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The Traveller's Magazine
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India is dealing with some seriously bad press right now after a number of sexual assaults, rapes and murders of women have caught the international media’s attention. Tourism in India is down 25% because of it. Travelling to India solo? Here are out tips.

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India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry have reported that tourism has dropped to a major low, about 25% after news of two Western women being raped and one murdered in Delhi in recent months spread around the world. It’s got women listening and many are opting out of their trips and heading to other destinations like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand instead.

But the news isn’t that Western women should avoid India altogether but it certainly pays to be prepared, travel with common sense and know the risks.

The Gateway at the Taj Mahal

Travel tips for solo travellers in India

Passes will be made at you by Indian men. You’ll get stares and the occasional wandering hand. The best way to ward off the attention is a public scolding, “What do you think you’re doing?” yelled loudly will do the trick.

Dress appropriately. Western women will always attract attention in a country like India and especially a solo one. Take your cue from the local women and cover up those legs and chest area! Always take a shawl or dupatta out with you to cover up.

– Book your hotel in India in the right area. Even if you’re on a budget, it pays to spend a bit more to be in a good part of town. Make sure your hotel room has a properly working lock and bolt. Use that extra bolt when you’re in your room alone. Some travellers even carry a rubber doorstop with them as an extra precaution.

Avoiding crowds is good advice but when walking down some major streets in some of India’s big cities, this is impossible! There are people everywhere! When it comes to festivals, best to avoid them unless you have someone to go with.

– Unfortunately safety in numbers doesn’t work in India if you’re travelling with a couple of your girlfriends or a few female travellers you’ve picked up on the way. You’ll attract more attention to yourselves so keep your group mixed and there should be no problems.

– Walk with purpose like you’ve got someplace to go and someone to meet (preferably your 6 foot tall husband who is a professional wrestler). India is not the place to wander aimlessly with your camera slung around your next. Head high, voice firm.

– When planning your India itinerary and you’ll be travelling solo, stick to the tourist trail. These areas (Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala) are much more developed and tend to be safer.

Have you ever travelled to India solo? What kind of experiences did you have and what advice would you give other female travellers? 

Img: toastyken / Flickr cc. + flickriver.com

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4 responses to “Travelling to India: female and solo

  1. I found something very useful on my last trip to Rome that could come in handy in India or anywhere for that matter. I lost my passport during the day and had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had a tracer tag on my passport. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on the Okoban website. I was automatically sent a text message (and an email) with a pickup location before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me, I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. Tags are available through mystufflostandfound.com That tag saved my trip from total disaster and I put them on my phone, laptop and almost everything that travels with me now.

    1. Wow Bob, that’s so lucky! Will have to take a look at getting some of those trackers for my gadgets. Can’t imagine the panic of losing a passport (knock on wood) it hasn’t happened to me yet.

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