yours is almost always wrong, it’s completely futile to do so in the case of India. Let us explain why. Unlike most tourist countries around the world, there is no one specific country or region that tourists would prefer to visit in India.
The lofty Himalayas in the north, coastal beaches in the south, the world’s largest delta in the east and the Thar desert in the west, India has almost every type of landform and climate that you can think of. Additionally, it has so many different cultures and people that you could literally take multiple visits to its different locations and it won’t feel like you’re in the same country.
Do some research on which side of India you’d want to explore in a single trip and stick to it. For instance, if you’re planning for a golden triangle tour in India, it’s better to leave the beaches of the south for your next trip.
2. Hire a Tour Operator
It’s always inspiring to watch travel movies where a bunch of friends randomly plan a trip to, say India since it’s relevant here, and have the best time of their lives. Unfortunately, the reality is often disappointing. So when you’re traveling to India, you need expert assistance to make your trip truly memorable.
When you hire a reputed tour operator in India, they will manage all the hassles of travel, stay, food and other travel-related concerns so that you can actually spend your time and energy exploring what you planned to explore when you first planned your trip.
3. Beware of the Frauds
India has some of the friendliest and honest people you could ever find. However, in a population of over a billion, a few bad fish in the pool is kind of obvious. These scammers come in all shapes and types, whether sham religious gurus, unregistered travel agents, local shopkeepers and more.
In fact, even when you meet a random stranger who randomly shows and tries to act all friendly, proceed with caution. You don’t want to return home from India with the bad memories of a few cheats over the beautiful people whose hospitality is beyond appreciation.
4. Practice a Lot of Haggling
If there’s one thing that Indian tourists are never proud of when they visit another country is their habit of persistent bargaining at ridiculous rates. The blame for this, instead, should be given to the local market vendors in the local markets around India. You could use this point to your advantage and save a lot when you go there.
The best way to practice it is with your Indian friends if you have any. They have this natural talent of close in a deal at their expected prices.
5. Learn to Eat With Your Hands
Pretty much everyone you meet will have some liking toward Indian food. However, unlike the kind of food prepared by Indian diaspora around the world, people living in India follow a very unique routine when they have their meals. One of the most significant of this routine is the use of hands, instead of cutlery, to eat their food with. If you manage to learn this art of cutlery-free India, you will end up making more friends than your expectations during your trip to India.