When travelling to various destinations across the world, you tend to have a fair idea of what is in store once you get there.
India’s rampant unpredictability on the other hand can turn even the best-laid plans into a nerve jangling experience, although embracing its unconventional state is often the key to making the most of the majestic landscapes, wonderful cuisine, and fascinating ancient wonders placing the nation at the forefront of inspiring cultural journeys to be found across the globe.
Read on to discover our top tips for making sure your first trip to India is as insightful and life affirming as it should be.
The right place at the right time
As you enter the cacophony of beeping horns, throngs of crowds, and the disorientating sensory experience of street markets emanating a range of intoxicating incense and spice based smells, it helps to have at least a rough idea of where you plan to go and at what time of year you intend to visit each location during your stay.
It is widely recommended that you book city stays for three to four days at a time, allowing you to acclimatise to each city’s distinct personality and recover from potentially lengthy bus drives or plane journeys such is the vastness of the region. India is also a highly seasonal getaway, with two monsoon seasons hitting different areas of the country at varying times, so be sure to check that your itinerary doesn’t clash with poor weather conditions, potentially hampering your experience.
Book your transport early
India’s affordability is a large part of its enduring appeal, although budgeting for transport is advisable to avoid skyrocketing costs as you navigate large swathes of the nation. Getting around in the cities is often straightforward, with auto rickshaws and taxis part of the exhilarating experience in themselves, while travelling around half-way across the country by train can cost as little as £5-£10 per person.
The important thing to remember is pre-paying for as much transport as possible, thereby avoiding awkward exchanges with the driver as the price fluctuates during or after the journey.
Pre-pay counters from the primary airport terminals are particularly useful, while booking your tickets to your next destination as you arrive in the previous location ensures your trip isn’t delayed with packed out buses and trains which fill up very fast in smaller towns such as Pushark and Manali.
Learn basic Hindi phrases
The age-old adage that a little Hindi goes a long way in India still rings true, and brushing up on the basics before you travel can be very helpful when navigating each destination. There are many English speakers in India so most situations should run smoothly, although taxi drivers, waiters and porters among others may struggle with some descriptions.
Hindi is the language of choice when visiting Delhi, Bihar, Haryana and many of India’s urban populations, and while it is a phonetic language that can be difficult to pick up, many English words are filtered into the language, so if you are struggling for the correct Hindi word it can be useful to attempt the English iterations.
Listed below are some basic Hindi phrases to remember:Hello
- Namaste or PranamMe
- MaiI am from the UK
- Mai UK se humWho are you
- Aap kaun haiTea
- ChaiI need a bottle of water
- Mujhe ek bottle paani chahiyeFood
- KhanaDo you speak English?
- Kya apa English bolte hai?Speak slowly
- Dheray boliyeYes
– KripyaThank you
India is renowned for its diverse repertoire of dishes as a scintillating culinary journey encompassing, fried, simmered, roasted and flipped based dishes and regionally distinct recipes each wither their own traditional techniques and presentation styles passed through the generations.
While sampling some of the finest marinated meats and authentic curries is endlessly enticing, it can be important to remember to avoid tap water, ice, fresh fruit juices, and salads, while health insurance and up to date vaccinations
are imperative for avoiding any serious health issues, while a well-stocked medical kit with general antibiotics may also come in useful.