You’re setting your sights on India, right? The vibrant colours, tantalising spices, and myriad landscapes call to many a traveller, offering experiences of a lifetime. But, like stepping into a bustling bazaar, travelling to India can be overwhelming if you need to learn the ropes. Ready for the ride? Let’s jump in!
With its vast expanse, India is not just a country; it’s a universe unto itself. Comprising 28 states and 8 Union Territories, every corner has a story. From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala, the desert of Rajasthan to the tea gardens of Darjeeling – India, presents a panorama of experiences.
Enjoying your vacations in India as a foreigner can be a superb idea if you know its culture, lifestyle and how to make your vacations memorable. The following guide will help you learn some critical dos and don’ts while vacationing in India.
Why Going to India on Vacation?
India is the heartland of the Sub-Continent— a country that celebrates its diversity, offering an array of experiences for travellers. From the lofty Himalayan summits draped in snow to the sun-drenched shores of Goa, India boasts an abundance of blessings and marvels. For first-time visitors, India’s tremendous geographical size and how it beautifully blends all these distinct cultures is a great learning experience.
However, the country has a lot to give. It’s got something for everyone, whether you’re interested in historical monuments, preserved culture, authentic Indian food, or its ever-so-amazing temples. India evokes a range of emotions and is unforgettable. The country is colourful, bold, raw, and often noisy, but there’s never a dull moment.
This incredible country is home to twenty-two major languages, eight major religions, and, within those, numerous traditions and customs. Understanding the cultural and social nuances becomes crucial when travelling to India. You must remain open-minded and prepared for a profoundly multifarious and fascinating adventure. Staying aware of the cultural norms can enhance your travel experience and help you connect better with the locals.
Let’s look at what you must know when you plan your vacation trip to India from abroad.
The DOs of Travelling to India
Embracing Local Culture
The blend of cultures celebrated in India is unlike anything you have seen. Engaging with local events and festivals can offer an authentic experience that no guidebook will ever provide. The culture shock one experiences in India teaches you a lot and makes the trip memorable for a lifetime.
Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way; you will surprise the locals and witness them smiling, reciprocating your efforts. It will also help you in connecting with them and navigating the country. Learn about respecting their religious norms, like leaving the shoes outside while entering a sacred place.
Street Food with Caution
Indian street food is a gastronomic delight but comes with its precautions. The key is to try popular dishes but ensure they are from reputable vendors who use proper hygiene practices. You may bring charcoal tablets from trying local foods to deal with stomach issues.
The U.S. Embassy and consulates in India strongly recommend having travel insurance while in India. Though India’s healthcare system is improving very quickly, it can still be challenging to get proper care, depending upon where you are, and insurance can provide you with a safety net in case of a medical emergency. ACE Money Transfer can be a reliable financial partner to avoid financial trouble during or after any such unforeseen event, offering quick solutions for an online money transfer to India, giving you the confidence to travel without any worries.
Safety should be a top priority when travelling in India, and practising good personal security and situational awareness is imperative. Avoid isolated areas after dark, and always keep a copy of an identity document with you.
The DON’Ts of Travelling to India
Avoiding Sensitive Topics
Since India is a diverse nation with a rich tapestry of religions, languages, and cultures, it’s essential to tread carefully when discussing sensitive topics like religion, politics, and regional disputes. The government of India often issues guidelines for international travellers, emphasising the need for cultural sensitivity. Connect and follow India’s External Affairs Ministry through its various social media channels to keep an eye open for any such updates.
Not Flashing Wealth
Public display of wealth is not a good idea in India since it is home to people from a broad spectrum of financial backgrounds. One must avoid flaunting expensive items in public places, as it can attract unwanted attention and potentially make you a target for theft or mugging, ruining what could have otherwise been a fantastic experience in this country.
Assuming All of India is the Same
As you must be aware by now, India is incredibly diverse, and assuming that the entire country is the same would be a mistake. Each state has its language, customs, and history. Awareness of these differences can enrich your travel experience and better equip you to experience India’s true, colourful essence.
Neglecting Dress Code
The dress code is another aspect where travellers must exercise caution. India, even though it welcomes different cultures, and Western attire has become quite the norm in urban India, especially in Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, traditional attire is still the norm in many places, especially religious sites. Carrying a scarf or shawl for women could come in handy to help you fit in with the locals while respecting their culture and tradition.
Tips for a Memorable Experience
Opting for suitable accommodation can make or break your travel experience. According to travel experts, guesthouses, homestays, and reputable hotels offer a blend of comfort and local expertise. These options provide a safe, comfortable stay and an opportunity to engage with the local culture.
India is vast, and the best way to cover long intercity distances is through trains, buses, and domestic flights. Each mode of transport offers a unique experience and perspective of the country. Trains are an excellent way to see the countryside, while buses provide the most economical travel, and domestic flights save time. If you are looking for an intracity commute, you are better off using services like Uber/Ola as they might feel familiar. If you are up for an adventure, taking rikshaws will help you cut the traffic and reach your destination faster. Remember to double-check the fare meter to avoid getting scammed.
Engaging with Locals
Indians are known for their hospitality and friendliness. Engaging with the local communities can add a new dimension to your travel experience. Discover the customs and traditions that make up their way of life. This not only enriches your travel experience but also creates lasting camaraderie.
Stay Hydrated and Healthy
Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in the tropical climate of India. Always opt for bottled or boiled water, and be cautious of ice in drinks. Also, be cautious with street food; eat from clean and hygienic stalls to avoid stomach issues.
The Way Forward
Travelling to India offers an unparalleled experience, a journey through a land rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. However, the key to a fulfilling and respectful trip lies in understanding the DOs and DON’Ts. From embracing local customs to taking safety precautions, each aspect plays a pivotal role in shaping your travel experience. The diversity of the country’s language, culture, and traditions is not just a point of interest but also a matter of respect. Therefore, being mindful of these aspects is not just advisable but essential.
While managing several other things, you don’t need to worry about your expenses since, in case of running out of budget, you can get funds instantly delivered from abroad via ACE Money Transfer, which is one of the reliable digital remittance providers.
So pack your bags and embark on an adventure that promises scenic beauty and a lesson in cultural richness and diversity. Remember, the beauty of India is best experienced when you are both a traveller and a respectful guest.