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30 Tips to Travel to India and not regret it !!!

Kathakali dance

Tips to Traveling to India is a real adventure. It’s a totally different trip than any you can take! For this reason, you have to be prepared in all aspects to enjoy the experience to the fullest and not regret it. After spending 15 days trip the chaotic cities of the country, we learned a lot of things that can help you a lot to face your trip and prevent setbacks. In this article we are going to tell you 30 tips to travel to India and make sure you don’t regret it.

1-Take out travel insurance

Don’t even consider traveling to India without travel insurance. It would be tremendously irresponsible! Although it is not an essential requirement to enter the country, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. So as soon as you book your plane tickets, we recommend taking out travel insurance. Unfortunately, in India you will be exposed to many dangers and it is necessary that you travel protected.

According to our guide, 9 out of 10 of his clients suffer from food poisoning. You have to be very careful! Furthermore, walking the streets of India is literally risking your life. You will feel like you don’t have your space, on many occasions you will be hit by vehicles, so having travel insurance will give you peace of mind in case of any accident.

Hospital care in India is not, by any means, similar to that in Europe or USA etc. So having travel insurance will ensure you quality medical care without surprises, since they work with good medical centers. That is why we recommend you take out insurance with hospitalization expenses.

Also, another thing you should keep in mind is that in India there are many stray animals: cows, dogs, monkeys… and bites are common. In short, one of the best Tips to Travel to India is to take out travel insurance.

2- Take the Recommended Vaccines

If you are traveling from Europe or USA, there is no mandatory vaccination to enter India. However, it is highly recommended to apply the following vaccines to feel calmer.

  • Yellow Fever: Although the yellow fever vaccine is not mandatory for European or USA citizen, if you travel from any of the following Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad only) and Venezuela, or you have been in any of the infected areas in the last 6 days, the vaccine IS MANDATORY.
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid Fevers
  • Rabies: It is still very present in India, avoid getting close to dogs and/or monkeys.
3-Get your visa online, one of the best Tips to Travel to India

Travel insurance and vaccinations are recommended, but a visa is MANDATORY. Fortunately, the process is very simple and can be done online for most nationalities. The e-VISA must be applied for 120 days before your arrival in India. However, it is a quick process and we did it with only 15 days notice. And the next day we received the confirmation by email!

The e-VISA allows you to stay in Indian territory for 30 days from your arrival date. In addition, it is double entry, so you can go to another country and re-enter, as long as you do not exceed 30 days from your arrival.

The cost of the procedure is $ 25 if you do it through the official Government website. Filling out all the fields took us approximately an hour. One of the best Tips to Travel to India is that, before paying, write down your application number, because you will need it later.

4- Print the appropriate e-VISA document

Also do not forget to have the VISA STATUS document printed where it says GRANTED, since they will ask you for it when boarding and upon arriving in India. That is not the document that arrives in the mail, but you must go to the website where you processed the mail, enter your passport and the visa application number. Once there, you must download that document.

5-Hire a private driver

One of the best Tips to Travel to India is to hire a private driver. It was the best decision we could have made! At first we wanted to travel by train, but a friend who had been there previously spoke highly of a driver and we decided to hire him. And thank goodness!

The price of the driver depends on the route you are going to take with him. We paid about € 80/day for a Sedan Car, and it included transportation between cities, within cities, gasoline, tolls and parking. Since we went from Delhi – Shekhawati – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Falodi – Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur – Chitaurgarh – Bundi – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Gwalior – Orchha – Khajuraho – Prayagraj (Allahabad) – Varanasi – Kanpur – Unchagaon – Jim Corbett – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Delhi back. As we feel the price is not expensive, this is includes everything (no hidden price, except driver’s tip).

Keep in mind that moving around India alone is a real headache. Yes, getting around by train is MUCH cheaper, but going on your own is exhausting. You will need a tuk tuk to get to the station from your hotel, to get from the station to the hotel and to get around the cities. Hiring them is super stressful! In short, hiring a private driver will allow you to optimize your time and see more things in less time, in addition to having that extra peace of mind and security.

If you want the contact of our driver, you can write to us privately and we will help you. Without a doubt, one of the best Tips to Travel to India.

6- Guides/drivers always have a commission

Hiring a private driver was the best decision we could have made. But not everything is rosy! Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without him, but you have to keep in mind that no matter how good he is to you, he is going to see the benefit of him first.

Our driver was always super honest. In fact, we tested him several times, but he never wanted to fool us. The only bad thing is that, to get extra money, he insisted a lot on us doing some activities where he takes a commission. In addition, he took us to souvenir places where he also made his cut. And although they were good places, we later realized that they were a little expensive and that by haggling we were not getting a great price.

So one of the best Tips to Travel to India is to book the hotels yourself and not buy souvenirs in the first place they take you, because they will always recommend where they win.

7-Buy an eSIM with unlimited data to stay connected at all times

Having the internet helped us just as much or even more than having a driver. It’s a must! First, to always be in contact with the driver: to agree on the pick-up point and inform him of anything. And second, to check the opinions of monuments, restaurants or souvenir shops when they make a recommendation.

We acquired the Holafly eSIM and had unlimited data for 15 days. We were able to share a lot of moments with friends and family without worrying about consumption!

8-DO NOT eat street food, one of the best tips for traveling to India

As we have mentioned before, the first thing our guide recommended to us is that we NEVER eat street food. Never! According to him, 9 out of 10 clients suffer from food poisoning, some even need to be hospitalized. Street food may catch your attention because it is super cheap, but eating it is super risky, since the hygienic conditions of the street stalls are very bad.

9-Realize that, if you want to eat well and calmly, you must visit good restaurant

Eating in India is very cheap. But as we say, cheap is expensive! When we arrived in India, the first thing we did was forget about the low prices in the country and realized that, to eat with guarantees, we had to spend the same as in Europe (or a little less). And we have no regrets! In fact, we think it’s one of the best Tips to Travel to India.

In fact, in the 15 days, we didn’t have even a single stomach ache. And that’s because we ate at the right restaurants. On average, for two people we spent about € 25 per meal but we always did it in elegant and clean restaurants. Where there weren’t even flies! In addition, this allowed us to enjoy typical Indian food with peace of mind and guarantees.

Another of the best tips for traveling to India is that, just in case, you bring some digestive enzymes. Remember that Indian food is quite heavy and takes a lot to digest.

10- Always ask for “zero spicy”, even though it will be spicy the same

We fell in love with Indian cuisine, although the only negative thing is that they eat super spicy. So one of the best Tips to Travel to India is that you don’t believe the waiters when you ask them if the dish you want to order is spicy or not. They will always tell you no, or a little “a little”. Do not believe them! Keep in mind that they eat super spicy food and do not have the same sensitivity as us.

Even though you ask for zero spicy, that is, nothing spicy, keep in mind that something is going to sting. I don’t know if it’s because they already have the sauce base prepared or because they refuse to cook without spice.

Another tip for traveling to India and not suffering from spiciness is to try to eat in large international chain restaurants, since there they are more understanding with the level of spiciness.

11- Don’t eat with left hand

One of the things that surprised us most about India is that the vast majority eat with their hands. Only in luxury restaurants in Mumbai did we see them eating with cutlery. We didn’t think it was hygienic at all, but if you want to try it, wash your hands very well before eating. And above all, do not use your left hand, as it is traditionally used to clean oneself after going to the bathroom and is considered rude and impure.

But don’t worry, if you don’t want to eat with your hands, all the restaurants we recommend on our blog serve you cutlery.

12- Bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper

In India you will find a lot of dirt. It’s something very beastly. The cities look like real garbage dumps! To avoid scares, we recommend you bring alcohol to disinfect your hands frequently. Especially before eating! Although it may not seem like it, dirt sticks to your body. Every night, when we showered, a lot of filth came out of our bodies.

Another of the best Tips to Travel to India is to carry toilet paper everywhere you go. Avoid using public bathrooms, as they are almost always in a terrible state. Also, the strangest thing is that they almost never have toilet paper, so make sure you have it with you for any emergency.

13- Don’t expect to find beef in restaurants and avoid making cow jokes, one of the best Tips to Travel to India

As you probably know, cows are sacred in India. For Hindus, the cow represents Mother Earth, a symbol of life, fertility and motherhood. Furthermore, they feel that they are fed by them without being their offspring since the sacred cow provides 5 essential products for life: milk, butter, yogurt, urine and manure. So cows should never be slaughtered or attacked.

For this reason, you will never find beef in restaurants. But don’t even ask! For Hindus, joking about cows is very offensive and you can get into serious trouble.

14- Book 4 or 5 star hotels, one of the best tips for traveling to India

In India you can find rooms for less than €20 per night in almost most cities, except Mumbai. Try to avoid sleeping in those hotels. As with food, cheap is expensive! If the prices are so cheap, it’s always for a reason. And India is the best country to do experiments!

One of the best tips for traveling to India is to book 4 or 5 star hotels during your itinerary. We slept in hotels of all types to try and we stayed with the 4-star hotels.

In Delhi and, especially Mumbai, hotels are more expensive, but on the rest of the route and in high season, hotels from large international 4-star chains will cost you between € 100 and € 200 per night with breakfast included. It is not too bad!

In the cheap hotels, the rooms were super small and we found quite a few insects. Furthermore, most showers do not have a screen and the entire bathroom (and sometimes the room) ends up flooding. In addition, it generates a lot of humidity and in the long run gives off a bad smell.

Avoid them, including the ones with super good reviews on Trust Piolet or TripAdvisor. The vast majority are because the owners are super friendly and “buy” the opinions. Furthermore, regarding hotels, another of the best tips for traveling to India is to take into account the opinions of Western tourists, since the locals have other standards than ours. And when you see that the person giving the opinion only has one or two reviews, don’t make it valid.

15- Accommodation also far from the city center!

Avoid sleeping in the old centers of Indian cities. For many reasons! First, because they are too noisy and disorderly. There is a lot of noise: tuk tuk, street markets… and that can affect the quality of sleep.

Second, because your driver will not be able to leave you at the hotel door, since access by vehicle is prohibited. So you will have to walk (super complicated) or spend an extra rupees to go by tuk tuk.

Third, because getting there is real chaos, especially during rush hour. If you want to go sightseeing around the city, leaving there and returning at night, you will spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. You are going to waste a lot of time every day!

And finally, because most buildings are very old and this results in poor insulation, both acoustic and thermal.

16- Don’t brush your teeth with tap water and shower with your mouth closed.

Tap water is not drinkable in India. So to avoid stomach infections, we recommend that you brush your teeth with bottled water. Most hotels will provide you with small bottles, but if they don’t, make sure you buy them before going up to the room.

When you shower, try to avoid swallowing water, as it can cause the same problems.

17- Be very careful when crossing the streets, one of the best tips for traveling to India

In India there are no lanes, no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings, especially on the streets of big cities. They basically drive using all the space on the road! Only in the most exclusive neighborhoods of big cities will you find sidewalks where you can walk (relatively quiet).

However, most of the time you will have to walk along the road, avoiding tuk tuks, motorbikes, cows and other types of animals. Crossing the streets is a real challenge, so be very careful to avoid accidents.

18- And also with pickpockets!

India seemed to us to be a super safe destination in terms of common crime. The vast majority believe in karma, so they are not going to do anything bad so that it does not come back to them. We never felt like they were going to steal our phone, camera or anything. But in India there are many people! And although the majority are not going to want to rob you, there will always be those who are smart who will want to take advantage of the situation.

So, like anywhere, be very careful with pickpockets, especially in tourist and crowded places.

19- Dress appropriately, one of the best tips for traveling to India

When visiting a foreign country it is always important to respect its culture. Indians dress very conservatively, so we recommend you do the same. In most of the country and almost all year round, it is incredibly hot, so wearing long dresses is not very fun, but it is recommended. You should know that it is not well seen to wear a miniskirt or a low-cut top. Our advice is that you always try to wear long pants and covered shoulders, not only to enter the temples.

Also, avoid dressing tight. Foreign women are already the center of attention of Indian men and by dressing tight you will attract even more attention. Keep in mind that Indians are very voyeurs! Unfortunately, one of the negative parts of traveling to India is that you will have to deal with visual harassment, but if you wear something looser you will feel more comfortable.

20- If you are a woman, do not travel alone, one of the best tips for traveling to India

One of the best tips for traveling to India is to avoid traveling alone if you are a woman. After spending 15 days touring the country, this is the conclusion we drew. It is clear that there are women who travel alone to India and return without problems, but we do not recommend it. Furthermore, our driver also advised us against it.

Our guide’s daughter told us that we should never recommend that our friends travel alone to India, since it is a very sexist country and sexual violence against women is the order of the day.

21- Carry a light jacket or scarf to cover yourself in certain places

If it is very hot and you want to walk the streets with your shoulders bare, always carry a light jacket or scarf to cover yourself in certain places such as temples. They will not allow you to enter if you show bare shoulders or if your legs are not covered.

In some temples they lend you clothes for free (but we don’t think it’s very hygienic), while in other places they charge you for lending them to you. Be that as it may, one of the best tips for traveling to India is to bring your own clothes.

22- Take off your shoes when necessary

Don’t be surprised to see locals walking the streets barefoot. It’s something super common! And not only in temples or sacred spaces… In fact, it is something cultural. As a curiosity, India refused to play in the 1950 World Cup despite having qualified. Because? Because they were forbidden to play barefoot.

We do not recommend taking off your shoes in the street, since everything is very dirty. However, you must do so when asked, especially when entering temples, as they are sacred places for them.

Inside the temples, the floor was quite clean, but you must keep in mind that the same people who walk barefoot on the street walk there. So hygiene is not the best! We never took our socks off and we recommend bringing disinfectant and some spare ones to change into after visiting the respective temple.

23- Carry a small backpack because it is prohibited to enter with a large backpack in many monuments.

India has a pretty serious conflict with Pakistan. Unfortunately, it has already received some terrorist attacks and the fear is still there. That is why in most monuments, you will have to pass exhaustive security checks. Your backpack will always be searched and some items such as tripods are prohibited.

In the Taj Mahal and other monuments they will not allow you to bring large backpacks (the kind you can carry in the plane cabin). That is why we recommend that you bring a small backpack with you to carry the essentials and avoid leaving things in the lockers.

24- Don’t forget the mosquito repellent

Unfortunately, dengue is endemic in India. And it is a very serious threat! When the weather changes, there are many mosquitoes, especially after sunset. We also recommend spending a lot of time in places where there is stagnant water, since you will be quite exposed. To reduce the risk, we recommend using repellent daily. Without a doubt, one of the best tips for traveling to India.

25- Carry plenty of cash

One of the best tips for traveling to India is to carry plenty of cash from home. If you can, it is better in local currency, although most places also accept euros or dollars (although they always charge a small commission).

Card payment is only available in hotels and restaurants of a certain category. However, most monuments and shops only accept cash.

26- Make sure you visit the country at the right time

One of the best tips for traveling to India is to plan the dates of your trip well. It is a huge and diverse country, but to see the main tourist destinations we would avoid traveling from June to September, during the monsoon (rainy season). The temperatures are very high, extreme in Rajasthan and there is a lot of rain in destinations like Mumbai.

Our driver explained to us that two European tourists decided to travel in July without knowing that they would encounter very high temperatures. And they couldn’t do anything! They got up at 4 in the morning and did visit only until 10 in the morning.

However, if you can only travel during those dates (summer June to September), you can go to Ladakh, a region in the north of the country, ideal for hiking lovers.

27- Take things easy, traveling in India is very stressful

Visiting India is a totally different experience. And despite going with the comfort of a private driver, when you get out of the car you will be exposed to very stressful situations. And that takes its toll at the end of the day (and trip)!

You have to be very careful not to get run over, saying no to all the people who want to sell you something, trying not to get bitten by any animal, not to be a victim of pickpockets and, above all, deal with all the traffic and chaos of Indian cities.

Our advice is that you try to dedicate a couple of days to each place and avoid visiting the cities in a single day, since you will see less and you will get more stressed.

28- Look at the expiration date of products, one of the best tips for traveling to India

Before buying a product in stores or pharmacies, we recommend you check its expiration date. It is common for them to try to sell you expired products!

29- Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and avoid Sundays (and Fridays)

The Taj Mahal deserves a separate point in this article of tips for traveling to India. We recommend you book tickets a few days in advance through this website.

It is best to visit at dawn, when there are fewer crowds. It is much more enjoyable! Having the tickets, you can go directly to the queue to enter. We recommend you arrive at 5:00 a.m., about 45 minutes before the doors open. Please note that times may change slightly depending on sunrise times.

Keep in mind that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays, so avoid planning your trip to Agra on that date. To avoid crowds, it is also important to avoid Sundays. According to locals, Mondays are the calmest days of the week to fall in love with this wonder. Without a doubt, one of the best tips for traveling to India.

30- Don’t leave the entrance ticket to the monuments until you leave

And finally, to finish this article on the best Tips to Travel to India, we couldn’t forget to mention this curious fact. Although it may seem incredible, in India you are often asked for entry to monuments when you leave. So don’t throw it away until you’ve passed through security when leaving the monument!

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