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India

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India is a country in Asia.


How to be a good guest

Besides the usual guidelines for How to be a good guest:

  • Remove your shoes while entering your hosts house even when not asked.
  • Be very patient.
  • India is a foodoholic society. Indians love food and if you are offered with food, which you will be many times, be brave and try.
  • Eat with your right hand or use a fork and spoon. Eating with the left hand is frowned upon (same as in Muslim countries and many parts of Africa). But once you have started eating with your right hand, please use only your left hand to serve yourself or lift your glass of water. Indians do not eat from plates and bowls touched with a jutha (anything put in your mouth) hand.
  • Indians value punctuality, so if you cannot make it do let you host know in advance and email or SMS or phone call would do. This is highly appreciated.
  • Indians tend to give extra deference and respect to elders - even if they are not related to each other or even if they disagree with elders. Be mindful of that respect when conversing with anybody older than yourself.

Female, travelling solo

India is generally safe for women (thanks to anti violence philosophies and religions) but sometimes Western women are seen as easy targets. A few tips that might make your life on the road a bit easier:

  • CouchSurfers in general are just fine and trustworthy folks, but take care and check references of people you consider as hosts.
  • Dress modestly: tank tops, mini skirts and shorts are not your best bet. No need to overdo it though, capris and shirt covering a bit more than your shoulders should be okay. Tank top and long-sleeved shirt in light fabric and in local style would be perfect, also covers from the sun. Dress elegantly like a local in a Shalwar Kameez sample outfits shown here. This is essential especially when you travel down South or conservative places like Rajasthan.
  • Learn the art of ignoring people - does not mean you can't talk to anyone at all but the more responsive you seem the more disturbance you get from taxi guys and people trying to sell stuff to you, when just walking down the street.
  • Cover story of a boyfriend or husband, wearing a "wedding ring" might be a bit overboard but might come in handy if the conversation needs to end sooner rather than later.

Learning the phrase "leave me alone" or something similar in Hindi or other local language might help (or make the guys more persistent). visa:India