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Travel Tips

Traveling through India is often compared with a trip around the world and for it’s right reasons. Each city in India has it’s own unique character, whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of India’s capital Delhi or the more laid-back ambiance of Jaipur and Pushkar in Rajasthan, the Bollywood capital Mumbai or the white sandy beaches of Goa and Kerala in the south. Although traveling through India is an incredible & safe experience, here are some travel tips to ease your trip.

Leave valuables home leave your valuables such as laptop and expensive cellphones at home. The extreme heat, dust and smog will get your hand-held phone screens to scratch as well your laptop to damage during transfers due to heating problems. Most of the budget hotels do not offer WIFI, unless you are planning on staying at $150 dollar up/5 star hotel establishments your laptop will be off no use.

Travel light weight with the constant heat it’s recommended that you travel light weight. Whether traveling from one city to another or simply wandering around in the city. You always want to be carrying as little as possible, even at night.

Avoid long sleeved clothing, some say it’s a no brainer, or even a useless tip yet people forget how dessert hot India can be at times. Still, walking around the streets you will see tourists who brought their long sleeved clothing and are actually wearing it. Reasoning is because they bring it as backup or evenings, but with clothes draining dirty so quickly the laundry might just be too late and leave you no choice.

Carry napkins, as most of the Indians do not use toilet paper it’s recommended you carry around a pack of napkins. Even most of the budget hotels do not offer toilet paper or even hot water.

Nail clipper, as most meals are eaten by hand you might want to keep your nails short in order to avoid dirt getting under it. Most of the tourists get sick of dirt stuck under the finger nails. Use the nail clipper, keep your nails short and wash your hands before dinner (even if they don’t look dirty).

Drink Coca Cola or Pepsi after your meal, this counts for any meal you’re having from your hotel to restaurants as well food stands outside. The coca cola will save you from a stomach age or getting sick from the food. It really works!

Apply skin & sun lotion, it doesn’t apply for everyone but you will find out soon enough. The heat can cry your skin quickly or leave a nasty sun burn. There’s small shops on the side of the roads, Indian convenient stores that sell skin lotions and anti sun burn. The retail price is listed on the bottle, normally wise you should not pay more than exactly listed on the bottle. This counts for all products.

Carry mosquito spray, a small bottle of mosquito spray can help you out at times, especially when visiting the river banks of Varanasi, the holy city or when sightseeing the old monuments and forts of Agra, Delhi, Goa, Murud, Jaipur and Pushkar.

Travel with passport especially at night the Indian police has many checkpoints setup around the cities and can randomly stop your taxi asking for a valid passport and visa. Not having them with you will result in a fine which will be a random number the police officer feel’s he can get from you.

Know where you’re going is a basic rule that applies in every city. If you don’t know where you are going, pretend. Write down the name of the place you want to go as well the area it’s in. If the taxi driver doesn’t seem to understand you, asks for a business card or phone number simply proceed to the next taxi. Show confidence, make them believe you know where it is for example by saying it’s not to far. Without you knowing where you want to go, the taxi drivers will put you at random locations in the city along with commission bazaars and fake tourists offices trying to charge you an arm and leg for private cars and tours.

Know the prices, first of all remember that all prices are listed on the product! When you visit the Big Bazaar supermarket in the big malls you won’t find any prices listed besides for promotions. For example it should read (15 rs price inclusive of all taxes) on the neck of any bottled water brand (1 liter). Coca cola and similar drinks (600ml) should not exceed 22 rupees as of April 2010. Prices of small snacks are 5 to 10 rupees, again the price is listed any product! This also counts for the shampoo, body lotions, deodorant sprays and other products.

Discuss the price before, always! discuss the price before hand. Most of the auto-auto rickshaw drivers will only ask you where you wish to go without turning on the meter charging you astronomical fees of two, three up to five hundred rupees ($10.00 dollars). Discuss the price before hand, no matter how far it is the price shouldn’t be over a hundred rupees (about $2.00) basically anywhere in India. Taxi prices in Goa and Delhi are relatively higher than elsewhere, in Mumbai you should be able to use a meter taxi without problems due to the many police checks.

Ignore anyone approaching you, this travel tip can’t be stressed too many times in India. It applies anywhere, monuments, markets and even randomly on the street. They are called touts, even the locals don’t trust them. No matter how friendly they seem or say they only want to chat, there’s only one reason why they’re approaching you. Money.

LIE, often the touts who approach you will try to make little conversation with you in order to know what they are facing. The basic questionnaire:
1. Where do you come from? They don’t really care where you from, instead they establish the currency to charge you in. Euro, dollar or pounds.
2. How many times you visit India? It’s in their best interests to know how easy it is to frame your money. Lie and say it’s your fourth or fifth time and wish him a pleasant day then walk away!

Bring a backup battery with all these beautiful sightseeing’s everywhere, as well the picturesque city streets you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity of that one beautiful and breathtaking shot! Bring a backup battery for your camera.

Don’t give money to beggars, handing money to one beggar will activate more beggars to come to you. Ignoring them is the best, also the little children, wounded children, older male & females and mom’s with babies. Most of them work in large groups, if you can’t stand the sight of the poor children, the fact they life on the street try walking around with sweets. This is generally accepted and the kids like it!

Be aware of your belongings at all times thieves are fast and work efficient, be aware of your belongings at all time. This travel tip doesn’t apply specifically for India but also on your adventures worldwide.

Keep backup money although the cities in India are relatively safe, and ATM machines are widely available throughout the cities it’s always wise to keep backup money in your hotel, perhaps foreign currency or in form of travelers check.

Bring a backup credit card as you never know what may happen on your next trip, it doesn’t apply specifically for India alone but it’s handy to have and keep on your adventures worldwide.