5 Tips for First Timers in India

5 Tips for First Timers in India

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Holidays to India offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travellers. From the moment that you land in the country, you will notice the differences between the region and your hometown. When travelling around on India holidays, you must remember that you are in a foreign country. By doing a little research before you go, you can learn some simple tips that will make your experience go a little smoother.

Keep Health in Mind 

Those old films that show the darker side of India do not exaggerate. Many people in the country sleep in crammed homes, and hygiene is not on the forefront of anyone’s mind. Try doing what the locals do: keep your left hand on the water jug or you food, and use your right hand for everything else. You can also keep a small bar of soap with you or hand disinfectant for cleaning up throughout the day.

Tip the Beggars

When enjoying holidays to India, the odds are good that you will come across beggars. Indians believe that tipping is customary, and locals might look down upon you for not tipping. The average tip is five rupees or less, and in many situations, you can tip three rupees.

Avoid the Black Market

If you look for tips from other travellers, you might hear some who recommend visiting the black market. The black market is essentially a place where you can purchase DVDs, clothing and hundreds of other items. Most of these items are bootleg versions of popular designs and films, and taking those items back across the border to your home can result in some steep fines or other penalties.

Pay in Rupees 

An easy way to get discounts when taking India holidays is to pay with rupees, which is the official currency of the country. No matter where you go, you will signs that list the cost in rupees and other currencies. Museums and other tourist attractions offer discounts for locals, but you can get the same discount if you use rupees as payment. You will even see these discounts available online.

Mix Your Foods 

India is a country well-known for its love of spicy foods. While some restaurants offer mild versions of dishes, you might find that the spice level is a little higher than you find at home. A simple way to keep your digestive system in track involves mixing those spicy foods with milder foods like yogurt. Yogurt contains natural bacteria that will keep you digestive system in check.

Uncle John Ice Cream @ Alleppey beach, Kerala
First Time in IndiaVinothChandar / Foter / CC BY

India holidays offer some great experiences for travellers, but you should look for advice before setting off on your first adventure. These tips will help you stay safe and healthy, while also avoiding some of the pitfalls that other travellers fall into while touring the country.

For more advice on India travel, read the information on the India page on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s website.