Here are some thoughts about my trip to India. I am in no way an expert on these things and chances are you will sit next to someone on the plane who knows more than me. Especially if you fly Lufthansa because apparently a lot of Germans work in India and tend to be trilingual and tall and hot. Or maybe that was just the guy next to me.
5. Have definite plans.
Whenever you take a rickshaw or taxi they will try to take you somewhere else. They generally know someone somewhere with a good deal. Sometimes this will work out fine, but if you are trying to get somewhere specific, for example a hotel, just be firm. If you’re in a car, the driver will also try to give you their number so you will use them later when you need a ride. Always take the number and don’t give yours. This is courteous and you don’t have to use him. Unless he’s particularly nice and helpful. Or promises to find you a husband.
4. Bring small bills.
If you change your money at the airport ask for plenty of smaller bills – 5, 10, 20, 50 rupees. It will help in giving tips and for purchasing things like a coke or bag of chips. If you get money from the ATM, change for small bills from the hotel if possible. It seems to be annoying to everyone to make change and you run the risk of them not having any change for you.
3. Carry lots of water when you are out.
The country is incredibly dry and dusty. You will be covered in a layer of dirt at all times. I tend to get easily dehydrated and a couple of times I really should have been drinking more water and got a little lightheaded. maybe this wasn’t noticeable. don’t be me. Drink more water than you think you should. But don’t use your bottled water to wash off. Most sit down restaurants have a faucet and sink somewhere near the restrooms. Also in the bathroom, at least for women, as I can’t speak for the men’s rooms, there are usually a faucet. I imagine to wash off feet or other areas that need some washing…
2. Bring toilet tissue.
1. Travel with John Pothen.
Ok, so he probably can’t be everyone’s tour guide, but maybe that could be a good career for him… haha. But seriously, it makes a huge difference to have someone who can speak the language and get by on reading signs. Depending on where you go, and I imagine most people will go to touristy areas where things are written in English as well, you may get along just fine without an interpreter. But I’ll tell you right now, you miss out on some of the experience that you could have. plus you’ll have a better sense of when people are making fun of you.
So that’s it. Nothing earth shaking and you can probably find out more from Lonely Planet or somewhere more professional at this stuff. I say just enjoy everything, enjoy being dirty and hot and tired. Love the smells – which really isn’t bad, though I would imagine it gets pretty heavy in the midsummer, February seemed a perfect time weather wise. Enjoy the food – bring pepto bismol tablets if you think you’ll have any problems. If you eat a lot of spicy foods normally, you’ll be fine.
And finally, let me know when you’re going. I might have to go again 🙂