India is one of the world’s most sought after destinations and thanks to films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel it has become popular with those of us who are on the mature side. It is a country of rolling landscapes, history, temples, street food, frenetic cities and quiet beaches. It is a country you want to visit either as a tourist or to look at relocation. With this in mind let’s take a look at tips to get the most out of your visit.
Travel visa first
Like most countries in the world, you need to arrange a visa. Since 2014 this has become a lot simpler for UK citizens. You can now apply online for an eTourist visa for India and enjoy up to a 90-day stay. You can apply up to two tourist visas per year providing you meet the eligibility criteria.
Once your eTourist visa is secured you can now start getting excited for your visit to this most exotic country.
Prepare for a culture shock
If you come from a western culture it is fair to say that the frenetic crowds of the country are overwhelming. There are people everywhere, it is loud, and the logic is a different level than what you have encountered before.
The best advice is just to go with it and get a cab to where you’re staying as soon as possible. Don’t try and fight it just accept it. You’ll soon adjust and enjoy the country.
This extends to things happening when they do and not on time. It is good policy to factor in extra time for travelling then you normally would. Again, just accept that this is how things happen in India.
Diarrhoea tablets a must
As well as getting your shots before you travel think about taking diarrhoea tablets with you. If you have never travelled that much the food uses spices and other ingredients that your digestion system may struggle to cope with.
Many go vegetarian why they are in India. The food is fresh and delicious and given that most of the country is non-meat eating, it is fair to say that not every chef in India knows how to prepare meat. This can increase your chances of getting the ‘Delhi belly’.
Learn how to eat with your hands
In many parts of India, you will be expected to eat with your hands. Curry is consumed by folding naan bread over your food and eating it. This takes practice so maybe have a few meals like this before you leave.
Never use your left hand to eat as this is considered rude. In Indian culture, you use your left hand when you go to the bathroom so you get the idea.
It is not sexy but it is essential. The better policies cover you for everything and it is well worth the investment. Thefts, lost luggage, cancellations can all factor into your insurance policy. The peace of mind this brings is worth every penny.
India is a wonderful place and with the right preparation, you will adapt faster and fall in love with the place.