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How to be a local in India


Incredible India attracts more than its fair share of backpackers and culture seekers - not only because of its bustling cities and exotic heat but also because of its different way of life, which is far removed from western mentality.

One of the largest and oldest cultures in the world, it's evolved to its own tune which means that visitors should prepare to adjust their expectation of what's “normal”.

With this in mind here are the Flexicover team's top five tips on what to expect and how to act when you visit this eastern jewel.

Eat the street food

The authentic blend of spices, chutneys whose flavours bind together perfectly and just-picked ingredients are not only one of the main reasons to head eastwards, but it also gets you right in to the Indian way of life. The best food in India isn't found in its many luxury hotels but on its streets, where food trucks feed locals for a fraction of the price - dishes like masala dosa, bhel puri and potato sandwiches are tantalising treats for the taste buds. Our number one tip, choose an eatery that is popular with the locals.

Ditch the cutlery

Too many of us it seems counter-intuitive to use ones hands to eat, but as mentioned India’s traditions date back centuries when there was no pressing need for cutlery. It is important to note don’t pick up food or eat it with your left hand, only the right is used for matters of the kitchen, the left is used for matters of the bathroom. The trick to eating without cutlery is to scoop up curries using your carb of choice, until you master it expect an accident or two - especially as difficult-to-clean curries seem magnetically attracted to clothes.

Language differences

Speaking of this different value system, Indians have a particular issue with the word 'no'. If you ask for directions you’ll get wrong ones as this is preferred to a negative answer, so choose who you’re asking wisely; passers-by should only be asked as a last option. Also, if you converse with a local and they reply ‘yes’ without follow up, take that as a no. Equally, try to leave ‘no’ out of your replies and turn negatives into positives somehow – you’ll be considered polite for it.

Yes means no

Speaking of this different value system, Indians have a particular issue with the word 'no'. If you ask for directions you’ll get wrong ones as this is preferred to a negative answer, so choose who you’re asking wisely; passers-by should only be asked as a last option. Also, if you converse with a local and they reply ‘yes’ without follow up, take that as a no. Equally, try to leave ‘no’ out of your replies and turn negatives into positives somehow – you’ll be considered polite for it.

Dress conservatively

In most countries with strong religious ties, it's not appropriate to dress like you're on your way to a nightclub. That's especially the case in India, where it often seems like unabashed staring is a national pastime. Unless you're happy to be singled out as you walk down a street, guys should avoid vests and women should avoid revealing tops and short skirts. And if you're going to a place of worship, more is more: make sure you're covered from your shoulders to below your knees at the very least, and for women, covering your head is often appreciated.

With its amazing culture, architecture and history to discover a trip to India is a must for any travellers bucket list. And it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.





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