How to survive and enjoy India

the-danielle-diaries-india

I was terrified of getting sick in India. I think we’ve all heard about the dreaded Delhi Belly. I was so worried about it that I was tempted to not go at all – but I knew I was just being ridiculously silly. I could just as easily get food poisoning in New York or at home in Ireland. It happens. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that I had a 3 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, a 4 hour stop-over there, a 8 hour flight to Dublin and a 3 hour bus trip to Wexford. I had the fear, big time. But, I escaped Delhi without any belly problems and I actually had an amazing time in India – something I wasn’t expecting.

I had read that you were more likely to get sick from picking bacteria up on your hands and transferring it to your face and mouth than getting sick from food. So with that in mind I came prepared…
Sanitizer. Sanitizer. Sanitizer.
I went crazy on the hand sanitizer. I’m obsessed with the Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer anyway- they smell amazing! I had 3 of them with me. I only used one bottle though, but I like to have back-up! I also had a holder for the sanitiser that clipped onto the strap of my bag which meant it didn’t have to go digging around it my bag for it. It was really a life saver. I’ve linked them here so you can have a look.
Hand wipes.
I had a packet of hand wipes with me in my bag at all times. I used Dettol Sensitive Hand Wipes. Yes, the sanitiser will help kill bacteria, but they won’t actually clean your hands. It surprised and repulsed all of us how quickly and easily we picked up dirt despite using hand sanitiser. It was pretty disgusting. I used them frequently, especially after handling money.
Wash your hands.
Total common sense, but I washed my hands before and after eating and as soon as I got to my hotel room. On that note let me tell you that I brought my own hand soap. Yes, I might be crazy, but once again let me remind you that I did not get sick. My reasoning was hotels usually only provide bars of soup which aren’t really hygienic on the best of days so they’re not really a great idea when you’re going through pains to avoid germs. I bought bottle of Dettol Sensitive pH-balanced Hand Wash that came in a pump. I really liked it because it made my hands feel so super clean and soft despite my near OCD-ness.
Make sure water bottles are sealed.
Thypoid is probably your biggest enemy in India so make sure you have all your vaccinations in order before you go (I had Hep A, Hep B, Thypoid and Tetnis done). When buying and drinking water you need to make sure that the bottles are sealed because if you’ve seen Slumdog Millioner you’ll know that it’s quite the enterprise to refill bottles of water with dirty, contaminated water and sell it on to unwitting tourists. I never encountered this problem, but I always checked that my water was sealed before I opened it first. Needless to say do not drink tap water either. I even used bottled water to brush my teeth. I did accidentally use the tap water in the hotel, twice actually, but I lived to tell the tale.
Watch what you eat
Again common sense.  My hotel had curry on their buffet breakfast, but I don’t like curry at the best of times so I stayed well away. Give me all the pancakes, please and thank you. I’m usually bit adventurous when traveling, but India was different. I wasn’t as crazy strict as I thought I was going to be. I had read that some people avoid eating meat when traveling there, but I feel like that probably applies to street market food. I ate in restaurants the whole time. I hilariously ate more Mexican food in India. I am that person.
Have a laugh
India can easily get you down. It’s an eyeopening experience, but so worthwhile. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much if I hadn’t gone with a group of friends. You need people to bounce off of and have a bit of fun with or else you’ll just focus on all of the negatives of India. It was a trip of a life-time and I made so many memories there. I may even be considering a return visit.
Have you been to India?

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