Are you thinking to go to India? As much as we love to go with the flow and travel unplanned, if you are planning in a precise time span, planning for India is crucial. Last minute travels aren’t the most effective as trains/flights and good places to stay get booked up very fast.
First of all, make sure you know which cities you will be travelling to plan accordingly. In our case, I went for work in Mumbai and with the boys planned on an itinerary based on the cities of Mumbai, Dehli, Varanasi, Jaipur and a quick stopover in Agra for the obvious Taj Mahal. 10 days is very short to do as much in India, we will have to go back again eventually!
Here are all the tips we gathered that we believe will most likely be useful for anyone planning trips to India. Make sure to share them away!
Basic tips for India
Drink sterilized water
Clearly, this is critical for traveling India. Ain’t nobody got time for sickness during a 10 day trip… well nobody wants to be sick AT ALL!
Option 1: Carry steripen to purify your own water.
Option 2: Buy water bottles (as much as we hate plastic and encourage travelling plastic free), but a common thing is that they take old bottles and add tap water in it. Beware when you buy bottles; check if it’s sealed properly so you don’t get sick.
Although we are planning a lot, chances are that plans aren’t going to be exactly like they are on paper! Traffic is also hell, so better not be in a rush and keep a day or two buffer. In our case we knew that delays would mean less days spent at some cities.
Always have a piece of ID not to far
I’ve come across the fact that in trains they often ask for your ID? Weird. But like most travellers you might put your passport well hidden. Make sure to have a driver license or any other kind of valid ID around so you don’t get too bothered looking for your original passport copy.
Lines for foreigners & locals
Well this isn’t news for frequent travellers; it’s actually a very common thing. Expect this at many castles, temples and at the Taj Mahal! You will be most likely paying a bit more or double, just don’t be offended and irrespecutful about it if that’s your first time encountering this.
Bring toilet paper
Probably one of the most important tip you will thank us later for! If you want toilet paper, oh you better carry it with you at all times! There are no guarantees that it will be some at every bathroom in India. Not a surprise. Talking about going to the bathroom, to find a toilet there is an app called “Sit or Squat” that can be useful for finding toilets haha.
Learn to love people and crowds
You’re not Indian? Chances are that you will get bothered. Just ignore them! Smile and (don’t) wave. It is not considered rude when you don’t respond to a person who wants to engage you in some out of the ordinary dialogue. You will also be surrounded by crowds a lot so keep your things close and get use to it. Lastly, people might want selfies with you or hand you their child to take a photo with!
Shopping in India
Negotiation IS THE WAY. Cut at least half the price.
Be careful with your food
The most careful people we know still got sick from travelling in India. Apparently it’s hard to avoid, although we didn’t get sick at all. Maybe because we have been living for a while in Asia and our bellies are solid! In a nutshell, if you want street food, make sure it has been well boiled/cooked.
Transportation Tips for India
Book in advance
For the train, reserved seats in the better cars go very quickly. Book your train tickets at least a week in advance (Depending on the train destination).
After having a few reads, CC, 2AC, 1AC are the best categories you should book.
Trains are on time, be punctual
Can’t believe that after telling you that things might always be late, that the trains are actually on time! Why is that? Some trains in some stations only stop for two to four minutes, so it is best to get to the station early just in case you have trouble finding your track and car. It’s not like taking the plane, they won’t do final calls for boarding!
Buying train tickets at the Station
Did you know that the major train stations have separate ticket lines for foreigners You won’t get away with it!
TukTuk Auto Rickshaws
Definitely the transport of choice! It is much cheaper than taxis and they easily accommodate up to 2-3 people plus the luggage! Took this to go to work and back too and it was quite enjoyable to have a TukTuk as a normal transport option.
There are bigger versions of TukTuks! They typically run up and down main streets of smaller towns and you can jump on and jump off.
Any more tips to add? Comment!