Click on a location Kerala | Rajasthan
Madhya Pradesh and Kerala's Western Ghats share wet weather during Jul-Aug but northern India, from Udaipur to Kashmir and Ladakh, is much drier, especially on higher ground. If you're planning to watch tigers in Rajasthan the best time to go on an India tailor made vacation coincides with the heat from Apr-Jun as this is when wily big cats head to watering holes. Christmas in Kerala is crazy busy and houseboats are off limits during the monsoon so visit after the rain, in Oct/Nov, when rivers, rainforests and waterfalls have been replenished.

For more information on the best time to visit India please visit our India travel guide.

Things to do on an India tailor made vacation

What to do in India & what not to

Things to do...

Integrating a wildlife safari into a tailor made tour of India is a great way to disappear for a few days into the tiger-friendly terrain of Kanha, Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh National Parks. Accompanied by a local naturalist you'll search for monkeys, mongoose and migratory birds, aware that big cats could be stalking nearby, before retiring to your jungle lodge to listen to nocturnal hoots and hollers.
Indian hospitality is all about those little luxury touches that help you unwind and smile with much less effort. Just as smooth as silk, you'll find authentic accommodation lovingly restored to former glory. The grandeur of a first-class sleeper train; experiencing fine food and fine arts; watching wildlife in a privately owned animal sanctuary; private river boat tours; you know the sort of thing.
If you’re really hoping to unearth 'real' India as part of a tailor made tour then a homestay is certain to bring you much closer to the culture and the lifestyles that lie beyond the tread of tourists. Often located in out of the way settings, staying with a family, in their own home, gives you a real sense of India, how it used to be, with home cooking, kids and cricket always adding to the experience.

Things not to do…

Don’t rush, don’t cram and definitely don’t tick one temple off after the next if you’re hoping for a vacation that’s going to stick in the memory for all the right reasons. Think about exploring one region at a time. Keep Kerala for a relaxing break on the backwaters. Tour the Golden Triangle and embrace Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, on their own merits. Hike in the Western Ghats or in the Himalayan foothills. Whatever you do, don’t try to do it all in one go.
The great thing about tailor made vacations is that you get to explore on your own, if you want, with the added bonus of expert advice and recommendations along the way. Visit India with an open mind but don’t ignore advice that’s intended to increase enjoyment and deepen experiences and leave you effortlessly enlightened.
Poverty exists in India, especially in the major slum districts of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Rural communities too, away from the tourist rupees, are greatly affected, especially in places prone to floods or suffering from water shortages. Don’t sweep India’s poor under the carpet. Build guided, responsible slum tours into a tailor made itinerary. Learn what you can do to help. Find out more about caste systems and stay in remote rural regions where your rupees will go to those that need them most.



Introducing India

Kate Zhukova, from our supplier Rickshaw Travel, shares her recommendation for first-timers: “If you're a first-time traveler to India I'd recommend visiting the south of the country, somewhere like Kerala, as it's lush green, more subtle and a bit calmer than the rest of India. Kerala has a really relaxed pace, it's sort of half way between Southeast Asia and the excitement of other parts of India.”

Introducing India

Jim O’Brien, Director of our supplier, Native Eye Travel, recommends where to go for first-timers: “For first time visitors to India, I would recommend Rajasthan. It fulfils all Indian fantasies, with camels on the street, palaces, maharajahs and so on. If you are traveling in Ladakh or Kashmir, try and coincide your visit to one of the monasteries when morning prayers are going on, because it is something else to see. Especially the small ones off the main monastery trails.”

Surviving Dehli

Kate Zhukova, from our supplier Rickshaw Travel, shares her thoughts on India’s capital city: “Delhi can be quite overwhelming and the best survival advice that I can offer is to just go with the flow. Don't be scared. There are some beautiful places to explore that are really cool with vibrant food districts where there are loads of cafés and restaurants as well as plenty of street food stalls by the side of the road. Delhi has an excellent metro system and I'd definitely recommend taking a tuk tuk or rickshaw instead of a taxi or private car to get around the city.”

Advance from ‘namaste’

Rajat Kumar, Managing Director of our supplier ExplorIndya, shares his top conversational tip: “Every tourist knows how to say namaste as a greeting. It has become such a cliché from tourists that it is now almost an empty greeting. When you extend your vocabulary to ask 'aap keise hain?' or 'how are you?' an Indian person knows that you are genuinely inviting a conversation.”



At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful India tailor made vacation tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
“Follow the advice given by the experts regarding health care and visas. To save on bulk, take some clothes that can be laundered, the standard of our laundry service was fantastic. Wear closed-in shoes in the streets for hygiene reasons. Read up about the history of India before you go, it adds depth to the visits and helped me to understand a little of the way society worked. Don't go if you are a compulsive cleaner. I'm a celiac and I had no problem eating.” - Liz Mitchell

“Think about what kind of vacation you want. We were happy to spend some days chilling out and didn't want to race from place to place. When we stayed longer in one place we made a point of visiting the local community and asking lots of questions.” - Jane Bay

“Give yourself time in the itinerary to do nothing which we did at the end with four days at a beach homestay; also, pack less than you think you need.” -William Avery

“Our trip was a tailor made 3 week tour of Rajasthan staying in heritage properties. It is imperative that before traveling you research the area you want to visit along with the properties you are going to stay in. Work closely with the tour company that you are booking through. India is a huge country; we toured Rajasthan for 3 weeks and only covered a small proportion of it. You also need to remember that India is a poor country; so do not expect the standards of the UK.” - Sylvia Shilliam

“Be prepared for cultural differences. For example, it appears to be polite for someone to watch you eat every mouthful, wait for feedback and be on hand to refill your plate immediately. Secondly, the Ayurvedic massages are nothing like a massage in the UK. They are not soothing and do not use aromatherapy oils, just lots of oil. They could be described as an intense rub down and invigorating, you are always naked and sometimes two masseuses work on you in tandem!” - Daphne Donkin

“We only stayed for 2 nights at each location. With hindsight, maybe 3 nights and fewer stops would have been better to really get a feel for each place.” - Brian Summers
Photo credits: [TempChart: Manjunath Bhat] [Introducing India - Kate: deserteyes] [Surviving Delhi - Kate: Olga Berrios] [Tip1: Nick Kenrick] [Tip2: GracinhaMarco Abundo] [Helpdesk: prasadnp ]
Written by Chris Owen
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