8 Tips to make your Long-Awaited First Trip to India a Memorable and Enjoyable one!

fly_india.jpgIt was the summer of 2008. It had been almost 5 years since I left India to USA for my career. I was really excited when I booked the flight tickets and the date was just with in a month.

I made up some helpful tips for the ones who are visiting India after a long time to see their family.

1. Give, give and give

Make a list of people who you plan to give gifts. And think about the kind of gifts you want to give them. Finalize the budget for gifts. If the budget is not finalized, then only sky is limit for those gifts! Also the gifts need not be really expensive. Daily usable things like shaving cream, time piece or a good tooth brush also make up good gifts and will remind your family frequently about you.

Here is what I did:
Budget – 1000$
Wrist watches for most of my family members and close friends.
Branded pens for my teachers and professors.
Photo frames for friendly neighbors.
Chocolates and toys for all little children.

Keep at least two weeks of time for buying if you are planning to buy gifts online. If you are just buying them in your local stores, two days should be good. In my case, I did not buy anything online. I bought them at Wal-Mart, Sears and Kohl's.

2. Pack-up

How much luggage are you planning to carry? Pack your stuff a day in advance so you do not forget any important things. Keep all your visa related documentation in your carry-on bag so it will be handy when necessary.
You may consider buying a 3-oz plastic bottle which can be used for storing mouth washing liquid or any other important liquids that you may use in plane. Having paper prints of your name, port of origin, port of destination on your check-in bags will help too, as they can make it easier for you to identify your luggage if you are required to transfer them to another airlines service (when you use multiple airlines to reach your destination) or while collecting them at the final destination.

3. Money and Talks matter

Before you travel, send some money to your bank account in India so that you do not have to spend your parents’ money when you are in India.
It is a good idea to forward your USA calls to your phone number in India. There are some good services which serve this purpose. Try to do this before you leave USA so you do not miss those important calls.

4. Streets before planes

There are some services that can save time and money with the airport rides (free car parking is included!). That will save your friends’ time in giving you a ride to the airport :)

5. Change the change

It may take a while to get accustomed to Indian water and food especially if you were in USA for a long time. So, keep those mineral water and quality foods handy! No cart-foods, pani-pooris, sugarcane juices or outside foods (at least for a while) in order to avoid any diarrhea and other problems!

6. Flex those cooking biceps:)

How do you manage cooking when you are in USA? Now it’s time to show off those culinary skills to your family and take some good memorable pictures of your own home-made food!

7. All fun and no work

If you have a short vacation and had had a very busy schedule when in USA, it’s time to forget that work and just have fun with your family and friends in India. Work will always be there. After all, these vacations do not come so frequently and you deserve a good break! So relax and enjoy without any guilt. You get recharged and you will also have more energy to work later.

8. Acharya dhevobhava

Never forget those important professors and friends in India. So do plan some good time with them. After all, we need blessings from people like them.

I met my favorite teachers who taught me since tenth grade and until under-graduation.

Photo credit: 123rf.com                                                        

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