*This post was written in collaboration with Planet-Sports.de


If you are following me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably know that I have recently come back from my three week trip to India. I feel like I have been looking forward to these three weeks for ages. And while I felt like the trip went by so incredibly quickly, I also feel like I have been gone forever. I experienced so much in such little time. We traveled to a new place almost every second day. This was mostly possible due to precise planning but also due to the fact that we were so open to whatever might happen. So today I want to share with you all my tips and tricks to travel around India.


Visa
The first thing you will have to look into is your visa. I obviously can't give you a universal answer, as it mostly depends on the country you are applying from. A lot of countries, however, are eligible to apply for the Tourist e-Visa and that's what I did. (Just FYI I am from Germany). I strongly recommend applying for it directly at the Government of India website. I am aware that there are services that charge some money and then do the application for you. But if you have a bit more than a basic understanding of English, I am sure you can do it yourself. Not only is it cheaper, but you also avoid getting scammed. Also be aware of websites that imitate the official website, just to get your credit card information.

Where to go
India is such a huge country with an incredible amount of vastly different climates, landscapes, and languages. It was important to me to see as many as different places in those three weeks. Just be aware that traveling in India is much more time consuming and tiring as it might be in your home country. For example, a distance of 300km could easily be done in 3 hours in Germany. In India, such a trip could cost you 8 or even 10 hours if you are really unlucky. That's why air travel is a good option if you have to cover long distances.

Our trip started out in Delhi, where we took a car (with driver) to Bareilly. Those 300km took us almost 6 hours. After attending a wedding, we took the same trip back to New Delhi Airport, which took us almost 9 hours due to really bad traffic. From there we took a flight to Goa. Goa is a beautiful state in the south of India. It's a popular place for travelers who want the extremely warm weather of India all year round (30 degrees Celsius in winters). Goa has a lot of beautiful beaches. Once we hired a car (Goa is a good place to drive yourself, if you really want to), we went even more south in Goa to skip the crowds of tourists in North Goa. We rented an Airbnb in the Canacona area and in my opinion it was the best decision ever. The beaches (Galgibag beach was my fave) were almost empty, yet absolutely beautiful. If you are willing to drive an additional 2-3 hours from Panjim, which is the capital of Goa, you are with rewarded with beautiful secluded beaches. However, if you want to Party and you don't mind loads of people, Panjim is the way to go. 

After a few days in Goa, we heavyheartedly took a flight back to New Delhi. After exploring New Delhi for a few days, we hired yet another car to go to Agra. You might have not heard of Agra, but you most likely have heard of the Taj Mahal which is located in Agra. I absolutely loved Agra and would say it's a must-see if you come to India the first time. If you decide to stop in Agra, please also consider visiting the SOS Wildlife Elephant Conservation and Care Center. Just write them an E-Mail beforehand and choose a time slot. Please make time for such an important place and cause. I don't want to go in depth about this issue in this post, but the abuse and exploration of animals, especially elephants in India is still a huge problem and it is important to get educated and spread the message.

After a couple of days in Agra, we took our car and went more west to Jaipur. Agra and Jaipur are pretty well connected and the 240km took as around 4 hours. Jaipur was an amazing experience. The Amber Fort is absolutely beautiful and in my opinion equally worth seeing as the Taj Mahal. Plus, the Amber Fort is not as crowded and you have more time and space to explore. 

The next day we drove further west to Jodhpur. The 340km took us around 6 hours. Jodhpur was another beautiful place, which is called the blue city. Because of its many blue buildings. If you want to visit the blue city, you should visit the Mehrangarh Fort and do the Flying Fox zip line around the fort to get the most incredible view. However, if you have less time to spend in India, I recommend skipping Jodhpur.

Initially, we had planned to drive all the way from Jodhpur back to New Delhi. But after traveling so much and realizing how long everything takes we were unsure if this would be the smartest idea. So while coming back we booked another night in Jaipur and continued our journey back to India's capital in the morning. We yet again spent a few days in New Delhi and then made our journey back to Germany.


What to pack
This obviously totally depends on when and where you go. February was still considered winter in India and it was indeed a bit chilly in the evenings. So definitely pack a light coat, maybe just a thick cardigan for the evenings. Otherwise, I would say try to pack things that you can layer. The weather is quite unpredictable. If you go further south you obviously have to pack for warmer weather. In Goa, I mostly lived in linen dresses or my bikini and sandals.

I found a lot of practical pieces on Planet Sports. For footwear, I highly recommend a comfortable pair of sneakers and sandals, regardless of where you go. A roomy outdoor backpack for your day trips is another must. Sunglasses and some sort of sun hat would always be a good idea. And regardless of when or where you go: consider and respect their culture and don't wear anything too revealing like deep cut shirts or extremely short skirts.

When it comes to toiletries you should definitely take toilet paper/ paper tissues with you as not every public toilet will have that available for you. I recommend buying anti-mosquito sprays and gels in India itself, as they are more suitable for their kind of mosquitos. Also, don't forget your sunscreen, blister plasters, antibacterial sprays/gels, and earplugs.

Hygiene
Something most people worry about before going to India is hygiene. Yes, you definitely have to be careful not to get sick. But out of the ten people I was with nobody fell seriously ill. Here are a few tips on how to prevent falling sick in India:

- get your vaccination
- always disinfect your hands before eating
- avoid salads and anything that is raw/uncooked
- fruits, like bananas, that you peel yourself are fine
- I would stay away from berries or anything that you don't peel
- ONLY drink water from bottles that have been sealed properly
- don't buy water from sellers that come to your car or street vendors in general, as these bottles are often refilled with unfiltered water
- when you buy soda or beer cans, either sterilize the can first or pour it into a glass and then drink


What to shop
If you go to Jaipur, you have to check out their jewelry. Jaipur is famous for its stones. I personally got myself a beautiful ring and it's simply something special. You'll remember your trip every time you look at it. 

Agra is a great place to buy marble goods. I got a few pieces as I absolutely adore marble. But of course, you have to consider that marble is quite heavy and delicate to transport. So maybe stick to small pieces. 

Another thing that is quite inexpensive, at least compared to Germany, is tailoring. I got a blazer tailored for myself and my sister's boyfriend got a whole (Indian style) suit made. My blazer cost me about 80 which is around the price I would pay for a Zara blazer anyway. And now I have one which fits like a glove and is made out of the fabric and buttons that I chose. 

If you have any more questions, like recommendations for hotels, restaurants and so on, you can comment, tweet or Instagram message me anytime. 

x Lisa