India is a beautiful country packed with rich and exotic culture that is surely unique from any other countries in the world. However, there is still stigma about this country that many people tend to be a little prejudice when it comes to visiting India. This stigma usually pertains to incidence of rape, the slums and others. To ease the unpleasant thoughts in your heads, we listed a couple of tips that solo female travelers to India should keep in mind.
1. One of the most common stereotypes that we see on T.V. is India being filled with slums, rape and danger. We understand if this fact is a big red flag for some of us and to be on the safer side, it is recommended to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program of STEP through the U.S. State Department if you from the United States, if you’re not then check if your country has the same system. This system makes rescue easy if and when you are in any kind of emergency abroad.
2. Go to India with an open mind. In India women usually don’t travel alone, married in a younger age than what we expect, religious and are usually in the house taking care of the children. Respect their lifestyle but at the same time be honest with your own beliefs. Not everyone would react the same way but it is just as one would expect.
3. India has a very strong patriarchal society where the difference between what men and women can and can’t do are as clear as day. Thus, it is important for women travelers to cover-up as much as you could. No shorts or singlet and try to cover your shoulders and knees at all times. This does not only protect you it shows that you respect their culture and religion.
4. You are going to have to experience some really unwanted attention not only to men but to everyone that you meet especially if you have fair skin and light hair. You might have to take a few photos here and there and it is not something that you should be afraid of. Remember though that whenever you are taking a picture, that Indians might not have the same sense of personal space so if you are uncomfortable with the space, simply put your bag in between you and the other person. If you are uncomfortable taking picture with anyone you can decline but do it nicely.
5. If there are instances that you feel like you have been touched inappropriately by a guy, report it to the police. Indian police departments take these cases seriously as the local men don’t just do this to tourists but to local women as well.
6. The dogs and not as much as people are the creatures that you have to watch out for because these dogs are usually feral especially after dark. Don’t walk alone of in quiet places at night. You might want to consider having a rabies vaccination before your trip.
7. Another thing that you should remember when the sun sets is to make sure that you know where you can find a transport to get back to your hotel room. If you made friends along your visits in India, meet them at the bus stop or train stop if you have to walk to your hotel. However, if this doesn’t happen find a hotel pre-departure that would pick you up for free if you are travelling at night.
Just like in any other place, safety precaution should be a top priority for travelers. This is especially critical for solo female travelers. Keeping in mind a common sense, such as not straying into sparsely populated or dim-lit areas, notifying trusted people of your whereabouts and keeping emergency contacts handy are some of the keys to maintaining sense of security for women traveling alone in India.