6 Tips for a Smooth Transition in Your First Day in India

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 a place where you can have unique experiences, unlike any other place on Earth.

My first day in India was amazing in every single way. Although it was completely different than any place that I had ever been at that point, I felt such a sense of peace and happiness as I toured the city on the back of the scooter with my new 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.

After my exciting solo adventure throughout India, I decided to make a list of 6 things that I advise, (besides having an amazing host), in order to help you have a easy transition into your first time in 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 the experience was different than what I was used to, which was the most exciting part of it all.

It’s important not to automatically label a culture that does things differently than you as “bad or wrong,” just because it is not in line with your beliefs. Travel is about embracing the new experiences and learning something from from every situation, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

2. Learn a Few Basic Words:

When you travel with an open mind and make an effort, locals are much more likely to warm and help you. When you are in a place that does not speak your language and you make an effort to speak (although it may be terrible), your experience will be much smoother.

Although India has many different dialects, the main language is Hindi (and English), 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. Quickly Find an ATM:

Many places in India do not accept any kind of credit or debit card, especially in local markets, so having cash is a must if you plan on eating street food, buying from local markets, etc.

I am SO thankful for my bank, Charles Schwab, that offers a card with 0 transaction or ATM fees in any part of the world. You can’t get better than that!

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4. Buy a Local Sim Card:

I walked aimlessly around the New Delhi and Chennai airport and had absolutely no luck at finding a sign of WIFI. In both airports they have wifi available, but ONLY 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 of data, a sim card and zero processing time for just 6 USD.

5. Buy Mosquito Repellent:

I bought two anti mosquito bracelets and cream while being there. I heard many horror stories of tourists traveling through India and having problems with mosquitos, which was something that I knew that I did not want to risk.

Malaria has been a problem in India for centuries, so its better to be safe than sorry, especially when traveling during the raining season like I did.

6. Ask Questions and Become Informed:

One of my biggest tips is to not be afraid to ask the local people questions. Take time to ask about the local norms (clothing, behaviors, customs etc) or anything that you have any sort of curiosity about.

I asked all my hosts so many questions each day I was there and thanks to that, I learned so many things that I never knew about before.

Knowledge is power and it really does help to make the transition smoother.



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Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.com6 Tips for a Smooth Transition in Your First Day in India