India is one of the most intoxicating yet intimidating destinations I’ve ever visited. I’m intrigued by the culture, cuisine and history and how that varies from state to state but exploring India as a solo female traveller does require a certain amount of precaution.
For any women wondering if it is safe to travel to India as a solo female, I wanted to share some of the advice and tips that helped me avoid scams and feel more secure on my travels.
In my experience, it’s when you don’t plan ahead that you end up susceptible to enterprising scam artists! I’ve had taxi and tuk tuk drivers pick up on the fact that I haven’t pre-booked accommodation and try to put me off my plans, tell me buses are cancelled and even take me somewhere completely different instead.
On my recent trip to India, therefore, I wanted to make sure I had essentials like the first few nights’ accommodation and airport pick up locked in with reputable companies. For this reason, I booked a private tour with G Adventures, which came with an airport transfer run by a team of female drivers.
Read reviews by female travellers
Similarly, when it came to booking day tours in Delhi I did my research and booked the most highly rated option on Get Your Guide. As a solo female traveller, I was especially keen to see positive reviews from other women saying they felt comfortable with the guide.
I also made sure the tour started and ended at my hotel so I didn’t have to navigate public transport alone or walk back to the hotel at night.
Stock up on padlocks
I always travel with a set of padlocks and recommend you stock up on a couple of luggage locks for travelling in India. They come in super handy for times you may be separated from your luggage, such as on public transport, and if you’re taking the train you may even want to padlock the essentials to your bunk.
I also use them to lock certain items inside my suitcase if they don’t fit inside the hotel’s safe.
If I’m going to be walking around a lot with important items like my passport and/or cash on me then I will also use a small lock to secure my daypack. Of course, a robust travel insurance policy is essential to protect yourself should the unexpected happen!
Buy a door stop
Another item that gave me piece of mind in India was a simple door stop. I didn’t always feel this was necessary but at one hotel I stayed at on the outskirts of Delhi I was the only female guest at the property and this caused a lot of attention. The hotel corridors were noisy at night with doors always banging and I just felt a little vulnerable and was struggling to sleep. Just wedging that door stop under the door made me feel more at ease. It helped to know I should at least hear something if someone tried to enter my room, even if it couldn’t stop them completely.
You can also buy a door stop with alarm, which is something I would have packed had I been travelling alone for longer.
Wear your handbag/backpack on your front
As well as securing my daypack, I read before visiting India that it’s advisable to wear your backpack on your front when visiting crowded cities. This advice particularly applies to women who may want to use their handbags as a defence against “accidental” brushes.
Sadly, ‘eve teasing’ as it is known in India, is a problem in cities like Delhi and Mumbai and having experienced it myself I felt much more comfortable with a large bag on my front and my elbows out so I could protect my personal space.
Have you travelled in India as a solo female? What advice helped you to stay safe?
This article is sponsored by Southern Cross Travel Insurance. All opinions and advice are my own.