A Whole New World: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting India

Monday, June 05, 2017

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Many of us dream of visiting India from a young age. Disney’s 1992 classic Aladdin saw children around the world wishing they could visit the homeland of the title character Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, and the Genie. But is it as beautiful as the film makes out? Bustling street markets, beautiful architecture, divine weather? Well, to put it simply: yes! Visiting India as an adult will be no disappointment to your child inside. You might not be able to get there on a magic carpet ride, but a plane will do, right? Here’s a quick run through of all the essentials you need to know when it comes to taking a vacation in one of the planet’s most stunning countries.


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Where to Go?
India is a vast place, ranking in at the seventh largest country in the entire world. It is also home to around 1.3 billion people. The terrain is massively diverse. From Himalayan mountains to soft white sand beaches, bustling urban inner cities and expansive, luscious rainforests. So, where to go? The region that you visit will depend greatly on your personal taste and the aims of your holiday. Do you want to kick back and relax on a white sand beach with azure skies and crystal clear waters? Well, Goa may be the state for you. The area is renowned for its stunning landscapes, calm atmosphere and is top of many people’s beach holiday bucket list. Perhaps you’d prefer to immerse yourself in local culture, visiting bustling street markets, engaging with local people, trying out the local cuisine and street foods. Well, you might prefer somewhere like Delhi, India’s capital. There will be endless people to talk to and dishes to try in this highly populated city. Maybe you don’t want to stay in one area. There are so many tourist hotspots around the country that we can’t blame you for wanting to fit all of them into one trip. If this sounds like you, you could opt for an extended backpacking trip. Staying in hostels and carrying your belongings on your back will give you the freedom necessary to hop from one location to another, taking in all of the sites. If you find that you are struggling to choose, make sure that you do your research. There are plenty of recommendations and reviews of all sorts of destinations online. You can also pop into your nearest travel agent and ask for some advice from the professionals.

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Preparation
If you’re taking a trip to India, chances are you’re traveling a long distance from home and investing a lot of your hard earned cash and time on the trip. So you don’t want to face problems en route or when you’re away. This is where good preparation comes into play. Going away entails more than booking a flight and jumping on a plane. You need to make sure that you are prepped and ready to go with all of the essentials. Firstly, make sure your passport is to date, and you have an Indian Visa. Without these essential documents, you will not be able to fly out of your home country or enter India’s borders. The process is simple, so there’s no excuse for leaving it last minute. Nowadays you can even apply for your visa online in a matter of minutes! As well as documentation and identification, you need to prioritize your personal health, safety, and wellbeing. Pack plenty of sunscreen, mosquito and insect repellant and sunglasses. You need to protect your skin and eyes from UV rays. Especially in countries that are so often as hot and sunny as India. You will also need to protect yourself from illness and disease. This means ensuring that you have the necessary vaccinations before leaving your home country. The recommended precautions for visiting India are a course of malaria tablets and injections for Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and Typhoid. If you are visiting rural areas, you should also consider a rabies vaccine. 36% of all rabies deaths occur in India. While you should avoid contact with stray dogs and street dogs, accidents occur and it’s much better to be safe than sorry in this kind of situation.

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Knowing Local Culture

There are certain aspects of local culture that you should know before visiting India. This will help you to assimilate well into a culture that may be completely new and unknown to you. It will also ensure that you can always be polite and thankful to people during your stay. If you are planning on visiting temples, be up to date with temple etiquette. You should always remove shoes before entering a place of worship. You should also avoid wearing revealing clothes. You may be tempted to wear shorts in the hot weather, but when entering a place of worship, ensure that your lower half and shoulders are covered. Also respect religious sentiments, even if you are not a believer yourself. If you are entering someone’s home, remove your shoes before stepping inside. You should also avoid handing anything (money, gifts, etc) to others with your left hand.

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Health and Safety

Once you are in India, you should know a few essential pieces of information to make your stay as comfortable and easy as possible. Firstly, don’t consume tap water. Many diseases prominent in India are waterborne. It’s always safest to consume bottled water. Make sure that the seal is intact before purchasing water from any street vendor, as some will have merely refilled bottles from taps. You may also find that, if you are not used to the street food, local dishes may make you sick or suffer from diarrhea. If you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to steer clear of street vendors when it comes to any food or beverage. Avoid petting strays in the street. There are hundreds of stray puppies and dogs in India and you may want to pet and feed them. But one dog will quickly become tens of dogs looking for some food. You don’t want to end up bitten or scratched. As we mentioned earlier, some will carry strains of rabies.

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