In 2016, the travel and tourism industry in India contributed $208 billion to the country’s GDP according to statistics. That is roughly 9.6% of India’s total GDP. Since then, the numbers have continually improved, and 2018 saw more tourists travel to India than ever before.
A couple of reasons contribute to the gradual increase in tourists. Key among them is the government’s commitment to ensuring visitors get visas as hassle-free as possible and the massive investment in the tourism industry.
Of course, the beautiful country itself is what draws people in from every corner of the world. If it’s your first trip to India, here are a few tips to help you navigate the exotic and fascinating land.
1. Watch what you eat and be careful on the roads
India boasts of some of the spiciest food in the world. Unfortunately, if your stomach is not used to this level of spice, then chances are you’ll experience a full-blown protest when you least expect it.
Chilies tend to act as a laxative, which means you will probably experience a running stomach. To avoid this, continuously watch what you choose to eat. Alternatively, you can opt to eat in high-end hotels where you get a selection of cuisine from all over the world. Consequently, you can avoid Indian food altogether if the spice does not agree with you.
Also, avoid street food and regarding water, stick to bottled water. When it comes to the roads, India is known for its traffic and for drivers who are always in a hurry. Whether you are walking or driving, do not assume, be watchful.
2. Time your travel
The key to enjoying any trip is boatloads of research. With India, in particular, the research is even more critical. That is because the country has an abundance of festivities throughout the year. Each month brings with it festivities unique to that month.
In March, for example, the country will celebrate Holi while in October, the country will celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in honor of Mahatma Gandhi.
With that in mind, it follows that for an explosive experience, you ought to time your travel to coincide with the festivals you are interested in. Find out which celebrations are happening that month and the city or town that will best allow you to take part in those celebrations.
3. Use a VPN to overcome throttling and to avoid surveillanceWhen in India, you cannot avoid using the internet. You need to check your mail, your social media or simply watch your favorite show on Netflix or any other platform.
The best way of accessing 24-7 reliable internet is by purchasing a local sim card. Unfortunately, most mobile network operators tend to throttle speed. A good example to consider is Joi—a popular local mobile network operator.
Joi is notorious for throttling users’ connections anytime they detect data-heavy activities. To avoid the inconvenience; it is essential to use a VPN in India which will mask your traffic and allow you to enjoy smooth streaming.
Moreover, note that as of late 2018, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs authorized ten government agencies to intercept and monitor local traffic. Again, a VPN will mask your traffic and protect you from surveillance.
4. Do not hop from city to cityIndia is unlike Europe where you can go from London to Paris and then Vienna within a week. If you try to hop around from city to city while in India, it will leave you extremely exhausted.
India is massive but modes of transportation are rather limited in most areas, so you will be stuck traveling on uncomfortable rides for extended time periods. Ideally, you should at least plan to stay in each city or town for three to four days.
5. Always book your train or bus beforehandThe last but just as essential tip is always to book your train beforehand. Traveling by train or bus is both convenient and affordable. Unfortunately, trains and buses tend to fill up fast. Therefore, do not wait until the day of your travel to book a train or bus.
A good rule of thumb is to get the ticket to the next destination as soon as you arrive in your current destination. For example, once you arrive in Delhi, book your ticket out of Delhi to somewhere like Jaipur while still at the train or bus station.
With these tips, you are on your way to having an exciting time in India.
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