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The Top 5 International Travel Myths & Stereotypes Debunked

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Myth 2: India is Poor

Mumbai Slums and Highrises. Credit: Sankarshansen

Beggars, dirty streets, starvation, disease—that’s how you’ll see India in a Mother Teresa biography. But India is not merely a mass of 1.2 billion poor people.

India is also very wealthy. It has the 4th highest number of billionaires, a space program, and a plethora luxury hotels that cater both to tourists and the Indian elite. Cities can be pricey, and if you wander into a luxury hotel like the Oberoi Mumbai you would be lucky to find a room for $500 per night.

So is India rich or poor? Well, it is extremely both, a dichotomy best illustrated by the fact that India both gives and receives foreign aid. That’s right, it receives aid from countries like England and the United States, and gives aid to its neighbors and allies, like as Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan.

Those extremes mean diverse opportunities for travel. To  help make a difference in the areas that need it, consider a voluntourism trip.

Be sure to read our tips on how to avoid culture shock on your first trip to India, and check out our Local’s Guide if you’re going to Mumbai.