And now for some practical tips! Planning a trip to India takes some preparation. Apart from the obvious - booking your flights,
accommodation or a guided tour - you will also need various immunizations, medications & to sort out your visa.
I went to a travel clinic about four months before travelling to get the full care package: vaccinations against Tetanus, Hep A & Hep B, Polio/Diphtheria & Typhoid. I also got malaria pills (Malerone). Check with your doctor if you need to take malaria pills depending on when/where exactly in India you're travelling.
Here's what I included in my personal medication kit:
Diarrhea pills (an absolute must!)
Pills against nausea & headache
Insect repellent (containing DEET)
An alcohol-based disinfectant (gel & wipes)
Contraception pills (whatever you're on, bring your own as they may not be sold
Water purifying tablets (luckily I never needed those, but better safe than sorry!)
Allergy relief pills - even if you don't have any known allergies, those pills are nice to have as your body will have to deal with a zillion new experiences from water quality in the shower to spices you may not be used to at home and pollen in the air that your system simply doesn't know
All the above were recommended & prescribed by my local travel clinic. Make sure you talk to your doctor about what might be appropriate for you personally.
The Visa - most western nationalities need to get their visa before arrival. I had to take my passport with the filled-in visa form and 2 passport approved photos to the Indian Embassy here in Dublin. It only took a couple of days until I could pick it up again. Arriving in India - in my case at the Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi - you follow the normal immigration procedures. Your passport gets checked for the visa and you get stamped upon entry and again when you're leaving the country. Make sure you check the visa regulations for your nationality well in advance as these rules may change.
Here are some other really helpful tips:
* Keep those 10-Rupee notes - they're your "toilet tickets" to tip the
* Avoid tap water & ice cubes in drinks!
* Use bottled water to brush your teeth
* Don't bring fruit/veggies into the country or you'll have to bin them on arrival
* Wear comfy, sturdy shoes even in the cities (potholes, cow droppings, etc)
* As a girl, bring a scarf to cover your hair if you're planning to visit
* Get a good guide book that includes maps like Lonely Planet or Rough Guide
* If possible avoid touristy elephant rides - often animal welfare is not a priority
* Bring hand sanitizer & disinfection towels
* Take probiotics to help your digestive system with the overload of new flavors
And last but not least: Don't feed the monkeys! ;)
Now get started planning your awesome trip to this incredible country!
Happy travels x