Travelling to India is certainly exciting, especially when you’re travelling from the west. Whether it’s the mountains, the beaches or the sprawling cities, there’s so much of this massive country to see that you’ll likely never be able to do it all in a lifetime. That being said, India can also be overwhelming, super busy and quite confusing for first time visitors. It’ll take some time to adjust to the frenzied pace and way of living which can be quite at odds with western culture. It is worth it, however. Once you get out of your comfort zone and commit yourself to experience the sights, the sounds, tastes and other aspects of the culture, there’s no doubt that you’re setting yourself for some of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of your life. With that in mind, we’ve set up this guide to discuss a couple of things to keep in mind when visiting India.
This is more general advice than India-specific, but it still holds true. Before you even get on a plane pointing in a general eastern direction, make sure that you have travel insurance. This will protect you from flight delays, lost luggage, stolen passports and a host of other potential mishaps. This is especially true if you have connecting flights. While you can claim compensation on delayed flights within the EU with companies like AirHelp, without insurance, you won’t be able to claim anything back once you’re in India. Adequate insurance will cover you in the event that your flights are delayed or cancelled altogether, so make sure you get some.
As we mentioned above, travelling to India for the first time can be quite an overwhelming experience. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partake in as many things as you can. While some aspects of the culture might feel intimidating purely because they’re so foreign to your everyday life, it’s advisable to approach everything with an open mind. Just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong or unpalatable. By travelling with an open mind you open yourself up to the most magical experiences which are more likely to have a longer-lasting impact.
While the massive sprawls such as Delhi and Mumbai are incredible to see, it’s worth venturing out beyond them. India is so much more than it’s cities, so don’t be afraid to venture outwards and experience the more rural aspects of the culture. You’ll experience a slower, more thoughtful pace of life, and glance into a more relaxed window of Indian culture.
Just because you’ll likely encounter a bunch of kids fresh out of school touring India in their gap year, doesn’t mean you should dress as they do. Keep in mind that most of India is a conservative and deeply religious country, so it’s advised to dress appropriately when travelling through the country. Walking around in a mini skirt or a low cut top just won’t be acceptable, especially when visiting temples and other holy institutions. While it’s an extremely hot country, and the temptation will be there to wear not much at all, it’s important to respect the culture and traditions and dress appropriately wherever you go.