Writing a comprehensive blog about the groundwork for India trip is not so easy task. It’s in fact tougher than writing an interesting travelogue or tour guiding because there is a lot to tell about this country that it can’t be finished in a single chapter. However, if you are planning to spend any length of time in India, it is worth learning as much as possible about its customs and lifestyle. Apart from being interesting in itself this has two main benefits: it helps to reduce your own cultural shock on arrival, and it also makes it less likely that you will cause offense to the local people by dressing or behaving in a way that is out of keeping with local traditions. This can be especially important in cities and towns where Muslim population dominates.
Apart from regular guidelines like planning itinerary, maintain travel documents, packing lists, medical care,etc.
Here are a few suggestions:
|Be prepared for cultural shocks!|
Be prepared for the cultural shock – Of course you may not experience this, especially if you love travel, have a laid-back temperament, are lucky enough to have a stimulating assignment and close friends, or manage to retain a large measures of control over your life and lifestyle.
However, you probably will come to recognize the four typical phases: elation, depression, recovery or integration and acculturation. Here, with India acculturation is a worth to explain. You get used to the culture and people and come to accept, them warts and all. You may start enjoying life to such an extent that the idea of leaving fills you with horror. And the more good friends you make and the greater the experience you have, the better it all feels. Of course, if you’ve had a really stressful time, some bad experiences or problems with your travel, you may not feel this way at all.
|Drink tea, not in cup but full glass|
Meeting people – There may be people from the country you will be visiting who are studying or living in your country. It can be mutually enriching to get to know them and discover something of their beliefs and lifestyle. It is also valuable to talk to any expatriate who has actually lived or visited the area you are going to. By asking specific questions you will be able to prepare yourself both mentally and practically. It will give you a chance to find out what items are locally available and what clothes and personal belongings you should take with you.
|Read something about India|
Reading – Time allowing, it is worth reading the history of the nation, travel books, novels and any literature covering the culture and religions of India. Selective reading of a travel guide, e.g. the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet series, helps to give ideas for leisure activities.
Here is a list of books you can read before you traveling to India. My Choice of Travel Books on India
Learning language(s) – India is full of languages, more than 30 dominantly speaking all over the country, and several hundred mother tongues. However, it is better if you learn Hindi that is mostly understood and spoken in every part of India. If you are in south India, people tend to avoid Hindi but you can manage to communicate in English even with Auto rickshaw driver, shopkeepers and others.
|Explore culture in India|
Discovering ways to minimize cultural differences. Clothes and gadgets should be selected and worn with care. The uncovered arms or legs of women may be quite acceptable in some parts of India, but enough to cause whistle to fly in others. Photographic and electronic wizardry may draw gasps of admiration from the local inhabitants, but at the expense of you being seen as a provider of foreign merchandise rather than as a straightforward friend.
Customs, habits and clothes that we take for granted may cause offense or amusement in other cultures. Do some homework first so as to avoid social clangers that can put your local acceptance rating back to zero.
|Be comfortable, be confident in India|
Decide to keep a diary or record (blog) – Quite apart from being fun to read to yourself in twelve months’ time, or to grandchildren in future years, it helps you to see your life in perspective. Sometime writing down a difficult, annoying or frightening episode can deprive it of its sting. It also stimulates you to continue being a student of the country where you are living.
|Backpackers sometimes spend in this way!|
Orientation course – Before coming to India, you can also do some orientation course, briefing weekends or even residential terms for preparation. These courses help you to think through situations before they arise, they enable you to handle the human, emotional, physical and spiritual conditions you are likely to meet.
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