Solo Women Traveling in India have been majorly questioned lately because of safety related issues. It has majorly affected solo/ women travelers as many rapes, molestation & other cases got registered to cause disturbance.
I am an avid Traveler and have been traveling since I was 14 years old. I have taken multiple solo as well as group trips, but I always found an inexplicable inclination towards solo trips. Every time I took a solo trip, I discovered more about myself, got a better clarity of role & duty towards my life. Till now, I have majorly explored places located within India. Being a Solo Traveler, I would love to share my traveling experience with you all. Hope, you find them helpful & make a safe and a happy trip in India. 🙂
Why you must travel in India?
India has a unique blend of diverse cultures & every region has its own rich history, custom & food. It is one of the those destinations in the world which has always offered something valuable to every seeker; be it a spiritual retreat, cultural trip, adventurous trip, field trip or a random exploration. India, world’s 2nd largest populated country is worth an experience for any traveler. India- A country having a remarkable mix of people, culture, tradition, language, food & landscape.
Not all the places in India are threatening. There are multiple places which are women friendly destinations, to name a few ‘Pudduchery’, ‘Coorg’,’Pune’, ‘The Andaman Island’, ‘Goa’, ‘Maharashtra’, ‘Humpi’, ‘Gujrat’, ‘Laddak’, ‘Shimla’ & ‘Nainital’. In a country of one billion population, it is not possible to avoid distasteful incidents completely. But, that would be too stereotype to say India is not a safe country to women travelers. There are so many places where you will find people (especially men) extremely friendly, caring, compassionate & a great host. 🙂 With some prior research & street smartness, you can travel safely in India & make a memorable trip.
Precisely, I would say, ‘Traveling in India is challenging as well as rewarding’.
If you have any safety related doubts, keep them aside & get ready for a trip to India. We would love to be your host & trust me, Indians are great host in itself. 🙂
Image Source: Pinterest
Here’s the list compiled by me from my various solo trip experience.
I am sure, you would get a better insight & your preparation would be exceptionally detailed to avoid/overcome any kind of uneventful situation.
Research about the place/s
Do your homework really well; research & learn about the cultures & customs. Primarily, It will help you to make your itineraries for the trip, but, more than that you would be mentally prepared to accept the new customs & cultures. It’s always advisable to keep your mind open & being adaptable to a new environment. Also, you get a chance to make the most out of the situation such as participating in festivals & other social-cultural activities.
In one of my recent trips to Jaipur, Rajasthan, I realized how some prior research about the place & culture could enrich your experience to the fullest. It was the monsoon season of July-August, 2013, when I was traveling to Jaipur without doing much research. Meanwhile, It was the time of Teej Festival, where it is a well known festival & holds significance in the heart of young girls & married women. Teej, also known as ‘Harayali Teej‘ is celebrated in & around Rajasthan & other parts of Northern India. On this occasion of Teej, married women pray to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati to bless them with long and happy married life. To celebrate the day, women get dressed in green clothes, put heena over the palm and sing & dance to make merry. This festival that symbolizes growth continues for two days, women observe fasts for the long life of their husbands and men pray for good rain and crop.
I was much elated to participate & learn about the festival significance, but I had to do a lot of shopping which in turn depleted my budget. Not only that, I had to also rearrange the dates of Traveling.
Had I been prepared about the festival, I might haven’t gone through last minute arrangements.
While packing your bag, make a wise selection of clothes, shoes & accessories. You do not need to pack your closet entirely, you may do some mix-n- match and create a beautiful pair. Carrying a light weighted bag on your trip is always a smart choice.
You should also know what kind of custom & culture you are stepping in during the trip. It is always advisable to do some research in this field as your selection of attire should not be a subject of objection/ unnecessary attention from the localites.
While I was traveling to Hyderabad, I knew what kind of attire would be suitable for my trip. I tried to keep my luggage as minimal as possible. I created a mix-n-match with my long skirt, top & a shawl. While, my friend was ready with her kurta-churidar & stroll. 🙂
Be Street Smart
You need to keep your eyes & mind open while on the road! A few of my suggestions would be-
1. Don’t stand at the mid of the road to figure out your destination using GPS (Global Positioning System). It is always wise to look for a cafe or a shop, stand there for a while & figure out the route.
2. Ask for help to multiple people when you really need it. Don’t shy, people in India are extremely friendly & helpful. Use your judgement whom to ask for help & reconfirm it from other people around you.
3. Keep your mobile phone charged, you may need to make a call to the hotel you’re living in or to your local friends at any point of time.
4. Avoid sharing personal information about yourself with the strangers and do not mention about Solo traveling with anyone & everyone.
5. Do not keep all your cards & cash in your purse. Keep it in a safe place & carry a small sum of cash while roaming around at night hours.
Use public transportation wherever possible
Public transportation is one of the most significant aspect of traveling in India. Use public transportation as far as possible, it helps you to keep your budget intact, safe mode even for late night trips, & you get a chance to interact with localites.
A gamut of options like Bus, Train, Metro, Tram, Local trains, Auto Rickshaw, & Cycle Rickshaw are available as a mode of public transportation. Do some basic research like the duration of the journey, the pick up & drop point, if the routes are safe etc., and make a convenient choice.
In India, trains are generally over packed, if you are commuting by a train, make a prior reservation, book an upper berth & avoid sleeping as far as possible. Carry your own bed sheet or a shawl/stroll, you may need it.
The only cautions would be-
- ‘Keep your purse, bags, & valuable properly safe in your custody while using public transportation’!
- Avoid Public Transportation during Night time. Don’t board on an empty bus at night. Better to opt for a cab from a trusted service providers.
Avoid late night Arrival/Departure
As far as possible, avoid reaching to the destination at late night & make sure you book your first night stay in advance. It would be helpful in two ways-
1. Personal safety
2. It will help you to avoid shelling out extra pennies to cunning touts.
If possible, don’t walk late night on lonely roads. Use a trusted cab service in case you have to travel at late night to the airport/station or anywhere else. While boarding the cab, note down the basic information about the driver & the cab, click a snap & forward it to your friends & acquaintances.
Also, use the GPS (Global Positioning System) to make sure the cab is heading in the right direction till you reach the destination.
Be cautious & trust your instinct
Use your ‘gut instinct’, ‘sixth sense’ whatever you call it! If you feel uncomfortable with a person or in a place/situation; please move out of that. No matter what, be cautious & look confident. Trust your basic guts & remember, we all, especially women, have got this instinct pretty strong. Pay attention to your gut feeling to avoid any kind of misshapen.
Learn Local Language (Remember, survival of the fittest)!
Having the knowledge of basic language is very helpful. Keep ‘Google Translate App‘ handy with you & use it whenever required. You can also buy a dictionary for your daily use from a local bookstore.
I would suggest you to learn some basic, daily use words so that you can connect with the localites or understand their conversation. This also helps you to communicate with the localites & get friendly. When people find you taking initiatives in learning their local language, they tend to help you & connect easily with you.
Choose a place with the highest reviews to stay
It is very important to book a hotel room in advance if you’re new to the place. While selecting a hotel/stay home, keep in mind to check the reviews about the hotel. You may choose to go online to check the reviews, to name a few: Makemytrip, Tripadvisor, & Cleartrip. Read the reviews properly, see the images of the property & then make a booking. You may go for 1/2 day booking for the first few days, & then decide if you want to continue the stay or opt for an another hotel. Through online hotel booking, you may also receive some really good stay deals. 🙂
Better if you have a local friend!
Though it’s not an absolute requirement, but always helpful.
Be assertive, but not aggressive
Be confident & take a stand for yourself wherever required. When you are new to a place, look confident & be assertive. Put across your words politely & effectively and never hesitate to clarify things. The moment you will look clueless or confused, you would find multiple people ready to step over your decision & personal matters.
You can be confident about the trip, if your trip preparation is up to the mark. Keep all the legal documents, passport, visa, ID proofs handy with you, keep some extra money in your bag & be ready for any bad situation (Don’t ever panic!).
Stay connected with your Family members & friends
Share your daily itinerary, and other details like hotel name/address, about your local friends, etc.
Keep a few important numbers on speed dial
Use your mobile smartly while traveling! Keep a few important numbers on speed dial. Don’t feel shy to reach out people for help if required.
Install important apps
There are multiple apps available for women’s safety. Download & install women safety apps before starting your trip. To name a few apps; VithU: V Gumrah Initiative, iFollow-Ladies safety SOS, Women Safety, SafetiPin and spotNsave Feel Secure.
Make sure, you make the maximum benefit out of the tools / resources available for your safety!
Important things to carry in your bag
As a solo traveler, I always carry a few items in my bag. You can create your own list of items & carry them in handbag while on the move.
- Pepper Spray
- Mobile charger
- Hand Sanitizer
- A bottle of water
- Photocopy of Documents like Passport/Visa/ Pan card etc
Don’t hesitate to visit to India anymore. You would be mesmerized with the beauty & diversity of the country. It is unique in its own way & worth an experience of a lifetime.
If you too have taken a solo trip to India, enrich us with your experience or, if you are planning to make a trip, let me know if I can help you, I would be happy to hear from you all. 🙂