Travel tips for first time visitors to India

If you are visiting India for the very first time, it would be a better idea to prepare a perfect checklist for the journey. Not that, we are trying to demotivate you from visiting India, but being a country so vast and diverse – you will need to be prepared to have a realistic experience.

As we stated before, India is a vast nation with a huge range of diversity across its length and breadth. And that could result in you feeling burnt out! Yes – Bewildered by the varied cultures and diverse religious paths, you may attempt doing too many things within a shorter span of time. Following tips may be quite useful for the first time visitors to India.

Plan your itinerary based on your interests

I seem to be repeating it over and again, but that is exactly what we need to get drilled into our mind. India is quite vast and offers many things to visit. You will not be able to visit all those places on just one trip. Instead of trying to squeeze in the whole of India in one go, check out what you want to have a look at and which area you would wish to concentrate on.
You can consider any of these routes –
  • The Historic India -
    The best such trip consists of what is called Golden Triangle. Head straightaway to Delhi. The old Delhi has many references to the history that is so fantastic. Red Fort, the relics of the seat of power in Delhi and the tombs of those great kings gone by can be a real treat.
    Then move on to Agra, Revisit the era of Mughal architecture with Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. On the final front, visit the royal extravaganza of Rajasthan. Go through the streets of Pink City and the magnificent forts before getting back to Delhi for the exquisite shopping.
  • Sun, Sand and the beaches-
    Well, that is another part of the diversity that India has on offer. Beaches along the western and eastern coast are fun-filled and exotic. Start from Mumbai and head straight south to Goa – the queen of beaches. Goa is well known for its pristine golden beaches and the great hospitality never saw anywhere else. Colva, Palolem, Calangute and Vagator are a few of the famous beaches in Goa.

Or you can move still south and experience the black sand beaches in Kerala. Varkala and Kovalam are a couple of good options for those trips. Kerala also lets you have a unique experience with the waterways and sports. You may also move up north and quench your thirst for water sports and adventures at Dal lake in Kashmir.
Those were just a couple of suggestions. The point I want to make is never try to stuff in too much in a single trip. Plan your trip on a specific theme. There are are many other options other than those I mentioned. If you are fond of trekking and mountaineering, consider moving to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. You have plenty of options to base your trip on.
The biggest complaint by any tourist to India is trips in India cause fatigue. That is solely because you try to squeeze in as much of India as you can within a single trip and that is exactly the reason for the burnout.

Avoid scams and touts

Well, sadly enough – India has earned a bad name because of the touts who look forward to cheating you. There are people who may overcharge you or attempt to cheat you.
Never ever opt for a deal that appears too good. The proverb should be aptly applicable here – anything that looks too good to be true is not always true. When a tour operator or a cabbie seems to offer you a special deal, please be wary.
It would be better to opt for the official sites or deals rather than falling prey to scamsters. If you suspect anything, make it a point to pay in cash than through the card.

Pay attention to food

Being a diverse country, India has diverse food. And having all of it can have a disturbed bowel.
Your stomach needs to get acclimatised for the Indian climate. Until that time, take care not to take anything that may disturb your tummy. Avoid tap water as much as you can. Always carry bottled water with you. If you are having fruits, check out if you can have fruits that are peeled freshly.
Street food is a good option if your stomach is comfortable with it. The only thing you need to check is whether the place is hygienic. A good observation will let you know the quality. Look out if you can see a good deal of locals at the place. That would definitely mean the place has a good quality.
Sticking to veg food on your first visit to India would be the best option if you have issues with the Indian food. Most of the Indians are vegetarians and as such, India is a fabulous place for the vegetarian food.

Visit the interiors

If you want to see the real India, you need to visit the villages. The ambience will give you inner peace. The hustle and bustle of the city can be fun for a couple of days, but you soon get your head spinning.
Consider getting into the slow paced Kerala, or the serene villages in Goa. Or else, there are hill stations in the northern part of India and the peaceful valleys of Sikkim or Ladakh.

Be prepared to Indian time

I am sorry if I am sounding a little cynic with those words, but please note that Indian time is relative. If you are waiting for a bus or a train, it may get delayed by a couple of hours. You may need to be prepared for that.
The traffic and frequent interruptions can be a cause of concern. You may take longer than expected to reach a destination. Even the local friends or your guides may take longer than promised to meet you.


Well, those were a few tips for the first timers to India. Not that this list is exclusive. There are many things you may need to look out for on your maiden visit. Please note that you may consider India being chaotic, but – believe me, there are many facets to the country of a diverse culture and beliefs. Maybe you will have a completely different version of India each time you visit the nation.
Happy Journey!

Article by Timmappa Kamat
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments He is fond of the new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.

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More articles: India Travel Tips


Author: Kailash Kumar22 May 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 7

The following are some of the travel tips for travelers to India -
1. Keep contact details including phone numbers of your country's embassy/consulates in India for use in any emergency situation.
2. Avoid venturing out alone after dark. It is more important for women travelers.
3. Never carry too much cash with you and beware of pick-pocketing particularly at crowded market places and while travelling in crowded public transport.
4. Never haggle, stay cool. Be firm, but pleasant. Don' t allow yourself to get irritated.
5. Traffic clogging and other factors may cause delay and take much more time than planned or anticipated. Therefore it is very important to start early particularly for catching trains or flights.
6. India has a modest culture. Therefore it is better to keep arms and legs covered.
7. Remove your shoes before entering a sacred place. Watch what others do and imitate.
8. Don’t accept food or drinks from strangers.
9. Check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Author: Partha K.06 Jul 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

I would like to appreciate the author of this article for brilliantly covering almost all the necessary aspects to visit India by foreign tourists. Mr. Kailash Kumar has also supplemented the value of the article by mentioning some additional necessary points. In this connection, I would also like to mention the following few points:-

(a) Take note of the weather condition of the places you are going to visit. Please remember that weather conditions vary widely in different places in India.
(b) Carry old-fashioned torch and mosquito-repellent cream, especially if you are going to enjoy Indian wildlife.
(c) Women tourists must try to avoid extremely revealing dress, especially in smaller places. Please remember that Western culture is not accepted equally in all parts of the country.
(d) Although spicy Indian foods are extremely tasty, try to avoid taking such foods regularly. Your stomach may not adjust the food if taken regularly. Be extra careful about water. Try to take mineral water as much as possible.

I again congratulate the author for this extremely useful article.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha09 Aug 2016 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

In India, we do have a lot of places to be seen and of course, the pleasure can be enhanced if we travel along with known companies. This would serve dual purpose - firstly the sense of security would prevail because of the company and secondly the antisocial elements would take note of the situation and the tourists don't fall prey to unscrupulous people causing any harm financial or otherwise.
Enjoyment does not necessarily mean to have free exchange of views with strangers. Such interactions may cause sometimes ugly situations. While visiting temples or any holy place , travellers should maintain utmost discipline such as taking out shoes, chanting of Mantras as recited by Pundits etc. We are inclined to consume spicy foods on regular basis and such follow - up for them would put them into inconvenience. Even the tap water would not suit them and hence they should adhere to mineral water supplied from premium brands. A large amount of cash is not to be carried along with them while travelling in remote places.
In case of sensing any danger, Police - control room must be intimated and seek their protection.
The author has dealt the article with all the relevant details and a little precaution adopted by the travellers would make their travels pleasurable.

Author: Venkiteswaran17 Oct 2016 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

As a suggestion, rather than a tip I would add that please do not consider the people here as your 'guinea pigs' for research. Please do not take photos by devising situations asking children and elder people to pose the way you want by paying them; and then going back and posting them with captions to satisfy vested interests.

In the tropical weather, people, especially males and children wear only essential clothes and may keep the upper part and lower limbs open to prevent sweating. Some elderly women also may stay at home with bare essential dress. Please avoid taking their photos and posting or publishing them to show this country is poor and not having even proper clothing. Please avoid writing books depicting the pictures as proof for your depicting the country as poor and beggarly and malnourished. Please avoid the prejudiced view that India is still a land of snake charmers and naked hermits and malnourished children.

Don't search only for negativity. Wear the glass of positivity. Then the locals will love you and reciprocate positivity.

Author: Juana05 Nov 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 15

An insight for first-time travellers to India from an Indian’s perspective:

Time and delays – Given the size of our country and the huge population, it is a marvel that things work. It is something to be appreciated. We have the largest railways in the world, and trains are generally on schedule. The air traffic has improved over the years and being a frequent flyer I can safely vouch that flights are normally on time. Other public transport can be an issue, but it is not all bad. Cities like Mumbai and Delhi have efficient metro and rapid transport system. Auto rickshaws running on CNG are very cheap.

Safe Travels - A safe way to travel around places of interest is through package tours organized by State Tourism Department of various states. They are economical, comfortable, reliable, efficient and safe. You can also ask at your hotel if they can arrange for tours and packages through a trustworthy travel company.

On your own - If you choose to venture on your own, make sure you let your hotel know where you are headed. Share the details of your guide and/or taxi with the hotel concierge. Make sure your phone is charged and that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t be gullible, as a tourist; you need to ensure your own safety, not just in India, but in all tourist places, across the globe. Always keep your wits about you.

Food - Eating out can be bit of a problem, especially if you do not have a stomach for local cuisine. If you are in a big or medium sized city, you will be lucky to find international fast-food chains. Alternatively, you can carry fresh fruits, energy bars, cookies etcetera or have your hotel pack you a picnic hamper.

Dress appropriately - While it is fine to walk around in shorts in big cities and places that tourists visit. It is not fine to do so in small towns and particularly villages. We are still a conservative lot, so watch what you wear. Bikinis are fine, in Goa, but do not try to strip down to one on any other beach.

Follow all other safety precautions that you would in other countries, and you will do just fine. When in India, take in the beautiful sites, the aromatic and pungent smells, the sounds of vehicular horns and people, the vibrant colours all around, stray animals on the roads, choked streets and traffic snarls, crowds of people everywhere - learn to enjoy the chaos and you'll have a wonderful holiday!

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