Travel tips for visiting India.

Learn the Basics of Traveling in India

  • Travel Team
Feb 04, 2013

India is one country that truly has something for everyone. Travelers can take part in everything from shopping to hiking, yoga to beach excursions and religious tours to nature expeditions. With so much to do and see, you'll want to make the most of your time in this fascinating country, and that includes acclimating yourself as quickly as possible to the new surroundings.

What to wear

The combination of a warm climate and local culture means that travelers need to be particular about how they dress while on their vacation. Indian women are expected to dress somewhat modestly, and while travelers are not held to the same standards as locals, accommodating the culture may have benefits in the long run. 

Avoid tank tops or shorts when venturing out in and stick to loose clothing and light materials instead. Women traveling in the nation should bring along a scarf, which can be transformed into a headdress or covering in certain situations.

Watch what you eat

When in India, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, and part of embracing that means sampling all of the food you can get your hands on. You should take care to avoid tap water, however, as well fruits that may have been washed in it.

If you're not sure how you'll react to the unique diet of India, consider purchasing travel medical insurance before your trip. Then, if food poisoning or some other crisis pops up, you'll be covered and can focus on getting healthy and resuming your adventures.

Pay attention to body language 

Cultural differences between the U.S. and India can make some exchanges more difficult for first-time travelers. Upon greeting a local, say "namaste" while placing your hands together and nodding. You can then shake hands with people of the same gender, but not those of the opposite. In that case, the aforementioned greeting is enough to show your respect.

You should also make note of how Indians use their hands as they go about their business. When passing something to another person, use only your right hand, as the left is typically only used for personal matters. Things like eating, shopping and other practices should all be done with just the right hand.

Plan time to avoid the crowds

India is a country packed with more than 1 billion people, so you're bound to run into some crowds during your trip. Whether you're navigating markets on the streets of Delhi or weaving in and out of rooms at the Taj Mahal, you'll likely have to deal with many other globetrotters and locals going about their day. More secluded regions like Kerala or Ladakh offer quiet wellness centers and resorts that are perfect for a rejuvenating time away, while Goa has pristine beaches right on the Arabian Sea, and travelers shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of these extraordinary destinations.

Don't miss out on must-see locales

Even if you want to avoid the crowds, don't let them deter you from visiting some of the more popular sites in the country. Spots like the Taj Mahal draw large numbers of travelers for a reason - they are a spectacular representation of the Indian culture, history and architecture.

When you visit the Taj Mahal or other extraordinary temples in India, try to arrange early morning trips. Not only will you miss some of the flocks of people and families visiting that day, but if you arrive early enough you may even be treated to a stunning sunrise over the architectural masterpieces.

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