I am looking at traveling to India in the next year or so. I would like to travel solo - Is India safe?
Which areas would you suggest to go and which to avoid if so?
Great to know that you are planning to come to India. I understand your concern about safety.
There are certain pockets where you need to be more careful. All touristy places in the north belt - Agra (Taj Mahal), Delhi, Varanasi, Bihar (Bodh Gaya), Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh are actually unsafe. I wouldn't recommend travelling solo to these places. If you do, then ensure you have a mobile phone with GPS data so you are not asking strangers for directions or depending on a local tourist guide. The idea is to only trust your own instinct and not encourage any polite conversations. Do not accept drinks or food from anyone at all.
Safer places to travel solo in India:
Rajasthan (be careful of your cab drivers, local guides here as they try to earn commission by taking tourists to very expensive restaurants and handicraft shops.)
As long as you don't let your guard down and keep the basics of personal safety in mind - India will be a delight and one of your best travel holidays.
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Hi Sara! I travel extensively in India alone, and I personally have not found it to be unsafe. Having said that, I recognize that you have to make a lot of adjustments and take a lot of precautions to travel successfully in India.
I publish an India travel blog with lots of tips and suggestions, like this post: http://breathedreamgo.com/2014/07/female-solo-travel-tips/
Yes it is. I traveled there twice for 3.5 months at a time. In the South you get less harassed than the North. As long as you cover yourself in longer loose clothes to respect the culture you should be fine. When traveling via overnight trains go for 3AC and up rather than sleeper class. The only place I found really tough was Varanasi and it's more fun to travel Rajasthan state with others if you meet them there or via a tour.
I am a solo traveller and have travelled India and around the world by myself extensively and I suppose it is the same set of precautions I would exercise anywhere else.
I have many friends who have fallen in love with India post their first solo trip here :) I blog about the country extensively here: http://travellingidesofmarch.com/ and hope that helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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India is a magnificent destination and it is as safe a any other country in the world.
It is just that you have to take precautions whether that is New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Varanasi or Khajuraho in North India or Kochi, Munnar, Backwaters, Madurai, Mysore or Chennai in South India.
Always take care of below points which will help you in travelling alone.
1. Dress full sleeves tops and calf length lowers.
2. Never get friendly with unknown person, irrespective of his / her decency or politeness or friendly nature.
3. Always choose hotels at right location, check for their rating with trip advisor.
4. try to avoid travelling early morning or late nights. even if you have to then opt for hotel taxi or radio cabs which you can book by phone like meru, easy cabs etc. but in smaller cities you will have to rely on hotel.
5. keep your valuables / important documents in safe in the hotel and carry photocopy of the documents and and limited amount of cash.
6. keep pepper spray with you all the time.
7. do not allow any one to host drink / dine for you.
As you have not mention number of days you will be spending in India, hence allow me to suggest you a program which generally tourists enjoy covering while they are in india.
Delhi - Churu - Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Jaipur - Ranthambore National Park - Agra - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Goa then home (this will be a mix n match of Culture, wildlife, landscape.)
In South india you can cover places like
You can alter the cities as per your wish.
lastly you can also opt for reliable tour operator.
India awaits for your arrival. :-)
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Hi Sara, Yes India is a very safer place to travel!! There is no doubt that a women can have the most security and safety!
You can look out the awesome flora & fauna and most of all there numerous moments and sculptures to look after.
If this is your first time, you must take a visit to Taj Mahal, India's most beautiful place and one of the seven wonders of the world!
There are several other places to visit in India and when I went for the first time, i visited the places like Qutab Minar, Golconda Fort, Konark Sun Temple, India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Mysore Palace, and a few ancient Indian Temples.
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Many have answered this question. By and large, India is pretty safe for solo female travelers. Just make sure that you do not attract unnecessary attention for any reason. As Bharti suggests, trust your own instincts. However, from my experience, I can say that these instincts can be different in India and in Europe :-). Sometimes, it is not very realistic to take things at face value. Very often, you tend to compensate this by spending money which also not wise. The best way to ensure safety is to plan ahead. I know that can kill the spontaneity in travelling, but, it will help you be safe as well as save some money.
Yes certainly Sara. There are a lot of places you can visit. Like south of India is beautiful and definately doable solo. I would recommend Gokarna in Karnataka, parts of Kerala and of course Goa. In the north you could look at some travel companies that organise village stays in the mountains. New Delhi and Rajasthan are good too. It is advisable to tie up evrything before you start your journey.
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Southern India mostly safer ! North a bit scary more so if alone & in skimpy clothes ... If this taken care of super place to visit I assure you :) Cheers !!!
I travelled India a few years ago and found it perfectly safe for foreigners. India is an English-speaking country so you can communicate easily with the locals and officials. As far as I sensed, crime against foreigners is relatively rare and you really need to watch out for theft (true in any place you go) and corruption like crooked taxi (tuk-tuk) drivers, police issuing on-the-spot "fines" for minor infractions (you are supposed to somehow wear a seat belt, even if the taxi doesn't have one...300 Rupee/US$6 fine), as well as food-safety concerns (recommend to get Dukoral anti-diahhreal vaccination). I did meet quite a few white "western" (American, Canadian, Australian and European women) who were backpacking around on their own but often in pairs. In general you should never discuss religion or politics, particularly American views, which many foreign cultures find resentful and offensive, although they may not overtly show it. A convenient albeit more expensive way to get travel itineraries and tickets booked for you is just to go to travel agencies especially in New Delhi, but bargain hard and never pay the up-front price. Most Indian plane and train tickets can be booked online as well. If you're not sure and this is your first Indian experience, you can always book well-organized English-language group tours with companies like G-Adventures (a Canadian company) and Intrepid (an Australian company). Good luck!
I understand your concerns.
Just always be alert and aware of where you are. India is not as unsafe as you think. Some letching and general staring is to be expected. I hope u have an amazing trip. Make sure u have emergency contact information of any place your staying. If your being harassed at any time call the cops with your information and usually they get there pretty fast. That information is not to scare you just letting to u know to call for help if any of needed :)
Also carry anti malarial tablets.only drink bottles water
I think it is safe to travel in India as a single email. One of my female friends has travelled the whole country and is living in New Delhi for many years now and she feels safe there.
She also started a website to encourage other women to travel in India: http://zimt-indienreisen.de/website/index.aspx - it's in German language, but you can also contact her in English via E-Mail or Skype.
She also attaches great importance to work with Indian women to support them.
I've been there 5 times - 4 for work. On all trips, I stayed extra days to get out and travel the sites. Cities visited include New Delhi, Bangalore, Shimla, Jaipur, Agra, Mysore, Hampi. In almost all cases, I had a trusted local Indian with me. Almost everything (purchases, entry fees, etc) are more expensive for tourists, but a local can help negotiate some prices.
The people in India are extremely kind and helpful ... especially once they realize you're an American. They all want to have their picture taken with you - they may do a group photo then take individual pictures with you. They will put their arms around you for each photo - this is really weird for Americans. Outside of the major cities, I found that "I" was frequently the tourist attraction (I was taking pictures of the attraction - locals were taking pictures of me! They rarely see light skinned people.) The kids would say 'hi' and shake my hand, then run off only to bring their friends so they could all say 'hi' and shake my hand, then they would find more people ... it can be adorable, but it can also sometimes be hard to get away. In that case, hold your hand up, keep moving, say something simple like 'no, sorry.'
I've had no problems with crime. Still, keep a few rupee in your pocket and larger bills tucked way. I would not walk around after dusk in most cities - it is not safe for women (locals or tourists). There have been many cases of rape. :( If you want to go somewhere after dark, have your hotel arrange your transportation - don't risk it!
For getting around, you can take rickshaws or taxi. You can also 'hire a car' for the day - a personal driver that takes you anywhere you want to go. At each stop, you make arrangement for a length of time and a pick up spot. Make sure you have all places you are going written down - in both the local language (varies by location) and English. Include the name, address, and phone number if available. Hotels can help arrange drivers who understand at least some English (they may or may not speak it) for a good price. If you are getting a driver from a taxi queue, expect to pay significantly more - you can try to negotiate, but there's a slim change they speak English. Sometimes hiring a driver for the day is cheaper than a few ad-hoc trips!
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I have ventured alone a few times in various parts of the country. While it is safe I will strongly recommend to be alert.
Personally, I feel the southern part of the country is safer as compared to the North. You can go to the beautiful state of Kerala, Goa (If you are looking for some peace and quiet - South Goa it is ). The city of Mumbai is a must visit as a single girl.
You can explore other parts of the country - Small precautions such as not venturing out alone very late in the night, using reliable can services ( such as Uber or Meru) will make your stay a pleasant one :)
I have the answer is YES, a girl can definitely travel alone and stay in hotels alone in India.
Be friendly with people.
Say hotel clerk, the receptionist, bartender or cab driver. Build a rapport, have a smile, be nice.
Its okay to establish to the hotel manager that you are staying alone and hoping a safe stay, by this you are transfering a part of the responsibility of your safety to someone.
Always stay connected with home / friends / your significant other.
Once you enter the Cab or Auto, call someone and read aloud the name of the driver & registration number of the vehicle.
You can also tell them the pickup point, drop point and the expected time of arrival.
Now its the responsibility of the driver to drop you safe.
Couldn't reach anyone? its okay, just pretend as if you are talking to someone.
Don't hesitate to lie. There are several instances i have been hit upon by random men and i have told i am waiting for my boyfriend / my husband is waiting at the hotel and he is a professional karate teacher.
There is no need to tell random stranger's that you are unmarried or travelling alone. (one of my friend wear a fake toe ring which indicates matrimony).
Last but not least Always trust your instincts, if you feel like you are in danger, blow the whistle you carry or start screaming if the situation wants. Dont worry about overreacting or acting foolishly.
In my experience Indians are more kind, friendly and generous towards a woman.
I'm tempted to say that I'm lucky that nothing terrible has happened to me so far.
Have enough fear to keep yourself cautious, but not enough to stop you from travelling and don't think too much about risks, we can only take precautions as much as we can; rest is left to chance, risk is a part of life. :)
India is one of the safest places to travel solo in Asia. Nonetheless, I would suggest a few precautions:
1. Depending on the place, avoid staying out very late. You wont have a problem walking about in cities as late as 10pm, but that wont be the case in rural areas.
2. Connect to a Government registered professional travel agency which would be able to provide you support through their local partner in case of an emergency. To connect with them, all you do is make a single hotel/restaurant reservation or travel booking through them and let them know you will be making bookings in the future.
3. Please keep the mobile phone and documents on your person. Leave them in the room when going swimming. In very busy beaches, few people end up loosing cameras and phones that they leave unattended.
4. Note the emergency contact numbers separately on a book. Don't forget to add your embassy/ consulate numbers to the list.
5. Avoid small crowded shops that might look like an attractive place to grab a bargain.
6. Every state has their Tourism Information Centers with toll free numbers. Call them up to get any travel info you want, latest updates, offers or report issues.
7. There will always be oddballs everywhere irrespective of the country. Take your hunches seriously and inform the nearest police officer on duty. If you don't find one, call 100. Do not try to attract undue attention or look available while waiting for a ride.
South India, esp Pondicherry, Goa and Kerala are the safest, even late into the night. There are way too many tourists in Kerala, the locals don't care so much about your presence. That is probably why the state has been recording double digit growth in the number of tourists. You can find affordable accommodation and laid back, friendly and extremely helpful people all over the place.