India; the land of rich culture, strong heritage, and age-old traditions. With such diverse cultural and traditional nuances, every traveler must keep a note of their actions and make sure no religious or cultural sentiments are hurt. So to avoid making any such, unintentional, mistake and to make the most of your volunteering experience in India, here is a list of 13 Do’s and Don’ts you must follow:
1. Do carry a big smile on your face when greeting someone.
2. Do offer your hand for a handshake only after the other person put forward his.
3. Do follow the rules and regulations before entering a religious place. Follow what others are doing. Removing your footwear is a must.
4. Do take a ride in a local transport for an amazing experience. However, take care of your belongings all through your ride.
5. When taking an auto/taxi, always stress on paying according to the meter reading rather than fixing a random price before hand.
6. Do consult your doctor/physician for the kind of medication/immunization you need to take before leaving to volunteer in India.
7. When shopping from a local stall or road side hawkers, do stress on bargains to get a good price for your purchase.
8. Do try a new local delicacy every other day. Food in India is made with the use of a variety of spices, which will take your taste palates for a lip-smacking ride.
9. Do practice washing hands before consuming any eatable.
10. Always exchange money from authorized banks and/or money exchange outlets only.
11. Do try and drink bottled water only.
12. Do cover yourself with travel and medical insurance.
13. Do learn some commonly used words in Hindi to interact with the locals. It is a great way to gel with the locals.
1. If you are a male, fold your hands in a way that your palms join together, in order to greet the female member of a family. It’s called a ‘Namaste’ in India. Do not offer your hand for a handshake with the female member.
2. Do not take pictures of females (especially in rural areas) and government buildings, without taking permission.
3. Do not leave your belongings unattended in public areas.
4. Do not wear anything you feel like when going out, especially, to a religious place; such as a Temple or a Sikh Gurudwara. Always consult your local coordinator for this.
5. Do not hire a guide who is not carrying a Ministry of Tourism (Govt. of India) authorized badge.
6. Do not get into any kind of religious or political discussions. They mostly tend to end up in controversial debates.
7. Do not walk over books or newspapers. People in India consider books as the Goddess of knowledge and learning.
8. Do not buy tickets from any stranger or touts for any kind of mode of transport (Bus/Train/Flight). Get it from the authorized outlets only (Offline/Online).
9. Do not take a taxi that is carrying an extra person other than the driver.
10. Do not accept eatables from strangers when traveling in a bus or train.
11. Do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarette in public.
12. Do not use your left hand for accepting or offering a gift to someone.
13. Do not move out late nights alone. Take a fellow volunteer mate along or inform the local coordinator only if it’s too urgent.
When volunteering in India, following these above mentioned tips can help dearly in making your time memorable. Volunteer traveling in India is one of the best ways to explore the country and understand its lifestyle. Know more about volunteering in India, get in touch with our program advisors today at [email protected].