India has a well established infrastructure for western travellers. You need just a little extra patience and consideration to have a wonderful experience. The transport and the range of hotels in some ways eclipse those you will find at home (except in speed and luxury) and you will comfortably get by with English in any established tourist town or city.
What to Take?
As little as possible, you can buy just about everything when you are out there. Perhaps the only area in which buying in India is neither cheaper nor easily available is technical equipment (i.e. found in camping/trekking shops, although in Nepal, these abound).
What to Wear
Bare minimum - if you buy out there, you blend in better anyway. During winter months in the North and the highlands in the South do get cold at night, but at all other times light weight cotton is best. Respect their culture, discreet clothing for women especially. For foot wear - comfortable sandals are all you need.
Email / Internet
Now huge in India, particularly on all well trodden travellers paths. Connection can be slow but you will rarely fail to find a selection of Internet cafes. Good tip is to duplicate records of Travellers Cheque numbers, passport and plane details, etc. on your email accounts.
Travel Guide Books
The Rough Guide to India 6
Lonely Planet India
India Travel Guides Paperback
2006 Country Profile and Guide to India
National Travel Guidebook and Handbook DVD-ROM CD-ROM
Tourist Information Tips Do's and Don'ts
Besides the originals, a copy of your passport, travel visas, airline tickets and travel documents. A list of any charge or credit cards you are carrying. Remember to keep the copies separate from the originals.
An International Driving Licence, which can be obtained through the automobile association. Even if you are not planning to drive, bring your driver's licence with photo for identification.
Consider purchasing special Travel insurance and medical evaluation plan programmes.
Avoid drinking water from an unknown source. When in doubt ask for "Bisleri, Kinley, Aqua Fina, Himalaya, etc" mineral water(check the seal). As a further precaution bring water purifying tablets.
As in any location, there are those who steal from others, so follow the same rules of safety that you follow traveling anywhere else with respect to using hotel lock boxes, and keeping travel documents safe. When in public places, keep them in your hotel, or with you all the time when moving about.
Men: Don't carry a traditional wallet with you, the kind you put in your pocket (front or back).
Women: Avoid keeping valuables in a purse, which can be easily snatched off your shoulder.
Consider using an "interior wallet", the kind that is either fastened around your neck, draped from a belt loop or worn, with a velcro fastener, around the calf or ankle. All three kinds are concealed underneath clothing.