Top 10 travel tips: How to stay safe in India

Last updated 14:59 14/03/2017
Karl Rock

The extraordinary sights and sounds of India are definitely worth the trouble.

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India is an incredible and unforgettable country to travel. But there's no doubt that the initial thought of visiting India raises some questions even in the most seasoned traveller's head.

For others who've never been to Asia, it's a little more daunting. But it needn't be!

A little bit of preparation goes a long way in India.

I was lucky; I had a very good Indian friend meet me at the New Delhi airport and teach me the ropes.

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I'm forever grateful for that because when you peek out the airport exit doors, it's chaos. There's no going back once you exit the Indian Airports too, you can't re-enter the airport once you leave it.

Having spent a year travelling around India, and now living permanently in India, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. Fortunately, there are far more highs than lows in this beautiful country.

Here are my top 10 tips that I've used to travel to 20 out of the 30 Indian states safely:

1. Do not wear revealing clothing, dress modestly. Visit a FabIndia store and buy some local clothing. Wearing Indian clothing allows you to blend in better and stay covered.

2. Don’t wear expensive jewellery, clothes, bags, or flash around anything expensive.

3. Don’t assume it’s safe to trust women.

4. Keep a confident and assertive attitude when dealing with strangers.

5. Don’t accept free food, drinks or rides.

6. Carry your phone with you at all times. Google Maps comes in handy when you're lost.

7. Be aware of pickpockets in tourist areas. Keep valuable items in your front pant pockets, not the rear. Carry backpacks on your front when in crowded areas.

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8. If you’re travelling solo, don’t tell people you meet. Say your friends are nearby. Don’t say anything that makes you seem vulnerable. Use white lies if necessary.

9. Avoid going out late at night, especially alone.

10. You will constantly be asked to take photos with people. Take them as long as you feel comfortable. Usually it’s harmless, but sometimes people will push their luck, even with male tourists.

That all sounds a bit scary, right? Those tips are to avoid worst-case scenarios. I've never had anything terrible happen to me here, and I've always felt safe in India.

If you're a first-time traveller to India, I recommend booking a group tour or your own guide.

It's an excellent way to be introduced to India and lets you adjust to how different it is.

The guide will act as a teacher for you for the first few days. Then if you're feeling confident enough, you can venture out on your own and explore.

Karl Rock is the author of the India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide). 

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