Asia Transpacific Journey’s expert Travel Specialist, Jen Boyd, just returned from India where she professes to have fallen in love with the chaotic, colorful country. Fresh off the plane, she was kind enough to share the following pieces of first-hand advice for all our travelers headed to India.
1. Don’t forget your jacket
India is often viewed as a “tropical paradise” sort of destination. While it’s undeniably warm in the summer (especially in the south), India covers nearly 2,000 miles from north to south and all manner of climate zones, from balmy beaches to snow-capped peaks.
That said, November through February is generally the best time to travel to India—it’s dry and cool in most places. Befitting the temperate climate, layers are a necessity and a light jacket is indispensable in the chilly morning and evening hours.
2. Ditch your standard “travel wardrobe”
The all black, navy or grey, goes-with-anything travel wardrobe that made you feel chic in France is not going to cut it for India. No one wants to be stuck with a lackluster wardrobe amidst India’s riot of color.
3. Leave half your luggage empty
India is a shopper’s paradise! Leave half of your suitcase empty so there’s plenty of room to bring home special purchases without worry. Or pack a second lightweight, collapsible bag you can fill with the treasures you collect throughout your trip. Even if you always fly with only carry-ons, don’t sweat checking a second bag of souvenirs on your return flights—it is a lot easier to deal with a lost or delayed bag from the comfort of your own home.
4. Follow the cows
Traffic in India is enough to make even the hardened city-dweller balk—cars, tuk-tuks, bicycle rickshaws, horse-carts, cows, dogs, donkeys and hoards of people all jockey for position on crowded streets. To ensure your safety, following the lead of the locals or, better yet, the untouchable sacred cows that part traffic with impunity.