It’s about two weeks left until my new chapter begins, India. My anticipation for this trip has been so grand, and the planning has been surprisingly easy. It had me question why people don’t travel enough since it’s so simple if you just take it step by step.
While traveling, I plan to document everything and provide all the tips so that anyone can see how it pans out so then maybe YOU can take that leap!
Wherever you wish to venture off to: do your research. Note this though, a lot of times the media online or even people can try to scare you by letting you know of all the negative things that could happen. That was very common for me when I was talking to many people who haven’t even been, and they wanted to point out the negatives of the country. However, then there was few that I met that actually was from India, or who have been that didn’t speak of the country in that manner.
Every place you go to will have some kind of neighborhood that isn’t safe. So that’s why it’s super important to do your research. Some of my favorite sites to visit for knowing the areas I might want to go to was specifically traveler blogs. One that I have been a huge fan of is http://www.global-gallivanting.com/. If you cannot find some information on my site about some places, don’t hesitate to check that link out.
The budget for every country is so different. This tip right here is one that I am providing without even knowing exactly how cheap it is in India. I had to really do a lot of research to find out how much I need to travel for a month. Like I mentioned above, it’s super important to research what things costs, and what the daily budget is. After deliberate web surfing, I was able to conclude that you can go for one month traveling in India with transportation, accommodation, food and tourist attractions for about $600 USD or less.
It honestly depends on how extravagant you want your trip to be. If you are comfortable with staying in hostels, and not having such high expectations so you can have cheap accommodation and still experience everything of India, then you will be fine. That’s the mentality I am going with. There might be things here and there I am willing to spend more for my safety as a solo traveler, but I am not asking for resorts and luxuries. It’s more for the experience and making my trip last as long as it can with what I have saved up.
Initially, I wanted to go to India at the beginning of the year when it wasn’t so hot. But, obviously, it’s not happening. Oops. I didn’t plan ahead of time or do my research correctly to know when it is the best time to travel to India. So the next thing you should take note of is really finding out when it’s a good time to go to your destination.
India, in this case, it’s between January and March. In April and May, it begins to get really hot, and then towards June-September, it’s monsoon season, when it rains all the time.
Don’t be like me, where I am planning to be in India for the entire month of May so I know I will be in heavy heat. But, this is part of the experience: a lesson learned.
This step I kind of did the other way around. I had booked my flight to India first, THEN got my visa. One of the reasons why I booked my flight for India before getting my visa was more of an inner power of mine. I knew once I had my flight, there was no turning back. But, this was also confirming that you could get your E-Visa for India in like a week. No need to wait four to six weeks of processing. The tourist visa is the quickest version to get. The E-Visa for India is valid for 60 days.
Other options are available but take longer, hence is why I advise to do it before booking your flight. This way you can make sure you are set with your visa before spending a good amount $$$ on your flight. I used iVisa to help with my application process. I have done many mistakes with online applications, so I didn’t want to risk this. If you make one mistake on your visa application, it WILL be denied.
So whatever country you go to, if you are required a visa, sometimes it’s better to just pay another agency if it’s not too expensive to process it for you. If you don’t need it, then good for you! And, proceed to the next step.
Now, my favorite part. This is when you really make it happen. I did so much research when booking my flight. It was becoming more expensive to fly out to one city and come back from another. I saved around $675 USD by setting my flight up as a round trip and departing from the same city I am flying into.
Once I had an idea the dates for when I wanted to travel, I used Skyscanner then did my own research. I just simply typed my flight details into Google Flights and it provided a list of some of the major airlines. This was a way to have an idea what the prices are for different airlines. Just to be safe that I wasn’t missing out on any deals, I looked up the same flight details onto other sites like Hotwire & Kayak.
I wrote down some options that populated using those sites, then narrowed down my decision. Be patient with it. It could be frustrating going to all these sites, but it’s worth it when you are saving a lot of money.
After I booked my flight, the next thing I did was take care of my stay for when I arrive in India. I went ahead and booked a couple of nights at a traveler hostel through Airbnb.
One advice I highly recommend is looking for references and verification. The only reason why I encourage this so much is for safety. Another neat thing about Airbnb is that it gives you an option to book stays that are meant for travelers. This is a great way to meet other people who might be traveling and plus most of the time these places provide all the guidance you could find useful for your trip.
Once I was able to set in stone my accommodation for when I arrive, I jumped on Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a legitimate site to crash with hosts for free. Besides hostels which is another affordable option for accommodation, this will be a great way to use the buddy system for when venturing out in the cities. Plus, you can save a lot of money. It’s super important to have a detailed profile on Couchsurfing so you can seem legit. There are so many scammers online and the last thing you want is to get one or appear like one. If you create a Couchsurfing profile and would like to link up on there, add me here!
The last option is hotels. There are definitely cheap options for hotels, however, if you are traveling alone and looking to meet other people, the above options are suggested.
Culture shock will be one major thing you will run into. I’ve been reading a lot of books, articles and watching documentaries of India to really try to understand what I will encounter. However, I know it won’t be anywhere close to what I am really going to experience. The biggest advice I can give is to get emotionally and mentally ready for what you’re about to run into.
Don’t be too naive, and don’t allow yourself to be scammed. Indian people that I’ve run into in the past have been the sweetest and the most hospitable. Thus, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get taken advantage of being a traveler from some if an opportunity presents itself. Most of all, be open-minded and positive.
If you take your time and do your research, I guarantee that it will be a memorable experience.
If you have any question’s or advice on travels, please don’t hesitate to message me below.