How to Plan Your India Trip? (2023)
India is a vast and beautiful country. India’s diverse and colorful landscape, rich history, colorful festivals, and incredible monuments tell a story like no other. When you visit India, there will never be a dull moment during the trip. There is something here for everyone. Being such a vast and diverse country, planning a trip to India might easily become overwhelming. Most travelers have no clue where to begin their journey and which point to keep as their exit point from India.
How to Plan Your India Trip?
Here is a complete guide on how to plan your trip to India:
When Is The Best Time To Visit India?
The first point to address is when to schedule your trip to India. The main tourist season in India begins from October till March. This is when the weather is coolest, and you will also witness the country’s major festivals during this time. However, if you want to visit northern destinations like Spiti, Leh-Ladakh, and Kashmir, you will want to visit during the warmer months, as during this time, due to heavy snowfall, getting around becomes challenging, and many roads also get closed. In warmer temperatures, April to September is another good time, though it will be peak summers at this time.
It is best to avoid planning your trip to India during the monsoon season unless you love the rains or you are planning an Ayurvedic treatment tour.
How Long To Spend In India?
The next question that confuses tourists is how much time is enough to visit all the unique places in India. India is a huge country, and there are so many places to see in India that to reach from one place to the next may take you a couple of hours to even a day or two. You may also need to travel by train or car to reach your next destination. Many tourist towns require an overnight train journey to get to them – this time has to be factored in when you plan your trip to India.
Is it possible to see all the places of interest in India in two weeks? Yes, it is possible, but even then, you will need to pick and choose the top attractions that you definitely must visit. Even after spending four to six months in India, it is impossible to cover every inch of the country.
Is It Okay To Visit India Alone, Or Should You Opt For A Group Tour?
It is perfectly safe to travel in India alone, even for solo female travelers. However, if you are going to visit only for a short time, say just for two weeks, and this is your first trip to India, or you are unsure about how to plan your trip, being a part of an organized group tour is a better idea. There are many group tours being organized by all major tour operators. If you are unable to plan the trip yourself, taking the help of a tour operator will make the work easier as they often have ready-made itineraries. They also help solo travelers, groups, friends, and families plan the perfect trip to India since they have local knowledge.
How To Get Around When In India?
Most tourists opt for hiring a car and driver to get from one place to another in India. Self-drive rentals are still not that common in India, but a few companies have started giving cars for self-drive rentals. There are many app-based cab services like Uber that operate in most major cities. India has a massive domestic flights network. There are many domestic flights even to many tier III cities, and over the years, this network has been expanded to cover many small, regional destinations.
One of the best options to truly cover the heart of India is to book your tickets on the Indian Railways. This is the most affordable option for long-distance travel. Traveling by train in India also gives you the opportunity to explore many smaller cities and towns. Indian Railways also has a special foreign tourist quota on many of the popular trains. You will find it helpful as many trains often run fully booked most of the time, especially during festival season.
You can also choose to travel by bus. Buses in India are another affordable means of transport, but always check which bus you will be traveling in as many of them are considerably uncomfortable, especially for covering long distances.
Will You Need A Visa To Travel To India?
Yes, most nationalities require a visa to travel to India. Remember that it costs extra to get a visa from any country, so remember to factor in the visa cost when you are working out the budget for your trip to India. There have been significant changes in the visa process for India in recent years, but it is now much easier to get an Indian tourist visa than before. You can simply apply online to get an e-visa for your India trip. It takes a couple of days to get approved, and it remains valid for one year with multiple entries.
What About Accommodation?
It is possible to book your accommodation in India online. There are so many accommodation options available in India that you can pick and choose as per your budget and depending on how many people you are traveling with. There are some places in India where you can simply arrive without needing prior accommodation. These include Goa and Rishikesh (the yoga capital of the world), but for other cities, it is usually recommended that you book your accommodation beforehand. This is especially necessary if there is some event happening in that city or if you are visiting during the festival season, like Diwali or Holi. This is the peak tourist season in India, and all the hotels and guest houses or bed & breakfast get snapped up very quickly.
If you are planning to visit India for two to three weeks, it is recommended that you book your accommodation in advance, especially if you have already pre-booked and arranged your transport.
If you are planning to go on a backpacking trip across India and you have time on your hand, there’s no need to book ahead, and you can have a relaxed holiday. There are many hostels and hotels that always have some last-minute accommodations available. Again, avoid doing this in the festival season.
There are all types of hotels and guesthouses in India. From fancy Heritage Hotels that used to be palaces and forts for erstwhile royal families to many 5-star luxury hotels and resorts, there are many hotels to choose from.
Hostels are also very common in India, with many big chains of hostels offering great facilities at affordable rates. Oyo, Madpackers, Zostel, Moustache, and Backpacker Panda are some of the common hostel chains that are found in most major cities. These hostels offer dorm rooms, while some may offer private rooms as well.
Air BnB is also very common in India, and you can book them for many different cities. If you are traveling with family and children, it is a great idea to rent some gorgeous apartments in Air BnB across all the small and major cities in India.
Do You Need Travel Insurance?
You cannot get a visa to travel to India if you don’t have travel insurance. So make sure that you buy travel insurance before buying your tickets. You can easily purchase travel insurance at affordable rates online.
Where To Visit In India?
India is a vast country, and there are so many stunning monuments and attractions to see that you will be fighting to decide what city to skip and where all to visit. Keeping this in mind, you can develop many different itineraries, depending on whether you have a two-week, three-week, or longer holiday in India. If you are backpacking, you can come up with a more backpacking-friendly itinerary.
Where to visit in India is a challenging question indeed. What all places to include really depends on your personal interests, travel style, budget, and other such factors. Building a customized plan is best since India has much to offer.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while planning your India travel itinerary.
- Most tourists tend to pick North India for their first trip to India. This includes the cities of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Amritsar, etc. However, there is much more to India than the cities of the Golden triangle. The southern part of India is just as beautiful, historically and archaeologically rich, and you can reach with ease as well. For solo female travelers, south India has a better safety profile.
- Don’t pack too much; travel light. Travel distances in India from one city to another can be long, often requiring overnight journeys. Traveling with too much stuff can make it a harassing experience, and you will be busy handling your bags.
- Keep one day to rest after arriving in India. It is easier to deal with jet lag, weather change, and the culture change you experience after landing here when you have had a couple of hours of rest.
- If you don’t want to book anything in advance, it is best to at least book for your first night, especially if you are a solo female traveler. You don’t want to arrive at a new place scrambling to find someplace to stay in, especially if you reach late at night.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you along the way as you plan your trip to India. Remember, India is a country of surprises, and you will be surprised by the warm and loving welcome you receive when you arrive at this diverse and magnificent country.