101 travel tips to India

India is a place that can capture your heart, no wonder tourists come back for more. India is a hectic, daunting place with overcrowded bazaars, noisy music, pungent spices, dusty roads, cow dung on the streets; a mesmerizing place that will make you addicted to this amazing country. It will cast a spell that few will forget from the moment they step off the plane. Here is a compilation of travel guide and travel tips for India that you need to know before you make your trip to India. But mind you, these travel to India tips is not the complete list. Bookmark this page for more tips on India from me!

1. Come with an open mind

2. Stay healthy

3. Keep cool. India is a hot country, try to keep cool, drink plenty of water and don’t get dehydrated

4. Avoid crowds

5. Be careful with your money

6. Wear modest clothes

7. Drink bottled water

8. Avoid booking taxis from hotel

9. Although no vaccinations are required for entry to India however consider taking the hepatitis A,Typhoid and malaria vaccinations. Other health risks could include dengue fever, bird flu, polio, meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rabies

10. Do not show or flash your money in public

11. Don’t wear too much gold that will attract attention

12. Try not to take too much luggage with you; you can find what you need in India

13. Don’t eat too much if you are not used to spicy food

14. Take it easy and slow down. India is not a day trip, you need months. So tailor your trip accordingly

15. Always carry a handkerchief

16. Take care of children to avoid abduction

17. Learn how to use the Indian toilets

18. Beware of scams and touts. Avoid timeshare scams in Goa. If you do get pressured in to buying one, go through a timeshare exit when you leave

19. You can always bargain with the prices. Negotiate everything, prices, guides, fares, etc

20. Always carry a bar of soap with you. You might consider taking anti-bacterial wipes or gel and toilet paper

21. Wear a cap to avoid the heat on you head

22. Be calm, India is a hot, crowded place and tempers can easily boil. Stay calm

23. Be prepared to wait. India has more than 1.21 billion people, be prepared to wait at cues

24. Acknowledge that Indians and foreigners have to pay different tariffs and entry fees at historical monuments and museums

25. Don’t get cheated or over charged

26. Learn some Hindi or the local language. India has 22 official languages. Think of it this way, each Indian state has a different Indian language. Hindi is the official language and spoken by 60% of the population. English is common across India. Here’s my Hindi book for your travels in India

27. Always wash your hands before you have your food

28. Learn salutations used in India, such as Namaste (Hindi), Vanakkam (Tamil) although “Hello” or “Hi” is fine

29. You might consider becoming a veggie in India. Firstly, as most Indians are vegetarian and there are great vegetarian food to be had secondly a dodgy meat kebab is more likely to harm you than undercooked vegetables

30. Get more understanding where you are and about the local place

31. Tailor your trip accordingly

32. Walk like a pro, show or pretend that you know the place. Don’t let anyone know that this is your first trip to India

33. Don’t give too much to beggars perhaps Rupees 2 – 10. There are people who pretend to be beggars. Once you give a handout, be prepared to be swarmed for many more

34. Buy from reputable shops. There are fake and counterfeit goods that may look like the real thing but they aren’t, common ones include Ray-Ban sunglasses

35. Beware of corrupt police officers. Corruption and inefficiency are present in many aspects of the Indian police force. Be prepared to pay bribes to get your case registered

36. Beware of fake notes. Pakistan is trying to destabilize India by pumping fake currency

37. Avoid local buses (not coaches), take taxis or autos instead

38. Some people say avoid street foods; if you want to test your karma, go ahead

39. Don’t just go to India just for the weed

40. Always make hotel reservations in advance. Hotels will take photocopies of your passport and visa

41. Make sure your hotels are air conditioned or at least has a ceiling fan

42. Be alert on trains unless you are on the Maharaja Express

43. Just be safe and watch out if someone is being too friendly

44. Don’t eat or drink anything any one gives you while travelling, it may not be safe

45. Indians in general are very friendly people but crooks take advantage of this. Basically, don’t accept food or drinks from strangers, they could be spiked. Exercise a high degree of caution

46. Tips are acceptable in India usually room service (at the end of your stay not after every service)

47. Keep your passport with you at all times and hide it

48. Keep several photocopies of your passport and tickets

49. Keep your travelers checks with you at all times, don’t just leave them in the hotel room

50. Keep your suitcases locked at all times. This is not to say that everyone are thieves but who knows opportunists might be lurking around

51. Buy some local clothing like a Kurta, a saree or a salwar kameez and blend in

52. Learn dietary habits of Indians. Many are vegetarians. Hindus don’t eat beef, Muslims don’t eat pork. Don’t offer them anything that they can’t eat

53. Remember photography in many places is not allowed such as airports, sensitive controversial religious places such as Mathura and Ayodhya. You might need special permission to take photos or shoot videos. If you are a casual tourist then it will be fine. You might have to pay a “camera fee”

54. When entering shrines and temples remove your shoes. Some temples prohibit the entry of leather goods such as belts and leather wallets

55. Wear sunglasses, look cool and keep the extreme sunlight out of your eyes

56. Many Indian roads are poorly constructed, be prepared for bumpy rides

57. Carry your own medication. Sometimes fakes are sold in India

58. Remember alcohol is available in India except some states such as Gujarat. Kingfisher beer is a popular one in India

59. If you are expecting to eat beef curries and pork sausages, forget it

60. “Holy” cows are revered (not worshipped). Show respect. Stroke her if you can. Mooo

61. No tips for taxi drivers

62. Always use pre-paid taxies from airports and stations (not all stations have pre-booking services). If that’s not available, fix the price before you take the ride

63. Bargain with the guides at historical places. Rupees 100-300 is fine for 30 minutes to 1 hour

64. Don’t always trusts travel agents for booking tickets, they overcharge. Book at airports and train stations if you can

65. Never accept a free ride from anyone, use relevant transport

66. Keep money in various pockets so that if you get pick pocketed in one then you’ll have money in the other

67. There is a remote possibility of a terror attack in a crowded place from Islamic terrorists

68. Foreigners are known to have been kidnapped by Maoists also called Naxalites (Outlawed groups that want Communist rule) in exchange of prisoners. Two Italian tourists were abducted by Maoists from the Daringbadi area of Kandhamal district, in Orissa on 14 March 2012. They are active in states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Orrisa

69. Remember Kashmir is disputed with Pakistan. Always travel to Kashmir by air. Although violence has decreased, there is a remote possibility of bomb or grenade attacks, shootings and kidnappings

70. Remember state of Arunachal Pradesh is disputed with China. (the Chinese wants to engulf the entire region)

71. If you trek mountains, remember there are no rescue services above 3,000 meters. Only the Indian Air Force can rescue you once they know you are there. Don’t hike alone

72. Always buy travel insurance before coming to India

73. Goa is the epicenter of tourism in India. Tourists have been coming to Goa for drugs, stay away from drugs. Drugs are illegal in India

74. There have also been incidents of rape in Goa, women travelers must be careful

75. Tourists leaving India will not be allowed to re-enter India again for 2 months

76. Beware of the weather in India. Weather in India can be severe such as heavy rains during the Monsoon season between June to October

77. If you lose your passport, report to the police station and get a report. Talk to your embassy or consulate for replacement or other travel arrangements

78. Consider emailing images of your passport, tickets, other important documents to yourself just in case you need to retrieve it later

79. Be careful with your hand luggage, snatching do occur. There is very little or no risk of street robbery in India. “India is not Somalia”

80. The electrical supply is 220/240V and 50Hz. Carry the appropriate “round pin” electric connectors similar to European ones

81. Remember Indian Standard Time (IST) is 10 ½ hours ahead of American EST, 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT/UTC and 4 ½ hours behind Australian EST

82. India is not disabled friendly. There are very few facilities at airports, trains, coaches or hotels. However Indian people are generally very helpful in this regard and will be more than willing to help disabled people

83. Carry mosquito repellents or nets with you

84. Have your hip replaced in India for a fraction of a price you would pay in the USA or avoid the 2 year waiting list in the UK. Thousands of medical tourists come to India. One such good hospital is the Apollo Hospital in 20 Indian cities

85. Don’t be alarmed if you get waken up in the early hours of the morning with the sounds of prayers from loud speakers

86. Don’t be surprised to see poverty on the streets

87. Be extremely cautious when travelling alone at night

88. Try to organize money in various ways such as traveler’s cheques, cash, credit cards

89. You cannot buy mobile sim-cards in India without permission. In Jammu and Kashmir, local government does not allow roaming facilities to foreigners. The best thing is to take your own mobile with roaming

90. Although India is secular country but religion is sensitive in India. Don’t go around converting people, you will need a missionary visa. Not a safe thing to do

91. The death penalty in India is alive and kicking for some crimes such as murder, kidnapping for ransom and drugs

92. A daily dose of pro-biotics or yogurt pills a month before coming to India and during your stay can help reduce stomach upsets

93. Politics is big in India. Try to be neutral

94. Homosexuality is not socially accepted in India and homophobia is prevalent. Although homosexuality is not a crime in India, Indian society is struggling with gay rights. By the way men do hold hands in India

95. Remember that it is unusual for the opposite sex to kiss in public

96. Note the emergency phone numbers are: police (100), ambulance (102 or the nearest hospital), medical and fire emergency (101)

97. Can use internet cafes to access the internet at a price of about 10-20 Rupees per hour. There are only a few Wi-Fi hotspots in India although there are wireless internet services

98. International calling is cheap from India. The country code for India is 91. Use a telephone booth if there are no international calling facilities from your hotel. They are known as a PCO (Public Call Office) and they offer STD/ISD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing/International Subscriber Dialing), or national and international long distance

99. Try not to drive; it’s not safe for the faint hearted. If you must then be prepared to encounter mad truckers, speeding maniacs, honking taxis, wandering cows, suicidal pedestrians, pot-holed tarmacs all at the same time

100. If it’s your first time in India, book a tour. You’ll know exactly where you’re going

101. Don’t be over cautious or be nervous, India is a safe country

If you want more travel advice or travel tips to India feel free to contact me. You can also buy some of my books on India.

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