As you may know, Passion Lilie's garments are designed in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and then handcrafted in India. Our founder and designer, Katie Schmidt, shares her top tips for traveling to India including how to get around, where to go, what to eat and what to wear. Enjoy, and DM us on IG if you go and use our tips!
Transportation from city to city in India
- Trains are affordable, enjoyable, and a great way to see the country side, but sometimes very hard to book.
- Planes can be convenient. You can find relatively affordable plane flights if you have to go across India. But sometimes the taxi fee to and from the airports can add up.
- Buses are for the more adventurous traveler who is looking for a good deal. In India they have overnight buses, some with a reclining chair and some with a full lay down mattress, but bumpy roads and honking horns on the highways don’t make for the most comfortable night.
How to get around India - transportation within cities and towns
- Autos as in auto rickshaw. For short distances these are wonderful. They are cheap and fun to ride around the city. Try to ask for metered pricing or negotiate the price beforehand.
- Taxis are good for long distance rides like going to and from the airport. From the airport, always use a government pre-paid taxi or use Uber. For both of these methods the drivers are vetted. I love Uber, because you can plug in your address and you don’t have to rely on the driver getting lost in a town that you do not know. You can also share your location with someone else, if you are a female solo traveler and feeling worried.
- Some Indian cities are great for walking, but be prepared that most cities, towns and villages don’t have sidewalks like in the US. So wear good shoes, walk in the road if you have to, but just watch out for bikes, motorcycles, cars, autos and other pedestrians.
YES, the food in India can be spicy
- But it is amazing! And very different from region to region. Try it all.
- You have to have a Chai Tea. Try them all. It is one of my favorite things to have in India.
- If someone invites you into their home, take off your shoes.
- If they feed you, eat the food. It is ok to ask for silverware or napkins. Be prepared that in most of South India, they eat with their hands. There is usually a sink at all restaurants to wash your hands, before and after you eat. But again, if you are not comfortable using your hands, it is ok. Just do not judge anyone for not using silverware. In some villages they may actually prepare the food and eat on the floor.
The BEST places to travel in India
- Kerala is my favorite state. Yes, there are states in India and each state has its own culture, food, arts and crafts, and climate.
- Some musts in Kerala:
- Munnar - this is where the tea plantations are and it is so peaceful.
- Backwaters - the best way I can explain the backwaters is by comparing them to the bayous in Louisiana. You can take a traditional boat down the backwaters and learn all about the culture and food. So fun!
- Kochin- a port city with a rich history and beautiful beaches.
What do pack for a trip to India
- Wear comfortable clothing, but don’t look sloppy. Be prepared with a nice outfit for dinners or in case you get invited to a wedding (but if you do get invited, someone may dress you in a Sari).
- I prefer to wear long skirts, a dress with leggings or the Passion Lilie pants, because they are comfy and still look nice. I prefer not to wear shorts or dresses above my knee. In big cities you will see women dressed in Western wear with shorts or skirts above their knee, but I know during my travels I will be in both cities and villages and it is better to somewhat fit in and be modest.
- You do not have to wear Indian clothing, and if you do, please be respectful- don’t wear sari tops with without wearing a sari for example or wear a sari incorrectly. If you are going to wear Indian clothing, best to wear kurtas or tunics with leggings, which I sometimes do as well.
- And my biggest tip is to bring a scarf or stole with you: It is a nice accessory. You can use it to cover you head if you are going in a temple or even your face if you are on a dusty road. It can be used as a cover up, pillow or blanket on trains, planes or buses.