Beware of touts
There are no escaping touts, you will find them everywhere, especially in touristy places, in busy shopping areas, outside budget hotels etc. They will latch on to you and pester you with their ‘special’ offers, making them sound irresistible.
Do not get taken in by their glib talk; be wise and know that anything that sounds too good to be true, is not something that you want to be a part of. Steer clear from such people. Do not engage in conversation with them. Ignore them; trust me that is the best way to get them off your back.
You will find them everywhere and they will offer you a better exchange rate. However, there is no way of knowing if the currency they give in exchange is real or counterfeit. They can also flee with your money. Get your dollars exchanged into rupees only at authorized forex dealers.
Move in groups
You will be safer in a group than out on your own, especially when you visit far-flung places, away from civilization.
Share travel details
Always let someone know where you headed and when you are expected back. Share details of your cab bookings with the hotel reception. When you are in the cab, make a call to someone (it could be a pretend call too), telling them where you are headed, and share the cab details with them. You are unlikely to be harmed (not that this is common), by a cab driver, when he knows that someone knows who he is.
Backpackers and hitchhikers
India does not have a backpacking and hitchhiking culture. You do not want to do that in India. I cannot stress how unsafe this can be. Do not hitch a ride to anywhere. Some travellers do it, but why take a chance.
Foods and drinks to avoid
Indian street food is available all over the place. There are food-stalls on the sidewalks, wherever you go. Avoid eating these foods. There are absolutely no food safety standards maintained and you will likely catch a nasty bug and ruin your trip.
Eat at reputed joints. You will find chains of popular fast-food restaurants, in cities and towns. KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s serve standard food across the country.
Get a power bank
Imagine a scenario where your mobile phone runs out of battery. A power bank in your bag will come to your rescue. A SIM card is of no use when your phone battery dies on you.
Don’t carry too much money
Carry currency in small denominations. And don’t flaunt it around. Be discreet when you take out money to pay for a service.
List of emergency numbers
Save emergency numbers on your phone, on speed dial. This includes numbers of your embassy, so you can get in touch with the mission in case you find yourself in trouble.