1) Carry a roll of toilet roll in your day bag- this could make the difference between a good day and a very bad day. In India, you rarely will find a clean toilet let alone one with toilet roll...trust us, you don't want to get stuck without after a blight of Delhi belly!
2) Deal with the fact your going to be stared at early on.... You will be glared at, ogled at, pointed at and probably laughed at on more than a few occasions! Deal with it and smile back, or in my experience if two certain things are being stared at its ok to acknowledge you know they are being starred at and embarrass the person so they stop. On the other side you will be asked to be in lots of pictures, which is a good thing, enjoy it.
3) Anti bacterial gel -Make sure you bring lots of this as it will run out, you don't know what you've touched or has touched you before tucking into that curry and chapatis with your hands...India is the dirtiest place I've been.
4) Traveling by train.......you need to sign up to www.cleartrip.com so that you can book your own train travel. It's still quite tricky and setting it up is a pain in the arse...BUT..it's worth it! We heard people trying to get an agent to book tickets and them hiking up the prices by the hour and lying about availability...it's a nightmare! And always have a backup travel plan -even if you think your on a train you may not actually get on it! With trains in India you can be put on a waiting list and not know up to 4 hours before traveling if you are or not, which causes problems with accommodation and what your doing the next day.
5) Scams/cons -As your a tourist your seen as a walking gold bar. Research possible scams and keep your wits about you. You will be scammed, happened to us a few times, but luckily we only lost out a couple of quid here and there. Just laugh it off and put it down to experience.
6) Don't be scared to say no to touts and people selling things right in your face. Just say 'no thanks' calmly and firm, carry on what your doing and they should leave you alone.
7) Smells -There are going to be horrible smells, smells of wee, rotten food, poo, more wee and who knows what else. Take a deep breath or breath through your mouth till it passes. Suck it up, it's not forever and you don't have to deal with it on a daily basis!
8) India is intense....the smells, the people, the eye opening things you see, how people and animals are treated and how people live. Try not to get to involved or let it overwhelm you...if it's been a hard day have a beer, relax and try to laugh about it or out it down to experience. We had lots and lots of times where we loved it one minute, then having gone round the corner hate it...this is what makes it so unique and so good as life experience.
9) Give everything a go at least once....this means, having some street food, using the squat toilet, eating on the street, having a spicy curry, taking a different type of transport, on trains try all the classes...you don't know what you may unearth or who you may meet. Indians are generally lovely and hospitable people who will help when they can. A young couple who we were in a third class train compartment with booked us our tickets back to Mumbai on another train when our train was cancelled an hour into the journey.
10) Don't forget to laugh it off and keep calm.....this applies to all of these points and anything else India throws at you.
10.1) have fun! It's amazing and one of the best countries we went to despite at times it being the hardest place to travel!
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