First Time Travel Tips To India

First Time Travel Tips To India

Written By: Sofia

I had long heard that visiting India was a life-changing and spiritual experience, but you can’t really get an idea of just how life-changing it is until you actually visit. While it’s been one of the most impactful trips I’ve ever taken, it’s also been one of the hardest ones to figure out what I want to do once I’m there.

Why you ask? I had seen and heard a lot of people talking about their experiences when traveling to India and how different it was than what they expected. I will be the first to admit that when I first thought of India, I thought of beautiful jewel toned colors, shimmering gold, beautiful religious artifacts, plenty of spices and flavors, and then of course, the most famous of all, the Taj Mahal. Now while all of these features are definitely a part of India, it is still quite a cultural experience if you’re traveling from mostly anywhere in the world to India.

The reason why India is such an amazing and transformative place to visit is because you go with one expectation and leave with a completely different experience. In order to give you an idea of what life is like when traveling to India, I thought I would put together some travel tips that I found helpful myself and experienced them firsthand in order to share them with you.

RESEARCH THE COUNTRY

One of the first things I recommend is spending some time researching the country and where you plan on traveling. While I typically don’t prefer to travel in that fashion, many of my peers and friends told me that it just wasn’t conducive to show up in India and figure out what to do when I got there. I wanted to also make sure that I understood as much as I possibly could about the culture so that I wouldn’t be offensive or stand out while I was exploring various cities. First and foremost, expect to be culturally shocked the minute you step foot in India. It’s to be expected and there’s nothing you can do to minimize the vast difference in way of life probably from what you experience and what it is like in India. My number one piece of advice is to just be open-minded and go with the flow so that you can experience India for everything it has to offer. Keeping an open mind and being willing to experience anything can make your trip to India that much better.

One way that you can help acclimate to Indian culture and your location is to secure your hotel in advance and then arrange for an airport transfer to do the driving for you. By taking away the stress of having to figure out where you want to stay and navigating the busy and chaotic streets, you will be much more able to enjoy just soaking in that first experience when you arrive in the city.

RELAX!

Similarly, it’s ideal to just take your time when you’re exploring -- there is no way you’re going to see and do everything that you want to do in any amount of time you spend in the country. It will require you to come back time and time again for you to see even half of what this country has to offer. My recommendation if you are visiting India on a short amount of time is to pick one region or state and just stay in that area exploring it to the fullest during your entire trip. Gallivanting from one major city to the next on either side of the country is simply going to absorb your time and leave you feeling completely as if you hadn’t even seen anything.

Take time to simply walk down the streets and immerse yourself in everything that’s going on around you. Be patient and acknowledge that the Indian way of life and culture is so much different than a lot of other places, so you need to be respectful and just relax -- it’ll make your experience in India that much better.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Another recommendation I have is to make sure that you are appropriately dressed for traveling in India. Women in particular should be extra cautious and conservatively dressed to avoid any extra attention and it’s also a sign of respect when you follow customs and cultures of the country you are visiting. While I was there, I purchased some of the beautiful saris and added them to my attire so that I could not only blend in with the locals, but also embrace the beauty and lifestyle of India.

On your first trip to India try to keep your itinerary as simple as possible and just go to soak up the ambience and the spiritual side -- you won’t regret it!

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