It might not be the best idea to travel to India on your own on your first trip. We suggest taking a tour or using a travel company that can provide a guide. Check Basker’s Tour here.
Another suggestion is to pace yourself. Take time on your first day to rest, adjust to the new time zone, look around, take a walk, explore the hotel, have a cup of tea.
I am not good with large crowds and it usually takes about 3 days for me to relax and get used to it. This lead-in time is usually factored in to our plans if time permits.
The sights and smells will be overwhelming to begin with. Certainly acknowledge what you experience and we encourage you to talk about it with your tour leader and local guides. Life in India can be difficult but a little knowledge from these people about the culture will help you understand.
I love to chat to people I meet while out for the day on tour. It might be a chance meeting where I take a rest on the bench besides local people… I love to take this opportunity to ask questions or chit chat. I have had many lovely conversations in passing and it makes me far more relaxed and more appreciative to be here.
People will approach you to ask for a photo and I’m okay with posing with children or other women, and we will perhaps swap emails so we can exchange photos.
When photographing people and kids in the street please get permission. Always ask first.
I think it’s worth spending on nicer hotels if you can. We have used a variety of accommodation in the past but my preference now is to choose 5 star hotels. This just means you are comfortable and have somewhere nice to relax and have a cold beer after a busy day exploring. You are also guaranteed to have access to the best services including a hot water for that refreshing shower at the end of a long day which will not be affected by the usual power cuts.
In my opinion I don’t think tourist should ever give money or goods to beggars. Read an interesting article about begging scams here. As an alternative we suggest making a donation to a charity such as CRY.
Ensure you get a local Indian sim card for your mobile with a data plan that you can use in case you need it. Pick one up on your arrival at Delhi airport. Airtel have a booth inside the terminal.
As soon as you obtain your local sim card add your guide to the contacts.
As is the case when travelling to any tourist hot spot in the world, watch out for pick pockets and scams at all times but mainly at popular tourist attractions.
Make sure when you go to India that you have good travel and health insurance.
To read about my full India trip experience including itinerary, attractions, tips etc please click here