Scams, Touts, & Annoyances:
Touts: Although there is greater income equality in the 21st century with incredible wealth in some Indian cities, the majority of Indians live at or under the poverty line. Competition is fierce to make an livable wage and provide for yourself and your family. In comes touts who prey on foreign and domestic tourists alike. You will no doubt be hassled by several touts a day, especially in more touristed areas and outside of train/bus stations. Since bargaining is the cultural norm in much of India, touts prey on foreigners inability to know correct prices and typically always try to overcharge for their services. They also pull scams such as offering insanely cheap rickshaw/taxi rides if you visit a friend or family members stores, lie about your lodging being closed, burned down, or "not good" and take you to a friends hotel where you pay more & they get a commission, and do the same for restaurants. If approached on the street by a random person to attempts to sell you guide services or take you to a store politely refuse and ignore them. To avoid the hassles of touts and bargaining you can visit cooperatives run by local handicraft makers that cut out the middle men and offer fixed prices for locally made products. Or you may consider hiring a locally recommended guide to assist with bargaining and taking you to the more reputable shops.
Touts can be helpful when you are traveling during festival time and vacant accommodation is very difficult to locate without a reservation.
Bargaining: The most important part of bargaining is knowing when to bargain, and when to accept a price. Bargaining is engrained in India psyche at most stores unless otherwise noted. Typically we found that store owners attempt to jack up the price by about 300% of what it should cost, however it's also difficult to know sometimes if your getting a fair price until you are used to what items cost. The best advice is to go shopping with a local, be firm with your price limit, and be polite. If all else fails you can walk away and they may lower the price, or may not. Remember though, don't be too much of a stickler in bargaining as is it really worth getting into an argument over a 50 rupee difference in price?
Staring & Glaring: Unfortunately staring and glaring, especially if you are female, occurs in large Indian cities and small villages. Sometimes it takes on an overt sexual undertone but typically it's out of curiosity and people don't mean any harm. The best advice is to either politely greet people who are staring saying Namaste with hands clasped together or ignore them all together.
Trash: India is one of the most beautiful countries in the world however due to poor infrastructure, corruption, lack of litter removal services, and habits of throwing away used items when everything used to be biodegradable has lead to a major litter issue. It is very sad to visit cities and the rural landscape and see trash spewed about however you can do your part and thrown away all rubbish in designated bins.