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Solo Female Travel?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by amelia88, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I had a friend who visited India and travelled by herself with no issues. She did mention in a few places that she received a lot of stares/attention but never really felt threatened for her safety or anything like that.

    Do you think India is do-able as a solo female traveller? I am thinking of booking a trip, as it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit - but a few people are warning me against going alone. I don't know anyone else right now that would have the time and finances to go - so I'm stuck!

    Anyone's thoughts?

  2. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    Traveling solo is never a problem in India for females as long as you use common sense. Avoid traveling at night and don't trust strangers that's all really.

    The best thing to do would be to find a travel partner from your own country by starting a thread in the travel partners forum if that interests you atall. If you do choose to post a new thread please try and be very specific with your itinerary to get good responses :)

    I hope this helps.
    amelia88 likes this.

  3. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    I think India is just like the rest of the world. Everywhere there can be good and bad people and you have to believe in your gut feeling and common sense. But India is a safer place when compared to other countries, I think. To my knowledge below steps can make your stay more enjoyable and hassle free:

    - Avoid traveling in the dark as far as possible. Even though police is really helpful, but they cant'e be everywhere.
    - While traveling in train try to be in women compartment or AC compartment which gives you some privacy too.
    - Always keep a route map of the city with you. If you lost somewhere that can be of great help.
    - Needless to say the importance of a mobile phone and get connected anywhere in the world
    - Trust your instincts

    I know this is not a comprehensive list. You are welcome to add more points to make it an exhaustive one.
    amelia88 likes this.
  4. Untamed13

    Untamed13 New Member

    Well I've met plenty of females, some as young as 22, 23, travelling by themselves while I was backpacking across SE Asia and I never heard any horror stories. But I think it's something you have to be able to do naturally. I don't think it would work if you're not 100% comfortable with it plus the trip itself wouldn't be as enjoyable. I totally love travelling by myself (I'm a guy). I find that I can get a far better feel of a new place when I'm on my own, I can soak in my environment more freely than when I have people with me.
    Chahal likes this.
  5. Sramana

    Sramana Member

    Hi @amelia88,

    I have travelled solo in India quite often and can definitely share some of my experiences. I am Indian, so I realize that it is a little different. Some of my friends from grad school in the US have travelled solo in India, and I can also tell you about their experiences.

    Yes, there is a lot of staring and unwanted attention. Mostly, it is just curiosity (especially if you are white and in a non-metropolitan area where white people are rare sights). Generally, things are quite safe, especially if you want to stick to the popular trails and touristy destinations. However, this does not mean that you cannot go to the off-the-beaten-track places - just take a few precautions to be safe, stuff that's just basic common sense in a new and unfamiliar place.

    Generally, here's what I would recommend.

    1. Know your itinerary before you travel. Book hotel rooms in advance and carry addresses with you in a non-digital format. In case you lose your phone or it is out of charge, you can get to your destination. Choose hotels that are labelled 'for families' on websites like Tripadvisor - that generally means that it is a decent, upmarket place.

    2. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend back home. Call every day to update them on your whereabouts. Get a phone plan where you can call home or Whatsapp your whereabouts at regular intervals.

    3. As far as possible, take pre-paid taxis from the airport (you can find signs at most major airports). To travel within a city or to nearby destinations, have your hotel fix you up with a car and driver. Get the driver's number and the car's number and text it to your friend back home. This is something Indian women travelling alone do all the time.

    4. During the day time, most popular destinations should be quite safe. Keep yourself hydrated (with bottled water), wear sunscreen. However, except for big cities, I would not advise venturing out at night (after 8 PM). You may if you have your car and a driver you trust, but most small cities shut down at night, so that night time adventure might not be worth it. Also, driving late at night might not be very safe because some drivers are especially rash at night, when the traffic is less.

    5. If you are going off the beaten path, to smaller cities or forests, great! I hope you enjoy it. That is the India I love, and I hope you see. The only things you need to remember is, it is like going to an unfamiliar place in your own home country. The local customs are different, the people have different values etc. Learn about it if you can, respect them. Many people are very hospitable, so chances are you may really enjoy your visit. However, just in general, please do not stay out later than there are women on the roads (that's a really good sign to get a sense for how safe a place is for women. Are there women on the roads?).

    6. A lot of people ask about dress codes. Wear what you are comfortable in, but try not to show too much skin, especially in religious places. A friend of mine from the US did something brilliant: she came to India with an empty suitcase, and on her first day here, bought a lot of loose, flowy salwar-kurtas and harem pants. She loved them and she fit right in!

    7. If you like to run, try to find a park or a race course in the city you are in. A google search with <name of city + running> usually tells where people in the city run.

    This is all I can remember for now. I will add more points as I remember them.

    I reiterate this, mostly you are safe. India is a lovely country with so much to see. I hope you have a lovely visit!
    Admin, amelia88 and Chahal like this.
  6. Gabydi

    Gabydi Member

    I don’t really think it’s dangerous. My sister lived in India and she was by herself. What she told me is that Indian men like blondies, but they are nice and harmless. She had like a hundred marriage proposals! Indians are nice and hospitable, my sister is still in touch with many friends she made during her time there. You will be ok, you’ll eat delicious food, see amazing places and will also meet fantastic people.
  7. turtledove

    turtledove Member

    I don't think it's very dangerous, although some areas are definitely more of a risk to visit than others. There are some things that you should definitely avoid, like travelling at night, talking to or trusting strangers, getting into anybody's car and visiting deserted areas. Try and stay in more crowded areas whenever you can, and if you are going to go to less crowded areas, try and find someone you trust to go with rather than doing it alone. Also do check the hotel reviews - not all hotels are high quality. Another thing is clothing. I wouldn't say it's bad to wear less clothing, but it may feel uncomfortable, as people do stare quite often. But just stick to what you're comfortable in mainly.
  8. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Thank you so much for the detailed response! This was perfect - I think honestly as a solo woman traveller it's always a good idea not to really stay out later than other women would be - and I would do that in any place I visited!

    I really appreciate you taking the time to reply especially with regards to the dress code. I love the idea of picking up a few locally made things, not only would they be beautiful, of course, but it would help in terms of fitting in like you said!
  9. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Personally, I feel like part of travel should be sharing the experience, bringing two or more people closer through the shared bonds they strengthen. I am a solitary person by nature, but do not like to travel on my own. I know the other side of the coin has its own problems. A lot of travelers can be slow or difficult. But if you can find ambitious travelers, people who are as motivated and excited about the journey as you, then I would recommend travel together. Don't forget, you do not have to spend all your time together. You might pal around with a friend for a few days, go your separate ways, and meet up in another city. That way you can still see the sites you want to visit, but benefit from the support and exchange of a friend.