Travel as light as possible. Clothing and laundry are both quite inexpensive.
Its better for women to avoid tank tops or short skirts / shorts. The best outfit, especially during the hot summers, is a T-shirt worn with loose cotton trousers. You can purchase them anywhere in India , at very reasonable rates, at any of the shops. Adventurous ladies can try wearing the Indian 'salwar-kameez'. It is comfortable and free sized.
If you give the impression of being from a different country, chances are that you might be stared at, especially in the smaller towns. Don't be offended - they mean no harm, it is just curiosity.
In India , public toilet facilities are few and far between. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you go.
Do not let them hassle you, and do not encourage them by giving them money.
Food And Drink
Drink only bottled water. Many popular brands are available. In restaurants insist that they bring a sealed bottle to your table
Beef is not served in many parts of India . Pork is also not easily available.
Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants. The meat in cheaper and smaller places can be of dubious quality.
Good quality vegetarian food is easily available.
Curd or yoghurt is served with most meals. It is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food.
Try to shop only in government handicraft shops. There the prices are fixed and the quality is certified. If that is not an option, check the prices at a few shops before making a choice. Bargaining is standard in most places and is enjoyed by all.
Get used to the fact that you will probably be charged more than the locals. If possible, take a local along when you go shopping.
In hotels and restaurants, tips are not normally included in the bill.
Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary.
The standard tip is 10%.
In hotels, porters and room service attendants are normally tipped at the end of the stay, though an early tip is likely to get you better service.
Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary.
Dress codes for religious places can include covering your head, being barefoot etc. Ask, so that you don't unwittingly give offence.
Some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises.
Certain temples are not open to Non-Hindus. Please check with the local tourist information office.
Most museums in India are closed on Mondays and Site Museums, those near archaeological monuments, on Fridays.
The dry summer heat can drain you completely. Drink lots of water and fluids.
The sun is strong. Remember to use sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Wear sunglasses to screen out harmful rays.
Photography is not always permissible, and at many places it is permitted only at a fee. There is usually a higher fee for using a video camera.
Smoking is not allowed at public places. All properties of the Indian Railways including trains and railway stations are strictly non smoking zones with stiff penalties for violations.
English is spoken at almost all tourist centers, but you can also request Government-trained and approved guides who also speak German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian or Russian.
Always drink bottled water.
For the first few days it might be advisable to clean your teeth in bottled water.
Eat fruit you can peel.
Always wash fruit well before eating it.
Wash your hands before and after eating.
Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent with you.
Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhoea, fever, etc. Also, band aids and an antiseptic ointment.
If you do catch a bug, do not panic. It will go away in a few days - but try the following tips to keep it down:
Drink lassi - a yoghurt drink. It will help tone down the bacteria.
Eat plain rice, or try a simple khichdi - an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils.
Drink plenty of coconut water. It's cooling, and naturally sterilized!
Drink plenty of fluids and take some electrolyte salts if the bug persists.
Everything in India takes time - longer than in most places. So always give yourself extra time for whatever you may have to do - even it is just a visit to the Post Office or changing money.
Indians joke about the concept of "Indian Stretchable Time" (IST). Certainly, if you're a super-punctual sort, India can be frustrating. Make allowances for this.
Keep extra photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport. This will be required for Indian permits. Also, keep extra photographs of yourselves. These will be required for permits, filling out forms,etc.
Taxi and auto-rickshaw fares keep changing, and therefore do not always conform to readings on meters. Insist on seeing the latest rate card (available with the driver) and pay accordingly.
Insist on the taxi/auto meter being flagged down in your presence. As much as possible, especially from the airport or railroad station insist on using the pre paid services which are available at most important places.
In cities you can change most major foreign currencies and brands of travellers' cheques - but you'll widen your options and save yourself hassles if you stick to US dollars or pounds sterling, and either Thomas Cook or American Express travellers cheques.
Most big cities have ATMs which accept both Visa and Mastercard as well as American Express. The ATM network is ever expanding and in some states, you can find them even in some smaller towns.