Every day I get about 20 e-mail messages from viewers asking for advice. I actually really enjoy getting these, as you can almost feel the excitement of their upcoming excursions, and it always feels good to dispense (what i believe to be) good advice.
Here is a letter received on December 30th 2011…
My name is Kyle ##### and I am a young guy from Missoula, Montana and I stumbled across your Youtube videos and was very excited to follow your travels. I myself am headed out on a backpacking trip to India starting Jan 6th! I am going to be over there for five months and was wondering if you could answer a few questions I have and throw any tips you might have or things i need to keep an eye out for while im over there.
The questions i have are: How did you guys find your hotels/hostels that you stayed in and is it safe to leave your pack in your room while your out during the day? Are there any foods or drinks that you recommend staying away from because even though the shits are almost guaranteed i would still like to avoid them as much a possible. Where do you store your things like Passport, money and other valuable things? Then of course are there any places that you think are a must see on my trip?
Any thing you have to recommend would be very appreciated!
We use the Lonely Planet India guide. Everything you need to know is there. Prices are often wrong, but the maps are reliable, and even if the hotel / guesthouse you are after has been razed, the LP will place you in the neighbourhood where you will find others.
Food: I personally try to avoid street food, and IF i get it, it is always piping hot (FRESH!). No salads, no unwashed fruits (unless peelable, like bananas, oranges)
Drinks… Coke, Pepsi, Fanta, Mirinda all fine. I also drink lots of lasis (yoghurt drink) YUM YUM YUM! (get fat though). If you buy bottled water, always inspect if seal broken, as some places re-fill bottles with tap water – poop adventure , here you come!
If you do get the poops, have some antibiotics ready (as a last resort though) – talk to your doctor – I have Ciproflaxicin in my First Aid kit. Also Imodium in case you HAVE to be on the bus ad are not into brown stained pants.
Passport, money… I split my credit cards, one on me, one buried in the backpack somewhere. Money belts, preferably of the “inside your pants” variety – impossible to mess with your gonads and go unnoticed – are the best, though it will get hot and sweaty. Dont leave the contents of your backpack exploded all over your hotel room floor, because if the cleaning lady runs off with your iPod, it may be a while before you even notice. Avoid tempting the folks: out of sight, out of mind.
Must see: Varanasi, Agra (Taj Mahal), Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer (camel safari), Amritsar (Golden Temple), Ajanta / Ellora Caves, Khajuraho.. So much other stuff… It’s insane. Look it up in the LP.
Whatever you do: take photos, and have fun!
PS: DONT GET ROBBED!!!!!!!!