Of all the countries in the world I have visited, there is no place quite like India. It is a magical land. It has the ability to enchant you, mystify you and challenge you– often all at the same time. India is a living, breathing being, and its stories, culture and people are a reflection of her magnificence.
Travelling to India is not for the faint of heart; it is also not for your typical traveller. It has resorts, but the focus for the foreigner that comes to India is to explore the vast, deep spiritual wisdom that resides in her heart. I’ve met travellers from all over the world in India — some as different from others as it is possible to be — yet all with one common theme: self-exploration.
If you travel to India, I warn you, you will not be the same when you return. Some people love it, others hate it. But one thing you will always hear from hear from them is that it changed their perspective — one way or the other.
It is for this reason I encourage everyone I meet to go there. It will make you a better human being.
Here are my travel tips for having an amazing time in Mother India.
1) Pack less.
You don’t need as much stuff as you think, and India can provide you with a better version of nearly everything, anyway. Often for a much better deal.
2) Don’t bring anything you’re not willing to see ruined.
Everything will get dirty.
3) Dress conservatively.
Women need to be especially aware and cover their shoulders and legs. India is a very traditional country and you will get intimidating stares — and possibly even harassment — if you don’t.
4) Bring USD as a back up.
Always keep about 100-200$ of USD in a safe place. There was a cash crisis during my trip (the first one in history) and I wasn’t able to get any money out of ATM’s for days. Not fun.
5) Bring a ceramic water filter.
India’s water supply is not safe to drink, therefore a lot of travellers end up buying water bottles. A much easier solution, however (and one that will save you money as well as help the environment), is a ceramic water filter. It’s simple, light, reusable and it cleans the water without the waste. Totally worth the investment! (And if you do end up buying bottled water, make sure the seal hasn’t been broken.)
6) Bring shelf-stable probiotics and activated charcoal.
Everyone has heard about the dreaded traveller’s diarrhea (otherwise known as ‘Delhi Belly’). If you want to avoid this (or worse), your first line of defense is a high-quality, non-refrigerated probiotic strain to keep your digestive track strong.
Second comes the activated charcoal. One of the items on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, and the preferred treatment for a number of poisonings, activated charcoal can literally be a lifesaver. Be aware that it has side effects, however. Make sure that you talk to your doctor regarding its use.
7) Spirulina tablets.
This is to ensure you get your greens, as you will be extremely hard-pressed to find green salads, and it’s best to avoid raw food.
8) Book railway travel in advance.
Indians travel a lot in their country and the trains fill up fast. Book online, in advance, to make sure you get a seat. They also have special classes for foreigners.
If the energy doesn’t feel right, change plans and try again later if you like. India’s an ancient country and there are a lot of shifting energies. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.
10) Expect the unexpected.
India is full of surprises. Learn to go with the flow and surrender. Have fun!