Things to Keep in Mind Before Visiting India
India is beautiful and inspiring in many ways. The country offers a myriad of tourist destinations that cater to all manner of tourists. Whether you are a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, a history geek or just an adventurer, you are bound to find something that strikes your fancy in this country.
However, before you take the plunge and mark India as a must-visit destination in 2019, here are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Cash is always preferable
While most urban places accept credit cards, the moment you start venturing into the more rural locations, cash is the accepted mode of payment. Moreover, even in urban areas; shopping, buying things from the local market, and traveling by cabs or tuk-tuks will still require cash. So forget Apple or Android pay and go with plain old rupee coins and notes.
If you will be booking your stay on-the-go, make sure you use a trusted network. If that’s unavailable, you can opt for a VPN to encrypt your traffic before accessing booking apps or sites. Ideally, you should use a VPN with an India server to ensure speed.
2. Get a Visa ahead of time
Irrespective of your departure location, India requires that you obtain a visa first. Most embassies tend to require a one-month notification before they can process the visa. However, if maybe you are traveling to India for business and need the visa as soon as possible, then you can apply for an e-visa.
Note that an e-visa is more expensive and when you arrive in India, you will have to wait in a different queue for entry authorization. For a US citizen, the visa costs between $60 and $70 and is roughly the equivalent of this for other countries.
3. Pack conservative clothes
India is a rather conservative country which means that shorts and tanks are considered too revealing especially when it comes to women. It is always a safe bet to pack scarves, long pants, and long-sleeved tops.
If at some point you intend to visit the temple, then you might be required to cover up some more to show respect. Also, Indian culture dictates that one should remove his/her shoes when entering the temple or somebody’s home. Therefore, if you are not comfortable being barefoot, you should bring lots of socks.
4. Google Maps can save your life
Pre-downloading Google maps can only be a good thing. Research the area you are visiting beforehand and pre-download the map of the area and save it for offline use. That way, even if the internet connection is spotty, you will still be able to access your map.
The biggest benefit of doing so is that some taxi and tuk-tuk drivers might take you to the wrong market on purpose because they stand to gain a commission if they take you to that particular market. With Google maps, you will have an idea of exactly where you are going.
Additionally, Google maps will give you the freedom to explore the city without the fear of getting lost.
5. India geographically and culturally vast
If this is your first time in India, you’ll find that it’s sheer vastness is beyond fathomable. The people, customs and cultural differences between North and South India are so distinct they can be mistaken for different countries.
With regards to culture, the country has over 20 official languages and over 1000 mother tongues.
Therefore, plan ahead. Determine beforehand which part of the country you intend to visit, research the local languages of that area and if possible learn some local greetings for that particular area.
6. Reliable internet connection is available
India has over 460 million internet users. The country is ranked second after China with regards to its online market potential. As a result, you will not struggle much to find an internet connection, especially in urban areas.
Some cities even provide free public Wi-Fi for their residents. Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore are examples of such cities, but again, find ways to secure your connection before making any online transactions.
7. Do not Forget Your Camera!
It goes without saying that India is full of rich culture, history, wildlife, and nature. In essence, the country is a photographer’s dream. You need to bring your camera with you so that you can capture these beautiful moments and sceneries!
Adhering to the things mentioned above will ensure your trip is both fun and hassle-free. Moreover, the tips will help you when preparing for the trip.