Travelling is such a wonderful way to see the world. Experiencing a country first hand gives you a newfound appreciation for other cultures, and opens your mind to new and exciting possibilities. Travelling through India is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have, especially if you plan to explore the country yourself on foot, or through a backpacking holiday. If you are thinking of going, here is what you need to think about before setting off on a journey of discovery, and what to do when you are there.
Get To Know The Transport System
Using the Indian train network is a great way to get around. Trains can book up fast and the booking system can be more complex than it needs to be. There are train information websites like The Man in Seat 61, which breaks down the process. If you plan to get a sleeper train, try to book the upper or side-upper berths so you have more privacy.
Purify Your Drinking Water
Tap water in India should be avoided. While you can purchase water on the go, a more environmentally friendly approach is to purify your own. You can purchase water bottle filters that can turn the most brown liquid into fresh tasting clear water.
Many restaurants in India, water that has gone through the reversed osmosis process is available. It’s free, friendly to the environment and completely safe to drink.
Respect The People
Going into a new country where the culture is different to your own can cause problems, especially when a country that is rooted in religion and tradition is concerned. Make sure that you prepare by looking at what can be considered offencive there. For example, you eat with your right hand as the left hand is used for the toilet. Women need to cover their shoulders and wear clothes that go below the knee, and in areas with a strong Muslim population, midriffs should be covered.
Bring Your Own Toilet Paper
The left hand is used to wipe, so taking your own toilet paper and alcohol hand gel will reduce catching any nasty bugs.
Don’t Go Where The Tourists Go
Look for the places that the locals eat instead of going to the normal tourist haunts, look online for hidden treasures in areas that you plan to go to, like the Kolkata travel guide. Look for other forums and blogs where people give detailed experiences about their Indian travels.
Be vigilant if you are travelling alone. Keeping money secure and hidden away is a main priority. If possible, try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash and have a mobile phone on you for emergencies. If you are concerned for your welfare at any point, be confident and assertive rather than shy, and call for help if you need it!
If travelling around India, keeping an open mind is probably the most important thing to enjoying your experiences. Being reserved and tense in a country like India, which has its fair share of challenges, will not serve you well. Keep a sense of humour and an open mind will help, as unexpected things will crop up on your journey. Go with it. Enjoy!
Note from Jessica Lippe: I would love to go to India, and I’ll be sure to refer to this handy guide when I get the chance! I’ve been working on a few different projects lately (and I’m excited for the day when I can tell you about them!), but I’ll be back soon to tell about my August adventures to places like Avenue of the Giants, Point Reyes National Seashore, San Francisco, Lava Beds National Monument, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and Crater Lake National Park!