Incredible India! It’s not just a phrase but a pure representation of India and its people. India is incredible for its unmatched culture, spellbound landscapes, scrumptious cuisines, rich heritage, traditions and the list goes on. One who wants to have an enjoying, relaxing, spiritual and at the same time a fun-filled, enthralling and exotic travel experience, should visit India. Backpacking in India is now a trend prevailing all across the globe and wanderlusts look forward to explore the Indian territories for unbelievable experiences.
Are you one such traveler? Great! Here are 10 most essential tips for backpacking in India that will prove definitely helpful. Have a read.
- Get an Indian SIM card
Before anything, get an Indian number (SIM card) for emergencies. If your plan is to stay for a month or more, maintaining communication with friends and family is essential and you bet ISD calls would hurt your pocket!
- Eat at places where locals eat and you dare not skip the street food!
When backpacking in India, one thing you will love is the authentic food. But for that, you need to stroll around for busy places where the locals generally go. Why? In simple words, empty restaurants and food stalls are empty for a reason! You will get a change from the regular restaurant food by tasting some regional cuisines of the states. The street food in Mumbai and Delhi are a must-try – pani-puri, dahi papdi and many more. Although a little spicy for foreigners but undoubtedly they are delicious.
- Train journeys are the best
India is a big country and while you are backpacking here, transportation comes under some of the biggest concerns. When travelling between cities or states; pre-plan the dates and book train tickets beforehand. Take this free advice – Trains in India book up really fast and the booking system might not make you quite happy during last minute bookings. While personally I prefer taking a sleeper class ticket and have an exciting journey by mingling with the diverse blend of fellow passengers. However, if comfort and privacy are your priorities, travelling in a 3AC coach would be the best.
- Agree before you pay
From booking a taxi, auto-rickshaw to buying accessories from a marketplace, ensure you agree upon a price before paying and mark – always haggle. You need to be cautious about your expenditures as there are people, although rare, who might just look forward filling their pockets demanding higher prices for even the most nominal things.
- Get your own water purifying source
Drinking tap water in India is not a good idea. You can go for mineral water bottles but think about the number of plastic bottles you’d have to get over a fortnight. To go green and save your pocket, have an effective water purifying filter that cleans even the dirtiest water of the lake. However, restaurants in India offer RO (reverse osmosis) filtered water which is safe to drink.
- Get your own toilet roll
Another important thing to know before going to India is get your toilet roll packed. Indians follow a different culture when it comes to using toilet paper. They rather use their left hand (for which it is considered unclean) and water or simply a hose. So, it’s no harm carrying your own toilet roll and hand sanitizer.
- Respect Indian culture
India is a country following high values and strong religious traditions along with its rich culture and heritage. While exploring the beautiful landscapes and learning about Indian history and culture, showing a little positive gesture and respect will help you abiding by the social etiquettes. If you are a female, try wearing clothes that cover your shoulders with a length below your knees as a sign of respect to Indian culture.
- No issues regarding accommodations
In the past few decades, India has been amongst the most travelled country by backpackers which has led to better accommodation facilities for the same. Now, you can get a budget hotel or hostel in almost every tourist attraction in the country. Popular backpacker hostels in cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Kochi, Varanasi and Goa include The Hostel Crowd and Zostel. There are others too, you just need to have a good research for the cheapest ones.
- Be responsible for your safety
India is alleged to be a “dangerous” country to go backpacking but it is not completely true. Being responsible with your stuff is something that applies everywhere, any place and any time. Ensure you don’t carry huge amounts of cash with you and take care of your valuable when in crowded public places like railway stations, buses, etc. Women shouldn’t get out late night into the dark alone and be confident to ask out for help when it seems to be in trouble.
- Get ready for a culture shock
It’s India, different from several other countries you have travelled. Here, you will find some wonderful perks of following cultural values and some demeaning rituals that you will hate. So, get ready for building a love-hate relationship with this country and prepare yourself for both shock and surprises while you travel around unfolding the cultural layers of India.