First Time Travel to India
I made my trip to Incredible India before 2014 ended. It was a truly wonderful experience and made me yearn to make another trip, perhaps a longer one in the near future.
Here are some of the things I learned during my solo travel to the Indian continent and other first time traveler will also find helpful:
1. Prepare for the season
I came to Northern India during the cold winter month of December and I would say that I was ill-prepared for the cold weather. I should have made more through preparations in terms of clothing and other accessories.
I was trying to travel light despite paying excess baggage fees in case of eventualities since this is my first trip so although I brought some warm clothes I thought was enough, I still had to get myself additional winter clothes when I landed in Delhi because it was just too cold for me. I come from a tropical country so the cold winter temperature is beyond comfortable.
2. Have a background of the culture of the country you are going to.
I also made research on what to expect, how to act to avoid any sticky situation, how to avoid getting attention more than necessary. I read a lot about India and it also helped that I have a handful of local friends who have made my trip more enjoyable. I learned from many online stories how a woman traveler should act so as to avoid any unsolicited attention especially when in public.
The best thing to consider is to always be sensitive about the culture of the place where you are going. In India, showing skin in public is frowned upon so it is best to err on the side of caution. I make sure I am dressed properly at all times. Since it was winter, it was easier for me since I have to wear coats most of the time. But even during the hot summer, it is advised that women should not wear anything to exposes more than necessary hence a scarf is a very useful accessory. It is also recommended to just get yourself the traditional female clothing in India which is very comfortable to wear.
3. Take extra precaution
Being a solo female traveler, I have to be mindful of my safety wherever I travel and this is more important when I go to an international destination, not just in India. When I was in India, I made sure that I don't go out more than necessary in the evenings unless I am with friends. Evenings are mostly spent resting and due to the cold it is not really ideal for me to venture out after dark.
It is important to exercise precaution in every place where you go to especially when it is your first time since you are not so familiar with the language and the place itself.
4. Always have an open mind
In India you will see new things that can be quite unnerving for one coming from the West or one coming from a different religious background but if you really want to get the most of your travelling experience, an open mind is very important. I still have to get used to the sight of herds of cows walking in the streets. I learned that they are sacred for Hindus hence they are allowed to roam even in Delhi.
5. Enjoy the travel
Finally, you just simply have to enjoy the experience, be always ready to learn something new of of your travel. India is very rich in history and culture and it would be difficult to summarize this because you are talking about many states, religions and each has their own peculiarities.