Being an Indian and travelling through India has taught me so much. After experiencing things in India and knowing what things travellers should know to make their India trip more better, I decided to share this article on my blog. Here are some of the most helpful tips to visit India.
- India offers e-visa to most of the countries in the world. E-visa are available for 30 days. 1 year and 5 years period. The e-Visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, US$25, US$80 and US$100, depending on nationality plus 2.5% processing charges.
- Important thing is, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days for countries except USA, UK, Canada and Japan.
For USA , UK, Canada and Japan continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days.
- Apart from e-visa, regular/paper visa are also available at the Indian Visa Portal.
- India has mainly 3 seasons- Summer(March to June), Monsoon/Rainy(Mid-June to September) and Winter(October to February).Summers in India are really hot and Monsoon may spoil your trip. So plan accordingly.
- The central and southern parts get real hot during summers. The southern part have a large amount of rainfall due to the Western Ghats mountain range and the northern part gets very cold during winters. Some roads are also Summers and monsoons are great option for mountains in the northern India, the Himalayan side.
- A good amount of people in India speak English. Language barriers will not be a problem in India.
Tips for Eating Food:
- Food in India is cheap, so you can eat at a restaurant without burning a hole in your pocket. You can skip the idea of cooking your own food in India.
- In case if wish to cook, local grocery stores are available every 10 minutes on any road. Famous supermarkets in India are Bigbazaar, Dmart, Reliance, Demello.
- Try to eat more cooked food. You can also enjoy some fresh fruits. But wash them first.
- When in India, eat with bare hands. You will enjoy the experience.
- Indian spices are really spicy. If you are not comfortable eating spicy, always request the cook to make your dish less spicy.
- You do not need to become vegetarian in India. There are a lot of options for non-vegeterians too. Indians love butter chicken the most.
- Beef is banned in most part of the country due to religious reasons.
- Always eat at a place with good hygiene and that has many people eating there.
- You can get a Thali, at one of the local restaurant, with unlimited servings of different types of curries for less than ₹300 bucks!
- Avoid eating train food. It is tasteless! Only some premium and express trains like Rajdhani, Duranto, Satabdi, etc serves complimentary freshly cooked good food.
- India maybe more humid and hotter than your home country. Drink plenty of water everyday to keep yourself hydrated
- Coconut water is great to stay hydrated. Try to avoid roadside drinks. Instead drink freshly cut coconut water.
- Try the local soft drinks too. They are amazing and will full your thirst.
- Tap water is not drinkable in India. So either ask the hotel to refill your bottle or purchase mineral water, although I do not suggest the later one. Try to avoid use of plastic.
- Some states of India have no banned single use of plastic. Although the rules are not that strict here, one should always follow the rules.
Travel tips for India:
- Air travel is expensive but also luxurious. India has around 123 airports in the country and frequent flights operates to most of the cities.
- Indian railways operate to most parts of the country, so they are used on a large scale. Usually, all trains are fully booked.
- Indian Railways have a foreigner quota for every train. One can get the benefit of last minute bookings through this quota.
- Railway tickets can be booked on ICRTC website. Not sure if they accept foreign cards, but it is the best way. There are many travel agencies which book tickets for you, but you need to pay extra for their services.
- You do not get to select seats in Indian Railways. They have an automated algorithm that assigns you seat based on various factors.
- Indian Railways have 3 classes. 3AC class is the best suited as it costs less than 2AC class with almost similar facilities. Avoid Non AC sleeper class, if you are not willing to spend long time in humid and noisy environment. It can be used for short journeys.
- Experience rickshaw(tuk-tuk’s) in India. Negotiate a good rate with the driver.
- Always book a seat in long distance train and bus journeys. 90% of the time, you don’t get a seat at last minute booking.
- Buses can be good option for short journeys as most of government buses are Non AC.
- If planning to visit places close to borders like Spiti Valley, Rohtang Pass, Keylong, foreigners need Inner Line Permit for these regions. Indians may also need permit for few places. These places may also be closed due to high snowfalls, so check the weather while coming.
- There are often landslides in hilly regions (mentioned in point 31). Most of the time, your itinerarys will change due to such circumstances.
Tips for stay in India:
- My all time suggestion, stay at a travel hostel. India has been growing rapidly in terms of hostels. You get to meet similar minded people at hostels.
- While checking in, always ask if they could offer free stays in exchange of your skills. You could make videos, click photos for their instagram or paint walls, host a gig and much more.
- If you are planning to stay for long at a place, volunteering option would save you some bucks. Most volunteering options are open for long terms (3 weeks to 3 months).
- Try to avoid unbelievably cheap hotels. They are untidy and do not have any facilities. Instead opt for a local homestay.
- Homestays are popular in mountainous regions such as Spiti & Ladak as well as in the southern part of India in the state of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Never book accommodation too far from the places you want to visit. Cut the transportation time and book in a city or near tourist places.
- Now a days, most hotels have western toilets. Ask them before booking if the room has a western toilet.
- Online hotel booking sites are booking.com, makemytrip.com, agoda.com. Sometimes you even get low rates on-site rather than booking online.
- Yes, it is possible to stay in luxury hotels on India in cheap. Major hotel chains like Hotel Taj, Raddison Blue, Marriot etc. have their hotels near most of the popular destinations. Sometimes the cost goes as low as ₹4000 per night in off season. That’s a jackpot!
Tips for shopping in India:
- Right from getting out from railway station, taxi drivers will try to ask for more money. You need to negotiate!
- Carry some cash. Credit and Debit cards are accepted at big shops and hotels.
- Street shopping needs high negotiation skills. The shopkeeper may quote price of a item that costs ₹200 to as high as ₹1500. You need to bring the price down to ₹200.
- India has poverty. And we Indians always felt shameful for this. Avoid giving money to beggars in India. It encourages them to keep begging more. It also attracts other beggars to approach you for money.
- Avoid private information offices or agencies. They will mostly charge much higher or may even be a scam. Try to find tourism board information centre or gather information from your hotel reception.
- Exchange rates are always high. Always use ATM, that are available in most part of the country.
- Going shopping with a local can be a great idea. A local can help you with all your shopping and is a better negotiator too.
- Always carry some ₹10,₹20 and ₹50 notes. You never know, when you need exact change.
- There are also fixed rate shops, if you don’t want to bargain, but they are bit expensive too.
Some other important tips:
- Avoid wrong and negative thoughts and tips for India on the internet.
- Always carry your passport with you and keep it safe.
- Carry a power adapter. Indian plugs are round shaped and you will need power adapter to charge your devices.
- Carry a student Id card to get discount on entry tickets to most of the places in India.
- Don’t drink booze on the street. Buy it from shops and drink it in your hostel/hotel.
- Revealing clothes are fine in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi. But, they may attract stares at other places.
- Try to avoid going out late at night alone at unfamiliar places. Big cities can be exceptions for some.
- I would suggest avoiding interior parts of UP state, as I consider it bit unsafe.
- Indian government has passed a rule for restaurants to allow people to use restrooms without ordering anything. This is beneficial for travellers and you should definitely take advantage of this rule.
- LGBTQ is legalized in India. But some small villages still may not be comfortable.
- When in holy cities like Varanasi & Rishikesh, get to know the cultural beliefs and ideologies.
- Hitchhiking in India is possible. But avoid it as the roads are not that good and there is lot of dust around.
- Learning some local words will also help you a lot. Moreover, the smile on the local’s face after hearing their language will be unforgettable.
Here were some of the important tips for India.
When are you planning a trip to India? Share your travel experiences of India in the comments below.
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