I am living in India for almost 3 decades now. I have realized that it is not always possible to find a friend or a group of people who would like to travel at the same time to the same places and do the same adventure as you want to do.
I love solo travelling. Over the years I have observed a lot of things when its comes to travelling solo in India. I do not wish to offend any Indian males, but there are certain precautions to keep in mind as a female solo traveler. These tips are for solo female travel in India.
India is Chaotic , colorful , rich in culture. Travelling in India can be confronting, even for the experienced traveler. But still travelling in India is unique one of a kind experience that you can not afford to miss.
India is amazing. This country is so full of color, fascinating people, ancient sites, fabulous street food, sacred cows, and diverse landscapes; it’s everything and more, and all at once.
Just tell me one thing…when you thing of Solo Female Travel in India ..What is that first thing comes to your mind?? Is that Poverty?? Slums?? Rapes? No safety?
Do not be scared to be a solo female travel in India ….just be aware and prepared.. I travel on my motorcycle to the remote areas of this country. From my experience, if you are aware of what to do / what not to do things, trust your gut feelings then with certain precautions, you will be able to make your India trip a fun experience.
17 Tips for Solo Female Travel in India
1. If you are foreigner then staring in India is very common ..AND that could be awkward.
In this case what you can do is, simply ignore. Often, people are just curious to see foreigners. If you feel awkward, then wearing sunglasses during the day can help you with this.
2. When simple staring takes another step
I think some men are born to do staring. In that case, giving back an angry look does not help. Trust your gut feelings in these situations. If you get bad vibes, simply leave the situation.
3. What to do when things cross the limits?? You should know when to make a Scene
I remember when I was in school, must be 13-14 years old. I was coming home in the afternoon. In India 60% people prefer to get an afternoon nap. May be due to this, the entire lane was empty at 2 PM. I was in my own world as it was my daily way to home. Sometime later, I noticed a guy in the same lane. He was coming from the opposite direction on his bicycle. And after 10 minutes I was in complete shock. While passing by, he tried to touched me. It was so disgusting.
So what I am trying to say is, pay full attention to your surroundings and be alert when there are very few people on the road. Do not hesitate to make a scene when things go wrong. Just make sure when to make it. Many times if female are around they help.
4. Beggars will follow you on busy roads of cities like Mumbai
Slums in cities like Mumbai are home to many. In India you will see beggars of all ages, particularly children. You may feel to help them by giving money but beware as many of the children are being exploited by bosses who make them beg.
5. and yes, Sanitizer toilet papers are important
No matter how much street food you enjoy, how yummy it looks, avoid buying food from street stalls that has been sitting around for hours or hasn’t been cooked in front of you.
While traveling on roads in India, sanitizer and toilet papers will help you to resolve some hygiene issues. Throughout the day, carry your own supply of toilet paper and sanitary products.
Most of the times public toilets are not clean and they stink a lot.
6. It does not useful always..but be conscious of what you wear
See what women around you are wearing. Dress like locals. A jean tshirt OR dressing traditionally is always advisable unless you are in Goa! 🙂 or with your friend circle.
That doesn’t mean you need to be covered from head to toe; but jeans paired with a top or kurta will work.
In urban cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Goa, there is more freedom to wear what you like. Sometimes when your skin is fair and when you look different, no matter how much clothes you wear and cover your body, they will stare at you. Always carry a scarf or a stole.
7. Have an idea about the local fair if you wish to travel by rickshaw/taxi
The moment they see you and recognize you as foreigners, they will double their Rickshaw or taxi fair. In India Rickshaw and taxi fair are pre-defined and drivers are supposed to charge passengers as per it. So have some idea about current rickshaw and taxi charges.
8. Make strategies..let them know you are not alone
I have traveled in overnight trains, in countless night buses , in auto-rickshaws and taxis in India. With all these years of travelling, I have come with a couple of strategies, , especially for auto rickshaw and taxi travel.
For example, When I am in Taxi or Rickshaw , I am a fake call to someone and loudly tell them the number of the taxi and where I am right now, so the driver can hear. If its going to take a couple of hours to reach your destination, please increase the number of your fake calls :))
9. Always always Carry a mobile phone
Carrying a phone is essential for both safety and convenience, I believe, India is a mobile phone obsessed nation. In India you can buy a cheap phone for as low as 15-20 US $, get a SIM card for your regular phone. Check budget cell phones in India HERE.
Prepaid rates are very cheap. Just make sure you have a copy of your passport and Indian Visa, and a passport sized photo with you when you go to the mobile service store to get the phone or SIM card.
10. Pretend that you have a boyfriend/husband
Yes, you heard it right. You have a boyfriend , you both love each other very much , he is in India too and you are meeting him very soon. Thats what will help you in many awkward situations unless and until you meet a lovely guy, you wish to go for a date with him 😛
11. Do not ignore even minor forms of Eve teasing
When travelling on local buses, trains or in public places, body-brushing and eve-teasing incidents may occur. Some men take advantage of the crowd to touch boobs for just fraction of seconds. I dont know what they get out of it. If this happens do not stay silent. Be loud to your discomfort and don’t shy away from making a scene
When I was in collage , in crowded places I used to wear my backpacks in front to prevent “accidental” brushing. There are some men who are so much experienced in Eve teasing. In that case do not hesitate to goto the police. 100 is the police number.
12. Have Google Maps open, while travelling rickshaw/taxi
These cab agencies have GPS-enabled systems, making your journey safe and smooth. Charge your phone in cafes etc where you stop to eat.
Carrying a power bank will help while travelling in remote areas where shortage of electricity is very common.
13. If you’re lost, don’t allow your body language to show it.
It happens with me. When I am sad, I look sad. When I am happy I look happy. AND when I am lost, I look like a lost person. Instead, do not let your face show taht you are scared or lost. Be confident! You can take help from locals for directions.
14. Say ”No” To your driver if he wishes to “bring his friend.”
If you’re alone in a cab or a rickshaw and suddenly your driver stops somewhere for no reason. And next moment you see driver’s friend sitting with him on the driver seat. Stop him then and there only. If they don’t agree, get a different taxi/rickshaw.
15. Learn basics of local language – it may not work in south india
English is commonly used all over India, there is no harm in learning some basic Hindi words.
theek hai (alright or OK)
nahi (no )
dhanyavaad/shukriya (thank you)
chale jao (go away)
chalo (let’s go).
16. Keep sufficient cash and change. In India there is always shortage of change
That day, while travelling in local bus I took out 100 Rs note to take 10 Rs bus ticket. The bus conductor (the person who gives ticket) made such a big face and asked me “Chutta nahi hai kya?? (dont you have change??) which means why the hell are you giving me this 100 Rs note? Why cant you just give exact money?? It happens all the times in many different situations.
Also you will find ATM after every 10 minutes walk in cities but in villages it better to keep cash ready.
17. CAN I HAVE A PHOTO, MADAM?
Being an Indian I do not come across situations like this. But generally Indian people have attraction of fair skin and blonde hair.
People ask foreigners, to pose for photographs. You will feel like a celebraty. Taking a picture with a family is different. I have heard stories of Indian boys who use these photos to make their girlfriends feel jealous. And you never know who will do what with your photo in photoshop.
Here Is The Most Important Thing
Do not make a mistake to put all Indian men in the untrustworthy category. If above points sound too overwhelming, do remember, these precautions are only meant to protect you in the off chance that something nasty happens.
Most Indians are welcoming, chatty, and happy to share their life stories. Go for it, ladies!
Are you still worried about your solo India travel trip??
Now Some Bonus Tips for Solo Female Travel in India:
- Always let someone know where you’re going, and stay connected to friends and contacts via social media.
- Don’t compromise on your safety to save money. Do your research and go for a recommended place. I prefer to do my accommodation bookings via Booking , Zostel (they are cheap) , AGoda (plenty of accommodation options you will find in India).
- Remember number 100, the number for the police that works across India.
- Most public transport has spaces just for women. In local trains there are specific compartments only reserved for women. Stay safe and take precautions, but be open to delays, changes of plan and adventure.
For many, India is one of the most questionable travel destinations. With preparation and an open mind, the beauty, spirituality and mesmerizing chaos of India ensures it will be one of the most unforgettable travel experiences you will ever have!
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