India is a truly magical destination, which I would wholeheartedly recommend to any traveller. The rich culture and history is hugely enchanting, whilst the opportunities the country provides to learn about different religions, traditions and ways of life are second to none. It can however be a difficult country to navigate, but these tips should start you off in the right direction.


1. Do your research

It really pays to do your research before visiting India. You might be able to rock up in Europe with no plans and hope for the best, but unfortunately the same does not apply to India. Having a good idea of what to expect, the cultural norms and necessary safety precautions can help ensure you have a great time.

2. Dip a toe in the water first

If you’re in love with the idea of visiting India, but not entirely sure if you’ll love the reality of being in the country, you don’t have to dive in head first. On my first trip to India I was lucky enough to be on an organised educational visit, and for a similar experience you could try staying in a resort. First Choice have some great deals, and staying in a resort would give you the opportunity to go out and experience all that the country has to offer with the benefit of being able to escape back to a private poolside when it all gets too much.


3. Have an open mind

Part of the appeal of India for a lot of people is how drastically different it is from the Western world. It goes without saying that you are going to encounter an endless number of unusual customs, traditions and practices, so you will need to keep an open mind. Just because one way of doing something is different, it doesn’t mean either way is right or wrong nor better or worse. Try to understand the differences rather than passing judgement.

4. Learn to love the chaos

There will be endless traffic jams, crowds, queue jumping and invasions of personal space. Rather than letting it stress you out, learn to love the chaos. Fully embracing the culture can make the biggest difference to whether you leave India desperate to come back or vowing to never return.


5. Wear appropriate clothing

There’s a lot of things to bear in mind when packing for a trip to India. The cultural expectation is for women to cover their shoulders and knees, plus everything in between. If you plan on visiting any temples or mosques be prepared to cover your head too, though a scarf can easily be used for this purpose. Not only does your wardrobe need to be culturally sensitive, it needs to be comfortable too. Lightweight, loose fitting clothing will be perfect for the hot and humid climate.

6. Leave your watch at home

You’ll quickly learn that nobody and nothing is ever going to be on time. Your best bet is to go with the flow and leave your watch at home. Abandoning the constraints of time can also help you live in the moment and enjoy the never ending array of sights, smells and sounds to a greater extent.

Have you got any tips to add?

PS. If you are thinking of heading to India, be sure to check out this post on the contrasts of Mumbai too.