Tips for Traveling India for The First Time
Whether you want to visit India’s famous Golden Triangle or take your time to witness as much of the country as possible for the first time, it’s important to know how to get around and tick everything off your list. India is a magical place with various cultures and surprises around every corner. However, the large population can make things feel overwhelming if you’re visiting for the first time, which is why it’s so crucial to know how you can make the most of your time there.
Tips for Traveling India for The First Time
Put Together a Flexible Itinerary
Before you do anything, outline a travel itinerary for your trip to India. At the very least, an itinerary helps you plan where you need to be and ensures you see everything you want to see.
However, sticking to your plans too strictly may not be as simple as you’d hope. There could be delays getting from one place to another, or you’d rather stay an extra day or two in a city or village you’ve fallen in love with. A flexible itinerary makes things much easier to manage, as long as you get to the airport for your departing flight on time.
Taking the Train
You should already be aware that train travel in India is legendary. Many consider it a quintessential experience you will not find anywhere else. For many people–especially backpackers trying to save as much as possible–it is the only way to see the country. While it may not be the most comfortable of experiences if you’re taking a long trip, it’s still something you should experience at least once. You might even enjoy it, and you’ll be eager to catch the next train to get to your next stop. India Railways connects almost every part of the country, so you can trust you’ll always reach your destination.
***Warning if your ticket says WL on it you can’t actually travel unless someone else cancels. WL means you’re on the waiting list!***
Hire A Vehicle
Driving in a foreign country can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re a confident driver, there is perhaps no better way to see India for the first time. You should be able to rent a car when you arrive in Delhi, and once you get out of the city, you can enjoy the open road. Like solo travel, you can stop wherever you like but you also don’t need to worry about sticking to a bus or train schedule, giving you much more freedom and a unique opportunity to witness all India can offer.
When we missed our train and didn’t read the train ticket advice properly above we hired taxis to take us between places as we didn’t want to drive ourselves. If there are two of more of you the prices are still budget friendly most of the time.
Take the Bus
Another option is taking the bus, which is almost as convenient as the train and you shouldn’t need to wait too long for another vehicle to come along even if you miss the first. There are a few things to know about India’s bus service before you get on, though. Primarily, the driver will stop frequently to pack on as many people as possible, which can be beneficial for you if you don’t mind standing up for a few hours. You can also book a private bus if you’re traveling with a group, as this is often more comfortable while still being affordable.
Go With a Group
Alternatively, India Group Tours are another way to see the country, especially if you prefer to be with more people and are not confident in getting around alone. This is arguably the best way to see India for the first time, as you are in a more controlled environment where everything is arranged for you. The tour leaders will show you all the essential sights and still get plenty of downtime for yourself. If you’re visiting India for a taster of what travel can be, group tours will boost your confidence and help you determine if you prefer it this way or want a more relaxed approach.
Go It Alone
If you want to see as much as possible, solo travel is the way to go. Still, like anywhere unfamiliar, solo travel can be stressful, and you should always look out for scams. Despite this, it’s an excellent way to see the country without restrictions, using a mis of the options to travel around above. You can go wherever you want whenever you want and not need to worry about accommodating anyone else, even if you bump into other travelers along the way.
It’s easy to fall in love with everything India offers the moment you arrive. So, whether you’re taking a short trip or want to immerse yourself in the country for as long as possible (most nations can stay up to six months), these tips should help you see everything you’ve heard about and even discover some hidden gems along the way.
Got any tips for traveling India for the first time? Drop the in the comments below.
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