An ABC for travel in India

For the first-time world traveller


ABC of Travel to INDIA

And generally good advice for western travellers going far.
Air tickets + passport + insurance must not be left at home !
Alcohol, is officially strictly frowned upon, most of India is 'dry.'
Animals, do not touch, not even domestic pets.
Atmosphere, India's values are neither Christian nor Western.
Beggars and lepers are everywhere, some are in genuine need.
Baksheesh is paying for service, normal in India.
Bribery, is baksheesh fallen into greed, common everywhere.
Confirmation, do it twice, or return flights are lost.
Confirmation, get proof of reconfirmation, a stamp or reference.
Confirmation, they really do cancel your flight 3 days before - unless you do it!
Collar, an inflatable one, and earplugs will help you sleep on the flight home.
Constipation, is another problem, take something gentle.
Churches and pastors may seem traditional or legalistic to western visitors but may be great men of God.
Check your shoes and beds morning and night for visitors.
Cheap in India: quality spectacles, shoes, and clothes.
Departure tax of 300 rupees may have to be paid on exit.
English, outside of big city centres very few speak it.
Food is spicy, usually eaten with right hand, never, ever with left.
Fruit and veg, if you can't cook it or peel it ~ leave it !
Flip-flops, never go barefoot to the bathroom, or anywhere else.
First-Aid kit, with Imodium, Setlers, Strepsils, aspirin etc is useful.
Fever, for 4 months after the visit test any 38 fever for malaria.
Fear, no need ~ the poor areas are generally very friendly
Fifty pence or 50 cents in India is a good tip or gift to the poor.
Growth, the church is exploding in South India with many martyrs.
Gifts, some small gifts from home will be well received.
Gods, you will see gods everywhere, notice how they reward the millions who worship them.
History, India had universities when we lived in caves.
Hindus, most are non-violent Hindus, but extremists hostile.
Hat, or baseball cap, essential for sun and rain.
Insects, take repellents, bite cream or TCP.
Insurance, absolutely essential, make copies of help numbers.
Judgements, pour out of our western lips, and are usually wrong !
Kagoul or plastic pakaway raincoat, take one rolled up, you need it if it rains.
Mosquitoes, major danger, always use net and all precautions.
Money belt or similar hidden wallet makes you feel more secure.
Muslims, keep a very low profile if they are gathering to protest.
Medicines, take any you need or a prescription.
Monsoon, nothing dries for days, take enough socks/underwear.
Money, an easy answer but not always the appropriate solution.
Officials, treat with respect, colonial irritation produces nothing.
People are much more simple in Bible belief than we are.
Photocopy twice your passport data page, insurance, air ticket.
Preparation, they say nothing can prepare you for India, so relax!
Phone or fax home, ask for an international line or telephone shop.
Prayer, vital to organise daily, committed prayer cover at home.
Rupees, about 62/Pound, buy at airport, keep the certificate safe.
Real India: make sure you ask to see where the people live.
Roads, people drive differently to us. Try and relax.
Showers (or buckets for washing) don't swallow the water !
Spectacles, take a spare pair in case, or a prescription.
Sunglasses, don't forget yours.
Snacks, enticing street snacks always mean days in the loo.
Sleep, it may be noisy at night in city and jungle,
so people use afternoon hours as well.
Sterile syringes, take an anti-AIDS kit just in case of injection.
Toilet-paper, take your own, expect the very worst en route.
Torch, essential to always have it with you after dusk.
Teeth, never brush them with tap water, used bottled or boiled.
Water, only drink boiled, bottled or self-purified water. Be warned !

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