Vultures Peak in Bodhgaya, India
India is a place that is so vast, diverse and different from the other places in the world. The idea of going there is fun until you experience some of the worst things ever. I have experienced that, learned my lesson and here are some of the tips for you before traveling to India.
India is one of the countries that I have traveled to several times. I really do love it even though I tend to get sick and funny things happening to my things. You would definitely enjoy India if you got all of the Travel Tips below Checked and have the right company! Hope the travel tips below would help you in your upcoming trip to India! No worries about these tips being outdated, I keep them updated after every trip and
A boring travel guide to the different destinations isn’t enough. It is best to spice them up with the magnificent stories of your adventure. That is what makes Travelling Fun.
1. Get Your Travel Essentials Right
Travel Essentials to India. Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
That’s right. You never know when you need it in an emergency. Packing list should include Mask and Medications. As foreigners, we are used to the clean air and environment. However, in India, it is extremely dusty there. You have no idea how much dust you are sucking in until you fall sick and Masks can be extremely difficult to find in India.
I remember our trip to Ooty, we were walking around town, shopping and exploring the place. The next day, I had a fever and a sore throat because I breathed in too much dust. We tried to find a Mask but it was so tough. We walked around, searching and looking until we chanced upon this medical shop and luckily it had a Mask. Sometimes, it is better to be prepared than to experience this trouble of finding and looking.
Medications are extremely important as well. Falling sick in India is a definite. I have been there several times and it never fails to get me.
I was in Delhi a few years back, I had no idea what I drank or ate. On the last few days of my trip, I had severe diarrhea. It was terrible and I can remember my sufferings until today. During that time, I was not prepared. I had no medication ready. Just kept running to the toilet every now and then.
This diarrhea lasted me for 2 weeks. It was insane.
2. Be Safe
Travelling In India with Bunny Hop Travels!
Always travel with a buddy and never alone. Even 2 girls going alone can be very dangerous. Well, I did travel with my sister alone in America but that was different. This is India! There have been so many rape cases in trains and buses.
Hearing those stories makes me feel very uncomfortable. Usually, I would travel in a group or people whom I trust!
Always be careful and wary. There are some places that I go alone but they are usually highly populated places with many many people and not too far away.
3. Check your Indian Visa
Check your Visa! Image taken from Pixabay
Always ensure that you have got your visa all done before traveling or booking your flights. It sucks to get rejected when you are at the airport and your plane booked.
Be prepared to answer questions at the immigration counter as well. I do not know if it is just me, I get asked a dozen of questions each time I am at the immigration counter. I am always mentally prepared and I know my answers. This would prevent them from asking more questions, putting you in a difficult position.
In addition to this, there are a few restricted areas in India that you need to be aware of. Eg. If you are going to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, you would need an extra permit to apply before embarking on your 10 hours journey from Guwahati. You can apply for this permit in Guwahati in Arunachal Tourist Department. If you know a local around the area, it is always easier to ask them for help. It would save you a lot of time and trouble.
4. Keep your Belongings Safe
I lost my iPhone 6 in India. It was heartbreaking but I learned my lesson well. Always lock them up, bring it with you or whatever it is.
Your first instinct about a place is usually right. There was one time where our original plan was to head to Mysore, booked a hotel room and locked all of our luggages inside this room. From there, we were intending to head to Ooty (4 hours drive) without the baggages and any trouble.
However, when we stepped into the hotel, the people just gave us a very weird feeling. It felt like they were going to steal because of the way they looked at our stuff when we walked in. I was not the only one who felt this way. My little sister felt this way too. Due to that, we decided to bring our luggages with us and so glad we did that. We had a peace of mind during our travels to Ooty.
5. Read Reviews before Booking/Travelling
If you want to sleep comfortably and not worry about the bed, the room, the hotel or the surroundings, it is better to do some research before booking.
Hotels in India have an A/C and Non-A/C option. It is entirely up to you on what kind of rooms you are looking for. Of course, the Non-A/C ones are cheaper but it is better to check the weather in that area, the safety and of course other people’s opinion about the hotel.
6. Give Time
Give Time for your Travels. Image taken from Pixabay
India is a fun and interesting place to explore. However, don’t try to cover too much in too little days. Give yourself ample time to rest so that you won’t overwork your body. This would also help you in enjoying your days in India more.
This would also give you more time and less frustration in the event that something wrong happens. You would feel less stress if anything bad happens or itinerary change during the trip.
Beggars in India!
It is fine to give some beggars if you feel and know that they are genuine. Some are fake and you need to know how to differentiate. It is also not advisable to give money to one beggar when there are many others around. You will be mobbed. Beware of that.
Give about 1 to 10 rupees is fine. Don’t try to give more than that or they will try to cheat you more.
To be told, many beggars are really rich as well. They beg and hide the money really well. They are just too lazy to look for a job and love the begging job.
8. Be Ready to Pee Everywhere and Anywhere
Yes, I am right on that. Toilets cannot be found on the way and holding your pee does not work. It hurts the bladder and is very uncomfortable. It is better to release it.
Typically, I would carry a Toilet roll so that I can use it anywhere, anytime. You can find some way to cover it with a long skirt. However, for me, I do not like wearing long skirts in India. The floor is very dirty and the skirt can end up draping the floor. I do not like the idea of it.
Its better for ladies to pee in cornered areas and if you are really scared, get someone whom you are close to in your group to guard and keep a lookout for you.
I remember very clearly when I was in Bihar and an accident occurred. Our bus was jammed up and a group of us needed to pee so badly.. We decided to head to one corner to pee and guess what. As I squat down to do my thing, a train went past. It was a Long train and it had so many people inside. I screamed but it was of no use. They saw my butt. So just keep a lookout. I am sure you do not want to end up like me.
9. Read T&Cs, Don’t Trust Anyone
Well, I thought I could at least trust the online companies in dealing with bookings and reservations. I was wrong. I was trying to book a car from Ooty to Bangalore. Everything was fine. The guy on the phone was explaining to me the details of the car and I told him it was a one way only. He told me everything was fine. Just pay the downpayment and he will change everything from there. He also said that the amount was fixed at 9200rp, without any extra charges.
Well, I paid for the booking as instructed thinking that the car is booked and arranged. 1 hour later, the company called and wanted to charge extra dollars. They told me it was written clearly and since it was a one way, there should be extra charges.
I was so pissed off because the previous guy who closed the deal did not bother telling me any of these conditions prior to booking and kept chasing me for payment. I got angry and scolded the guy on the phone saying that they were not transparent and everything was not made clear.
Well, in the end, they canceled my car without informing me and we had to arrange and find another car desperately.
Paying extra was fine to me. However, not being honest and transparent disturbed me.
Always check everything properly first before committing. After that experience, I prefer to talk face to face with the driver and set the deal or go through Uber/Ola for a car booking. Their prices are more fixated.
10. Plan Early
I was bad at this on our first trip. I knew that we were going to Kerela but I had no idea what was there and how long the journey was. We all thought it was only a 5 hours drive from our starting point. In the end, it was a 12 hours drive. I thought my friend knew what he was doing but it seemed not. When we arrived in Kerela, he asked me to search for a hotel. We had to make a few rounds before finding our hotel.
It was so tiring. So plan ahead. Move out at the correct time. Always Plan Plan Plan. Its better to plan and change it later than have no plans and set out knowing nothing.
11. Be Flexible and Have Fun!
Be Flexible & Have Fun! Bunny Hop Travels
Weird things are bound to happen. Plans can change. Just be ready for that and don’t be too surprised. It is India! Our plans have changed several times but we are always happy, going with the flow and never blaming anyone for anything! Have fun and Enjoy!
12. Book with Ola or Uber as much as Possible.
I love these 2 companies. Like literally. Bargaining for Tuk Tuk and booking a car can be frustrating. These people love to overcharge. They charge higher if you are a foreigner and you can’t argue back with them. You can book here!
However, with Ola and Uber, everything is fixed price. I do get some drivers who wanted more cash or wanting to get paid in the middle of the ride. It was not hard to deal. I was certain and said No. Just beware, if these drivers see that you are easy to persuade, they will do anything.
You can always give them a bad review and complain to uber if they do anything bad. That’s the beauty of it.
13. Long Distance Trips
There are different modes of transport available in India. It really depends on the State that you are visiting too. In more city like areas, there are Buses, Trains and Cars Available. Typically in more Mountainous area, like in Guwahati, Tawang so on an so forth, there aren’t buses available. Only Cars can go through these areas. Well it can’t be blamed. It would be dangerous if the buses travel through these rocky and windy mountainous areas.
Cars: Hiring a private car for long distance trips that last for about 4 – 10 hours can be quite expensive but definitely the fastest mode of transport. Be sure to bargain with your driver or they will charge you at ridiculous prices just to get more money out of your pocket. Non-AC cars are also made available for you if you would like to save more money.
State Bus: State Buses are those that transport people within the state itself. They are usually very affordable and cheap. Of course, when it comes cheap, don’t expect it to be of high standards. It is a normal Non-AC bus where you would have to squeeze with the other passengers. There are some rules which you would need to abide such as no sitting at the ladies-only seats if you are a guy.
Private Bus: There are lots of private buses available in India which travels within the state and out of state. You can opt for a more comfortable buses like AC with bigger seats option while travelling. It is definitely more comfortable with lesser stops on the way. If you are looking at long distance travel, there are sleeping buses available as well! It looks very comfortable and I would love to try taking one of those one day. 🙂
Trains: Trains are available especially when you need to travel to another state in India. It is extremely cost savvy but it can take days to arrive at your destination. I haven’t taken a train ride though I have been to India Many times.. But I have heard of many ugly stories that has happened on the train ride. Here are some of the learning points I got from these stories!
Always keep your belongings safe. Thieves are around & out there to steal your items. They Take everything so make sure you keep them properly before falling deep into your sleep or when you are going to the toilet. Another is to book a higher class seat. One of my friends booked a Class C ticket and he said the toilet was so stinking. It was one of his worst train rides ever as he had to sleep with the toilet right in front of him. It was definitely not a very fun ride.
Planes: The fastest & of course the most expensive way is to fly domestically from one state to another. I take domestic flights most of time since it is more comfortable. We do not waste a lot of time as well unlike the other modes of transport. Just expect lots of delays and sometimes (if you are unlucky), impromptu flight cancellations. It happened to us when we were in Delhi before our flight to Singapore. We had to stay in Delhi for one more day because of the last minute flight changes.
Discounted Prices with Bargaining! Image taken from Pixabay
This is so so so important. People love to charge higher than the original price. If they see a local, they would quote a lesser price. If they see you as a foreigner, they will charge a price that is 7 times or 10 times more.
If you have no idea what you are doing, good luck. I would say to Always Bargain. People are greedy. Who doesn’t want some extra Money?
Try to go for half the price and be fixed on it. A little higher than half the price is fine. Cut as much as possible.
One bargaining tip I have learned would be to compare it to another place or your home country. Say that it is cheaper somewhere else and pretend that you are not interested in that particular item. They would usually tone down and give that product to you at your price.
I did that and it worked like crazy!!
Hope you have enjoyed my Travel tips to India for you! Different people would definitely have different kinds of experiences when we step into different places. This would just be a general guideline for you. Enjoy your trip to India!
To your Happiness and Success!
Bunny Hop Travels