Planning a trip to India
Over the years, I have met travellers who are making a long trip backpacking to India without doing any research and with no plan whatsoever? While it is a romantic idea to see where the wind takes you, I don’t recommend this as a game plan. So how do you even begin to start to plan how to work out how to plan a long trip to a foreign country that you have never even been to before? In my post Planning a trip to India, I will be walking you through step by step everything you need to know about how to plan your perfect dream trip to this incredible country.
Your trip will work out, costing you a small fortune more than it had too. What’s worse is that you will probably spend a lot of time backtracking, thus wasting your precious time. Your time is the most valuable asset here as you won’t get that back.
There is no denying there are a lot of issues to consider, but with a little know-how planning your dream trip can be far from stressful. Discovering precisely what it is you want to get out of your trip and making your dreams a reality can give you a reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning.
Many people fantasise about making a big trip here, and I would imagine you do too since you are reading my post. I want to help you put that dream into an actionable plan. It is essential to have this as dreams without a plan are just dreams.
Seeking advise is the first step towards this, and you have come to the right place. I have spent almost half a decade travelling here, so I have a pretty good idea of what is needed to plan the perfect trip.
If you are travelling for the first time to this incredible country or you are a seasoned veteran. I’m sure there is something here that you can use. My website is full of ideas to inspire you and go through the practicalities of it all.
Of course, every person’s journey is a very individual experience, but there are some things we all will have to do to make this possible. Now we will have a look at those things. We all have to get our ducks in a row, so to speak before we can move on to the good stuff. So without further ado, let us jump straight in and take a look.
Lonely Planet India.
The very first thing to do when you decide India is on your bucket list is to work out where you want to go. To say you want to see India is a sweeping statement as its a vast country with a rich diversity of landscapes, cultures and historical heritage.
It is like many countries all wrapped up into one. What do you want to see? What do you want to get out of your time here and when will you be going? These are all questions that will need deep thought for you to get the most out of your trip before you even contemplate buying a ticket anywhere.
Trust me when I say no matter how many blogs you read, you will still need a guide book and the best one out there by miles is the lonely planet. You will need this for an overview of the whole subcontinent.
No one blog will contain all the information you need in one place. In case you were wondering no, I am not receiving any money from them. However, I know how important they are, and I always want to tell you the truth. Don’t bother with the kindle version as you will be pulling your hair out after a few months on the road. You will have to keep finding your desired page scrolling furiously through the book over and over again. To get your copy click the link provided.
The lonely planet is certainly not the whole story of how to get the most out of your travels, though. When I first started travelling twenty-something years ago, it was what was in the guide books or nothing. It was much harder back then as no guidebook can give you a complete picture of what you can expect. Then the internet came along, and it all got a whole lot easier.
That is where blogs like mine come into play as I have spent so much time on the road here. So I can give you a coherent picture of all the extra things you can’t get in a guidebook. There are countless blogs like mine, and some are really good. Some, however, are not, and I am not sure how many others have spent so much time researching their content. That’s the downside to trusting blogs is anyone can write one. I do hope you find my blog of value, though. I have spent many years to bring you honest and well-researched content you can rely on.
Cost for a trip to India.
Before you decide to go and book anything you will want to work out how much can you spend on it. That factor will greatly dictate the quality and duration of your trip. Check out what the lonely planet is saying and then read my four posts on that subject. It is too much of a big subject to cover here, so I will cover what each post is about.
How much to travel in India talks about money management on the road and avoiding scammers. It also covers ways to keep your trip from spending more than it has to. It also then covers what your money will get you for a month. From there you can decide how much money you can throw at it and the level of your desired comfort.
In my post cost to travel to India for a month, I cover how to budget your money and even more tips on keeping the costs down. Please read this post when you have read the first one. It will all make a lot more sense. It is a guide to working out your spend day by day. It is something you will want to keep an eye on as no one wants to come home early do they?
In my third post how to travel in India cheaply, I cover tips that you can employ to keep the costs down for both couples and single travellers. It deserves a separate post as it is entirely a different sport when it comes to staying on track with your spending.
In my fourth and final post on money matters, I cover what you can do to save money based on your choice of activities. I believe this is the only post of its kind I have seen, so that’s a plus for me. The post is called the No1 travelling in India on a budget. Let me know what you think of my posts and if you can think of anything I can do better.
Buy the tickets.
You will want to do this after you have worked out where you want to go and your budget for the travel. For a full break down of when is the best time to visit the country, check out my in-depth post on the subject. You will see what I mean that no guidebook provides that information. Get a balance of both book and blog to really get the most out of it.
Where you get your flight to and from will greatly dictate your route. You will want to have a good understanding of what is where at this point. Due to the COVID19 situation, many travel agencies are now bankrupt so buy direct from the airlines for the best price.
It is way cheaper to fly into the big cites like Dehli, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta. The smaller airports can cost a whole lot more. If you can utilise the big airports then, please do. India has lots of cheap airlines for internal flights should you need them. For help with getting around the country efficiently check out my post.
Once you have booked the seats, it is hard to change them or get your money back. So once it is done there is pretty much no going back. You are now halfway through your preparations so let us look at the next stage.
Travel to India visa.
You will need one of these unless you are very fortunate. If you think you fit into the criteria of super lucky check out if you actually are at the Indian Bureau of Immigration. If like most of us you need one I suggest you apply in your home country to avoid any issues. The last thing you would want is to turn up, and there be a problem.
The downside is that it costs more in your home country if you are visiting for a month. You will have to pay for at least six months. If you are on a longer trip, you will have to apply in your own country, and you can easily get a years visa.
It is a quick a relatively painless process once you have the correct sized photos and your online form in order. It probably won’t shock you that I have a complete guide to the process of getting an Indian visa with all the links you will need to get yours.
The last point I will make is thinking about the timing of your application. The time your visa starts is from the date of you getting it. That definitely something to keep in mind. If you are going for six months or one year, you will want to apply for it as close to the time as possible. If you are going for a month, you can either get it on arrival or from home. If you get it from home, it won’t matter when you apply for it within reason.
Travel to India vaccines.
Make sure you have the relevant vaccines a few weeks before you go. Please consult your doctor on what they may be as different doctors recommend different vaccines. If you live in England, the vaccines offered on the NHS are getting steadily less. They only offer Hep A and typhoid. After that, it is a personal choice.
The lonely planet does a guide to staying healthy in India and is well worth the read. Although I have found too much information can freak you right out. It is always better to know than not, unfortunately for your mental health.
Malaria pills are also not handed out on prescription, so if your trip requires them, then you will have to pay at a pharmacy. To check to see if you need them, have a look at Fit For Travel India for some reliable advice.
In no way am I a doctor and would never claim to be, however, I have spent years on the road, and I have noticed it the same few issues that keep coming up with my health. For some tricks and tips, I have found that worked and kept me out of hospitals read my post on staying healthy on the road.
Also, I would not neglect to go and see your dentist as good dental care will cost, and bad dental care does not bear thinking about. There is nothing worse than toothache and no chance to get it fixed for a prolonged period of time. I have had to wait weeks to get seen by someone that was probably not going to make things a hell of a lot worse. Rural dental care is something to be desired, to say the least.
Travel essentials for India.
This could easily turn into an epic-sized post and one you would never finish so sign up for my free ebook on my website. Simply leave your email, and you can knock yourself out on my tried and tested guide on what to pack to handle just about anything. There is no need to fret at this point of your planning as this is the fun part. However, try and buy some of the equipment along the way as it can work out to be a super big bill if you try and get it all at once.
Summary of my post Planning a trip to India.
Well, here you are, and if you made it this far and have put these steps into place, then you are ready to start the good bit. Putting this plan into action will benefit you massively. This post depicts the basic framework I use every time I go. You will of cause build your own tried and trusted system, but this is a good framework. Backpacking to me is definitely a skill that you hone throughout time. The first time I went, I made a real mess, and there was no internet to draw ideas from. So hopefully it is a less painful experience for you to get started.
You have already done the tough bit by finding the courage actually to put your dreams into motion. There are so many things to look forward to when you travel. It is the getting on the plane for the first time that’s the hard part. As you can guess that about wraps up this post. If you have any questions or comments, then feel free to leave them in the box provided, and I will get back to you. So until the next time my fellow intrepid traveller’s happy planning.
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