India Travel Tips for Beginners
India attracts more than 8 million visitors each year. Some travel for business, others travel for leisure and others travel to the country as digital nomads.
Whatever your reason, one thing is for sure, India is a mind-blowing travel destination. Not only is it home to one of the Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal, it’s also rich with unique cultures and breathtaking landscapes.
To ensure you travel to India with style and get the best out of your trip, here are three tips you should observe.
1. Determine your preferred method of internet connectivity
When traveling, how to get online is always a key concern. Horror stories abound of people who end up with astronomical bills as a result of their phones roaming on data networks when in the destination countries.
To avoid such a scenario, consider these three options for internet access when you travel to India.
Use your mobile provider as long as they offer an international plan
Using your mobile provider provides the least hassle for internet connectivity. However, you must first check if your provider offers an international plan, and if that international plan applies to the country, you are traveling to—in this case, India. Roaming can be very expensive, so check with your service provider first to make sure you will not be charged beyond your budget.
Roaming can be very expensive, so check with your service provider first to make sure you will not be charged beyond your budget.
Purchase a sim card in India
Purchasing a sim card and using it for data needs is yet another option. However, remember that for a new sim card to work, your handset must be unlocked. With an unlocked device, you are at liberty to insert the sim card of your choice.
Once you set the sim card and purchase data, you can hotspot your phone so that all your other devices can have access to the internet.
In India, Airtel, Jio and Idea Cellular are the top mobile sim card networks. However, Airtel is the biggest, it offers the best speeds, it is affordable, and it offers both 3G and 4G.
An advantage of using a local sim card is the high speeds and 24-hour access to the internet. The disadvantage is that activating the sim card might be tricky at times.
Free Wi-Fi is available everywhere in India in restaurants, museums, bars, public transport operators etcetera. However, please remember that depending on public Wi-Fi means you will not have 24-hour internet connectivity. Also, you will have to contend with the inherent insecurity of public Wi-Fi.
With that in mind, if you still plan to use public Wi-Fi, then you must of necessity use a VPN. Moreover, use a VPN if you run into geo-restrictions in India.
2. Remember that cash is preferred over digital modes of payment
When traveling to India, you must remember that cash is the main mode of payment. A few upscale places will offer digital payment modes as well, but most areas only accept cash.
India’s currency is the Indian rupee (INR), and at the moment 1 dollar equals 71.64 INR. Once you get to India, you can exchange your money at the airport, in banks or RBI approved money changers.
Note that airports tend to have extremely high exchange fees. Indian banks and approved money changers might offer better rates.
3. Dress modestly
While there are no hard guidelines on how tourists should dress, India is a pretty conservative country, and as a result, it is always a safe bet to dress modestly and cover up as much as you can.
India is a pretty conservative country, and as a result, it is always a safe bet to dress modestly
Note that this applies to both men and women. Therefore, before traveling, do not only shop for clothes that coincide with the ongoing season but also shop for in style clothes that are a bit more conservative.
For example, go for a one-piece instead of a bikini, a short-sleeved top instead of an off-shoulder.