Why traveling in India is so difficult

Traveling in India is a feat but can be a life-changing journey for some. Here are some of the things that make traveling in India difficult.

Language and cultural barrier

Obviously, the biggest barrier would be the language and cultural barrier that foreigners face when coming to India. Although English is an official language of India and many people speak it at least a little bit, everyday life is conducted in Hindi or another local language, of which there are many, in fact up to hundreds and thousands. So there will be times that communication will be a challenge outside of big cities, although there will always be someone who speaks English if the area has any tourists coming around.

There’s also the cultural shock of living with a lot less luxuries in India than some of us are used to. For example, having a laundry machine or toilet paper should not be taken for granted because many people in India need to handwash their clothes and prefer to use a bumgun to clean up after they go to the washroom. Also, you are expected to bargain for most things you buy, especially as a foreign tourist. Know that they will probably quote 3 times the normal price for you especially.

Lack of mobile and online payment options for foreigners

Nowadays Indians use their smartphones to pay for anything from chai to hotel rooms. Unfortunately, unless you have an Indian mobile number and bank account, this will be impossible to do for you as a foreigner. This means you have to carry cash everywhere oldschool style, and due to the prevalence of mobile payment, some shops do not have enough change to give back to you and might refuse your payment.

Not only that, but most Indian websites do not accept foreign credit cards, which means you cannot pay for and make online bookings for local buses or trains by using the popular sites and apps that Indians do to easily use such services. Usually, I asked an Indian friend to help me book a bus or train for me and I gave them cash instead.

Fake reviews and scams

Fake reviews are a problem everywhere, but in India especially, there seems to be a lot of paid fake reviews for better ratings for restaurants, hotels, buses, you name it. So take any reviews or ratings you see with a grain of salt, and if you see inconsistent reviews that are a weird of mix of either excellent or horrible, then you can probably guess that the perfect ratings are fake, especially if they all seem quite similar in content and style.

Different prices for foreigners

Although living in traveling in India is still considered quite cheap compared to other destinations, expect to pay a more expensive price, usually 3 times the price, as a foreigner, no matter where you’re from or what you do. You can bargain, but you will usually not succeed in lowering the price for too much because they expect automatically you to pay more for the same things.

Safety

Traveling in India comes with a precaution especially for solo travelers and more if you are a female traveler. While being generally careful and using your common sense when getting around will keep you out of trouble, do be more alert in touristy, crowded places, due to pickpockets, and please avoid areas that are known to be dangerous or shady. It’s better to not take too much chances as a foreign traveler wandering around in a country as big and diverse as India.

So here are the reasons that I think that traveling in India as a foreigner is a bit difficult. But despite these obstacles, it is so worth it as you get to understand the life and unique challenges that Indians face and you can experience the beautiful cultural traditions of this ancient country.

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