Is Traveling Solo in India Safe for Women from Abroad?

Disclaimer: I am a man, not a woman.

You must be wondering, why is this guy suddenly so concerned about the safety of foreign women coming to India?? Well, there is a reason for it – I’ll tell you at the end of this article :)

First, I need to tell you about what kind of safety measures I follow, while going on trips. I have traveled quite extensively across South India, but at no point did I feel even threatened (until now). When it comes to tourist spots, people are generally OK – Maybe because their livelihood depends on tourist inflow. Of course, auto-drivers, Beggars and small-time traders can get on our nerves, but even they are concerned only about making more profits.

But I strongly feel that it’s better to be safe, than sorry. Expensive stuff owned by tourists can be stolen from prominent touristy locations – not only in India, but even in developed countries.

In order to prevent theft, I make sure to dress appropriately during my travels. I have two half-shirts which are so old and so dull that when I wear them (tucked-out) along with select trousers, chappals and eye-glasses, I look like any common man on the road. I follow this disastrous sense of fashion religiously, so that no one will want to waste their time plotting to steal anything from me! :)

Secondly, I don’t carry any debit cards with me. I carry only a credit card (sometimes) that can easily be cancelled anytime over the phone. I always carry sufficient cash (never in excess). Also, I keep my cash in multiple places. So, even if someone decides to steal from me, they will get very less. Of course, I don’t wear any gold or diamond ring/chain/bracelet and I don’t take my laptop. I would rather take chances with the hotel staff, than road-side burglars.

I guess women need to take more precautions while traveling, especially if they are new to patriarchal cultures like India. That brings me to the title of this article – I am happy to announce that one of my blogger friends, Shalu Sharma has recently published an Amazon eBook on the topic, ‘India Travel Survival Guide for Women‘. Who better than a woman who has extensively traveled across India, and has a popular travel-blog, to write on this topic? I wish her all the very best and hope that women traveling to India (either solo or in groups) will benefit from her advice/guidance.

Destination Infinity

What are the precautions you take while traveling/visiting tourist places? Are you confident enough to visit offbeat/unconventional travel destinations in India, alone?

16 thoughts on “Is Traveling Solo in India Safe for Women from Abroad?

  1. All the best. I will check it out. No i am not confident enough to travel all alone and I think it has more to do with the current spate of incidents. We need to be much more cautious when traveling alone.

    1. I travel alone to almost everywhere, but I am yet to try off-beat/unconventional locations. I too share (some of) your concerns…

      Destination Infinity

  2. Thanks for the nice intro for this eBook. When we visit India, we purposely suppress our behavior and dressing style so that we look like a common local people. Another important point is Do Not Showoff Your Wealth.

  3. I travel alone for work at least 3-5 times in a month. And I can say that caution is the word and safety is in your own hands. I am not at peace till I reach my destination. Sad it is, but that’s the reality!

  4. I have never traveled alone in India and would not dare to :P But yeah even when I travel with others, I usually take all the precautions that you have mentioned. Especially not wearing too many gold ornaments, carrying debit cards around etc.

  5. I never traveled alone, and regard everything my parents will take care. Usually we don’t bring expensive things with us and I too like being casual and don’t wear anything more than a watch.
    That’s really a good thing for her to write on this book… hope it help the women.

  6. Your disclaimer I am a man not a woman is indeed very humourous.
    Travelling in India by an Indian woman is unsafe. Then what to say about women from abroad.
    When going to tourist places we normally book everything in advance online over the net. We avoid going to unfamiliar places. I do not like going alone. If at all I go, I think I will take a notebook and pencil with me more than a camera.

  7. That looks like a much needed guide. No, I am not confident of travelling to off-beat places owing to recent events. There are several factors apart from money obviously, so honestly I dont think there is anything called being too safe. Being armed helps I guess.

  8. I have traveled a lot by long distance trains and that is the time I always took the most precautions. Like wearing only fake jewellery and that too not flashy. Even otherwise I always wear very thin and light chains and tiny studs in my ears because of some horror stories I have heard which happened to my friends and relatives.
    While traveling to tourist spots, we are extra careful. I dress casually in jeans and Tees and wear almost no jewellery. A pity though that we have to be so careful in India. The latest Economist reveals that crime is going down in western countries because of extensive policing and camera surveillance. I hope that happens in India soon.

  9. I have not gone to any offbeat remote location by myself. But any travel that I undetake solo, I take care to dress down and be low profile, generally not drawing attention to myself. It’s a habit that serves me well. And yes being careful with any money, laptop, mobile that I may have.

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