19 India Travel Tips

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Visit India! It’s a beautiful place steeped with a deep spiritual practice, filed with cultural, and numerous magnificent sites. I’m not the type to visit a country more than once, because there’s so much of the world to see, but I would come back to India in a heart beat. If you do decide to visit here are a few items that would be helpful in your visit. Also feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about India.

  1. Open a Charles Schwab (http://www.schwab.com/referred) checking account to withdraw from cash from foreign ATM. 
  2. Have a Chase Sapphire (get 50k points) to use as a credit card to have no extra foreign transactions, it also comes with $300 yearly travel reimbursement, and priority pass for access to lounges for free.
  3. Bring your student ID and let your tour guide know you have one. There are special rates for foreigner tourists even if they are not listed on the board.
  4. Carry small bills for tips, small food dishes, shopping, and public bathrooms. Most places will not have enough to give you change for big bills. Tip (Global Tip app)and currency calculators (XE Currency) from the App Store or helpful to have. Change is also helpful to hand out to sadhus (holy men who depend on donations to live) or any of the poor you would like to help.
  5. SIM cards are cheap and super worth it 200rps for 28 day activations and 1gb a day. Airtel carrier is suppose to be better then vodaphone.
  6. Women bring a shawl you have to cover calves and shoulders inside religious temples.
  7. Guidebooks are helpful, because some tour guides cant speak understandable English
  8. Study up on Hindu culture, Including Gods and traditions before coming 95% of the people live this culture daily and it can be seen everywhere.
  9. Shipping your purchased items is fairly simple from big shops they charge you $10 per kilo, this can also be done in the Post Office.
  10. The internet is crazy slow here (even in the hotel), so don’t expect to upload or stream video or music. Download anything onto your devices before coming. The WiFi speed really hindered me posting any pictures to my blog.
  11. For food look up each cities unique dish and order what they are known for, this will help you not to order the same items repeatedly. “Thali” is an assortment platter found in some restaurants and is a good way to try a variety of food.
  12. Indian food is default spicy, so if you like mild or no spicy you must make sure you say this with every savory order.
  13. The water in the lakes and river are incredibly dirty, because septic tanks leak into these water sources. We avoided eating fish and drank from bottled water.
  14. Bring ziploc bags if you want to take your food to go. We quickly realized that the dishes are fairly large and come with excess bread, making it easy to eat on our long car rides later.
  15. Don’t stay long in the shops, especially if you’re not planning to buy anyway. The tourist shop stops are inevitable with your tour guide, but don’t stay long if you’re not planning on by anything. There was a few times where we were polite and staying too long, then missed a monument. Just get a feel of the price range and purchase later.
  16. Bring sandals that are comfortable for long walks and can easily slip on and off to enter the temples.
  17. Carry toilet paper with you from the hotels, public bathrooms generally don’t have any.
  18. Some basics: bring a back up battery for your phone, a place to dump photos in case you run out of space, photocopy of your passport, printed travel tickets, printout of your visa, and a travel pillow for the long car rides.
  19. Most of all have an open mind! India has a vibrant and beautiful culture, that is much deeper than the trash in the street and the people pushing souvenirs on you.