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Have you seen an Indian family abroad? It’s very easy to spot them. They are the ones passing around containers of Theplas and Parathas around, the ones who’re playing antakshari in a bus, even when it’s filled with people of all nationalities trying to hear the tour guide and the ones who’re trying to separate Rs 5 coins from 1 pound/1 dollar or otherwise.
It’s hilarious to watch us and our parents adapt on our first trip out of our homeland, especially where money matters are concerned! So if you want to know if a particular Indian is on his first ever visit abroad, look for these signs…
1. On a calculator more often than Google maps
While most other tourists are busy navigating the streets of a foreign country, us Indians are busy converting everything to rupees. A train ticket, a keychain or even an ice cream needs to be compared in rupees before any purchase is made. This is for one of two reasons: One- so that dad can complain about inflation and how pointless it is to shop abroad or Two- because he’s wondering how much the trip is costing in rupees altogether.
2. Buying the cheapest souvenirs by the dozen
When you go abroad, every Indian has an endless list of people who need to be gifted, well, something. So it’s safe to assume every one of us will go to 10 different souvenir shops and try to bargain to our best ability to test which shopkeeper will budge. Once you find the one shopkeeper who hesitates, you’ve nailed it. Now they continue to find the cheapest keychain or fridge magnet of a monument and buy it by the dozen. Because who doesn’t want the Parthenon stuck to their fridge?
3. Comparing roti-sabzi ka bhao
If you’re visiting any country for more than 3 days, your parents are bound to find the Indian-est of Indian restaurants to dine at. Usually they’re in the same district so be prepared for a ritual I have grown used to. Hopping from one restaurant to another, trying to find one that give us a ‘cheap combo thali meal’. And God forbid, if you do manage to be seated before 10:30, you’ll be hearing about the value of roti-sabzi and how it doesn’t grow on trees for the whole meal.
4. Shopping at Duty Free
Once cheapest souvenirs are bought, we need to now move on to those relatives who are too close to get a keychain. So instead of buying something authentic from the country you visited, your parents end up buying duty free alcohol for your uncle and duty free perfume for your aunt. Because you know, no taxes!
5. Walking becomes essential
The same people who take like 3 cars and two cabs to get to a restaurant 2 kms from them, suddenly start walking everywhere abroad. It’s like suddenly exercise is an essential part of our routine, even though the real reason are the sky-high prices of cabs. Something they learned when they took a cab from the airport and thought the meter was in rupees, because there was no way a cab could cost so much. But it did.
6. Exchange currency at really odd places because someone said it’s cheap
They aren’t afraid to exchange currency at some corner shop next to nowhere in the street that can’t be named. Why? Because Raju mama said it’s the cheapest place, only to figure it actually really wasn’t.
7. Buy from Dollar Store/Primark
When you think of shopping in another country, you dream of walking into Gucci and walking out of Dolce and Gabanna but in reality you spend most of your time buying shampoos from the Dollar Store or getting basic T-Shirts from Primark, because that my friend is the Mecca for shopping abroad, when it comes to us Indians.
8. Couch surf at every relatives’ place instead of spending on hotels
We all know this one. As soon as any of our families start thinking vacation, they start looking at the map and wondering which relatives stay where. So that they can avoid hotel costs altogether and plant themselves on every relatives couch for the whole holiday. And bonus points for Ghar-ka-khaana!
9. Visit a monument but don’t go all the way up
It’s basically the concept of, ‘Dekh liya, ab upar jaane ki zaroorat kya hai?’. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or the Twin Towers in Malaysia, if you’ve seen it, you don’t need to waste extra money to go up. Instead, let’s take selfies with the building! That works too.
10. Using your credit/debit card and learning how life works the hard way
Sometimes when they can only find Rupees in their bag, they go ahead with the bold move of swiping an Indian card, instead of converting currency. Something that seems very intelligent at the time but gives us reasons to cry buckets when we’re back from our holiday
Or you could learn from the mistakes everyone else makes and do what the seasoned travelers do, like getting yourself an Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card. A card that protects you from everything, all the way from unnecessary withdrawal fees to fluctuating exchange rates. Still not convinced about it? Let Purab Kohli tell you the benefits of picking a card over cash.
This story is brought to you in association with Axis Bank.
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