India attracts lots of tourist and travellers however the country is often portrayed as a dangerous place for women. Is it safe for women to travel alone in India? Yes, girls and women can travel alone in India. Girls who live and travel in India share their best tips for solo female travellers coming to their country…
20 Tips for girls and women who are traveling solo to India
1. Know where you go
In India every city is different. From North to South or from West to East, you will meet a different reality. For example, public transports are very safe in some cities, like in Pune, Mumbai or Bangalore. However, other areas can be different. Therefore it is important to make some research and know about the city, inquire about its public transport, speak to people who live there before starting the journey.
2. Learn about the Indian culture
It is not only important to learn about the places you are travelling to, but it is also recommended to learn about the country’s culture and traditions. India is known for its colors, its various cultures and traditions. It is necessary to read about the culture of the cities you are going to visit. For example, to wear appropriate clothes.
3. Take the taxi run by the Gov or by women
Rickshaws are everywhere in India. In big cities and and in rural places. However, you will find taxis only in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The safest way to move around (at any time of the day) is to take taxis run by women drivers or taxis run by the Gov of India. The taxis run by the Government have a fixed price.
Be careful not to take lifts from strangers.
4. Be careful at night…
Public transports are safe to take during day time. However, you should avoid to travel alone at night. “You have to be careful not to venture in dingy places but that is common sense and true for any part of the world”(Pooja)
5. …But don’t be paranoid
It doesn’t mean that solo female traveller can not travel overnight. There are many overnight buses and trains that will allow to reach your destination without wasting a day trip. “I have taken overnight buses run by trusted private companies and it was very safe”, says Ankita from Pune.
“Many times I did night travelling, using local transport only, no advance bookings and conversation with strangers and I felt completely secured”(Pankti)
6. Book an upgrade train ticket
For every travelers who come to India, it is suggested to book train tickets in advance (to avoid scam). For girls, it is even better to give preference to 3rd AC class and higher if you are travelling alone by train. In case you travel with friends, sleeper train coach is the cheapest price and fun experience as well.
“I wouldn’t suggest for women to travel alone there, especially in the East of India”(Natalia)
7. Follow basic solo traveller rules
Either you travel to India or to Europe as a solo female traveler, you should keep in mind some basic rules of solo traveling. India is not more “unsafe” than other countries.
“I have stayed in Australia, Europe and the US. No country can ever be called safe at all times. The same is true with India. You need to know which areas to avoid at nights, you need to know the culture of each place/region and adapt accordingly”. (Purba)
8. Dress modestly
In some regions of India the weather is hot all year round and you might want to wear your “summer collection”. “However, in India, you should dress modestly since Indians are conservative in nature”. (Manasi)
9. Save the emergency phone numbers
Before arriving in India it could be a good idea to save emergency phone numbers and the police helpline number. The emergency number in India is: 112. The police is: 100. For example, the police in Mumbai has a helpline number for females in case of emergency.
10. Get a local SIM card
In order to use your mobile phone, you should have an active mobile SIM card with you.
11. Download safety apps
12. Stay connected and give news
Do not forget to always stay connected with your family and friends and give them some news. Make sure you let someone know where you are going, who you are going with or tell your parents when you might be unreachable (if you are travelling to a place where there is no wi-fi, for example).
13. Follow your instinct
We have all very different perceptions and feelings. Everyone should, however, follow its instinct. If you are feeling uncomfortable, go away. If someone is following you, ask for help. “I follow basic precautions like dressing modestly when in semi-urban or rural areas, not walking alone at night, spending a little extra for safer accommodation, not befriending or trusting strangers, avoiding shady areas when on my own, keeping folks back home updated on my whereabouts and most importantly trusting my instincts, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t”. (Ankita)
14. Adopt the good “solo female attitude”
There are some attitudes that will make you feel more comfortable to travel alone. Sometimes, you just need to be positive and everything will be fine…
15. Be positive and open-minded
If you are travelling to India, it is important to come with an open mind. India is a country to be experienced first-hand. “Dress appropriately, stay in well known and safe hotels, don’t walk alone at night, do your research on the destinations you would be visiting and always carry a positive attitude”. (Ankita)
16. Travel with a travelmate
If you are not comfortable with traveling solo maybe you could think about finding a travel mate. “Before having to go solo across India, I’d recommend you to travel with a mate. Once you are confident enough to travelling through the city alone, that’s when you can consider staying, traveling, working alone in the country.” (Nikita)
17. Or make some friends during the journey
The best thing of traveling solo is to be able to meet a lot of people. In fact, we are much more opened to discuss with others when we are traveling alone, as being solo all day can be very boring. In India, you can find many backpackers and if you stay in hostels you will easily meet people to move around with. And you will probably have a wonderful time like if you were with your best friend! (Prerna)
18. But don’t befriend strangers
Every foreigner in India should be careful not to fall for scams. Ladies should avoid to befriend strangers (mostly men).
19. Adopt a positive and confident attitude
If you are afraid, you may have scary experiences. But, if you are open, confident, positive and trusting then you are likely to have warm, caring, protective & wonderful experiences. Just come out from your comfort zone, do explore India, learn different cultures and understand the people. Certainly, you will reveal the beauty of India.
20. Enjoy the journey
India is a safe country to visit and to work in. You will not be disappointed. Even as a solo female traveler, you will have a good time in India, so ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
“India is not a totally “unsafe” country. We are warm, loving, hospitable people who have been taught “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means “The guest is God” so enjoy the country, our food, our cultural and traditional diversity and much more. India is not just a land of criminals and poor hungry people like the media likes to portray and hype.We are much more than that and you will see it for yourself once you visit”.
Manasi, Indian solo female traveler
Pankti Shah, aka Crazy Wanderer
Credit cover picture: In A Faraway Land
A special thank to all the girls who contributed to this article 🙂
Check out their blogs for itineraries, city guide and travel inspiration in India
Amrita Sen, Tales of 2 Backpackers
Ankita Sonawane, Transforming escape
Lavina Dsouza, A Capricious Compass
Manasi Joshi, Manasi Writes
Natalia, My triphack
Neha , Neha speaks Foru
Nikita Raikwar, Sane Tripper
Pankti Shah, Crazy Wanderer
Prerna Sinha, Maa of all blogs
Purba Mazumdar, Four Blissful Feet
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