In a written release, Phil Cappelli, president of Luxury Gold Vacations, said "India is an exciting and beautiful country, but it can be perceived as intimidating for first-time travelers." To help ensure a hassle-free and smooth journey, Cappelli complied a list of tips for first-time travelers to India:
1. Pick the perfect route
India packs a lot into a massive space – be careful not to overdo it by trying to see too much in one trip. Cappelli says the most common complaint reported by first time visitors is fatigue from trying to do too much. Pick a trip according to what interests you, what you like doing, and how much time you have. Luxury Gold has more than eight curated experiences to choose from, of various lengths and covering different regions.
2. Escape the crowds
With a population of over one billion people, many parts of India are crowded and personal space is especially hard to come by. While some travelers find it energizing to be immersed in crowds, others may find themselves disarmed by the stares and personal questions that come with the territory. It’s important to remember that this is simply part of Indian culture, and merely indicative of the locals’ polite interest in you. If you feel the need to relax and recharge in the city, you can always retreat to the calm of your amazing hotel for a breather. Or head out to someplace rural or off the beaten path. Luxury Gold offers experiences that cater to urban adventurers, lovers of wide-open spaces, and those who want to experience the best of both worlds.
3. Stay healthy
India may have different microbes and a different level of sanitation than you're used to, but that doesn't mean you will get sick. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated (make sure it's bottled and not from the tap); steer clear of ice, fruit if you haven't peeled it yourself, and any food that has been washed in tap water; bring your own toilet paper when using public restrooms; keep anti-bacterial wipes or gel in your day bag. Indian food may also be more rich and intense than you're accustomed to, so ease into the cuisine slowly.
4. Respect local customers
Indians are forgiving of those who aren’t familiar with their culture, but you can quickly make a good impression by learning the ropes before you go. For example, remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, cover your arms and legs (and head, if necessary) when visiting a religious site, don’t touch things with your feet, and don’t eat or pass objects with your left hand. If you’re unsure of local customs, Luxury Gold’s Traveling Concierges are on hand 24/7 to share knowledge, advice, and give practical assistance.
5. Indian time is relative
India operates on its own timetable; this may frustrate the traveler who comes from a culture of punctuality. Many shops do not open until 10:00 a.m., and many government offices close in the afternoon for lunch. Traffic and other interruptions can also mean that getting around can take a lot longer than expected. The key is to be prepared for it, and accept it all as part of India’s charm. Build in plenty of time for unexpected waits, and make sure to check opening hours.