By Ganapathy Krishnan
So, you want to go to India! India is an amazing country with a diversity that is unmatched anywhere in the world. As you go from the north to the south, you will encounter completely different landscapes from the snowy and chilly north to the tropical paradise in the south.
Languages, accents, local architecture and scenery will change as you go from one state to another. So, here is how you make sure you enjoy your trip to India.
- Take all your shots. I know it is not fun, but neither is getting typhoid, cholera or hepatitis B. India is still a developing country and the level of hygiene has not caught up with the West, yet.
- Get a prescription for Malarone, especially if you are traveling in the winter months. This prevents you from getting malaria since mosquitoes are quite prevalent. They thirst for the unsuspecting travelers’ blood.
- Carry insect repellents like Deep Woods Off with you to ward off pesky flying critters.
- Always drink bottled water, but make sure you get it from a reputable source. Otherwise, you might be paying for water that was bottled at the local tap.
- Most airports have prepaid taxis and also cars for hire. You will find cars for hire nicer to ride in but about twice as expensive as prepaid taxis. In Mumbai, air conditioned taxis are called cool cabs.
- You can now book your tickets on trains and planes online. I book all my tickets before I leave for India. I generally travel by train in 2-tier a/c instead of 3-tier a/c. The difference is that you get more space with 2-tier a/c coaches.
- It is safe to eat hot foods, but be very wary about cold foods or salads.
- If you get sick and you need medicine quickly, go to any pharmacy. You can get almost anything without a prescription. Just ask the pharmacist. They are very knowledgeable.
- India is generally a safe country, but it is not a good idea to wander around alone at night.
- Exchange your money only at authorized centers. You can get a better exchange with private parties, but this is a very serious offence and might land you in jail where the conditions (I have been told) are not exactly 5-star.
- Be generous to beggars. I say this only from a good karma perspective. They are generally harmless.
Finally, enjoy India for what it is. Do not expect living conditions like in the western world. My kids (who were born in the US) and I take all these precautions and thoroughly enjoy our trips to India.
Dr. Krishnan is the President of RentExpert, the leading site for high quality, well managed vacation rentals. Dr. Krishnan is a serial entrepreneur and has built multiple successful companies over the last 15 years. You can find more detailed information.
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