The vast green meadow extends beyond the azure lakes and the last rays of the sun on the surrounding mountain tops create a fantasy-like vision. And this solo woman traveler has again fallen in love with this magical land. My tour guide is from this place and passionately showing me how beautiful his hometown is. I am walking on the soft grass along with a group of local women. They made me learn today how powerfully and happily women live in India. Not only this, they inspired me to write my experience as a solo woman traveling in India.
One thing I can tell that India is not for all but for those who come here with an open mind and accept its wonderfully diverse culture. Traveling in India alone is safe for a female traveler if she learns and applies some basic rules during her trip to India. India is modern and very old, very advanced and backward, wet and very dry, cool and very hot, threatening but truly safe. So it needs hard research before a solo traveler, especially a female traveler visits India.
The first concern of a solo traveler is always safety. For women traveling alone in India, safety is sometimes the only concern that limits their journey within a few countries they feel safe. I say, “no place in the world is safe for women until and unless you act carefully”. My suggestion for my female friends traveling alone in India is not to stick only to what the media is saying. Instead, learn about India from travel blogs, journals, and if possible from your close friends. Otherwise, you will know the dark side of this country and skip the real essence of India that is soft, peaceful, delighting and safe. From your research, you can also prepare a list of the best places for a female solo traveler in India.
Creator has created this universe alone and he did an excellent job. Then why do you hesitate to discover your own planet alone? When we talk about the experience of solo travelers, there might be mixed responses. But there is always a positive response from the women travelers in India who follow simple tips and incorporate the same to make their travel experience the most blissful one. Traveling alone is not only important to gain a lifetime experience but also to spend some quality time with yourself. Here are the top 21 tips for solo women travelers in India.
Tips for a happy journey for a woman traveling in India alone
For a woman traveling in India, it is not a journey but a life lesson that should be taken by every woman. During my stay in Rajasthan, I first realized that India actually lives in its women’s heart. They make the land colorful and majestic. And most of the Indian men truly respect women. Wearing Indian dresses and following their lifestyle is an amazing experience for women traveling in India solo or in a group.
I spent a few weeks in a beautiful hill station in Kerala. What impressed me more than the beauty of Munnar is the friendly people of the place. The local women were on a demand for a hike. As I believe in ‘when in Rome…’ theory, it was great for me being with them. The smile on their face helped me feel ‘I am not an outsider’. If you act carefully, no other place is safer than India for a solo female traveler. Picturesque views, yummy food, friendly people and impressive art & culture will accompany you if you are traveling in India alone. Here are a few travel tips in India that will not just ensure a happy journey but help you write a colorful chapter of your life.
Plan your journey to India wisely
India is vast not just in the area but a vast array of beliefs and practices rule this country. Solo travelers, especially females traveling alone in India often get confused about whether they are in the right zone or not. So, do some homework about the cultures and languages of popular tourist places in India. You can dress aggressively while on the beaches of Goa but avoid wearing a Zara frock in places like Varanasi or Haridwar.
Know your destinations in India
There are endless attractions in India scattered all over its vast land. Prior knowledge about India will help you save your time and act confidently. Explore the Indian climate because the vast land has a diverse climate. When one tourist place in India experiences the peak season another might have off-season at the same time. So make a list of the famous places in India with respect to climate and your interests. Some of the best solo female travel destinations in India are Delhi, Rajasthan, Rishikesh, Goa, Mumbai, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh.
Enjoy your days in India
Being a solo woman traveler doesn’t mean you will lock yourself in the hotel room. Try to be a happy traveler, not a perfect traveler. If you stick to perfection, enjoyment may skip out of your way. Plan an excursion and explore the lanes of the city and popular attractions by yourself. Travel yourself to the beaches, hill stations, religious places or national parks in India. This will make you learn about tipping, local transportation, etc. Visit the markets, try Indian dresses, and enjoy delicious food.
Do fun activities
Go for an adventure in Ladakh or Manali or visit the Andaman beaches for watersports. Enjoy a scenic journey to Shimla, Dharamshala or Mcleodganj. You can travel to some of the best solo female travel destinations in south India such as Ooty or Kodaikanal. Yoga or meditation is something you shouldn’t miss during your India trip. In the evening, make sure you visit the hotspots of the city to enjoy the nightlife. Parties at bars and pubs, live concerts, etc. are some of the activities that you can enjoy being a solo woman traveler in India.
Interact with the locals
Mix with others with an open mind. While traveling, make short term friends. Interact with other travelers that you meet at the hotel. Also exchange travel advice. Communicate with locals and make sure you learn some of the common phrases in the local language like ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, etc. This would help in making an impression and start communication. I took part in the Rajasthani folk dance wearing colorful traditional dress. Having my meal on a banana leaf with the locals was really enjoyable during my Kerala trip. This is what a woman traveler in India like to enjoy.
Enjoy your food
Women travelers often dine alone in Indian restaurants. You may also join other travelers or locals and start a conversation. Indian food is extraordinarily yummy. Its magical taste led the New York Times to conduct an investigation on what makes it so damn delicious. And not only this, the taste changes from region to region. From the rich North Indian curries to steamed idlis of the south, my solo travel in India was really spicy.
Test your photography skill
You will get endless opportunities for photography. People, nature, wildlife; there is everything you will like to click. Take interest in clicking some pictures of the area around and also by yourself. Your friends would be waiting eagerly to see your trip photos. I have clicked during Boating in Varanasi, camel safari in Rajasthan, houseboats tour in Kerala backwater and on many other occasions. The most precious is the picture of the Taj Mahal I have taken during my Golden Triangle tour. One piece of advice, don’t entertain if someone asks for a selfie.
Tips for a hassle-free journey for a woman traveling in India alone
When you are out for a journey, you certainly don’t want to be Viktor Navorski of the movie ‘The Terminal’. He wastrapped inside the airport for a long time for not being able to prove his identity. Enjoy your journey like Liz Gilbert of Eat, Pray & Love who happily traveled in India as a solo woman traveler. Here are a few travel tips that will ensure a hassle-free journey for a woman traveling in India alone.
Consider an organized or group tour
An organized tour is always recommended when a woman travels in India solo. This way you can explore the prime attractions in India while staying safe. Ensure confirmed advance booking of the hotel room before you leave. This will help you with an excellent start of the journey and enhance your confidence level. Also, make sure you arrive during the day, so book your flight tickets accordingly.
If planning a long trip, make sure you choose from a well-organized Solo trip planner in India. You will enjoy a stress-free trip as all the arrangements would be made by the tour operator or agent.
Carry a light bag
Pack only those that are manageable for you. If you pack your stuff smartly, a suitcase, one carry-on, and a backpack would be enough for your trip of a week or more. Carrying a huge bag may push you into an uncomfortable situation during excursions. Huge bags also invite unwanted attention for the females traveling in India alone.
Make a list of essentials
This is the most important travel tip for any traveler. Carrying the essential things ensure a successful trip. Make a list of all the essentials that you need to carry along and make sure you do not skip any while packing. Keep a copy of important contact numbers and important documents as that could help you in case of an emergency.
Install Useful Apps
Make sure you download some of the essential applications to your phone like currency convertor, GPS, travel guides and much more. These proved to be a great help while women travel in India alone. Don’t forget to install Skype. This is one application that is supportive of cell phones. This would help you to get connected with your family and friends through video calls. This is absolutely free only if you have internet access.
Keep your documents safely
Keep all the originals of the essential documents at one place safely. This would reduce the hassle while you travel.
Tips for a safe journey in India by a solo woman traveler
And now the most important topic on how to ensure safe solo trips for females in India. Safety is the first concern that cannot be compromised at any point of time. Solo women traveling India should notice how and in which situation crimes occur in India. That will help them avoid such an unwanted situation. For the first-timers, it is difficult to understand a situation promptly. So better you avoid secluded places and stay where you can ask the public for help. Always remember that for Indians social shaming is something nobody wants to face. Here are a few travel tips that will ensure a safe journey for a woman traveling in India alone.
Head off Dark Alleys
Travelling in a public area is always better and safer than traveling in a place that is regarded as a private or abandoned place.
Believe Your Instinct
Be alert and keep a close watch on what is going around. Do not ignore your inner voice. If you find something wrong, do not proceed with it.
Ignore staring and unwanted attention
Unwanted attention is something experienced by women all over the world. In India, both men and women stare at foreigners especially at the women traveling alone. But don’t worry it is harmless, so you may ignore it. However, be alert and if you sense something is not usual, pay attention. Move away from such people or seek public help if you need it. You will at once get surrounded by uncles and aunties, brothers and sisters. They will take the responsibility of getting you out of the odd situation.
Choose your accommodation carefully
Choosing the right accommodation is the most important safety initiative for solo women travelers in India. Book your hotel through a trusted tour operator. Choose your hotel in a prime location with good occupancy. Share your hotel address with your friends and family back home. Lock your room properly at night so that nobody can open it from the outside. Be careful before opening the door if anybody knocks on it. Also, inform the hotel staff about your schedule. In case of emergency, they will notice your unusual absence.
Don’t travel alone at night
Travelling alone after sunset is a ‘BIG NO’ in cities like Delhi and UP. Never travel alone on an empty bus, even during the day hours. The south Indian cities like Bangalore and Chennai are quite safer than the North Indian cities. But don’t take the risk of traveling alone during night anywhere in India. During excursions, confirm how and when you will return to your accommodation. If it is going to be night, opt for a group excursion.
I have a scaring experience while returning from the Kumbhal Fort to Udaipur in Rajasthan. It was during my second trip to India. I went to visit this second largest wall complex after the Great Wall of China. In the evening, I was unable to find a vehicle up to Udaipur. Finally, I boarded a truck along with some other travelers. In Rajasthan, trucks are also decorated with colorful graphics. That day, luckily some kind Indians came forward to help this solo woman traveler.
Use public transport
Metro railway is the best public transport available in some of the Indian cities. You can board the ladies’ coach while traveling by metro rail. The cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, Kochi, Hyderabad, and Lucknow have a metro railway system. You can also travel on buses run by the state tourism department. The AC buses offer quite a comfortable journey while you stay safe. Women traveling alone by train may book upper births to secure your baggage and avoid staring at you during your sleep.
Be cautious hiring a cab
Hire cabs and taxis only from a registered and trusted cab company. These taxis have GPS enabled systems provided by the cab company. This helps to track your journey wherever you go. Don’t forget to note down the registration number of the taxi and the name of the driver before boarding the taxi.
Keep the GPS tracker on your mobile phone or tablet. This will make sure the driver is taking you through the correct route. While traveling in a cab, stay connected with your friends or known ones over the phone and keep them updated with your location. Never allow the driver to bring in his friend along in the middle of the journey. In such a case, get down from the cab at once. Women traveling alone in India may install safety apps such as Raksha, bSafe, Smart24x7, etc. on their mobile.
Beware of thieves and pickpockets
Bag-snatching and pick-pocketing occur quite often in India. Carrying a lot of cash, bank cards and important documents in your handbag is not a wise idea. Stay away from the beggars while visiting the historical monuments. Remember, beggars in India are part of a syndicate. So, never pay to them. Also, don’t hand over any of your belongings to your guide unless you know him very well on a personal level.
Understand the concept of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’
The reason I love to visit India, again and again, is its people. They are friendly, hospitable and really respect the concept of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘Guest is God’. They ask personal questions but not to harm you. It is a part of social mingling. They share dining space with others and even invite the strangers at home.
People working in bus stations, shops, and restaurants are conservative. They don’t have money in their pocket but have a smile on their face. They don’t know western ethics but risk their life while helping someone they don’t even know. But there are exceptions, so the female travelers have to be cautious while traveling alone in India.
Conclusion – Blissful travel experience is the ultimate goal for every traveler. We travel to explore and enjoy, not to face troubles and painful incidents on our way. Women traveling alone in India often get confused about the people, culture, and climate of this country. These travel tips will help them out with a happy trip to India.