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India fascinates....yet ....India can be a challenging place to travel for the uninitiated.                                                                                                                     Fortunately, the reward is well worth the time it takes to adjust to such a vastly different place.                                                                                                           You can save yourself some additional stress by knowing what to expect and a few India travel essentials before you land.  

Culture Shock in India

A chaotic pace of urban life in India can be overwhelming. Don't despair, although it could take a lifetime to fully understand India, you'll quickly catch on enough to get into the travel groove. If time permits, consider getting out of the busy city where you arrived and go to a quieter place to collect your wits.

The Traffic and Crowds

With well over a billion people calling the subcontinent home, India is the second-most populated country in the world. You will be keenly reminded of this fact after you arrive, particularly in cities where overcrowding is a problem.
The overcrowding problem is especially prevalent on the streets, and a constant soundtrack of horns will accompany you while walking. Overindulgence of the horn is not considered rude in India, it's actually blown as a safety measure and even out of courtesy to hopefully prevent accidents.

Is Delhi Belly Real?

Unfortunately, the infamous 'Delhi belly' is a reality and locals will attest that they get it, too.The tap water in India is generally unsafe to drink. Even if you stick to bottled water, you may still get a bad stomach from dirty ice, fruit and vegetables washed with dirty water, or water droplets on plates and utensils. Unsafe food handling and exposure to new bacteria cause many travelers to develop the dreaded "Delhi belly" within the first few days of their trip. While tourist restaurants are sometime safe, you have no idea what goes on in the kitchens. 

Dealing with Beggars in India

You'll encounter beggars of all varieties -- particularly in urban and tourist areas -- throughout India. Unlike other parts of Asia, the beggars in India can be extremely persistent, sometimes even grabbing your arms. Although the children are heartbreaking, you need to avoid giving them any thing to avoid encouraging them to beg.

India Travel Tips for Female Travelers

Female travelers often receive a lot of extra attention from men in India. Sometimes boundaries are pushed beyond staring and flirting with shameless groping and touching.You can reduce some of the unwanted attention by dressing extremely conservatively.

  • Avoid physical contact with strangers ( Male) -- even shaking hands.
  • Sometimes female travelers get groped when posing for pictures with men.
  • Realize that even small gestures of friendship could be taken the wrong way.
  • Consider staying somewhere else if you are the only guest in a guesthouse.
  • The staff in budget hotels can be bold; always keep your door locked while inside.
  • Avoid wandering around town alone at night.
  • Try to sit next to other women on public transportation, particularly on night buses.
  • Pick pocketing is a problem on public transportation and in crowded city spaces. Don't allow yourself to become too distracted by someone; thieves often work in teams. Count your change carefully in restaurants and shops before you walk out.