India stands as a haven for nature enthusiasts, culture aficionados, and history buffs alike. This country is renowned for its multifaceted culture, deep-rooted history, delectable cuisine, remarkable biodiversity, and breathtaking landscapes. The sheer diversity of India is so astounding that even multiple visits merely scratch the surface of its offerings. Embarking on a maiden journey to this captivating land can be an immensely enriching and thrilling experience. To guarantee a seamless and delightful trip, transforming it into a cherished memory of a lifetime, here is a comprehensive guide tailored for first-time travelers to India.
Important things to consider before going to India for the first time
1. Travel Documents required for travelers to India:
Travel documents are one of the most important items that you have to carry while going to a different country. You keep it safe in your hotel locker once you have landed in a city you are visiting and ask your hotel to do a photocopy, which you can carry while going on a sightseeing tour. But you should also check with your travel agent or hotel desk for where you need the original passport to get entry into the monument or a wildlife reserve. Keeping it safe is of the utmost importance, and unfortunately, if you lose it then immediately go to the nearest police station to lodge a complaint and also inform your embassy. These travel documents are:
Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Your passport is your ID proof in India and you might need to carry in original at some monuments, museums, and wildlife reserves. It is always better to check it before with your local service provider.
Visa: Apply for an Indian tourist visa well in advance. India offers visa on arrival for several countries, so check it before and if your country is not on that list apply for the visa in advance. You can do it by yourself or take the help of your travel agent.
2. Health Precautions:
Most parts of India come in a tropical climate and have several diseases which are new to you or you are not exposed to these diseases before, so it is always advisable to take precautions before landing in India.
3. Vaccinations and Medications:
Consult your doctor about necessary vaccinations and medications (like anti-malarial drugs).
4. Travel Insurance:
Consider getting travel insurance that covers medical expenses.
5. Pack Wisely:
Packing for a vacation is another important thing, before packing you should know the temperature of the destinations you are visiting and also learn about the specific dress requirement for the same like if you are visiting a jungle safari then wear dull color cloths which can merge easily with the surroundings.
Pack modest and comfortable clothing, respecting Indian cultural norms and the particular requirements of the destination.
7. First Aid:
Bring a basic first aid kit, hand sanitizer, insect repellent, and sunscreen for your particular requirement. Though these things are easily available in India with some international brands but if you are using any specific brand, carry it. Also, don’t forget to carry enough medication if you are taking it regularly, you might not get the same in India. Also, if you are going to a destination like wildlife parks which are mostly in remote locations, then it is always advisable to buy the medication before leaving from the big cities.
8. Power adapter and converter:
Though the adopter and converter both are easily available in India it is advisable to carry one if you have otherwise once you land in India you can buy both in any electric shop. (India uses Type D and Type M plugs).
Also read: The best places to see tigers in India
Cultural tips to consider while visiting India for the first time
1. Respect Local Customs
Basic Phrases of Local Language: India is a land of diversity and there are 22 official languages spoken in this country. It is always better to know in which area you are traveling and learn some basic phrases. You can take the help of the Internet or carry a pocket guide for the same.
2. Follow Local Custom
Every region, every city, and every village has its own customs, ask your guide or your hotel before entering someone’s home or a place of worship. Always respect local traditions and customs, especially in religious places.
3. Dress Modestly
People in India follow different religious practices and local customs and it requires that it’s best to dress modestly in public places and religious places, especially in rural areas and religious sites. Women should carry a scarf to cover their heads when visiting religious places.
Things to consider during your trip to India
During your trip, there are certain things you should avoid doing in public, especially in places of religious importance and remote villages.
- Stay Safe: Avoid public displays of affection. Be cautious with your belongings, especially in crowded places. Use bottled or filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
- Transportation: Use reputable transportation services. Prepaid taxis and apps like Uber and Ola are reliable. Trains are a popular and cost-effective way to travel between cities but it is always advisable to boot in the upper classes which are safe and less crowded.
- Food and Water: Try local cuisine but be cautious about street food, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Indian foods are spicy and having it from a street vendor might cause your stomach upset. Drink bottled, filtered, or boiled water. Avoid ice in your drinks when you are having food outside or from street vendors. Ice, food, and water are totally safe in all reputed hotels and resorts.
- Cultural Sites: India has a wealth of historical and cultural sites. Respect the rules and regulations of each site. Consider hiring a local guide to enhance your understanding of the historical sites. These guides are also helpful while dealing with local vendors selling souvenirs, always bargain without hesitation.
- Etiquette: Indians are polite and hospitable. Return the courtesy. It’s customary to offer and receive gifts with both hands or the right hand only.
Also read: Travel Guides to National Parks of India
Things to consider after your trip to India
- Feedback: Share your positive experiences online. Recommend good hotels, guides, and restaurants to fellow travelers.
- Cultural Understanding: Reflect on your experiences. India is diverse and complex; what you see and learn might challenge your assumptions.
- Memories: Preserve your memories through photos, journaling, or souvenirs. Remember, India can be overwhelming, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Embrace the differences, be open-minded, and you’ll have a truly memorable experience. Safe travels!