With epic sites like The Taj Mahal, desert safaris, gorgeous beaches and delicious cuisine, we’re not surprised you’re thinking of travelling to India. Whether you already know you’re going, or you’re looking for a bit more information before committing, keep reading to find out how to prepare for a trip to India.
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Book well in advance
If you’re not joining one of our backpacking tours in India, you’ll want to book all your accommodation and transportation well in advance. Tickets for trains across India can go on sales up to 3 months in advance, so to avoid disappointment, we’re advice looking into these before the last minute. Similarly, the best value and quality accommodation can book up pretty quickly. If you have a lot of requirements for your accommodation needs, like a private ensuite room, central location, AC etc, you have even more reason to book in advance. But if you’re not too fussed and just need somewhere to crash for the night, you should have no problem finding somewhere at the last minute.
Be prepared for changes
With all that being said, you should always be prepared for delays or cancellations when travelling in India. No matter how far ahead or well you plan your trip, transportation links across the country are notoriously bad for delays, especially long-distance trains. Although it’s important to have things planned, we’d advice allowing for some flexibility with your transportation links. Try not to plan things so that a train being delayed will have a chain reaction and make you miss all your following transport links. It might seem annoying to hand around in a station for a few hours, but it’ll be much less convenient than being stranded!
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Apply for your visa ahead of time
Luckily, the Indian government now offers a 60-day e-Visa, which can be applied for entirely online, followed by a confirmation email. Although this might be easier than other visa application processes as you won’t need to pay a visit to an embassy, you definitely don’t want to leave it to the last minute. We recommend applying for your visa with 3 months within your travel start date to avoid any issues. The e-Visa application has quite a few steps, from a form consisting of a lot of questions, to payment needing to be made via PayPal. Card payments through the visa website can only be made using an Indian card, so if you haven’t already got a PayPal account, you’ll need to set one up.
You’ll also need to ensure that you have at least 6 months validity in your passport from the date of arrival in India, plus two blank pages for stamping. If you passport doesn’t have both of these, you’ll also need to look into renewing it, and if that’s you case, you must bring your old and new passports with you when you travel. Last but not least, you must have proof of a return or going flight out of India, to prove you won’t be exceeding the 60-day visa.
Get your vaccinations
Ensuring you’re fit and healthy is crucial when preparing for a trip to India. This includes making sure you get the necessary vaccinations before travelling. You’ll need to pay a visit to your local healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks before heading to India, who will check that you’re up to date on your primary courses and boosters, advise you of the vaccinations you’ll need for travelling and how much they will cost. To travel to India, most people will be recommended Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid shots, plus any others on an individual basis. If you have an idea of which areas you’ll be exploring in India, this will help in figuring out which vaccinations you’ll need.
Check out our top 5 tips for eating safe in India.
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Do your research
India is an incredible country, with buckets of culture to explore and endless exciting opportunities to experience. It’s not uncommon for people to experience culture shock when travelling to India, so be sure to do some reason before you go, so you’re more aware of what to expect. Some things to take into consideration are religious beliefs, cultural differences and social hierarchies, which may different significantly from what you’re used to back at home. Both men and women are expected to cover their shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites, although it’s advices for women to dress moderately with these areas covered throughout their travels. Not only will this show your repsect towards the culture of the country you’re visiting, it will also help prevent unwanted stares or interactions. Have a read of our extensive e-book to find out more about social and eating etiquettes.
Check out our ultimate packing guide for your backpacking trip to India.
Get metally prepared
Do you’ve done your research and you have a good idea of what to expect when you get to India. Great! But you’ll probably still experience culture shock! With huge cities comes masses of people, sounds, smells, and even animaly, all of which can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. It can be easy when you’re flustered in a crowd to lose awareness off your belongings, so try your best to stay aleart to avoid any incidents of left. Our top tip for anyone travelling to India is to be patience, let things go and go with the flow! Things don’t always go the way you want or expect while you’re travelling, but don’t let that ruin your trip! You’re about to embark on the most incredible, rewarding trip of your life!
Inspired to join one of our backpacking tours in India? Take a look at our 18-day Ultimate India tour or our 13-day North India tour! Drop us a message in the chat box below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!