Tips for travelling to India
1. The best way to stay connected in India is to wait until you get there and purchase a mobile phone for about A$10. Buy a prepaid card and you can phone home for as little as R20 per minute. That is less than 50c. International roaming costs a fortune.
2. To keep the sun off your head and face buy a cheap umbrella. So much more comfortable and cooler than wearing a hat.
3. Eat the local curries wherever you go. They are cooked and delicious. We figure there is less likelihood of getting Delhi Belly that way than if you eat western food.
4. Don’t try to do too much in a day. The offerings are mind boggling and the human mind (and body) can only take in so much. Start early and do what the locals do – get out of the afternoon sun, read and take a nap.
5. Don’t rush from place to place. Enchanting India who arranged our trip did a brilliant job in making sure that we were able to savor and enjoy our experiences. In most places they allowed one travel day and a sight seeing day (2 nights) except in Jaipur where they gave us three nights. We were able to take a mid-tour ‘lay day’ and enjoy being in our magnificent hotel.
6. We met French couple with three young children in the pool and got talking. “We think India is a wonderful place to holiday with children,” they told us. When we expressed surprise they said, “Well you think about it. We have our own driver who will take us wherever we want. The hotels are luxurious and cheap. We could never afford a hotel like this in Europe. And the staff are happy to prepare a meal for you at any time of the day or night.” They have a point!
7. Don’t give to beggars. No matter how pathetic and sad they look. The Indian Government is doing its best to stamp out begging and there are signs everywhere saying, “Give a child a pen. Make a child a beggar.” Better to give a good tip to your driver, waiter, guide, bus driver. After all, he works hard for very little money and has a family to educate and feed.
8. The magnificent monuments like the Taj Mahal are amazing but they are just buildings. They are not what India is about. The people are happy colorful, generous, friendly and optimistic. Spend as much time as possible with them.
9. 70% of India’s people are rural and live in the villages. Get out of the cities and meet the real people.
10. Treat the people of India with respect. Smile and they will smile back to you.