Some tips for the first time traveller

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#1 Feb 2nd, 2006, 17:45
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#1
I was in India 20 years ago as a backpacker and vowed never to return! However return I did - with my husband and 5 year old daughter - and this time I adored it! I don't know whether it was because we were travelling as a family unit (rather than as a one of a pair of twenty year old silly girls!) or whether it was because this we had a bit more of a budget. Anyway, here are a few things that I thought may be of use to prospective first time travellers - things that struck me this time, and things that struck my husband a first time visitor.

1. India is extremly noisy - horns, pigeons, people etc etc. Pretty much everywhere you go is noisy.
Tip: Take ear plugs for sleeping. You will get used to it.

2. In many places there will be a number of hours during the day that there will be no electricity. No-one will actually tell you this when you check in, so if you had planned to watch the cricket you would be a bit disappointed! Tip: Expect power blackouts.

3.There is a Murphy's Law of bargaining. Whatever you haggled for and purchased today, you will the next day be offered the same thing - in a different location- at a cheaper starting price than you actually paid for the item. ie if you paid $5 today, tomorrow you would be offered it for $4 and could bargain them down to $2.
Tip : You need to take a deep breath and move on, telling yourself that the one you saw today had poo on it.

4.The majority of people do not get sick in India now. 20 years ago almost everyone got sick. This time we met only one person who had got sick. Everyone we met was exclaiming how well they had been. I actually put on weight somehting I could ill afford to do! My daughter was fine.
Tip: Be careful but not obsessive

4b.Don't take an enormous first aid kit.
Tip:Take the very basics - you can buy everything else needed much cheaper at Indian pharmacys.

5. There are ATM's everywhere. Don't worry about travellers cheques.
Tip: Take a bit of emergency cash, a credit card and your ATM card

6. Arrival in India at Airports is for the first time frantic, however the fantasy is always worse than the reality.
Tip: Book a transfer with your hotel the first time. After that you will be fine to get yourself a pre-paid cab.

7.Indiamike is the best website in the world pertaining to travelling in India
Tip: Bookmark it,

8.The first few days are the hardest. Give yourself time. My husband was very dubious the first 2 -3 days but now considers this the best holiday we have ever had.
Tip:Try to avoid the big cities first, visit them at the end when you have aclimatised. We started off in Mumbai and Delhi which was a mistake. He found the smaller cities much more pleasurable.

9. Travelling with children is not hard. The Indians love children and the country is a veritable theme park. We had an fabulous time travelling with a 5 year old. People constantly wanted to have their photos taken with her and were always pinching her cheeks saying "Hello Baby - what's your good name?" Children are a good foil for the touts - when asked if we needed a guide we would point to our daughter and say we already had one. They thought this hilarious and would agree and leave us alone. Vendors trying to sell us things would stop once she had said a polite -"No thankyou".
Tip: Borrow a child, you'll have lots of fun.


Most of the above is pretty self evident but in my anxious pre-trip planning I had forgotten some of the obvious things.

Many thanks to all the IMer's who assisted me with the itinerary, hotel recommendations and all sorts of other wonderful help. We had a fabulous trip. Thankyou
#2 Feb 2nd, 2006, 17:51
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#2
Glad you enjoyed the trip and hope your daughter soon comes back for more on her own when she is in her twenties and I suppose she might still experience the things you did twenty years ago!!!

Cheers,
Aadil.
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#3 Feb 2nd, 2006, 18:58
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#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siena Tip: Borrow a child, you'll have lots of fun.


Great post, glad to hear feedback from people who have just returned
#4 Feb 2nd, 2006, 21:48
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#4
fabulous tips and exactly the way I felt once I got home and was able to process a month's worth of experience.

#4, I felt better in India than I do here, and I am much more physically active (working out, etc.) here. (That is, once I figured out what I could eat that was not fried and was able to get some protein. First week, however, I felt ill because I'm not a grease eater and I need non-meat protein; fried food really makes me sick.)

#6, exactly what I did and am going to do the second time around in March.

as for the touts, I think next time I will just speak Spanish to them, maybe that will give them pause.....
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"When you are truly genuine there will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case, you must be your own badass self, without apology." -- Katie Goodman
#5 Feb 2nd, 2006, 21:49
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#5
All good stuff: everyone should read your post
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#6 Feb 2nd, 2006, 22:43
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#6
Wow Siena such a great trip. How your daughter acclimatized to India and its frenetic chaos? Perhaps your daughter will be experienced traveller - my niece when she was 11 was crying all the way to Turkey, wanted to go back. And attention she required - it took all the time.
#7 Feb 3rd, 2006, 03:26
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogagal60510 as for the touts, I think next time I will just speak Spanish to them, maybe that will give them pause.....
Don't trust your luck!!! You might just find someone replying in Spanish to you!!! HAHAHA!!! I did encounter some touts when travelling with a female Spanish friend and once she tried that and got a reply in pretty fluent Spanish too!!!

Cheers,
Aadil.
#8 Feb 3rd, 2006, 05:32
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#8

Thumbs up Graet One

What an excellent post on your experiences. Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us. Loved your sense of homor, perhaps something that hippies don't have. Perhaps that's what made the difference... JUST A JOKE FOLKS. Don't get your gander up.....
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#9 Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:07
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#9
Thanks Siena, I really enjoyed your post.
Felt like I was there while reading it.
Ron
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#10 Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:24
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#10
Excellent tips and well worth a read Thanks, Siena!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siena 3.There is a Murphy's Law of bargaining. Whatever you haggled for and purchased today, you will the next day be offered the same thing - in a different location- at a cheaper starting price than you actually paid for the item. ie if you paid $5 today, tomorrow you would be offered it for $4 and could bargain them down to $2.
Tip : You need to take a deep breath and move on, telling yourself that the one you saw today had poo on it.
That's the only one I disagree with - even if you pay $5 today, it's still a lot cheaper than it would be at home (if not, why bother carting it back). Or the one you can get for $2 will be of a lesser quality and you won't be able to find the one you loved in the first place.

It pays to get a feel for the right prices and look around and see which things are available everywhere, but if you really have your heart set on it, better to risk paying more than miss it altogether
#11 Feb 3rd, 2006, 10:46
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#11
I think you might be missing the point Geurick. I agree with you that it's best to learn to compare prices and all that. But I think what she was saying is that sometimes you truly find the exact same thing for a lesser price. I know I have. And sometimes it was infuriating. But what she was trying to say is just move on with your life. Don't stay pissed, just realize shit happens, be happy you have the item and keep on shopping!

Siena...extremely interesting post. Those were some of the best tips I've read. Too bad I didn't see them BEFORE my trip.

Of course next time I go I don't want to borrow a kid so much as bring a man. Sorry to sound like an anti-feminist. I know women can stand on their own and get around fine by themselves. But you get soooo much more respect when a guy is with you and a lot less hassle. But this is true anywhere I think... (down with the patriarchy??? )
#12 Jun 28th, 2007, 19:02
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#12
Dear Siena, thanks for all the tips and experience you had while traveling in India that too with your family. You came back to visit India on a very positive note and explained it very well. In India some of the visitors experienced the life in a nutshell.
We hope that you will visit here again with your family and friends.
Last edited by machadinha; Jun 28th, 2007 at 20:37.. Reason: removed full quote
#13 Jun 29th, 2007, 11:42
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#13
torquey2000, thanks for your post... really, it deserves a thread of its own!

Moderator note: Good idea, Nick; why don't you move it?

Hmmmm.... OK! New thread: Our Family In India.

(Jeeeeeessssss...... see what happens when one tries to separate the person from the moderator? )
Last edited by machadinha; Jun 30th, 2007 at 04:20.. Reason: Added the link, Nick... gentle kick smiley ;)
#14 Oct 28th, 2007, 21:26
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#14
Its good to hear that India hasn't changed too much - Iwas there in 89 - the only thing that seems different is ATMS and internet of course! At least its not turning into a mini-US like Thailand is!
#15 Dec 11th, 2007, 15:40
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#15
http://www.womenstravelclub.com/tips.html read this. tank u.
This is the positive and very exclusive note and very useful to you.
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