Visiting India? 9 Tips to travel safe

Visiting India CAN be safe but precautions need to be taken because the sanitation standards are different.

Before I left for Mysore on my last trip I visited my doctor and got some advise, I also learned lots from my very own roommates in India, and collectively here is the knowledge I have.

1- Don’t Drink Tap Water

Water in India is unsafe, just like it is in Mexico, so when you are showering close your mouth and be especially careful when washing your hair.

Just to give you an example, one of my roommates did not believe the fuzz and one night brushed her teeth with tub water.  She felt bad in the morning, skipped yoga practice and ended up staying in bed for two whole days. She had diarrhea and vomit spurs and got completely dehydrated.

2.- Do Not Eat Raw Foods (Salads) In Restaurants

Stick to the touristy (read western oriented) restaurants, and do not eat lettuce or raw produce in restaurants because they wash them with the water you are avoiding.  Eat at home instead when you feel like raw.

3.- Carry With You Water Purification Capsules

We used to add a few drops of Liquid Grapefruit seed oil to water we would wash veggies with, and this worked very well.

When cooking at home I concentrated on stews.  Beans are a plenty, at least in the Mysore area, and it is so cheap to cook at home that it seems like an exercise in living in an affordable world, very much so.

5.- Talk To Your Doctor About Possible Diarrhea and Bring Amodium

It might happen, even if you take all precautions. It is always good to be prepared for the worst case scenario so it is important to talk to the doctor and ask for an anti-diarrhea pill and to also ask for something to stop vomiting.

My doctor suggested that if it came to this point, to first let it run out before I started taking the anti-diarrhea stuff (Imodium).  I know this might be a little too much information and I consider myself lucky that I did not get to that point ever. Should you encounter yourself there, it is good to know.

6.- Bring Hydration Pills (Buy from Amazon)

I had some of these pills with me and they helped my roommate (see point 1).  Nothing will replace the water drinking, no pill, no antibiotics.  It is important to remember to keep hydrated at all times.

7.- Bring and Carry With You An Umbrella and a Flash Light

The power cuts were as frequent as unpredictable, and the streets are not paved, there are lots of holes everywhere so it is really handy to have a flash light.  As per the umbrella, it will come handy if you visit during Monsoon season, at least until you get used to the timing of when the showers are likely to come by.

8. Bring A Mosquito Net

I brought my own which I borrowed from a friend who had gone to Africa.  It was a cool thing to have and I could see how it could have come handy depending on where I would rent a space.

I was lucky that my room in a big house near the AYRI did not need a net, but there were plenty of mosquitoes around.

9.- If You are a Woman Respect Customs, Don’t Show Ankles and Shoulders

During the time of my visit there was a young girl that went into the shala and then left dressed only in tights and a top tank, I saw her walking home about 4 blocks from the AYRI.  For India this is incredibly provocative.

I am sure the young girl probably did not know any better, and did not realize that the culture can be very shocked.  I am not saying there is a relation between this and what happened the next morning, but it does leave me wondering.  We woke up to the news that a dog that used to roam the shala’s premises’ was murdered by the police, reportedly (this I heard and could be no more than gossip) because the neighbors had it arranged to “send a message”.

Now that may not be true, who knows, but what I did hear was Sharath telling us all that very morning to remember to respect the culture and that women should cover their shoulders.  Coincidence? you tell me.

10.- Carry a Whistle With You

India in general has been having a lot of rape cases.  Mysore is no exception, some women have been groped, or molested (including myself), so bring a whistle and be smart about how you get to the studio.  Travel with others… Protect yourself.

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11 Responses to Visiting India? 9 Tips to travel safe

  1. Skippetty October 6, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    I'm bookmarking this post for when I make my virgin Mysore trip soon, THANK YOU for the tips! Didn't realize the water-from-the-tap situation was THAT bad. (Grapefruit seed oil is a great tip!) 🙂

  2. Claudia October 6, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    You are welcome Skippetty, hope your trip happens soon, and stay tuned, maybe other bloggers who have been to Mysore or other parts of India will tell other secrets of safety, I am hoping so….

  3. Helen October 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Oh my goodness, Claudia, I think we were at the shala the same time! Unless there have been two dogs murdered!!! That was weird, Jan-Feb ummmm 2008? <br /><br />I wore salwar kameez mot of the time, great for the climate and found I got less or even no hastle for being a blonde female in India. I got some tailor made there, very cheap.<br /><br />Great list of tips, I would also take sun

  4. Claudia October 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    Helen, yes! That was the time, and that was the dog, I believe he was fed some poisoned meat, poor soul, I bet he will come back as a yogi… That is a good point, good insect repelling and sun lotion are good ones! Thanks for your addition… That is so funny that we have met and did not even know it 🙂

  5. Skippetty October 12, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Wow! Did you read about the Ozzy swimmers getting the runs at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi because of the SWIMMING POOL WATER?! Claudia, you&#39;re giving me another thing to be paranoid about now! HAHA! I go in January next year. Can&#39;t wait! 🙂

  6. Claudia December 5, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Skippetty, no I had not read about that… Oh dear!!!

  7. Honey March 14, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Thanks for telling us about the tips for traveling in India. I am about to go India for <a href="; rel="nofollow">hatha yoga teacher training</a>. You helped me so much through this column. <br /><br />Honey

  8. Prithvi January 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I am from Mysore but you have some good information about Mysore.. randomly came across ur blog. <br />good job

  9. Claudia January 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Thank you Prithvi

  10. Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    What kind of stews did you end up cooking? Do you have recipes you recommend? Thanks.