Global Family Travels prepares travelers who are going on our India tours with a pre-trip orientation which includes information on the culture and history of India, helpful words and phrases, and cultural tips or “do’s and don’ts.” This preparation helps travelers quickly get over any culture shock that can happen upon arrival. In this week's blog post, we share 4 cultural tips for travel to India.
In future posts we will discuss other cultural tips for India such as the Sacred Cow, negotiation tips when shopping, dining etiquette, meeting and gift-giving etiquette, and how to dress appropriately. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss this important information.
Left Hand Right Hand: A very important, yet subtle, factor in India is avoiding the use of your left hand when interacting with others. In India, you use your left hand to clean yourself after using the toilet so it has extremely negative associations. Always give and receive anything with your right hand, or at least with both hands together.
Just Can't Say No: Indians do not like to express 'no,' be it verbally or non- verbally. Rather than disappoint you, for example, by saying something isn't available, Indians will offer you the response that they think you want to hear. Since they do not like to give negative answers, Indians may give an affirmative answer but be deliberately vague about any specific details. Therefore, look for non-verbal cues, such as a reluctance to commit to an actual time for a meeting or an enthusiastic response.
Personal Space isn't so personal: There is a huge difference between how Indians treat one another on the street and at home. Indian culture is inward thinking. In their homes everyone is a guest and treated incredibly well. Strangers on the street however are treated with complete indifference and without what westerners call "common courtesy." Personal space is not respected, people shove you, cut you off while driving, cheat, cut in line, spit, urinate and worse in public. So be prepared for that and try not to take it personally and if you are female be careful & watchful. On the streets of India nothing is personal. But in the home you can expect great treatment.
Keep your hands to yourself: Avoid winking, whistling, pointing or beckoning with your fingers, and touching someone's ears. All of these are considered rude.
Learn more about India by traveling with us on one of our upcoming trips, during which we support local communities in the regions of Ladakh and Hyderbad:
Kiran Anjali Project (KAP) India trip in support of the Wings School for Girls
The Gifts of India, supporting the good work of a Buddhist Monk in Dehradun
For more information or for full trip itineraries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.