Stepping out into the unknown and traveling alone as a female to country like India can be a nerve racking experience, especially given the fact that it is the second most populated country in the world and home to over 1.2 billion people.
India is known for being rich in culture and being a place that you can having an experience unlike any other place on this Earth.
My first day in India was amazing in every single way. Although it is completely different than any place that I have ever been, I felt such a sense of peace and happiness as I toured the city on the back of the scooter with my couch surfing host, Deepali.
One of the best things about couch surfing is not just the opportunity to make a new friend, but to have someone that can be by your side in the transition stage in a foreign country in order help make things go as smoothly as possible.
Through this exciting solo adventure to India, I made of list of 6 things that I advise, (besides having an amazing host), that helped me in my transition into India.
1. Open your mind:
When traveling to India, its important to keep an open mind during the whole beginning process. If you have not traveled to a country like, India, it can be quite a shock when traveling through the city for the first time.
Everything about this experience is different that what I am used to, which is the most exciting part of it all.
It’s important not to automatically label the way a culture lives as “bad or wrong” because its different than yours, but rather embrace the new experience and learn something from it, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
2. Learn a few basic words:
Anywhere you travel, when locals see that you are willing to make an effort with the language, your experience will be much smoother. Although India has many different dialects, the main language is Hindi, so I brushed up on a few common frases to help me along the way.
I learned common phrases in Hindi, such as:
- Namaste (Hello)
- Dhanyavaad (Thank you)
- Aap kasey hain? (How are you?)
- Shubh prabhat (Good morning)
- Shubh ratri (Good night)
- Phir milen-gey (See you later)
3. Find an ATM:
I have been told that most places in India do not accept any kind of credit or debit card, so having the local currency is a must, especially in the local market.
I am SO thankful for my bank, Charles Schwab, that offers a card with 0 transaction or ATM fees EVER in any part of the world. You can’t get better than that!
4. Buy a local sim card:
I walked countless laps around the New Delhi and Chennai airport and had no luck at finding a sign of WIFI. However, in both airports they offered wifi if you have a local sim card.
Also, finding wifi in the streets is very difficult, so the best option is to go to a small store and buy one. I got 1GB, a sim card and zero processing time for just 6 USD.
5. Buy mosquito repellent:
I bought two anti mosquito bracelets and cream. I probably went overboard, but I have heard horror stories and my health is not something I want to play around with.
Malaria has been a problem in India for centuries, so its better to be safe than sorry.
6. Ask questions and become informed:
Ask the local norms (clothing, behaviors, customs etc). I probably asked my host at least 100 questions on day 1 about different topics and asking for advice.
Knowledge is power and it really does help to make the transition smoother.
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What advice do you have for a smooth transition into India?
What travel advice do you have?
Share your thoughts and advice below!