[All content and prices updated December 2012]

Why you should add India to your Indie/RTW trip

  • There is simply no place on Earth like India.  If you are an independent traveler, India should be at or near the top of your travel wish list.
  • It's easy (note that I didn't say comfortable) to get around India.  With over a billion citizens, you can take a bus/train/rickshaw literally everywhere.  The network of public transport is astounding, and even on popular tourist routes, locals will outnumber you - there aren't many countries where that is true.
  • India is HUGE - there are so many different places to visit and explore, and different parts of the country offer vastly different experiences.
  • If for no other reason than the curry and chai.
  • Want to trek in the Himalayas?  Yeah, they have those in India.
  • There may not be a more spiritual place in India - from Hinduism to Buddhism to yoga to meditation, if you are looking to get more in touch with your mind, body, and soul, India is the place to do it.
  • Indie travelers like to challenge themselves, and there is no bigger challenge than traveling in India, even for the most hardcore, experienced backpacker out there.

Indie Travel Tips

Simply walking down the street in India can be an indie travel experience.  If we're being frank here, India is about as indie as it gets, and if you can summon your inner yogi and practice some patience, the experience you will have in India will be magical.  Here are some specific tips to have an awesome experience in India.
  • Head north for some spirituality and outdoor adventures.  India can be overwhelming, so a trip up to Rishikesh for some yoga and meditation and a trek further north in the Indian Himalayas might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Be on guard always - touts are relentless in India - but try to maintain a balance.  The Indian people are extremely friendly and outgoing, and if you are always automatically dismissing everyone who approaches you, you may well miss out on a great experience and meaningful connection.
  • Relax and go with the flow - it will best maintain your sanity.  The need to just say okay and just go with what's thrown at you is essential to having a good time in India.  Our favorite expression/phrase while here was to throw up our hands and say, "Eh, it's India!"
  • Do what the locals do.  Perhaps one of the coolest parts about traveling in India is seeing so few western tourists.  While there are still plenty, they are vastly outnumbered by Indian tourists.  So follow where the locals go - head to places like Shimla and Mount Abu
  • Take public transport - trains and buses go everywhere and are insanely cheap.  It may be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of the booking process and how things are done, it's not as bad as it seems, as long as you go with the flow.

Overview

There is a tacit agreement among hardcore international travelers that you haven't really traveled until you have been to India. It is a country where many a travel story has been written and many a traveler has been born. It is a nation that is both wonderful and horrible. It is a place that you will love and you will hate, and that might just be in the course of  a few minutes. It is a country that is not easy to traverse but it offers great rewards to those who do.

What to see

With more than 1 billion citizens, the world's second most populous country feels every bit as crowded as it sounds, especially when you are walking along the streets of its megalopolis cities. But believe it or not, serenity can be found in India even in those big cities. It is something you will need to search out, but you can find it and when you do you will come to appreciate a country that is both bursting into modernity, while hanging on to ancient traditions. For more in depth information about travel in India, check out the following articles:

Transportation

You can earn your own travel stripes and experience both the joys and the craziness of India. If you are looking for deals on airfare to India, look no further than the international airfare finder. Generally speaking it is tough to find cheap flights from North America, but if you keep your eyes peeled you will come across the occasional bargain. Read Five Tips for Traveling India by Train and Buying Train Tickets in India for tips on traveling once you're in the country.

Accommodations

Accommodations in India are part of the adventure. They range from the abysmal to the wonderful. Do some planning ahead of time by looking into the hotels and hostels. Just navigating from one city to another is an adventure. You can make things a bit easier by joining an adventure tour where you and like-minded independent travelers can enjoy the sites of India while swapping stories about Delhi Belly.