There is hype about India that it is a very dangerous country for solo women travelers. I would say that is an absolute deceptive statement. It is obvious that women while traveling alone, are vulnerable. Yet, if India is not safe for them then no other countries are. The belief among the travel community is that unlike other countries India is not safe for women. Let me be clear, there is every kind of people everywhere. If we go with the statistics as of 2015, the United States of America and the United Kingdom which are said to be safer than India, rank higher in terms of rape victims. The interesting fact is that it includes men too. Surprised? You must be. Thus, we must understand, it is within the human nature where the problem lies and not a whole country.
India, being the spiritual capital of the world treat women with great respect. People considered a woman as Goddess during ancients times. It is true things have changed after the Western influence over the last 1000 years. The only thing to remember is that you need to prepare yourself and use your wit whenever you deal with a situation. It applies not only in India but wherever you travel alone. Do not worry or panic. As you go on traveling around India you will learn how to deal with people every day. You know it is actually easy. Just open up, smile and get on with it. Be assertive and not always be polite. India is sometimes confusing but awesome. It is sometimes annoying but lovely. It is unwise and silly to scare people on traveling India alone.
India is a country which welcomed every foreign invader with open arms, let it be the Portuguese, the Dutch or the British. In India there is a saying “Athithi Devo Bhava”, which is a Sanskrit statement which means “Every guest is God”. People here consider all people are gods in drag.
So, do not ever be scared to travel to India. Just prepare yourself as you do whenever you travel anywhere.
Tips for Women: Keep in mind these 5 things while you visit India alone
For women travelers, I would recommend the below 5 things to make sure of while traveling in India-
1. Choose authorized tour operators
There are many well-reputed tour operators in India, recognized by the Indian Ministry of Tourism. Some tour operators have tailor made packages for solo women travelers and in groups too. Starting with the Guest Relation Executives to the escorts, drivers and the operators, all are friendly and caring. Most of all, they love their job and will not hesitate to go an extra mile to see to it that you are safe and entertained every minute you spend in India. So always be sure you choose an authorized operator. Seek recommendations from your family members or friends who have used a specific tour operator.
2. Do not get cheated by local sellers
Learn the art of bargain, and shop wisely because while you are traveling alone in an unknown country, chances are that locals will try to cheat you. Likely more than half of the population relies on small-scale businesses and street shop. They get excited when they see lonely travelers especially if you are a foreigner. So, be assertive and while you deal with them.
3. Use only licensed guides for your program
As you know there are many unauthorized guides who would try to persuade you to avail their services at all major destinations. They do not know much about the destination and they will explain false information and also try to steer you to buy things from local shops where he might have the deal with. There is a high possibility that you may get cheated. So be sure the guide you use is licensed or better arrange a personal guide through your trusted tour operators only.
4. Ignore Eve- Teasing
Eve- teasing is common everywhere and especially when a woman is traveling alone, a lot of eyes catch you. The best way to deal with those kinds of men is “IGNORE”! In case if the situation gets worse, then for sure you must react and make it a scene. Make them embarrassed in public for their dirty deeds. You may call helpline numbers as well, provided by the Indian Ministry of Tourism. I have shared in this article below. Also note, it is not always true that the guys in India stare at you with bad intentions in mind, rather they might be just curious and pretty much excited to see a foreign white lady on the move. Another aspect that catches attention is the dress code. In India, as you know women dress loose and well-covered. So definitely you may catch many eyes if you move with the western outfits like mini-skirts and pretty much-revealing tops. This is not an issue in Metropolitan cities or other major Indian cities where men are used to it, but while exploring rural destinations and village areas definitely many eyes might fall on you. So if and only you want to avoid those stares, either try to follow a loose dress code or lighten up yourself with the vibrant Indian wears which are for sure not that bad to give a try. Most of all ignore all the gestures and move on. You may sometimes loose temper. Try to remain calm but do react when you smell a threat and the situation gets worse. As I said call the helpline number or seek help from people around.
5. Make full use of the smartphones and latest handheld technologies
Make sure you are always in touch with your friends and relatives and let them know exactly what you are doing and what your plans are? In a case of any emergency, they can track you easily. Always see to it that your mobile phones have charged batteries. Be active in social media which is the most appropriate and the best way to record your activities. There are a lot of travel applications you could find in the App store. Use it, because it will definitely prove handy at times.
Avoid seeking direction and advice to unknown men on the road. Make use of the Google Maps for directions, restaurants, and other entertainment spots you would like to visit. Thanks to the new age technology, that we have everything in our fingertips.
Take note of the helpline numbers in India and Toll-Free Information number for foreign tourists operated by the Ministry of Tourism, India-
1 – Dial 100 for Police Control Room
2- Women Helpline No. : 1091
3 -24×7 Toll-Free Infoline in 12 International Languages to Help Tourists in India operated by the Ministry of Tourism, India
Be prepared! Be confident! Be safe!
Travel lots! Enjoy! Explore!