The recent horror stories of rapes that have made the international news headlines have led me to providing you with some essential tips for girl travelers in India. India has always appealed to us girl travelers because of the mysticism and soul-stirring attractions, but it’s easy to be put off by current happenings. Every country has its problems and any sensible traveler knows there are ways to stay safe and avoid risks. Here are the 7 most indispensable tips for girl travelers in India:
1. Appear Confident
One of the number one tips for girl travelers in India is to appear confident - even if you have absolutely no idea where you’re going or what you’re doing. This is imperative as first time travelers are much more likely to be scammed or taken advantage of by bad-intentioned locals. Sure fire ways to convey confidence are to: hold your head up high, speak in a firm voice, look people in the eye and act as though you’ve been to the area before.
2. Dress Conservatively
Girls traveling in India often make the mistake of dressing a little too flamboyantly, which can, in some cases, draw unwanted attention. In order to avoid any potential issues you may consequently like to try covering up by wearing a kurta (a traditional Indian shirt-like garment), a shawl and jeans or long skirt.
3. Don’t Travel Alone
Whilst you may have arrived in India by yourself, this is not to say that you need to sit alone whilst on a bus or train. Female travelers in India are actually better off trying to sit in a well-lit, “busy” area of the bus/train, preferably with other women around. If you feel uncomfortable with your assigned seat, don’t be afraid to try changing your seat or trading with another passenger, and if trouble does arise, don’t hesitate to get loud and assertive!
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
Many holiday makers find chatting away to strangers in a foreign country highly enjoyable; however this is something that girl travelers in India should really avoid if possible. Starting conversations, especially with a group of people, has the potential to get you into a number of uncomfortable or even dangerous situations, including getting pick pocketed. If you do get dragged into an uncomfortable discussion, however, it always pays to insist that your partner/spouse will be joining you in a few minutes, or that you have an Indian husband.
5. Don’t Wear Valuables
Over 30 per cent of the Indian population is currently believed to be living below the international poverty line, meaning that theft and scamming can be real issues for those traveling in the country. Female travelers in India can, however, reduce their chance of being targeted by not wearing any valuables, including chains, bracelets, rings, watches or earrings. Married women who don’t want to remove their wedding or engagement rings may like to place a plaster over their rings to disguise them as an injury during their travels.
6. Don’t Accept Things from Strangers
Your mother wasn’t joking when she told you not to accept sweets from strangers, and as drugging has become a growing issue in India over the last few years, it may be sensible to heed her advice. Girl travelers in India should consequently avoid accepting fruits, drinks, baked goods and cigarettes from strangers, especially whilst on public transport such as trains. Being generally observant is also a great idea, as scams involving food contaminated with bacteria, followed by “helpful” locals ferrying you to a dubious clinic for treatment, have also recently been an issue in some areas.
7. Watch Your Wallet
Theft is everywhere in India, although popular tourist areas such as airports tend to be a higher risk. As a lone female traveler in India, you can protect yourself from theft in a number of ways, including: staying alert; padlocking your belongings; dispersing your money throughout your clothing and bags, so if you do get robbed you don’t lose everything; never putting things in your back trouser pockets; not counting your money in public; and not trusting other travelers!
I must give credit to the India Times for providing these excellent tips for girl travelers in India. I hope you find them useful. Have you traveled to India recently?