8 Smart Ways to Experience Safe & Memorable Trip to India
“Atithi Devo Bhava” – one phrase that defines tourism in India. I am proud of being an Indian and cherish its rich cultural heritage. But, with the recent events that happened in this country, tourists from abroad don’t actually feel safer while traveling alone in India. Even if they are not harm physically, they are scared of being harassed or cheated.
Unfortunately hygiene and sanitation takes a back seat in most part of India which is also the main cause of several health problems and illness for many foreigners visiting India. Hence several adjustments are must for these foreign tourists (Athithi) who are making their first trip to India to explore its rich cultural heritage and other ethnic diversities.
Though I can’t help each one of these tourists but I can provide some useful guide or tips that will help not just the foreign tourists but also the fellow Indians to stay healthy and safe throughout their trip while exploring different parts of India.
Here I am listing a few major concerns that most of us face while our Trip to India:
How to Get Clean Drinking Water?
Now water is immense in most parts of India but then how pure or clean is the water is a major concern for not just tourists but everyone in India. Diarrhea is the most common disease that happens to tourists who are traveling India for the first time. And the major cause of this disease is Water.
Never drink tap water in India. Instead go for branded & company sealed mineral water bottles which are easily available at most places. Always look for the seal and make sure it’s the company seal as there are many who sell used bottles filling in tap water.
The best way to avoid this problem is carrying clean water from the hotel premises along with you while moving through the city or when eating outside. Don’t pay more than the MRP mentioned on the bottle. Also avoid buying Re.1 Water pouches which is easily available in India but at the same time are not healthy at all.
Where & What To Eat?
After water, food is one of the biggest questions while exploring India. But unlike water issues where you don’t get enough choices, you get plenty of choices for Food in India. Yes, from Veg to Non-Veg, Sweet to Spicy and many such varieties of food is available in India.
I would recommend tasting the special food of that region instead of going for something else. If you are visiting Northern Part of India then try Punjabi food and if you are exploring Southern India then try different South Indian dishes.
Always remember the quantity of food serving changes according to different regions. You will always get over quantity while in Northern or Southern India whereas moderate when you travel other parts of the country. Make sure you eat at a hygienic restaurants or eat outs to avoid getting sick. Occasionally you can also taste some of the famous street food like Panipuri, Vadapav, Samosa etc. and many more.
Personal Sanitation and Hygiene Problems in India
I feel a bit shameful bringing this into notice of everyone but who the hell cares and besides it’s a well known fact about this country. India is one country where you will be prefer to hold your nature’s call rather visiting any public toilets that are unhygienic and smells awful.
If you visit toilets especially in Bus Depots or Railway Stations in India you will be welcomed with disgusting smell that you may even faint at the 1st time. Not only that the things get even worse for women and can result into infectious disease if not taken care.
You can do nothing but to attend your nature’s call. So make sure you visit malls or popular restaurants or large shopping complexes to take care of these emergencies instead of using government public toilets like Shulabh Sochalaya or those in Railway Stations or Bus Depots.
Should You Get Into Crowd During Festivals?
No! Please don’t get me wrong here. I am not against of celebration or enjoying the best time during festivals especially the Maha Kumbh. But then there have been lot of unfortunate events that happened in the crowds especially for women.
Crowd is an easy target for pick-pockets or chain snatching. The thief can easily disappear in the crowd. Things get even worse when there are cases of molestation such a groping of private parts, pinching etc. in the crowd with full of perverts.
If you wish to have a great time in the crowd to enjoy the festival in the most cultural way, make sure that you visit these events in a large group. Men in the group must surround the women to protect them from perverts. Also don’t carry things that can be easily stolen while in crowd.
Beware of Thugs
It’s normal to have Thugs in any country for that matter; India is not the only one. But then the main targets of these Thugs are tourists or especially those who are new to the place and are not local.
While planning your trip to India make sure to pre-book transportation facilities with your travel agency. Also if possible hire a guide from a reputed travel agency who will assure that you aren’t cheated by ending up paying way too much higher than the original cost of products or taxi fare.
If possible travel with a local friend in the country as he/she will be aware of these evil prevailing in the country and can easily take care of that. Don’t worry, nobody will attack you and rob all your money but they are smart enough to charge a lot higher than the price without you even knowing it. Be smart and bargain at every instance or purchase. It’s a popular trend in India and you will enjoy it too. 🙂
Don’t Wander Alone in Isolated Areas!
Actually this applies anywhere in the world. That’s the most easy target to cheat, rob or even rape without anyone noticing. In the recent flow of events in India, it’s extremely dangerous for both men and women but especially for the latter to wander around in isolated areas.
Try avoiding to any kind of isolated place where you can get mobbed, attacked or worse. There are many incidents of tourist getting attacked and even raped on isolated area. It’s better to be safe than to roam at lonely places just to avoid crowd.
Avoid exploring the places at night alone. Call a friend or have a group of tourists whenever you are going to any such isolated areas. Always be near the crowd so you can seek their attention when in danger. We, Indians are known for their helping nature so rest assured if someone’s around they will surely react to your call for help.
When in India, Do as the Indians Do!
There’s a famous phrase about Rome that says, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do“, the same applies well for India too. India is country with culturally diversified regions and states. There are 2 groups of people living in India. One being the conservative especially found in the rural areas and the other group would be the modern one living in the metro cities.
I would recommend changing your attire and blending with the rich culture of India when you visit the rural parts of this country where you can find the glimpses of its ancient history and lifestyle.
There are two benefits of blending with the people of this country. Firstly perverts wouldn’t get any chance to tease the women tourists and secondly you won’t be surrounded by crowd every time they see you when you walk around labeled as a tourist. Trust me you will enjoy this new look of yours and would be great memories in pictures to take away with you when you return to your homeland.
Don’t Easily Fall for Beggars!
The most annoying people you find when you travel around in India is beggars. They are almost everywhere in all parts of this country. Now don’t fall for these beggars as its one of the largest mafia run organization run in this country.
Never help them with money because then you will be supporting this mafia to grow. Tourists are the easy target for these beggars and they often surround them especially the foreigners and beg for money. Most of the tourists fall for this showing pity and that’s where these beggars play their best game.
If you really want to help them then instead of giving money, give them food packets or help them get a meal from a restaurant. Many won’t appreciate that as their job is to collect money by begging but the genuinely starving ones would bless you in abundance.
India is one of the best and the most beautiful countries in this world. It stands apart from other places with its rich cultural heritage, diversities in customs, language, food and people. These diversities in nature make it the best tourist destinations for many people in the world.
India is also safer if you follow the above tips and guidelines. Every country has its own pros & cons and so does India. Be safe, Be smart and enjoy your stay in India and make it a memorable one.