The first few days after you make your plans of travelling to India known to family and friends would certainly be filled with innumerable words of caution and advice from one and all. India is a favourite destination with all kinds of travellers, as much for its rich heritage and scenic beauty as for the big and small adventures it offers in day to day life. However there is always a rider attached with one’s first trip to the subcontinent – security concerns, fear of being overwhelmed or (in the rare case) underwhelmed, fear of contracting a disease and so on. It is understandable from a foreign tourist’s point of view, since India can indeed overwhelm the senses at times. But there’s nothing that should stop one from taking that fateful first trip to India. For once you’ve experienced the country in all its glory, including its many imperfections and pitfalls, you will want to return again and again.
Tips for a smooth trip to India
Pack light, pack smart
It is most often contended that travelling within India isn’t safe, especially so for women and solo travellers. But then again, there is no country in this world that is absolutely safe and a traveller must always take necessary precautions before stepping into unfamiliar territory. In case of India, there are a few important things that need to be taken care of. Backpackers must travel light and make sure to pack in bare essentials like a flashlight, batteries, a mosquito repellent, sunscreen and a hat or a scarf (for the scorching summers), a small umbrella, comfortable footwear, a sleep sheet and a roll of toilet paper or tissues for contingent situations. You may want to lose the wheeled suitcase if you’re planning to travel a lot; backpacks are more convenient to carry over staircases, uneven streets and through rough terrain. A money belt would also come in handy for keeping your money and important documents safe and away from any possible prying hands.
For all you ladies out there
Female travellers form a bulk of the inbound tourists from around the world to India; there is nothing to exceedingly worry about. Just make sure to pack in some loose and long-sleeved garments, or perhaps a multi-purpose cotton dress to throw on as a cover. This would save you from probing glances while also respect the cultural sentiments of people in conservative quarters of the country. You could also carry a pepper spray in your handbag to ward off unwanted attention; that’s what many Indian girls do!
For the planning and logistics – take expert help!
Packing aside, it is imperative to book your air tickets and a hotel for at least the first night of your stay and also arrange pick-up from the airport. For a first time traveller such farsighted planning can be a daunting task. It gets much easier however if you plan your trip with the help of a local travel agency such as Shanti Travel. They help you narrow down your destination options, navigate railway and air booking websites on your behalf and in general make your travel experience much more stress-free and comfortable. You can also entrust the travel agency to accommodate any changes in transport and hotel bookings on the go; it’ll afford you the flexibility of lingering on for a bit longer at a place.
India after all is not just a destination to be ticked off one’s bucket list; it is an experience to be savoured and certainly not one to be forgotten. Check Shanti Travel’s website for tailor made programs to India and Asia! http://www.shantitravel.com/en/travel-india/