It isn’t easy being a solo woman traveler. Congratulations, on making the tough decision. Having said that, let us assure you that you are in safe hands – don’t worry – we present to you the top 25 safety tips for women traveling solo in India.
People everywhere are kind and generous towards women, however there are certain risks involved with being a woman and traveling alone. In fact traveling alone in European countries (safest countries for woman traveling alone), the risk is low and in developing countries such as India it is a little bit more. This is why, we recommend that as a solitary traveling woman you fear enough to be cautious and careful, and yet not enough that you abandon your traveling plans as a single and get back home. In this article we attempt to share with your our top 25 safety tips for women traveling solo in India. If safety isn’t your biggest concern and are looking for generic tips, check out our article titled best advice for traveling alone.
Life is all about risks, and those that have taken the risk within the boundaries of reason have had great memories of India to take back home. All you have to do is use these effective and useful tips for women traveling alone in India. In fact, these tips for solo traveling ladies will come in handy in most developing countries.
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Safety tips for women traveling solo in India
Presenting some tips to be kept in mind by women traveling alone within India. Do note that these tips are applicable anywhere in India – starting from Kashmir, Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai to Kanyakumari.
Some of these tips may be applicable for men traveling alone as well. So just because you are a man and landed on this page, don’t ignore. Carry on reading our tips for women traveling alone in India.
Safety Tip # 1: Always carry a long scarf with you. It will save you from sun, dust and unwanted attention. This tip is applicable both for women and men.
Safety Tip # 2: Book your accommodation in advance to avoid getting conned by local agents. And book from trusted travel websites.
Safety Tip # 3: If you are going to take a public transport, make your choice carefully. If it’s a long journey, go via train and make your reservation in advance. While making reservation opt First Class AC car or Second Class and ask for an upper berth as it is safer in comparison to lower berth.
Safety Tip # 4: If you are traveling via bus, never board an empty bus or a less crowded one.
Safety Tip # 5: Whether you are traveling (by bus/car/train/flight) or just staying at your chosen accommodation during your holiday, don’t ever eat or drink anything offered by strangers. Politely refuse.
Safety Tip # 6: If you are sensing that someone is trying to do something unusual with you or trying to harass you, raise your voice and let people know about the individual. Creating a fuss in public transportation will shame the guy and you will get the co-passengers’ support. Carrying a whistle for that immediate need to raise an alarm, isn’t a bad idea.
Safety Tip # 7: When you will go to the market or for shopping you may face rude comments, groping and brushing against your body. Apply the same trick here also – create a fuss, gather crowd and explain it to the people. Once the man has moved away, get out from there as quickly as you can.
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Safety Tip # 8: Be patient while shopping. Don’t buy anything on face value from the local market. The more patience you display the better bargains you will get.
Safety Tip # 9: Don’t walk alone at night unless you are sure and your local guides have confirmed that the place is known for its nightlife. Walking alone late in the night on lonely stretches equals inviting trouble.
Safety Tip # 10: Being friendly with locals is good but don’t blindly trust them. It can cost you dearly. Do maintain a distance from strangers you meet on your travel. You can get closer to your hotel staff because you need them and their help daily.
Safety Tip # 11: Keep a self-defence weapon with you. A small knife or a pepper spray will do.
Safety Tip # 12: Though what do you want to wear is entirely your choice but dressing up a bit carefully won’t harm you. Since you are/will be traveling alone in India, which happens to be a conservative country, I would recommend you to dress modestly. Dressing in Indian clothes may even get you admiration and respect.
Safety Tip # 13: Always have a plan on where you are going. Wandering aimlessly works well when you are in a group but during solo travel, for your own safety you should know when you will be where.
Safety Tip # 14: Do check on the newspaper for ten minutes in the morning to know if there are going to be any protests or processions. If you are aware of the troublesome spots you can avoid them and stay out of danger. We would also advise you to check with your hotel’s receptionist every day if there are any problem areas you need to avoid.
Safety Tip # 15: Be back at your hotel before 8.30 pm everyday, unless you are in the company of people you trust. Even then, we wouldn’t recommend staying out later than 10.30 pm. If you have decided to stay late, make sure you have a transport back home. Walking home late in the night is reason for stress and potential grief.
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Safety Tip # 16: Once you sit in the Cab or Auto call up some friend of yours (if you don’t have any, make a pretend call) and mention the cab or auto’s number and the approximate time of arrival at the destination. When the driver hears you mention his vehicle details, he is obligated to drop you at the destination unharmed. If you are alone in a cab or a auto and the driver wants to take his friend along, politely refuse. If he doesn’t agree, get off and find another cab or auto.
Safety Tip # 17: While traveling alone, don’t think twice before lying. Use it strategically to ward of undue attention. As a woman, you may be approached by the locals wanting to impress you. Wear a ring on your finger, so they think you are married. If they don’t notice, let them know that you are waiting for your boyfriend or husband. This would keep you safe from the ‘Romeos’.
Safety Tip # 18: Always keep your passport in your backpack and deep inside. Since you may need your ID card at many places, keep your driver’s license handy so that you can whip it out as and when asked for.
Safety Tip # 19: We strongly recommend learning key phrases in Hindi to let others know that you are a pro at solo travel in India. Just enough words in the local language to ward off a curious bystander and keep you away from danger.
Safety Tip # 20: Keep your loved ones informed about your whereabouts all the time. A close friend in India or wherever you are from needs to be updated about your whereabouts at regular intervals. Maybe once a day just a single sentence update with your current location should do the trick of keeping you safe.
Safety Tip # 21: Women are respected in India, and hence many travelers before you have found traveling solo in India easy. They just knew what NOT to do and what to do. Most public transport has spaces just for women – utilize them. Even in restaurants, there are “Family Section” which are reserved spots for women and their families. The food when served in this section is a bit costly, but you can avoid anti-social elements and feel safer.
Safety Tip # 22: In India it is important to watch how you related to men. Being a conservative society, many grown up Indian men have never interacted with women and when a solo traveler speaks to them affectionately they start receiving wrong signals. While on a solo trip in India, no harm in being curt and up to the point with strangers.
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Safety Tip # 23: While traveling by Indian railways, always book the upper berth. When you use IRCTC website to book your railway tickets, you will get an option to choose your berth – it is that easy. An upper berth will keep your bags safe during the day, and will keep you from harm during the night. Not to mention, the privacy you get in an upper berth.
Safety Tip # 24: If you get in trouble, call 100 for police support. In Delhi, you should call 1091 – the women helpline number. Most of all, be brave and don’t give in. Almost all big cities and tourist destinations have special squads for women safety and help is usually fast.
Safety Tip # 25: This is not a safety tip but advice. If something has to go wrong, it will go wrong despite all the precautions mentioned above. This is why we strongly recommend that you take a nice travel insurance policy before your solo trip to India all alone. Nothing should and nothing will happen, but we all should be ready for that one bad day at travel. To compare travel insurance plans in India.
Keep all these tips in your mind while traveling alone in India because I don’t want your experience in India to become an unpleasant one. India is an amazingly beautiful country and in order to cherish its beauty, unique culture, mouth-watering food and a lot of attractions, you must be careful and well informed.