India Travel Tips - Guide To Travelling In India
Spending time in a completely different country can be quite overwhelming for travellers especially where culture and language are concerned. So the following are travel tips to help you blend in, be respectful to the culture and enjoy your time.
India Travel Tips
Beggars tend to be everywhere, especially around tourist hotspots. It is a personal decision you will need to make as to whether you give them money or not. The only thing to be wary of is the scammer beggars which can be difficult to distinguish, however if a different man is standing in the same spot with a pair of crutches you can almost be certain it is a scam. Also keep in mind that many children are sent out by their parents to beg for money so try to distinguish those genuinely homeless from those who will just give that money to their parents.
If you do decided to give money to beggars, most give between 2 and 5 beggars and avoid giving more as this can “mark” you and you risk being mobbed by beggars. So use your judgement as dealing with beggars can be one of the most heart-wrenching things you will come across in India.
As explained in the Clothing section of this India guide, blending in with the culture here is respectful and this means dressing appropriately. Long cotton pants and a shirt are a good mix for summer and woollens for winter. Shorts are generally not acceptable especially for women, while shoulders, necklines and legs should be covered.
- be careful to wash your hands (best thing is to carry a hand sanitiser with you)
- If you enter a restaurant that is empty or a stall that no one is lining up for, this often means the food isn’t fresh. Food is a major risk and avoiding meat except for at high class restaurants is one way of staying away from getting sick.
- If you see water spots on your plates or glasses it is best to wipe these out as the water can make you sick. On this same note, if the glass isn’t clean, don’t drink from it, drink straight from a bottle.
- Avoid “tourist buffets” as it is likely to have been out for a long time as no-one else eats them.
Water is one of the most important things to be wary of as it is a travel essential. Make sure you buy bottled water and check carefully that it has a hard plastic seal (better still if it has a cellophane seal as well). Some obvious things are to check that it doesn’t smell funky and check that it looks normal (e.g. no bugs, holes in the bottle etc). You don’t want to be drinking recycled water as this will have you sick in no time.
While tipping isn’t common here as it is in places like America, it is polite to tip porters when they carry your bag. Anywhere between 5 and 20 rupees is a good amount. You can also use your judgement to tip restaurant waiters, drivers and tour guides.
Other Things To Look Out For
- Be wary of people who are “too friendly”, again you will need to use your own judgement, as often these people only befriend you to sell something.
- Some will start talking to you, often giving you information then demand they be paid.
- Avoid letting people know this is your first time in India. Even if you have only just arrived, let on that you have been here for months.