5 tips for India first-timers
Chaotic, bamboozling, intoxicating, crazy, exasperating, wonderful, squalid, beautiful, daunting, overwhelming, and fantastic. India is all these things, and more.
1. Keep your cool
The single most important piece of advice for any India first-timer is to try to remain calm, no matter what. Frustrations boil over easily in India, and being able to control them, take a deep breath and move on, is key to enjoying your time here. If you’re getting stressed about losing some money or being scammed, take a moment to consider how much you’ve really lost and whether it’s worth getting that fussed about.
2. Slow down
3. Escape the crowds
4. Stay healthy
Many travellers go veggie whilst in India, and it's not a bad idea, as a dodgy bit of meat will do you a lot more harm than undercooked vegetables. Plus, many Indians are vegetarian, so the country offers perhaps the world's most fabulous choice of vegetarian food. If you do eat meat, make sure it's well cooked, and stick to stalls and restaurants that are packed with locals (the best barometer for hygiene standards).
When you’re on the road, you may well find you have to use some less than sanitary toilet stops, but these don't have to be health hazards. Toilet paper is rarely provided (though can easily be pinched from hotel rooms!), but the left-hand-and-water-jug method preferred by many locals can be fine if you carry soap with you so you can wash your hands properly afterwards. Anti-bacterial wipes and anti-bacterial gel are also handy to keep in your day bag for a last minute clean up before eating with your fingers.
5. Pick the perfect route
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