Planning a trip to India is not a small task (but yes it’s worth it!). In a world of turn-up-and-go travel, India is one of the outliers, where “just go” is a little more difficult to do. In this guide to how to plan a trip to India, I’ll walk you step by step through India trip planning – whether it’s your first time to India or you’re heading back for more.
Is it necessary to plan in advance?
It’s important to prepare for your trip to India in advance for various reasons. You’ll have to learn a little bit about Indian culture so that you can get more out of your trip to India. Moreover, you have to find out your favorite itinerary and places to visit.
Whether this is your first time in India or you’ve been to India before, planning will help you relax and enjoy all of the magic that India has in store for you.
When you should travel to India
One of the first steps is to decide when is best to visit India for you. There are 3 main seasons in India. Let us look at it in detail.
- High Season, Winter
October to February are winter months in India. India’s winter falls between October to February and this is the most popular time to visit India. The popular festival also called the festival of lights Diwali is celebrated in Oct/Nov every year in India. Christmas, New Year, and Diwali are one of the best times to visit India. And, most importantly, you’ll get to experience good weather.
- Off-season, Summer
Late March to June is the summer season in India. India becomes unbearably hot and dry, starting from mid or end of March every year. Many tourists come to India to celebrate Holi which comes in Feb/March and marks the beginning of Spring. But between the end of March and June, the climate gets too hot unless you’re heading to the hill stations and mountains of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. So, it is advisable to not visit India for any trips in late march unless you’re heading to the hills.
July to September is the Monsoon season in India. The monsoon starts in late June and ends in September or October every year in India. This can be a great time to explore parts of India like Rajasthan and South Indian states. Monsoon is considered an ideal time for trekking in Ladakh.
Which places to explore in India
Which places are best for you to explore will depend on your interests, budget, travel style, and more. Let’s look into it in detail.
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Some tips when planning your own India travel:
- Everyone thinks of planning to north India for their first trip to India like Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra, etc. But the south of India is equally beautiful and has better food. And moreover, it is a better place to start, especially for solo female travelers to India.
- India is a big country and the traveling distances are longer. So, carry light baggage.
- Allocate a day on arrival to rest and adjust to deal with the culture shock. And, start exploring after a few hours of sleep.
- If you could not plan everything in advance, at least book your first night in a new place.
North Indian travel destinations
Rajasthan, India’s most kingly state offers palaces to stay in and experience the royal culture of India.
- Delhi to Kolkata
Along the plains of India along the Ganges travel from Delhi to Agra, visit historic Lucknow, and magical Varanasi before arriving in India’s 3rd biggest city, Kolkata.
- Tiger Parks & Magic of Central India
If you would like to witness India’s incredible biodiversity and wildlife, then do not miss the tiger reserves and national parks of central India spanning Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.
- The Mighty Mountains of North India
If you are a lover of beautiful mountain views and trekking, consider heading north from Delhi to Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Ladakh. The further north you go, the more stunning the views. Also, explore the historic hill stations of Shimla and Dharamshala or stay a while in Rishikesh before heading to Gangotri.
- Golden Temple
One of the most popular destinations, the Golden is present on the triangle route of Delhi – Agra – Jaipur. The geographic position of these 3 cities to each other is the home to some of India’s greatest treasures like the Taj Mahal (Agra), Delhi’s treasure trove of history and culture, and the UNESCO-listed “pink city” of Jaipur. These are the places that anyone visiting India should include on their list to travel to.
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South Indian travel destinations
South India offers some of the best trips to India if we consider it culturally, architecturally, and even when it comes to weather. South is very different from the north of India.
- Mumbai to Goa
Goa is the most popular destination to go to if you’re planning from Mumbai. Goa is full of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, and historic monuments.
- Bangalore to Goa
Explore beautiful and off-beat Karnataka, one of India’s most lush states taking in coastal towns such as Udupi and Gokarna. Also, try to visit the olden temples of Hampi and gaze in awe at Mysore Palace.
- Kerala & Tamil Nadu
Kerala and Tamil Nadu located on the southern tip of India are a world away from the north of India. Enjoy the Kerala backwaters, soak up the French vibes of Pondicherry, or take a mountain railway up to one of the hill stations for a cup of freshly-picked tea.
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