Hello there.

Welcome to my travel blog! I document my travels with personal stories, tips and tricks, & many photos! I hope to motivate you to  jump out of your comfort zone & visit some of your bucket list countries!

Tips and Tricks: The Indian Handbook

Tips and Tricks: The Indian Handbook

If there was a handbook to read before visiting the massive country of India it would probably be over a thousand pages long.

There are heaps of travel tips to know before visiting this beautiful country, but realistically you just have to go and see it for yourself. No list can encompass how to prepare for all the quirks of India, but here are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Make Agra a day trip to see the Taj Mahal. You don’t need to spend more than a sunrise there. There isn’t much to do in the city and it’s not the nicest place so just pass through!  
  • Do not be surprised if your shower is a bucket.
  • Do not be alarmed by the litter and garbage. Education on trash disposal is in the works. 
  • Do not follow men to their travel booths to book buses and trains they will rip you off. Book the buses and trains yourself by going to the station or do it online. Redbus.in or Makemytrip.com are good places to book. You will not be able to use an international credit card so find a local with an Indian debit/credit card to put it on and pay them the cash. 
  • Do not use the sink water to brush your teeth or wash your vegetables. You will get sick and it is not fun. 
  • Bring antibiotics to take if you get sick! Many doctors will recommend you bring some just in case and they are very handy to have.
  • Local buses for short journeys are fine, but if you are doing overnight journeys I recommend paying an extra 300-1000 rupiah ($5-$15) for a nicer Volvo bus. The local buses have no insolation and are highly uncomfortable.
  • The WiFi is not the greatest in India. Get an Airtel SIM card for 250 rupiah ($4) and then have a local use their debit or credit card to buy your phone plan. You will not be able to do it without an Indian debit/credit card. 399 rupiah ($6.50) for 1G of data a day, unlimited talk and text for 70 Days. Register your number so you can enable to talk and text. 
  • You’ll never get a straight answer out of anyone. Don’t let it frustrate you, a lot of times they just point in some direction and do the head bobble because they don’t understand what you’re asking. Most times they will just agree and you're left confused. 
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes! There is a ton of walking in India and the streets are dirty so it's best to wear sneakers. 
  • Share plates of food. Sharing is part of the Indian culture so don’t be surprised if a local grabs something off your dish. The food is wonderfully tasty everywhere in India. I recommend buying a bunch of different plates and sharing with your group so you get to try it all! 
IMG_7775.JPG
  • Buy groceries if you have a kitchen to cook in. If you are like me, the amount of oil and ghee in the food will give you a stomach ache and eventually you’ll be left a bloated mess. The produce and groceries are incredibly cheap so pick up a few to be in charge of your diet again. BE SURE TO WASH THEM WITH BOTTLED WATER!
  • Bring hydrolized salts for the times you get dehydrated from Delhi Belly or Mumbai Mess.
  • Bring warm clothes for the North if you are planning to visit in winter. It got down to minus one degree when I was in the Parvati Valley and I thought all of India was warm. 
  • Bring a one piece swimsuit if you don’t want locals gawking at you. 
  • Get ready to take millions of selfies. It brings the locals such joy to take pictures with you so embrace the selfies and accept the fact you are on multiple peoples Facebooks. 
  • Burping, hawking loogies, sneezing and coughing without covering your mouth is normal in India. Bring a scarf to cover your nose and mouth on long bus rides and walking down the streets. Trust me some of the smells that all of a sudden hit you are potent enough to knock you over. 
  • Use Hostelworld, Booking.com or agoda.com to book accommodation. It’s even cheaper if you just show up and find accommodation when you get there.
  • Most night buses drop you off early in the morning so have the place you plan to stay marked on your map so you know where you’re going when you arrive. 
  • They never bring the check or bill to the table, go up to pay. 
  • They move their head back and forth like a wobble to say yes or okay. Combine that with "Tike Tike" or "Acha Acha" and you'll fit right in.
  • It may say set prices, but there is no real fixed price in India. Barter barter barter!
  • The bus drivers will not tell you if it’s your stop on night buses, follow the route on MapsMe and set an alarm to wake you up before the time you are supposed to arrive.
  • Order your teas and coffees without sugar then add as much as you desire. If you forget you will have one hell of a sugar rush. 
  • Arrive early to be sure what bus is yours, sometimes they even leave early.  
fullsizeoutput_4bc2.jpeg
  • Watch out for wildlife. Monkeys, dogs and cows can be quite aggressive.  
  • DON’T GO TO GORAKHPOR! If you are crossing the border from Nepal avoid Gorakhpor at all costs. It’s not a nice place at all and you do not want to spend any time there, trust me on this one. 
  • Patience is a virtue.  
  • Try not to book in too far advance. You never know if you’ll like the place and want to stay. Also you are more likely to get a discounted rate if you extend through the owner instead of booking it online. 
  • Buy lots of cashmere and jewelry. It is incredibly cheap compared to what you would get in the states. 
  • Embrace the vegetarian lifestyle! Paneer is delicious!
  • Use older rickshaw drivers, they know the way.  
  • Don’t get AC sleeper buses up north unless you want to catch hypothermia. Non AC buses do just fine and are normally a cheaper option.
  • Embrace the chai and street food! The best part of India is trying all sorts of different food at cheap prices! Just use caution and be sure it doesn't look old or like its been sitting out all day.
  • Avoid the roasted and salted fresh nuts, they taste funky and are most likely VERY OLD. Be sure to ask to try one before you buy to make sure they are fresh.  
  • Bring a head torch. Many villages aren’t lit up at night. 
  • Bring bug spray especially for the South!
  • HDFC and State Bank of India do not charge to withdrawal money where as other banks will charge you 200 rupiah.
  • When withdrawing money take out a random amount such as 9900 rupiah instead of 10000 rupiah to avoid the 2000 rupiah notes. Many places cannot break the 2000 rupiah notes especially in smaller villages. 

There are many more things to note, but nothing will be able to fully prepare you for the madness that ensues. Enjoy India and all it's craziness !

Indonesia

Indonesia

I AM GRATEFUL

I AM GRATEFUL