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Travelling As An Older Woman In India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Jaynee, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Jaynee

    Jaynee New Member

    Has anyone any particular tips or advice to offer? I say older woman but I'm actually 40. I'm not going to be wanting to wear hotpants or revealing tops, so I don't need to worry about the clothes side of things.

  2. Namaste Jaynee. Welcome to India.You can wear as you like if you travelling with an agency or tour operators or a private driver. IF you are going to travel independent by trains and public transports then you should follow general dressing never wear a Top or T-Shirt without sleeves Trousers, Jeans, Indian dressing like Slawar Kurta, Saree, it will works people give you much respect as you obeying their culture. Also if you are visiting a religious place always follow clothing manner avoid micro mini in north India and western India. you can try them in Goa Kerala on beach

  3. TravelCheap3

    TravelCheap3 Member

    Don't go to religious places with a whole lot of skin showing. It's kind of disrespectful to their culture and religion. If you were to walk around the city in a long sleeve shirt and pants, you'd be fine. I'd recommend taking public transportation. Cheers!
  4. Jaynee

    Jaynee New Member

    Thanks for the answers, sorry I didn't realise anyone had replied until now.

    The clothes side of things I am happy with, but I'm still curious to know if being a bit older than the average backpacker will be a hinderance, or maybe an advantage? I am used to doing things alone when I travel, so going to a restaurant alone for lunch or dinner is something I wouldn't think twice about. Would that be an issue?
  5. Rayne

    Rayne New Member

    I would say if you are comfortable doing these things then do them. I would eat and shop in places that are well populated though. You are a brave lady traveling alone like this. I would always like to have a companion with me.
  6. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    I can't see it making a difference at all. I've spent time in India on my own throughout my twenties, which included everything you'd expect - things like travelling on trains alone, eating alone, shopping, walking around the streets, etc. I even ended up on a camel trek in the middle of the desert alone when my friend fell ill and had to go back to the hotel. This latter one may not have been super wise in retrospect, but we'd been with the guy for a couple of days already, I felt secure, and everything went smoothly. I've never had problems doing any of the other things, either. I'd say that your being older will, if anything, be an advantage, as it means that you've got the experience to know how to handle yourself. I found that if I dressed conservatively, was sensible, and trusted my instincts, things went well.

    Also, as I'm sure you know, one of the worst things is to go and not trust anybody. I went to Varanasi to visit a male Indian friend of mine. We were sitting on the side of the street, chatting, and three very lost, very hot and bothered looking English boys with great big backpacks walked along the street and stopped near us. We asked them if they were all right, and they said they were looking for a hotel. My friend tried to tell them that the one opposite where we were sitting would be exactly what they were looking for, but they immediately brushed him off, assuming, I imagine, that he worked for some hotel or other, and possibly having read too many guides telling you to be cautious. It's interesting trying to imagine what would happen if this happened the other way around - if people came to our home countries and we tried to help them and they assumed we were trying to scam them! I think that being older and having your travel experience will just make your trip richer. You'll be able to relax more, and know better when situations feel not right, so that you can relax more the rest of the time, and get a lot out of your travelling. It's very possible that people will treat you with more respect, as well. I'm very excited for you. When and where will you be going?

    (Incidentally, I found that wearing a shalwar kameez was indeed a very good way of making sure that you could make friends. Wearing the shalwar suit goes down very well, everywhere you go.)
  7. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    I would recommend this for anyone traveling alone, whether they are male or female, young or old. Leave your itinerary at the front desk, or with someone. Make sure they have a knowledge of your location, where you are going, where you might go. I had a friend who was in Nepal during the recent earthquake. She was buried under a collapsed building, but she was found because she had poster her itinerary to her social profile. It saved her life because her family knew right where to look for her.
  8. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I think I would just exercise all the usual precautions that would be suggested to anyone traveling solo. If anything I think that being a little older than the average backpacker age will work in your favor - just having life experience and likely having travelled to more than one spot will put you in good stead, I think. I've learned from every trip I've taken, and it's made each subsequent trip a whole lot easier!
  9. xTinx

    xTinx Member

    Wherever you are, not just in India, it's better to err on the side of caution than to totally forgo security for the sake of adventure. Travel with a companion or a group. Make sure you can locate the nearest police station. Take note of your embassy's contact details for emergency purposes.
  10. GammaRay

    GammaRay Member

    Yup it's always great advice to dress conservatively anywhere new. My rule is to wear revealing clothes only on a hot date, in the beach and at home. I guess you should take some time to know the culture of the place, know the emergency numbers and numbers of your embassy. Always have a back up plan whether it be on events, clothes or places to say and travel like a local.
  11. Jaynee

    Jaynee New Member

    I appreciate all the thoughtful responses. Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas and experiences.

    Jnorth - that is a scary story with a good outcome, and a good example of making sure someone knows where you are, or are meant to be, for sure. I have no problem sharing my daily plans that way.

    Elizabetonth, can you buy shalwar style pants in India quite easily? Your story was thought provoking, and reminded me of my experiences in China when people talked lot about scammers posing as students who invite you to art galleries or tea rooms. Genuine students who simply wanted to practice their language skills suffer as a result.

    I plan to leave in the next few months, and will have an open return ticket, so I can stay as long as the visa will let me. As for where I go - I'd like to start at one end of the country and see how far I can get!
  12. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    How exciting! That sounds like a brilliant trip. What a pity for the students in China. It's a difficult balance to strike, when it comes to deciding whether to trust people. I suppose this is true in life as well as travelling, but when you're in a new country it can be easy to feel out of your depth and hence be more suspicious of everyone. It's such a shame.

    Yes, you can buy the full thing - the shalwar, which are the pants, and the kameez, which are the shirt - very easily, along with the dupatta, or scarf that usually goes with it. If you're in one place for a little while, a good thing to do is visit a tailor, where you can get some made to fit you in exactly the style and colours that you want, very cheaply. It usually only takes two or three days. There are maaaany different styles. My favourites are two sets that I had made in Pakistan, where the style is slightly different, but you shouldn't have much difficulty finding some that you like.
    Jaynee likes this.