Why Traveling in India isn't as actually as hard as you might imagine
Many people think that traveling in India is difficult, or even dangerous...
While I'll admit that, especially at first, traveling in India can be a bit overwhelming and quite a culture shock, I'm fed up of how the Western media seems to have a habit of over sensationalizing India and stereotyping this complex country, I think that this, as well as fears over safety and hygiene, sadly puts off many people, especially solo female travellers, from visiting this amazing country.
This is such a shame because I believe that India is arguably the most exotic, fascinating and rewarding country to travel in, in the whole world!
I've traveled to more than 30 countries and not one of them has captivated, surprised, delighted (and challenged) me as much as India. No other country in the world has changed my life so much or taught me so much.
I think it's important to keep things in perspective - after about 2 years in total of traveling here (and mostly as a solo female traveller) I feel that India is not a dangerous or difficult country to travel in and in many ways, once you get used to the country, traveling in India is actually quite easy.
I'm not going to lie, traveling in India can be hard at first, but it gets easier. Whilst my first trip was difficult at times (mainly because I was rushing too much but you can learn from mistakes by reading my Top 10 tips to make your first time traveling India easier)
Once you become more assertive and acclimatized to traveling in India, and adapt your way of traveling and thinking to suit India, it actually starts to feel like an easy country to travel in, in fact I feel I'm even a bit spoiled by India - I get culture shock when I go to Europe now and, with so much to see and experience, sometimes I begin to forget why I ever wanted to go anywhere else!
Here's 7 Reasons why Traveling in India isn't as Difficult as you might think:
#1 Traveling in India is so cheap - so even on a budget you can afford to splash out a bit
If you don't mind roughing it you can travel India easily for less than £10 / $16 a day meaning that you really don't need to worry too much about budgeting, you can eat out in restaurants every day, catch taxis or rickshaws everywhere and don't even need to stay in hostels or dorms even on a shoestring budget.
If you need a bit more comfort then it's still very affordable, India is modernising quickly and you can eat at fancy restaurants and western fast food brands, shop in modern malls, stay in a luxury resort and hire a private car with driver without your bank balance breaking a sweat. There really is something for every budget and inclination in India.
To get more of an idea of the costs of backpacking and traveling in India check out my Average Daily Budget for Backpacking in India and Budget Tips and Typical costs to expect when traveling in India.
#2 English is Widely Spoken in India
Did you know India has over 22 official languages, and it is thought that over 1652 different languages are spoken in this incredible and diverse country! Luckily for travelers, Hindi and English are the 2 main official languages which means that English is widely spoken in India and it's never hard to find someone who speaks English. Many signs, newspapers and menus are also in English. As well as making traveling in India easy its also great because its easy to have conversations and get to know normal local people not just those who work in the tourism industry.
#3 Indian Hospitality - The kindness of strangers and the warmth and generosity of the Indian people
Indian hospitality is so warm and welcoming and even after spending so much time here I am still constantly surprised and humbled by the kindness of strangers and even the kindness and generosity of people who have so little. Guests are treated like Gods and the Indian culture of community, cooperation, tolerance and togetherness means that there is also someone to help you out and this makes traveling in India easy and makes me feel safe. If you are lost or in trouble someone will always help you out and you will never feel lonely when traveling in India.
However, traveling in India does have it's fair share of scams, it's best to read up on these and be careful who you trust around places like train stations, airports and touristy sights as these people often don't have your best interests at heart but once you get used to traveling in India you should be able to easily tell the difference between a tourist scam and a genuine person who only wants to help.
#4 There are so many ways to get around India
India is a huge country and yes sometimes getting around can be slow and does require a bit of patience but the good news for travellers is that there is affordable and efficient transportation reaching to the far corners of this sub continent from the super affordable Indian railways system - one of the world's largest networks where taking a journey is an essential Indian experience in itself, to a huge variety of buses, taxis, motorbikes, the buzzing, ubiquitous auto rickshaws (or tuk tuks) cycle rickshaws or even ox carts.
There is now an increasing number of domestic flights (did you know India is the country with the 2nd largest number of airports after the US) or you can even hire a car and driver without breaking the bank. There is a transportation option for every budget to every corner of this amazing country which makes getting around and traveling in India easy!
Despite the myriad of options I think that traveling by train is the best way to see, experience and get around India, a visit here wouldn't be complete without at least one train journey - see my Ultimate Guide to Train Travel in India which gives you all the tips and info you need to book tickets and navigate India by rail.
#5 India is so diverse - you will never get bored!
India is so diverse that it feels like so much more than just 1 country, with so many different landscapes, languages, culture, religions, cuisines and traditions. From the Himalayas to tropical beaches, from ancient temples and forts to buzzing modern cities, from deserts to lush backwaters, traveling in India can feel like visiting many countries in one.
India is also the most interesting and fascinating place I've ever visited, there is a surprise around every corner and even just walking down the street and seeing street life can turn into a fascinating adventure - no need to spend money on expensive touristy or sightseeing activities! One things for sure, you will never get bored traveling in India!
Want to experience all the diversity and incredible places India has to offer but not sure where to start? Check out my Perfect Itinerary for your first time Traveling in India
#6 Traveling India is Safe!
While women do need to be cautious here and adapt the way they travel to suit India's culture I've never felt unsafe in India. Most Indians are very peaceful and karmic people. I exercise basic common sense and take usual precautions and I find that in India I don't tend to worry so much about theft of my belongings or money or violent crime like you might in other places.
To learn how I stay safe as a solo female traveller in India check out my tips for traveling as a woman in India
#7 “Sab Kuch Milega” = Everything is Possible!
You'll find that India works in a slightly different way from anyway else, at first it may seem confusing or even chaotic but most of the time there is a method in the madness that you will come to understand and love. Life in India is more fluid, you may need a little patience or 'jugaad' (an innovative solution) to get things done but one of the delights of traveling in India is that “Sab Kuch Milega” which means "everything is possible."
Wandering Earl (a fellow India lover and travel blogger) explains it well "In India, “everything is possible” is an undeniable fact. Through a combination of resourcefulness, pure generosity and an uncanny ability to extort a bribe, the people of India will never let you down. You’ll get whatever you need, whenever you need it, no matter how bleak the situation or how absurd your request. Did your sandal just rip in half? Don’t worry, there’s a shoe-wallah across the street, ready to glue it back together. Do you want to pet the rare albino rhinoceros at the Mysore zoo? For a tiny fee the attendant will be more than happy to let you into the cage."
When everything is possible, everything is pretty cheap and the majority of people speak English and are kind, generous and happy to help you out maybe once you get used to this incredible country you'll see that traveling in India can actually be pretty easy!
If you still need some more inspiration to experience India for your self maybe my post about the 21 little, quirky reasons I love India will help you understand why there is simply nowhere on earth quite like India and why you shouldn't be put off visiting this incredible country - it's really not as difficult to travel, enjoy and love India! If your planning a trip then check out my ultimate India travel planning guide.
Have you traveled in India? Did you find it difficult or did you find it was easier once you got used to it?
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