Preparing to Travel to India: How To?

It looks like our trip to India may finally happen at the end of this year.  People have been telling me I need to prepare, but I don’t quite know how.  On the bright side, Satya’s parents will be living with us for another two months this summer so that will help some. 

 

For all those non-Indians out there, how did you prepare?  One piece of advice I heard was to travel to the Southern U.S. states to get a taste of how the bug situation will be.  (The furthest south I’ve lived is Virginia so I haven’t really seen giant bugs).  I’ve also heard that watching travel dvds and reading books is useful.   I have read some of the typical classics already Malgudi Days, Maximum City, etc. 

 

How well did your preparations prepare you for the reality? 

 

What shots did you get?  I heard there is a new anti-diarrhea one which seems practical.  I hate shots, but there doesn’t seem to be another option. 

 

For all of you Indians, what do you think foreigners need to know about India before they arrive?  How do you recommend they prepare? 

 

I think for this first trip we are going to stay around Karnataka, especially Northern Karnataka which is Satya’s home turf.  We are planning to see sites like Hampi, Gokarna, etc.  I’ve always wanted to see Kerala too for some reason.  Satya also has an idea of seeing the Himalayas-maybe Darjeeling or Shimla and maybe even the country of Bhutan.  We shall see……my honeymoon ideal is more of the kind of a houseboat in Kerala while his is the frozen Himalayas. 

 

Also, his place doesn’t seem to fit the stereotypes of India.  He isn’t from a huge, sprawling metropolis and he isn’t from a poor, isolated village.  Are there any books that focus on more mundane India?