How To Plan Your First Trip To India
India, a country in South Asia, is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country in the world. It is one of the m...
1. Prepare a rough itinerary based on when and where you want to travel in India
India has a lot to offer for travelers. Be it the Himalayan Mountains or the Rajasthan deserts, the Kerala backwaters or the Goa beaches - there are many places where you would enjoy spending time. But at the same time, the weather conditions need to be considered when planning your itinerary. You would not want to end up in a desert in summer or visit the beaches in the rainy season. So prepare a rough itinerary based on your interests and climatic conditions. You do not want to cover too many places and make your trip stressful. Instead, focus on how you can make the most of your experience with the time you have in hand.
2. Apply for tourist visa and carry necessary documents
All the visitors require a valid passport to travel to India along with a tourist visa. If you do not have a passport, you can apply at your local post office. Once you have your passport, apply for the visa from your home country. Allow sufficient time for the visa to arrive and hence you have to plan things at least 2 months ahead. Once you receive the visa, plan your travel immediately as you do not want to waste the validity period of the visa.
3. Book your flights, trains, and accommodation beforehand
Last minute booking of flights, trains or accommodation is going to cost a fortune and you would not want to make that mistake. Plan your trip in a detailed way and make your bookings by visiting travel websites. You have international flights like British Airways which offer discounted rates if you make your bookings early. Railways are most sought after mode of travel in India and you can book the train journey online as well. Once you have an idea about the places you want to visit in India, book your accommodation at least for the first few days of your trip to avoid any trouble.
4. Make a list of all the packing essentials
Travel involves carrying a lot of essentials because not every place has the specific items you are used to in your daily routine or the ones you might need during your travel. The same holds good for India trip. In addition to the regular clothing, medicines, luggage, travel documents etc. you may want to carry other quintessential things such as travel toilet paper, travel first aid kit, earplugs, India map, camera, torch light, dusk masks, travel backpack, Indian power adapter, sanitary napkins, ready to eat food, skin care products etc. Again, it all depends on the places you are going to visit and your personal comfort needs. So make sure you prepare a list which will make things easy for you while packing.
5. Estimate your budget and carry local currency accordingly
It is a fact that India is considered very affordable and one of the cheapest places to travel in the world. But even India has a lot of luxurious and world class hotels and brands. Say if you are visiting Darjeeling and looking for a captivating hotel to stay, Sterling Resorts is the ideal hideaway for a comforting and pleasant vacation. So the budget is totally based on what you choose.
One thing that is different in India when compared to other countries is that not many accept credit card or checks. You will need a lot of cash in hand. So carry local currency (Rupees) as per your travel budget.
6. Get all the required vaccinations and travel-related medications
Once you know your travel dates, make a visit to your doctor for travel counseling at least 4-6 weeks before traveling. Make sure you are up to date on the vaccinations like Typhoid, Malaria, Tetanus, Hepatitis etc. Your doctor may advise you any other necessary vaccinations based on the places you would be traveling in India. No one would want to ruin their trip by falling sick. Hence, it is important to get health advice and precautionary medications from the doctor before you leave on your trip.
7. Carry your international driving license and travel insurance
Most places of accommodation in India also offer bike and car rentals. If you are the person who loves to explore and drive, then you should definitely carry your international driving license to ride a bike or car in India. Just like any other country, the police keep a check on the drivers especially tourists to check their license permit. If you do not have the same, you will have to pay the fine. So make sure you carry it along with your regular license.
Another important thing to carry during your India trip is travel insurance. It is always better to be safe than sorry. When you travel to a new place, there are chances you might lose your belongings or end up falling sick. Travel insurance saves you from such disasters.
8. Make sure you know about the food options available
If you are very specific about the food you eat, then you have to know the food options available in India already. Most Indian places offer Indian food but you can also find international cuisines available in the big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore etc. If you are a lover of spices, you will love the authentic Indian food. You can even take the help of the server at the restaurant to guide you with the food. They will be happy to provide the needed guidance.
9. Try to communicate with the locals and embrace their culture
If you are visiting India for the first time, it can be overwhelming and chaotic to begin with. Try to do your bit of research about the culture and locals before you start your journey. Though conversing in English works in most places, rickshaw drivers and vendors may not understand you. This is because the Hindi language is widely spoken by them. Take help from someone who knows English to help translate. You can learn a lot about the Indian culture once you communicate with the locals.
10. Be open-minded as well as stay alert and safe
It is always good to be open-minded and feel at home in a new place. But it is also necessary to be cautious and aware of your surroundings and stay safe at all the times. Avoid traveling alone in the night time, and do not go on deserted roads even if you have company. Do not wear revealing clothes and attract unwanted attention. Simple things like asking the cab driver's name and noticing license plate number might help you if you are stuck in dangerous situations. If you feel somebody is stalking you or misbehaving with you, always consult the authorities. Stay alerted and safe at all times.
Hopefully, these pointers will help you plan your first trip to India. Start your planning in advance and enjoy your vacation in India.
Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4