Unafraid and Unaccompanied: Is India a Safe Haven for Female Solo Travelers?

With its magnificent culture, vast landscapes, and delicious food, India is one of the most soughtafter destinations for solo travelers. However, the country also has a reputation for being unsafe, especially for women. This is one of the reasons why many solo female travelers tend to avoid the country altogether.But recently, the topic of traveling alone to India as a woman was raised in an online discussion, and those who are brave enough to explore the country shared the most useful tips and advice about safety and security while traveling.

1. Common Sense Travel Rules Apply

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India is similar to other countries regarding your general safety. Remember always to keep your head on a swivel, travel smart, and be aware of your surroundings. Much like you wouldn’t want a threatening person close to you in Italy, the same rule applies in India.

2. Attitude Is Everything

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A little bit of self-confidence goes a long way, especially in India. “If you walk around scared of your own shadow, you could possibly be targeted. This is true in every corner of the world. Confidence and a ‘walk tall and carry a big stick’ attitude make a world of difference.” 

3. Be Mindful of Your Outgoingness

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Even if you’re naturally outgoing and friendly, focusing on your introverted side in India is best. As a foreigner, Indian men will instantly target you romantically, and any kindness or forthcomingness could be viewed as an act of romantic interest.

4. Prepare Yourself for Attention

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American women tend to draw attention in India, so start getting used to it now! “You will constantly be stared at, especially if you have light skin and hair,” explains one expert. “Ignore it, or nod and move on.” 

5. Use the Same Taxi Driver

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Get their phone number as soon as you find a taxi driver you can trust and feel safe around. Women report that keeping the same taxi or rickshaw driver for their trip is the easiest way to lower stress levels. After all, the alternative is rolling the dice on a random driver whenever you want to explore. 

6. India Can Be Logistically Challenging

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The general layout of the country can be confusing, but don’t worry: Citizens are notoriously helpful, and there are many Westerners that you’ll encounter. “India can be an overwhelming and intimidating country to travel in,” confesses one experienced traveler.

“You will likely meet other Westerners along the way, and that can be helpful. Indians tend to be very helpful, especially at train stations where things are confusing. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.”

7. Respect the Culture

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Unless you want to spit in the face of local Indian culture, refrain from suggestive outfits. Showing excessive skin is an easy way to draw unwanted attention from men while offering up a complete lack of respect for the culture. Don’t be that woman. 

8. Be Wary of Accepting Personal Invitations

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Although this tip isn’t exclusive to India, it’s a great preventative measure wherever you go. Be wary of invitations into people’s homes — unless you have gotten to know them. “After several days of touring around Ft. Kochi, my rickshaw driver invited me to his home to meet his wife and kids,” remembers one woman. “By that point, I felt he was totally safe and had no concerns about the visit, and it was fun.” As always, trust your gut!

9. Indians Love Drama

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If you find yourself in an argument with a local, don’t worry. According to countless travelers, most arguments are more bluster than danger. Indians love a heated discussion, so don’t be afraid to jump in and participate in the back-and-forth!

10. Vendors May Try To Take Advantage of You

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Savvy travelers are used to street vendors trying to rip off tourists, and women report the same thing happens in India. Money is one of your most valuable resources while traveling, so make sure you don’t fall for scams or ploys designed to extract cash from hapless foreigners.

11. Wear Modest Clothing

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Generally speaking, the Indian culture is more conservative when it comes to clothing, so wearing modest clothes is not only polite but also smart. But this doesn’t mean you have to go head-to-toe in traditional garments. Just make sure that whatever you wear covers most of your body. Light, loose, and long clothing will keep you comfortable in the heat and help you blend in with the locals.

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