Tips For Solo Female Travellers In India
It’s a well known fact that women love company and more often than not, they love spending time and indulging in any activity or going out with a friend, family member or colleague. However, given our busy lives these days and women getting more and more independent and career oriented, we now have many solo female travelers who either take off to different destinations on work or on holidays if no one else is free to accompany them or to just enjoy some ‘me time’ !
With India being such a vast country, with so many states, comprising of metro cities as well as villages, one has to be prepared to face different cultures, different customs, traditions, mindsets and various types of people. And hence, whilst travelling anywhere in India, is reasonably safe even for solo women travelers, it would be wise to keep in mind the culture of the place one is travelling to and take a few precautions to enjoy a hassle-free trip. Here are a few tips for solo female travelers in India.
1) Share your itinerary back home and keep in touch
Always leave your itinerary back with family, trusted friends or colleagues. It would also make sense to make a quick regular call with a trusted member back home at a pre-decided time, so that they know about your daily whereabouts and are alerted about anything unusual with your routine.
2) Pre-book all facilities
Ensure all your bookings for travel to your destination, hotel stay, transfer to the hotel from the airport/ railway station/ bus station and back and if possible, conveyance around in the city are all made in advance. This will help avoid any inconvenience or trouble at a new destination.
3) Dress appropriately
This is a very important point to keep in mind, depending on your destination. While the metropolitan cities in India are pretty modern-thinking and don’t really gawk at western dresses, it would be prudent to dress modestly and wear proper length dresses in other smaller cities or rural areas as too much of a skin show, attracts unwanted attention. As they say, ‘When in Rome……..do as the Romans do’!
4) Pack sensibly
While it is very important to pack all your necessary and daily use items, it would be wise not to overload your bags with several varieties and create unnecessary baggage to lug around. Travelling light and smartly would be in your best interest as you would not have to depend on help from others as you travel or move around.
5) Arrive at your destination during the day
As far as you can help it, make sure you travel at such a time so as to land at your destination before it is too late at night. When in a new city, it is always advisable to arrive before nightfall, so as to avoid any unpleasant experience, even if you have pre-booked your transfer to the hotel.
6) Be wary of over-friendly or extra-helpful men
While people in India are generally very warm, friendly and helpful, the female sex does attract extra attention and so one may have random men approaching them, either trying to offer some help or to just get friendly. While it is ok to smile politely, it is also important to be very firm and directly refuse any unasked for help or caution against unnecessary troubling. Do not hesitate to make a loud scene if the irritation and heckling does not stop.
7) Check with hotel staff or local families about the safety of areas you intend to visit
If an unknown city, it would always be advisable to check with the hotel reception about the safety of areas and places you intend to venture into. This would either help you to make alternative plans if the area/ place is known to be unsafe or at least ensure you are alert enough and get out before it turns dark. Also make it a point to always carry a hotel card or the address and telephone no. on a piece of paper, around with you.
8) Make copies of all travel documents
It is prudent to carry photocopies of all your important travel documents. If in case you misplace them or they are stolen or lost, it would be useful while reporting to the police.
9) Carry all your important toiletries
While the toilet arrangements in big hotels and restaurants are quite adequate, sometimes you may not be in the vicinity of one and may need to use the toilets in smaller restaurants or public spaces. At such times, it would be handy to always carry some toilet roll, tissues, emergency sanitary pads, sanitizer etc. as it may not be available there.
10) Emergency defense equipment
This is normally some item, that every woman should carry for safety, wherever and in whichever country they may be in. After all, not every woman is trained in self-defense and so when faced with a troublesome situation and you are on your own, it would be handy to have either a pepper spray, some pointed object which can hurt an individual or even a whistle which can be used to make noise and attract attention and seek help.
11) Be cautious and self-dependent
An enjoyable part of travelling alone is making new friends and getting to mix with the locals as well as other tourists. But when out at public places for entertainment like pubs, restaurants, bars etc. a lone woman traveller should be more careful and get their own drinks and food, instead of depending on newly made friends, whether men or women. In this day and age of easily available drugs and spiking, one should not leave either food or drink unattended for any period of time.
12) Do not act naive and gullible
Trusting a new acquaintance blindly is never a good thing. Even though you may have shared a great evening together with a new male-friend/s, it would be prudent to meet only at public places and not get together at any private room or lonely venue. It would also be sensible to not allow anyone to click solo photographs of you or with any male, in this day of photoshop, morphing and MMS.
So even though travelling solo calls for some do’s and dont’s as a female traveller and may seem a bit daunting, it’s definitely no reason to miss out on visiting a wonderfully different, exciting, entertaining and vast country like India, especially combined with all the warmth and hospitality !
Picture Credits : HotFridayTalks