Top 10 Things to Remember When Backpacking Around India
India is an exotic destination for any Western traveler seeking to explore this great country with its amazing people and traditions. Despite all of the excitement that comes with backpacking around India anticipation, there are many more other things that many first travelers fail to research, such as health hazards, personal safety and basic rules to stick to. Here are the top 10 things to remember when backpacking to visit many tourist places in India:
1. Climate – Most parts of the country are subject to hot tropical climate with cold nights, so prepare for this when considering which clothing and equipment to bring. There’s also monsoon rain season (June-September) to worry about because you definitely should avoid it for the ultimate backpacking experience. The best time to go backpacking around India is from October to early April to avoid seasonal weather disasters.
2. Health – India like all countries lying in the tropical climate zones and being the third world country has a myriad of diseases that are not common in Europe or Northern America. Before embarking on a backpacking vacation to India, take care to get vaccinations to ensure personal health safety. Some of the common diseases in India are yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, Hepatitis A and polio. Talk to your physician how you can obtain or get up todate on your vaccinations.
3. Water – Clean water is a huge problem for backpackers in India. Since municipal water is not treated, it is a breeding ground for various bacteria and viruses that will not only give you diarrhea but a more serious disease if you are not careful. While backpacking around India it is important to have water purification supplies such as iodine or a filter. The water in India is notorious for getting travelers sick. Drink only purified or bottled water, this water should also be used for washing fruits and vegetables and even brushing teeth.
4. Food – While Indian cuisine is one of the tastiest in the world and you will most likely be tempted to try an overabundance of culinary offerings when you visit the country, care should be taken as to where and what you eat to avoid getting a food borne illness. Seasoned travelers to India warn against eating street foods, consuming fruits or vegetables with the skin on or fresh fruit juices or salads. The safest bet is to eat steamy hot dishes from crowded well known restaurants.
5. Personal Safety – If you’re backpacking around India or anywhere else in the world, it’s important to respect local laws and stay in tuned to local traditions and customs. If you are a female, always travel with a male companion to avoid unwanted attention and dress appropriately. Pick pocketers are very common in India on public transportation, at the markets and busy streets. Stay aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
6. Transportation – India is a large country and you will inevitably have to use the public transportation at some point during your backpacking around India experience. Apart from air travel, railroad transportation is one of the most common means of traveling used by foreign visitors. Available to thousands destination, it’s a cheap way to get from one destination to another. Most seasoned backpackers to India recommend you book tickets or 7-day passes to second class that is less expensive than the first class but still offers much necessary air conditioning.
7. Accomodation – Backpackers can choose from a myriad of India hotels and lodging options depending on their budget and comfort preferences. The most budget way to travel is definitely staying at hostels providing just the basic necessities for a deeply discounted price. For travelers seeking something more comfortable, consider staying at bungalows, especially if you are traveling with a larger group. Hotels provide the top level of comfort, including air conditions, clean rooms and service, however prepare to pay the price.
8. Popular Routes – There are plenty of places to visit in India, most popular being traveling around Delhi region, Agra and Jaipur. Sticking to major cities lets backpackers enjoy the amenities of and at the same time explore the landmarks. Delhi boast the largest number of temples and beautiful gardens to see such as Bahai Temple, Lodi and Mughal Gardens, to name just a few. Agra is home to one of the most popular landmarks in India, majestic Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. In Jaipur sometimes called the Pink City, you will find a lot of markets and historical buildings. However, one of the most westernized place to visit in India is the coastal Goa State boasting incredible beaches and sightseeing.
9. Mistakes to Avoid – First time backpackers are bound to make these mistakes, so learn from the seasoned travelers to have one of the best experiences when you travel India. Pack as little as possible, you can always buy an extra set of clothing in major cities or supplies and leave some room for souvenirs you will inevitably buy along the way. Before you go, make sure you learn a few useful phrases in Hindi to help you along the way. Plan your travel routes and destinations ahead of time, choose means of transportation and research as many details as possible.
10. Money – Bringing different forms of payment is essential including several credit cards, travelers checks and cash during your backpacking around India adventure. Do not put all of your money in one spot, spread it out and stuff in in different places. If you are buying something at the market, do not be afraid to haggle, normally you will be able to buy something 30-50% cheaper.