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6 Tips for Solo Female Travellers to India

Traveling to India as a solo female traveller may seem daunting, what with all the reports of assaults, groping, and “eve-teasing” that happen in the country’s streets. While these reports may be true, they are often sensationalised by the media. Fortunately, the news doesn’t seem to stop women from traveling to the country. In fact, female foreign tourist arrivals to India is on the rise, with over 4 million visitors traveling in 2017, up from 3.5 million during the previous year (CEIC Data).

Who can blame them, though? India is an incredibly beautiful country with diverse landscapes, unique cultures and traditions, and friendly, welcoming people. That said, like all countries in the world, India has its issues, and yes, this includes bad men who prey on women.

Indeed, India can be a challenging country to travel in, but the rewards for overcoming obstacles are simply worth it all. Getting the chance to see India’s treasures like the Taj Mahal, Amber Palace, and more is simply priceless. Sampling authentic Indian street food without getting the dreaded Delhi Belly is a delight. And finally, riding the country’s iconic trains without getting squished would probably be akin to a magical experience.

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t make these happen. Heed these few safety tips to minimise the risks and make your trip to India more enjoyable.

  • Join a Tour Group
    • First-time solo travellers should consider tour packages in India for a positive and proper introduction to the country. As you can expect, you’ll have a group of people to travel with, making the trip safer and more fun. Another great advantage is that you won’t have to worry about booking all the transportation and accommodations for a more convenient travel. Sure, you won’t get to go at your own pace and explore other areas not in the itinerary, but for your first travel to India, it’s not the best time to be seeking the off-the-beaten path anyway.

  • Board the Women’s Only Trains or Coaches
    • India is known for its crowded train coaches, and unfortunately, uncivilized men who take advantage of the lack of space to grope women. Thankfully, India is also known for providing female-only trains and coaches that are restricted to women and their children. Take advantage of these facilities whenever you’re traveling within the country to totally avoid any unsavoury incidents on the train.

  • Never Venture Out at Night Alone
    • While India has a thriving nightlife, its better to play it safe and stay in at night, unless you have friends from your hostel or tour group to go with you. Like everywhere else in the world, the probability of getting involved in a crime rises at night.

  • Stay Connected
    • Always get a local SIM card at the airport with a pre-paid data plan so you can inform close friends and family of your whereabouts at all times. That’s not to say, you should publicly post your location in real time, because there are entirely different risks related to that. In addition to buying a SIM card, getting a power bank is also smart to prevent a low battery situation at the most inconvenient times.

  • Be Cautious of the Food
    • Indian cuisine is some of the best in the world, but unfortunately, Indian street vendors are also infamous for giving the “Delhi Belly” to visitors and locals alike. To lessen your chance of getting diarrhoea or food- and water-borne illnesses, stay away from food stalls that use the tap water for ice and cooking. Also watch how they prepare the food to see if they are practicing good hygiene.

  • Stay Away from Crime-Ridden Areas
    • This tip applies to all countries and goes without saying, but this is where your thorough research will come in handy. In a first-ever Gender Vulnerability Index that ranks Indian states that are safest for women, Goa came up on top with Kerala and Mizoram as close second. Meanwhile, Delhi was ranked third worst, with areas like Prashant Vihar being the places with the highest crime rates in the city. As a traveller, you need to do your homework and figure out which areas are generally unsafe for you to be in.

For female solo travellers, India can be an awesome country to travel in. As long as you’re not naïve, have an open mind, and you’ve done your research, you can increase your chances of a successful travel anytime.

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