India has long been a destination to spike the most curious of travellers. A population of more than 1 billion people crammed into 3.2 million square kilometres of land promises to bring a journey of energy, diversity and intrigue. More so, to the Western traveller, India is a culture with its own customs and many are far from that observed back home. There is no doubt this is one of the most interesting countries on the tourist trail.
But along with a country that observes it’s own customs and rules comes surprises. There are some things you can do at home that simply won’t be tolerated or won’t be safe for you in India. Like with all travel a touch of caution should be adopted. We’ve put together a short list of things you should know before embarking on your India journey. Our list might seem controversial but is a guide aimed at ensuring curious, fearless travellers have an exquisite experience.
#1 India Travel Tip: Small Groups of Women Should Avoid Groups of Men
Customs between genders are a little different in India than in places like Australia, U.S.A or Britain. In India women are not considered equal to men and it can be considered there is a lesser respect for women observed than you might be used to. As a result there are numerous reports of female travellers finding themselves in situations where they are suddenly surrounded by larger groups of men and the unthinkable occurs. These inhale acts occur for two reasons; 1) a female wasn’t careful enough of her surroundings and fell into position where she was a minority and 2) Some Indian men don’t think twice about females also being a human and treat them poorly. The best way to overcome this to be mindful of where you are walking, and avoid groups of men where possible.
#2 India Travel Tip: Know Your Ride
There are reports of travellers being collected by taxis who drive to a location where more local men climb into the vehicle and before the travellers realise they are suddenly the minority in a car with strangers being robbed. Unfortunately this happens all too often and because of this most hotels and guest houses put steps in place to ensure the taxis collecting their guests are known and reputable. If you are planning a car journey you are generally safest to have your ride arranged for you by the place you are staying.
#3 India Travel Tip: Public Journeys Can Be Lengthy
There’s something appealing to a fearless traveller about taking public transport and riding with locals. This form of arriving at a destination can spur a sense of independence while becoming more familiar with local way of life but in India you should know your ride could be more unpleasant than enjoyable. Trains and buses between regions can take far longer than you imagined, involve smouldering heat and long periods of time without a seat, water or a toilet stop. Make sure you know exactly what you are in for before you end up in a position of wishing you’d chosen a different method.
#4 India Travel Tip: Avoid Donating to Street Kids
There are 18 million people in Mumbai alone. India is nothing short of over populated with a stark contrast between rich and poor. Your travels will see you stumble upon poverty that is sure to pull at your heart strings. Grimy slums, disabled street kids, grief stricken families all hovering around while you galavant across their country can be tough to handle. It is largely recommended that travellers don’t give in to the incessant demands of those begging. The deed is said to exacerbate the situation signalling to the lesser advantaged that continuing to seek money this way will be rewarding.
#5 India Travel Tip: Know That You Won’t Know
It’s amazing how the locals navigate their way through their home town when to the untrained eye the streets are a maze of identical pathways without a name. For travellers this can present issues when all you want is a bed to lay your head after a long hot day exploring yet you have no idea where you are or where to go. More so than most countries, India demands a strong sense of direction an eagle eye, and bucket loads of patience.
#6 India Travel Tip: Airports Can Be Chaos
In the smaller regions like Goa the airports can come across like a disorganised, un managed rat race. When going through security or customs be mindful of what is being asked. If they want your passport to be operate from you when moving through security scans respectfully suggest otherwise.