Brimming with fascinating sights, colorful festivals, delicious foods, and customs that give most westerners a serious culture shock, India is the perfect place to go for the trip of a lifetime. You’ll definitely be out of your comfort zone as you trek through the hectic country, but along the way you’ll see and experience things that will stay with you forever.
India can be quite daunting if it’s your first visit so it’s best to prepare yourself as much as you can before you leave. By avoiding classic mistakes that most travelers make their first time in India, you’ll guarantee yourself a much smoother trip.
10 Not Learning Any Hindi
When you get to India, you will find that there’s a lot of people who speak English. So strictly speaking, it’s not absolutely crucial that you learn any Hindi before your trip. But if you want to get the best out of your time in India, it’s a good idea to learn at least a little Hindi.
You’ll seem like less of a tourist if you make the effort to speak a few words in the local dialect. You’ll also be able to understand what’s going on better and be a little more dependent. And the bottom line is it’s just courtesy to learn some words in the local language.
9 Wearing The Wrong Kind Of Clothes
This may vary depending on exactly where you’re going in India, but generally, it’s a conservative country. While it might not be against the law to reveal a lot of skin, it is frowned upon in most places. If you dress in a way that makes you stand out, especially in a less touristy area, you can expect locals to stare at you like you’re an animal who’s escaped from the zoo.
There are also certain rules regarding dress if you’re going to visit a temple or any other places of religious significance.
8 Freaking Out Over Delhi Belly
Traveling to India is an eye-opening experience in many ways, and it’s often shocking for newbies on every level. Delhi Belly might not be like anything you’ve been through before, but that doesn’t mean you should freak out if (or when) it happens to you. It’s nothing serious.
The chances are your stomach won’t be familiar with the bacterium that you’re putting into it. Hippie in Heels recommends not taking any stoppers unless you absolutely have to because it’s better to allow your body to get rid of everything!
7 Being Scared Of Trying New Foods
Part of not freaking out over Delhi Belly is allowing yourself to try new foods and not being scared to step out of your comfort zone as far as culinary experiences go. India really is a land of rich and colorful dishes that are worth trying—you’ll probably fall in love with many of them. While you could stick to foods that you know from home, traveling is all about trying something new.
If you’re too scared to try new foods in India, you’ll have to stick to the same bland old thing. You’ll be missing out on so much!
6 Seeing The Taj Mahal Before Anything Else
The Taj Mahal is the top landmark in India so it’s natural to want to visit there before anywhere else in India. But Global Gallivanting travel blog advises against this, especially if it’s your first time in the country. While the Taj Mahal is spectacular, the area itself can be quite confronting.
It might be harder to deal with all the chaos at the beginning of your trip because you’re just not used to it. It’s better to ease yourself into the pool rather than just dive straight in the deep end, so to speak.
5 Rushing Around The Country
There is so much to see in India, so you’ll probably want to move as quickly as you can so you can see absolutely everything on your bucket list. But most seasoned travelers recommend trekking through the country at a much slower pace.
India tends to be much more chaotic than most westerners are used to, and at the best of times, it will tire you out. If you add your own rushed itinerary to that, you might end up being turned off India for life. Try to take it slow and relax for the best experience possible.
4 Giving Money To Children On The Street
It can be tempting to give money to begging children in India, especially when begging children at home would be a reason to call child services. Unfortunately, it’s not always as innocent as it seems. While the children may be hungry, they usually give the money you give them to a leader or boss type of figure. It often doesn’t even go to them.
Begging is a popular way of making money in India. Sometimes people can even “rent” children to make their case more convincing. You’re better off volunteering directly with a reputable company.
3 Traveling To India At The Wrong Time
India will always be an unforgettable experience, but there are some seasons where traveling is just easier than others. Generally speaking, the time to visit India is between October and March, as visiting in the summer will often mean that your trip will be ruined with rain.
That said, the month of December isn’t the best time to go either, since this is the busiest time to visit landmarks like the Taj Mahal. It will be even more chaotic than usual and you’ll have to battle it out with endless other tourists to get a good view.
2 Choosing Not To Leave A Tip
There are some destinations where tipping is not required. But in India, where the wages are extremely low, tipping does make a difference to the workers. You’ll find that if you do leave a tip, servers and staff will genuinely be so grateful because every little bit makes a difference in the end.
The great thing about it is you won’t even notice a standard tip of 10% on most bills. Everything is so cheap that this will often only work out to be $1 or less. Choosing not to leave a tip really doesn’t save you that much money in the long run.
1 Trying To See Absolutely Everything
One of the biggest mistakes you could make while traveling to India is trying to see everything on one trip. Even if you dedicate months abroad, you’re not going to be able to see every single thing that India has to offer. If you try to do too much while you’re there, you’ll end up rushing through things and not seeing anything properly.
Spend a bit of time planning your itinerary before you leave and prioritize the landmarks you want to see the most. The places that fall to the bottom of your list might be better left until next time.