India is a diverse country with a variety of not only cuisine but also culture and weather. Itineraries help plan your trip but sometimes they leave out important information that could make your trip seamless.

Here are 10 things you need to keep in mind before travelling to India –

1. Research the weather
India is usually considered a hot country, especially for those travelling from Europe. But India is a vast country and has varying weather conditions in different regions so it is optimum to research the weather of the places you’ll be visiting. From the humid heat of Kolkata to the chilly valleys of Darjeeling, timely research will also help you pack better.

2. Money, cash and plastic
India is on its way to becoming a digital country but there are still a lot of places that accept only cash. For instance, if you’re travelling to Jodhpur and are all out of mineral water, the small kiosk near the highway will have no use for your credit or debit cards. Thus, it is wiser to carry a decent amount of cash but not too much either. Also, it is better to look up the location and the number of ATMs in the place you intend to visit.

3. Getting around in the city
Though the major metropolitan cities have a sound public transport infrastructure, sometimes taking a cab adds to the ease. To prevent from getting fleeced, it’s better to check the price card of taxi companies but downloading cab aggregator apps like Ola and Uber is even better. This will help you plan your trip better, especially since the cab aggregators also provide hourly plans apart from taking you from one point to the other.

4. Keep a track of the holiday calendar
India is home to different religions and sub-communities, which means we celebrate various festivals and holidays. Depending on the scale of the festival or holiday, sometimes certain areas are out of bounds. For instance, India Gate around Republic Day is not tourist-friendly and the security is beefed up at almost all places that are frequented by tourists. So, it’s better to plan your trip keeping the holiday calendar in mind.

5. Get your shots
It is usually mentioned in tourist pamphlets but it is optimal to get your shots done before visiting India so that you can enjoy a stress-free journey.

6. Customs, not the airport kind
Certain places in India follow their own customs, which means what is acceptable in Delhi might not be acceptable in Hyderabad. It is advisable to research the customs and culture of the places you intend to visit in order to not unknowingly offend the locals.

7. Food and allergies
India is known for its lip-smacking cuisine. But it is also very rich and uses a lot of spices. Though most restaurants in Metros would have ingredients listed out in English, it’s better to familiarize yourself with the Indian names of spices and foods you are allergic to.

8. Laws and regulations
The legal drinking age in the US is 21 while that in Sweden is 18. But the legal age in India is 25. Laws and regulations differ from country to country, so in order to avoid finding yourself in an embarrassing situation, it’s better to read up on the common laws and regulations.

9. Mind your language
India is a land of many languages so don’t expect Hindi to help you everywhere. So read up on useful phrases in the language of the place you want to visit. Knowing phrases in local languages can go a long way.

10. Permits
Certain places in India are protected under the law, so visitors (domestic and foreign) need to acquire permits before visiting. Make sure to read up and research thoroughly the place you’re visiting and inquire if there are any permits required to be sought. Many times, unscrupulous people may feed you false information, which might lead to trouble. So it’s better to research on your end as well on an official government website or channel.

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