4th Sep 2014
FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Should I travel to India alone?
Should I travel to India alone?

Sandra has always wanted to travel to India but is concerned after recent reports in the news about foreign women being assaulted.

Q.

I have always wanted to visit India, but am concerned about how safe it is for me to travel alone after hearing some news reports about assaults on foreign women. What advice do you have for solo female travellers wanting to visit India?

A.

India is on my bucket list too Sandra, but I can understand your hesitation in travelling there by yourself after some rather concerning news reports in recent times.

As with any form of solo travel, using your common sense and following your instincts will serve you well. Many of the attacks that have been reported have occurred in rural areas that are off the traditional tourist tracks, so you would do well not to stray into lesser known areas.

Ensure that friends and family have a copy of your itinerary, check in with them often and keep them up-to-date with any changes. You should also register your travel plans with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at www.smartraveller.gov.au.

Staying in hostels is a great way to meet up with fellow travellers and you will generally find yourself heading in the same direction or to the same sights. In my experience, once you get chatting to others about what to see and how to get to the places which you want to visit, invitations to join them will be forthcoming – so don’t be shy, tag along – there is safety in numbers.

Guided group travel is always a great option for anyone travelling alone. While you will be driven to all the places of interest to and your accommodation, you are always guaranteed company, whether it be from your fellow group members or your tour guide.

If you are interested in health, wellness, yoga or spirituality, another possibility you may wish to consider while traveling alone in India is visiting an ashram or guesthouse. These are not only a safe accommodation option, but there is also lots of opportunity to take yoga classes, study and meet other women traveling alone.

Are you a single, female who has travelled to India alone? What advice can you offer Sandra to keep her safe on her travels?





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    lissette
    6th Sep 2014
    8:29am
    Yes travel to India alone for the first time is fraught with danger.....Stories of women and guys being targetted on trains esp long journeys when the cabins get emptied out of people. Stories of people being drugged are not so uncommon but are reported in the papers. How many dont get reported. If you are going go with a friend...Go first or second class.....I have been many times, but have had to be careful. Stay in home stays, if you can. That way the families will negotiate prices and know the local scene and also you have some one to call or threaten to call if NYTHING goes wrong. Temples in remote areas can be a trap for single women.....and guys. Some states like Bihar , even the Indians will tell you to be careful and not travel alone. Taxi drivers on long trips ...make sure you have sorted out the agreements before you start. You might have to include their meals in the price of the trip...but be aware that they can run away with what they expect you to pay for...Locval taxi drivers can become a good friend if you are able to get their phone number and use them regularly...not always possible........
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    9:35am
    Thanks for this, lissette. I've been to India 5 times some years ago and not without
    incident. I was groped during the Holi festival and also had to plug up peepholes in an adjoining hotel room. Looked down one time and a woman had her hand in my bag! And other 'little' things happened. Travelling alone on India requires
    great awareness but it's worth it! Lissette, did you ever watch Bandit Queen?
    Kim
    6th Sep 2014
    9:48am
    Hi fellow travellers. I did India by myself - 59 years of age. I combined a tour with a fortnight by myself. Was always careful by myself, got a great reliable driver to take me to all the Lonely Planet places. Don't go to underground markets in Delhi as that was the only bad place. It was totally absorbing and a great experience. Kim
    MICK
    6th Sep 2014
    10:38am
    The question is why would one want to travel to India at all? Pollution? Bad. Water? Bring your own. Food? Be careful what you eat.
    Forget it.
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    12:56pm
    Hi mick : Pollution : get away from the big places. Water : buy bottled water.
    Food : only cooked food and fruit you can peel. And have anti-biotics on hand!
    Polly Esther
    6th Sep 2014
    1:05pm
    BYO curry
    Helenc
    6th Sep 2014
    4:38pm
    I would not go to India even if someone offered to pay me. Why would I want to spend my tourist $$$ in a country that has so much hostility towards foreign women and women in general - that would also apply to some Islamic countries. I prefer to holiday in nice, clean and safe places where I am not likely to be raped, made sick,robbed, bashed or murdered. Hey, that's just me! Cruise ships are my number one choice, after that, Singapore, Hawaii and some parts of Europe, especially Northern Europe.
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    5:46pm
    Yes, Helenc, I, too, feel that there is disrespect for Western women in these
    non-Western countries. Singapore, YES!! Cruise ships, not yet. :)
    Franky
    6th Sep 2014
    8:24pm
    the disrespect for Western women is their own making. Dress modestly and you won't have any problems, always do as the locals do, a good rule of thumb!
    lissette
    6th Sep 2014
    5:49pm
    Biddi, I love India. India is amazing . I grew up In Africa and my relatives loved in an Indian neighbourhood..So osmoticallyI learnt about their culture and have an understanding that did take time to absorb.....unaware of it until I went to India. I felt a sense of belonging. There are amazing places and people ...I need to go to a yoga Ashram for a month , I am not so well but would like instruction and guidance......Yes there is pollution.And when you meet engineers who are building coal fired power stations with Australian coal....it takes thinking about...But the friendship , the gentleness and the generosity......The food is great. Besides , they have quite a few Vipassana Meditaion Centres that offer great course.....
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    7:29pm
    East Africa??
    Franky
    6th Sep 2014
    8:22pm
    As a tour operator taking people to South India I can give you the following advice: dress as the locals do as much as possible. Don't go out after dark and be firm with all of the touts. Get your hotels organized before you go. Insist on metered taxis, your hotel will adivse you of approx. costs of trips and also which companies are best to use. If South India is where you plan on going have a look at www.insidetours.com.au There are also some tips on travel there as well as a link to visa applications. The word is that by next month the visa on arrival will be extended to another 180 nationalities which would make it so much easier! Happy travels! It's a destination worth going to!
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    9:33pm
    Just checked out your website, Franky. Beautifully clear and informative.
    Great testimonials, too. You never know!
    biddi
    6th Sep 2014
    9:12pm
    Thanks, Franky. Will make a note of that even though I'm a Rajasthaniphile.
    Yes, to dress respectfully is a must. Dressing "provocatively" is inviting trouble and disrespect.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles