12 Reasons Why India is Safe for Solo Women Travellers
I have travelled solo to several countries in the last few years, and I was shocked at how people in the West perceive travelling solo to India. They often label it as unsafe and land of con artists. But tell you what, India is truly incredible! There might be a few disadvantages, but what is a trip without an adventure. I have stayed in India for more than twenty years, and the kind of warmth, respect, and love I have seen here is unmatchable to any other country in the world.
So my dear ladies, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and visit god’s own country – India. To clear your ifs and buts, read my blog – Is India a safe destination for solo female travellers? Furthermore, read this blog and clear the cloud of doubts from your mind as to why India is safe for solo women travellers.
1. Mega population
India is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, where you will find women working across different sectors. From white-collar jobs such as education, management, and banking sector to various kinds of blue-collar jobs such as skilled and manual labour. You will not feel secluded or harassed at any public places as the gender ratio is almost balanced.
2. Working women being in the travel industry
The female staff has been dominantly working in the travel and hospitality industry. Be it in airplanes, cabs, metro or trains females are appointed at all the transport departments. Should you have any query related to route, travel, timings, and luggage hit the counter and safely travel to your next destination.
3. Separate lines and reservations for women
India is safe for solo female travellers because there is a separate waiting line for ladies in temples, monuments, ticket counters, and restaurants. Personal safety will be a concern in these crowded areas. Still, with the separate queues dedicated to women, you can be assured of your personal belongings and self. There is a separate coach for female travellers in the metro and reserved seats for women on the bus.
4. There is no language barrier
India is a diverse land of many languages. At any point, if you feel uncomfortable, you can always reach out to anyone around you. English is a well-spoken language here, and without much difficulty, you should be able to receive the assistant you require. If you are in Tier – II or Tier – III cities, village heads are easily approachable. You should know whom to reach out and then you are good to go on a solo trip!
5. Technology is your best friend here
I believe India is a wonderland. There is nothing that is not available or accessible here. It just gets you extra cookies to travel here without any worry. Unlike China, where major social media applications like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, YouTube, and Google maps are banned, India has an opposite stand. Mostly all the apps in India are free to use and will provide you with relevant information.
6. India is resourceful
Women travellers will not have any particular issue while being in India. The country is highly populated, and every city has chains of major restaurants, lifestyle products, medicines, and hotels. You will not be aloof here.
7. Grievances centers
There are grievances centers at police stations and at main areas in India where women can speak freely about any mishap and register complaints without disclosing their identities. Once, when I was followed to my home by two men, I immediately went to the police station’s women’s department. The officer took action without bringing me into the scene. Be assured of the help when you seek it.
8. People respect your boundaries
If you are travelling solo to India, you can always define your spaces. No one will unnecessarily push or force themselves upon you to get cosy. Be firm in your tone and be clear about who you want to be friends with. India is liberal in its thinking, and if you are aware, then no one will take undue advantage of your situation.
9. Welcoming friends
You will find all kinds of people here but be mindful of who you want to share your story with. I had the best time making friends out of strangers. I was travelling to Mumbai, and a couple beside me recently shifted there. We began to talk about the places we want to explore, and the next thing I know was that we all were chilling in a cafe in South Mumbai. Life will surprise you in ways you never expect!
10. Sisterhood is in the air
Unlike other countries of the world, women treat each other as equals and not rivals in India. There is a healthy competition but not cut-throat enmity to prove themselves right. India is a religious country where women are treated to the stature of goddesses. You will find a second home here as people are so warm, receptive, and friendly that you will not feel they were once strangers to you.
11. Street justice FTW
There is a positive side too in being in such a populated country. Citizens are watchdogs of society. They are the real journalists who collect, report, analyze, and disseminate real information. Citizen journalism is fairly active in a democratic country like India. All you need is to raise your voice; you will find help around you. People will not leave you astray even during the pandemic and rather will come out of their comfort zone to lend a hand.
12. You are being watched, girl
It is true, quite literally. CCTVs have been installed in every nook and corner of the street of metropolitan cities. Last year, I travelled to Jaipur and accidentally switched my suitcase with another person, as both of our trolleys resembled the same. Only after reaching the hotel, I realized about the switch. I called the police authorities; at once, they could track down the other person with CCTV installed at the station. I got my suitcase back and headed ahead for the amazing trip. Read more about it – 25 interesting things to do in Rajasthan
Yes, there will be hurdles, challenges, and unlike encounters, but it is only going to make you strong. What doesn’t break you makes you!
My Safety Tips and Advice
Remember, it is also important to be cautious when you’re travelling alone. Here is my guide to stay safe on your first solo trip to India. Read on.
Share your live location
Inform a relative or a friend about your whereabouts at all times. It is easier when you share your itinerary and travel details with them. In case of an emergency or any unlikely situation, they can track you. I always share my live location on Whatsapp with my family while travelling.
Click the picture of the cab number plate.
Take a picture of the licensed number plate before boarding the cab. Also, check on Google maps the distance and time it will take you to reach the destination. Once, in Mumbai, the cab driver drove very slowly to increase the fare. It wasted my time, and I had to postpone my plans that I had set for the rest of the day. I was so disgusted with it that I made a thumb rule to keep an eye on the track now!
Always carry a back-up
Carrying a power bank is a must, as in India, you will not find all the places equipped with power stations. It is advisable if you can carry an Internet dongle or a device and you can have Internet accessibility at all times.
Check for the child lock and carry pepper spray
Before boarding the cab, ensures that the child lock is not on. It lets the driver control the opening and closing of the door. Carry a bottle of pepper stray or a blade with you so that you can easily use it when you feel the need.
Lookout for spy cameras and emergency exits
While checking-in the hotel or using changing rooms, check thoroughly for the spy cameras. They are tiny and can be easily placed behind a TV or under the couch. Remove all the covers and check first. You should also know about the emergency exits or an escape route. Also, make sure to book a hotel/hostel with good ratings and reviews. It is ok to spend a little more money on accommodations!
Divide and keep
I have found this trick very handy. Keep your cash and expensive items at different places instead of carrying it all in your purse. Segregate them into trolley bags, a suitcase, and your backpack. I always keep some amount of cash in my secret pocket that I have got under my dresses. I specially tailored them, of course! In case of robbery or if I lose my wallet, then I should have enough money to reach a safe place. I will advise you to be cautious while exchanging money or converting the currency. Use the ATM as much as possible. There are fewer chances of being trapped in a scam.
It would help if you didn’t show your originals always unless they demand it. Get all the important documents photocopied and carry them with you, especially during transits. Be mindful with your passport, ticket, credit cards, and hotel bookings.
Don’t share food or take drinks from strangers
It might sound not nice, but people always don’t have the best intentions behind it. I will suggest that you only share your food or offer them when you know them. And vice-versa, do not take drinks or food from anyone who you cannot rely upon. It might be drug-induced. If you feel suspicious or smell anything weird, then do not intake it. Similarly, don’t buy water bottles, which have a broken seal. Watch out for that.
Make your bookings online
It is a smart way to avoid public places and long queues outside the ticket counter. Be it for monuments, temples, recreational places, or hotels, book online. This way, you are saved from receiving the fake tickets and the people who try to sell the tickets in black. By booking online, you will use the official site and get a receipt for it immediately. After the pandemic, it is anyways advisable to pre-book and make reservations at places you want to visit. By this, you can be sure if they are functional and can avoid waiting in lines.
It is common that shopkeepers lure solo women travellers and attract them by showing precious stones and gems. Since you cannot be sure of its purity and quality, do not spend a huge amount of money purchasing these. I have a soft corner for jewellery and always keep falling for these but trust me; they are not worth it. Quick tip – take an authorized receipt stating its purity and weight clearly.
For more insights, read – Should Women Travel Alone in India?
I was born for solo wanderlust, and fear in me has taken a backseat long back. Growing up in India has made me strong and independent. If not for a tour, then at least travel solo to India to find the inner you. Become the master of your destiny and own your freedom. Read – 20 Tips to Remember While Travelling Solo as a Woman in India
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.