The first thing to do when you have decided to travel to India- is to know as much as you can about your destination. Always make your reservations and travel transportation arrangements through trusted and authorised travel agents.
Make multiple copies of your travel documents such as passport, travel tickets, hotels reservation slips, travellers check, credit cards, emergency contact numbers of the local police, medical assistance and local contacts etc. Make packets and keep them in each luggage. Give one set to your family for safe keeping. In case of theft or loss immediately contact the embassy for duplicate copies of the documents. Also have a digital copy of all your travel related documents.
Pack wisely and in ample amounts for this trip- a must have medicines such as for diarrhoea, mosquito repellents, cold medicines, swabs, band aids, gauge and a doctor's certificate to avoid any medical emergencies. Pack reasonable quantities of your personal toiletries as they might not be available in India.
Use sturdy and reliable luggage as mishandling of luggage i common during your journey in flights, trains and buses.
Travel light. Pack about five to six sets of light coloured and of breathable fabric clothes. Laundry is easily available and usually emergency services are also available.
BE very specific about your expectations and requirements during your stay. Clearly convey them to the tour operator and double check your needs and have them met. For example if you are lacto intolerant ensure the tour manager knows that .If you have need for king sized bed, ask for it. You must be comfortable during your trip otherwise the fun is short-lived.
It is easy to get carried away in the vast array of spicy and wide range of local food delicacies however your anatomy might not be prepared. Hence. Always insist on trying a small portion first before ordering a complete menu.
Water borne diseases are common so it is advised to drink only bottled and sealed drinking water purchased from reliable stores.
Hindi is the local language in India. You can buy English to Hindi dictionary or accept the services of a language interpreter organised by your trusted tour operator for your tours to the interior regions as they do not speak English.
The government offices and bank are open from 9.30 hrs to 17.00 hrs (Mondays through Fridays).Ensure to do your business during these hours.
Plan your travel with your goals in mind. If you are travelling for re kindling your spirit with yoga and meditation try to visit the place which encourages such pursuits. If you want to taste the royal life, choose a package for luxury travel.
If you are carry items of high value and lot of cash always confirm for safe keeping at your hotel. Avoid walking in dark alleys and overcrowded place with such things as tourists become a soft spot for mugging and theft.
Be wary of strangers and over friendly people lest you want to be conned.
Do not use your left hand to pass objects around and always leave your shoes at the door before entering places of worships and homes.
If you are invited to someone's home, carry a little sweet or chocolates for the host's family.
Avoid shaking hands with the member of the opposite sex unless he/she initiates. The local way of greeting is joining your both palms in prayer form and say 'Namaste'
Dress conservatively .India is an orthodox culture where modesty is highly respected.
Be careful and indulge safe sexual practices such as using condoms.
Do not share your personal details such as address and phone numbers with strangers as it might put you in tough spot of being harassed for contacts later.
You might come across beggars and street urchins, avoid giving them much money save for a few change.
Avoid financially helping someone as it might become a habit to ask for more. If you indeed want to help in just cause always use authorised and recognised agencies for such a donation.
Always insist on having true receipts of your purchases so that you can always check back in case unsatisfied purchases.
A digital camera is great way to capture the awe –inspiring life in India.
Avoid visiting terror inflicted regions of north Kashmir and North –east as foreign nationals are lucrative option for hostage negotiating by the extremist groups.
Avoid expressing your strong views on religious aspects on India, they take them too seriously.
Indian English might amuse you but avoid correcting it as it is colloquial influence .Just enjoy it as it might be hilarious.
Bargaining is common practice in India. Always quote half the price for the article and then settle for about sixty percent. If the shop keeper does not agree walk away. Though do not indulge in bargaining in authorised stores because they would be charging the just amount for the genuine article.
Do not be bullied into bribing by anyone. If such an incident does occur, discreetly report it to the anti-corruption bureau or the local police.
A journey through these lands of multicultural sustenance works with an extraordinary logic of its own. Had it not been for this, the chaotic yet intriguing life of Indians would not have made it to becoming the oldest civilizations of the world and currently on glorious route to become an economic super power.