India Travel Tips For First Time Travelers
Having traveled for 7 weeks extensively throughout India a few seasons ago, I thought I would pass on a few helpful India Travel Tips for first time travelers to this amazing country. I know I’m always on the lookout for any travel tips that might make my journey to a new destination, just a little bit easier.
So, below is collection of tips that I made note of during our travels. I hope some of them may help to make your journey in India just a little bit easier.
India Tourist Visa
India Travel Tips # 1
Make sure your India Tourist Visa is valid for the dates you will be in the country. You do have the option of a 30 day or 6 month tourist visa when applying. I did run into a couple of backpackers that wanted to stay longer once they arrived in India, but they only applied for the 30 day.
For Canadians, be sure to read my detailed post here on Helpful Tips Traveling from India to Canada for more detailed information on Visa applications.
Airport Transfers – New Delhi or Mumbai
India Travel Tips # 2
When arriving at a major airport such as New Delhi or Mumbai and especially after a tiring long haul flight, it’s a great idea to arrange airport transfers in advance from home. These airports are incredibly busy day and night, and to have a friendly driver with your name displayed at arrivals waiting for you is great!
We arrived after a near 14 hour non – stop flight from Canada and with the time change, we were exhausted arriving in Delhi at 3 am. To just walk out of the baggage area and have a driver waiting to take you to your chosen accommodations is well worth the little extra!
There are many reputable online airport transfer taxis and companies available, or simply ask your professional local travel agent. They are sure to find what you may require for transportation at your selected airport.
Taking The Train In India
India Travel Tips # 3
Taking the train in India is an experience like no other! Arriving and departing from the Delhi Train Station for example, is like being caught in a stampede, literally!
Train stations in the cities and platforms are very busy and can be extremely confusing among other things. Be sure to check out my article here on Helpful India Train Travel Tips – Indian Railways. It’s full of detailed information and recommendations for booking and taking the trains throughout India.
We took a number of trains in various parts of the country, and at many of the stations we didn’t have a clue what platform our train was departing from. In smaller stations, arrival or departure information is no where to be found either.
At one train station, we asked two train attendants for departure and platform information and they both said something completely different. The moral of the story is; Find the Station Managers Office and ask him/her directly for up to date train platform and arrival/departure information.
On one occasion we would have missed our train had we not attended the Station Managers Office just before the trains arrival.
Taking Taxis and Tuk Tuks
India Travel Tips # 4
If you’re arriving at an airport, your best bet is to head to an Authentic Pre- Paid Taxi Booth. At major airports, they can normally be found just outside of the baggage claim area. You can prepay your taxi fare with cash or credit card, and choose an air-conditioned car or non-air car.
These are government operated stands and offer the best and regulated prices for a taxi.
If you choose to take your own taxi or tuk tuk anywhere, make sure you confirm a price with the driver before you step into the vehicle. It is customary to bargain with the drivers, but within reason.
In our 7 weeks travel, I don’t recall any taxi or tuk tuk having a meter in their vehicle or that worked!
Most will know a set price for commonly used destinations. After a while, we got quite used to simple bargaining, by asking or finding out the distance we wanted to travel beforehand. This gave us an idea of what we should pay and if a driver is taking advantage of foreigners or not.
Beware of taxi and tuk tuk driver (touts)!
Touts is a common term in India for …
“People who will do anything to make a quick buck out of vulnerable first-time travelers.”
India Travel Necessities
India Travel Tips # 5
Below, I’ve listed some items that are certainly worth packing along with you, and that will definitely come in handy during your travels in India. I know we sure were glad we packed them along, and I know you will be too!
The traffic noise in the cities is deafening! You simply cannot escape the constant honking of horns and traffic noise. This especially so, when riding in tuk tuks.
Don’t leave home without a pair of soft earplugs!
Be sure you have the right travel adapters for traveling abroad for the country you are visiting in order to charge your devices. India uses 230 Volts, and plugs and sockets have either grounded / earthed 3 Pin connections (Type D) or ungrounded 2 pin connections (Type C).
Those little packets of sanitary hand wipes were a godsend! Especially while riding the trains after eating and using the toilet. Using your hands eating Indian style and even eating naan bread, it sure was nice to have a wipe to use afterwards on the trains and at smaller diners. 🙂
We also carried a small bottle of hand sanitizer with us, but the wipes we found were excellent!
Packing a couple of rolls of toilet paper is an excellent idea, again, especially when traveling by train and when you’re out and about in the towns and cities.
Many times during our travels, carrying some TP with you definitely came in handy!
Boy were we happy we carried some of our favorite snacks along with us. This included granola bars, mixed nuts and a few other favorites from home. These came in very handy while riding the trains, walking about for energy and a light snack during the day and so forth.
Do make room in your luggage for a bag full of non- perishable snacks!
ATM Bank Money Machines
India Travel Tips # 6
ATM bank money machines can be found pretty much everywhere throughout India. Like many other countries we have traveled to, all machines won’t work with your selected bank card.
We did find that a major chain bank such as; Union Bank of India and HDFC Bank machines did for the most part, work fine with our card having the ‘Plus’ system.
India Travel Tips # 7
Bottled water is everywhere and very cheap as well. Do not drink tap water or the water poured in your glass in restaurants. We always ordered bottled water in restaurants and also observed locals doing the same.
Brush your teeth with bottled water and be careful when showering not to swallow and tap water. In our 7 weeks travel, both my son and I never experienced the famous Delhi Belly or diarrhea!
As well, we stuck pretty much to vegetarian meals and never ate street food other than on our fabulous street food walking tour we took in Delhi. Be sure to check out my post on one of the highlights of our trip, taking a Walking Food Tour in Old Delhi. This food and tour was amazing and well worth doing when visiting New Delhi!
TripAdvisor For Recommendations
India Travel Tips # 8
We always used TripAdvisor or Google restaurant reviews for recommendations for dining when visiting different parts of the country. We ate at some very nice restaurants on our trip, both catering to tourists and locals from reviews we read prior.
Also, because we ‘home stayed’ for most of our visit, booking with Airbnb. We had the opportunity to enjoy some fabulous home cooked Real Authentic Indian meals, and were given some great recommendations for eating out as well from our hosts. 🙂
WiFi Internet Access
India Travel Tips # 9
Surprisingly, WiFi is pretty much readily available in all towns and cities. Most home stays, guest houses, restaurants and so on, all have internet WiFi access.
Other than at a few locations, the connection was always reasonable and good enough to check emails, Facebook messenger and so on.
India is an amazing country and an unforgettable travel experience. It will astonish you, surprise you, and shock you all at once, but will leave unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!
I’ve also listed the Official India Tourism link below to their website for your convenience. It’s filled with excellent information on everything this amazing Country has to offer.
Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂
Did You Know …
“India is known for having largest number of Vegetarians in the World.”
🙂 Don’t Forget It … Be Sure To Pin It! 🙂