Solo Travel in India – Tips from a Local

Written By: Renuka Walter

It saddens my heart when I comprehend fear in the hearts of foreign women travelers for my country.

India is doomed when it comes to solo travel for women. But, to state the truth, most of the hype around it is media created. As far as crime is concerned, we all are vulnerable to it in any given country.

Therefore, let’s focus on the good part and adopt some simple wisdom, which is also known as common sense.

By following a few rules, you can keep yourself safe and solo travel in India.

Solo Travel Tips in India

solo travel india market
Understanding the culture can go a long way.

If you have never travelled to India and really wish to, follow my guide to solo travel in India, which should help you understand the country better and execute your travel smoothly – Be aware and conscious of Indian culture.

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Understand the Indian Culture

First thing first, do make it a point to understand the Indian way of thinking.

I don’t intend to generalise, but people in India are mischievous.

A certain section of men here like to stare at women in a strange manner. On the contrary, there are men who don’t even look straight in your face! They look down in respect.

So, if you get some derogatory gestures or remarks, you also get a great amount of respect from several men in India.

As a foreigner, you can ensure that you dress modestly and don’t get friendly with just about any random man, ignore the unpleasant stares and embrace the respect and warmth.

Play it Safe

This may sound a bit weird because the very purpose of travel is adventure in some way or the other. Just don’t get too adventurous.

I mean, solo travel in a foreign country is an adventure in itself, so avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations.

Don’t go out alone after dusk, or spend the night at a deserted place where there is no network. Have a clear plan as to where you are going and follow it. Let people know your plan as well.

Just don’t follow your heart, follow your mind as well.

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Always stay connected

solo travel india wifi
Keep in touch while you’re in India.

Share your travel experiences constantly with your family back home. Stay connected via phone, email and social network sites. Also, keep in touch with your hotel manager, tour guide or travel agent.

But, don’t let anybody overprotect you. If you see someone getting too close to you, brush him off.

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Choose good accommodation.

solo travel india village
Be smart about where you stay.

Never ever compromise when it comes to accommodation.

No matter how tight your budget is, make sure that you choose a good place to stay.

Hold your purse strings in other things like food, transport and shopping, but never let a cheap hotel stay ruin your safety.

By good accommodation, I don’t just mean comfort and amenities; I also mean a decent hotel manager, staff and co-guests.

Avoid using taxis when you are alone

solo travel india train
Trains are safer than taxis.

Public transport, such as buses and local trains are always better modes of commuting compared to taxis.

In a city like Delhi, where there are nice AC buses and a large metro network, it is absolutely smooth for a woman to travel on her own.

And in case you need to travel by taxi, make sure that you build a rapport with the Canby.

Have your hotel concierge phone a reputable taxi for you.

Trust your instinct,s and if anything doesn’t feel right, get out of it immediately.

Befriend and accompany good people

solo travel india friends
It’s helpful to make a trustworthy group of friends.

There are lots of good people in India, who you can trust and make friends with.

Don’t be too afraid to talk to people but follow your instincts.

Take help and advice from people who are modest and intend to help you according to ‘your’ interests rather than their own vested interests.

Solo travel in India isn’t as unsafe as it’s made out to be. India is a beautiful country both geographically and culturally, thus, a traveller should feel free to visit it, explore it and embrace it.

Have you been to India? Do you have any tips to share about solo travel in India?

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Read More:

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About Renuka Walter

Renuka is a writer/photographer and a travel blogger from India. Through her blog, she aims to inspire and awaken people to travel. She has been a native in four different cities in India and would not mind more city-hopping in the future. When she is not travelling, she likes to be a tourist in her own city. Follow Renuka at VoyagerForLife / Facebook / Pinterest

Leave a Comment

44 thoughts on “Solo Travel in India – Tips from a Local”

  1. Thank you so much, Renuka for the solo travel tips. I have noticed these likes of activities. But Indian is a best and inspirational country over the world for the tourist.

    Reply
  2. Solo traveling is not easy it’s very difficult. Before the solo traveling takes care of all things related to solo traveling. Choose the right destination and safe traveling is very important. I like your point you share on this blog. I am reading your blog. It’s very helpful for travelers. Thank you so much you share the valuable information.

    Reply
  3. Thanks! Yes, India is welcoming nation. It is one of the most beautiful countries to travel. The best place I’ve ever been, definitely. I’d recommend it to anyone.

    Reply
  4. Yes your blog is provide the valuable information on solo travel in India. Some female travelers are problem the solo travel in India. I read your blog and get the valuable tips on solo travel. Before travelling in India understand to the Indian way of thinking. Thanks for sharing the great information. Good Luck!

    Reply
  5. Travelin is outstanding amongst other approaches to examine more about life and most times you saw that not all they lessons are being done in the schools yet when you leave your home and take a couple of distance away at that point prepare to get learn and real experience about life and how peoples live on earth.

    Reply
  6. Hi,
    I enjoyed the read!!! I’m an African American, woman and I want to go to, India for a month long yoga training. I just keep hearing horrible stories about blacks being in India. I just want to enjoy, the country that has been on my bucket list.

    Reply
  7. I think the suggestion of avoiding taxi is not apply to the all cab providers because some cab provider provides safe and secure travel to tourists. They have all trustful employees and drivers. Thanks for sharing this all above are good to commit. To book a safe ride with- http://www.taxidekho.com/

    Reply
  8. Yes, I think so! Warmly welcoming all backpackers to have a great experience about foods, cultures, traditions and people too.

    Best regards,
    Saiful

    Reply
  9. Great Post. Your post is very informative and useful. India is treasure of beauty and hospitality, enjoying different color of culture, tradition, person and delicious cousins. Everyone can see it’s full of natural beauty.

    Reply
  10. Solo travel is the best way to discover own-self albeit it’s an adventurous too. An introvert must be beneficial in solo travel where he/she has to be managed & organizing all the single things by his/her own. India is an amusing diversion country among all the South Asian countries. I heartiest welcome to all of solo backpackers to have an adventure tours with natural beautiful scenery and sites.
    Thank you Renuka to have written such an awesome article about India! I wish you’ll be continuing your experiences among all tourists to comprehend about South Asia.

    Best regards,
    Saiful

    Reply
  11. Great tips Renuka – after our travels there we both agreed solo female travel in India would be very different than what we experienced as a couple!

    Reply
  12. Loved the article! It’s funny, because it was Indian women who were the most horrified to hear that I was traveling around India alone.
    By the time I had the courage to go to India, I was well into my 50s and did not get hassled much. Since I traveled by bus and train I would often find myself arriving in a new place in the middle of the night, but I was never robbed or molested.
    For the most part, I found Indian men very polite and respectful, but I’m sure my age helped me.
    I’m planning my next trip to India at the end of 2015.
    India is the best!

    Reply
    • Thanks Ruby! 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that! India can be a pretty easy destination to travel in as long as women take a few precautions – not being alone at late night or in a deserted area. It would be wonderful to have you here again! Cheers!

      Reply
  13. India’s isn’t really all that unsafe. You are vulnerable in any foreign country if you walk alone in a remote place in the middle of the night or blindly trust a stranger. Yes, staring and groping is a problem, but it’s not limited to foreign women. I have been born and brought up in an Indian metro city and we have learned to deal with such people.
    I travel alone many times, and I do follow the tips you mentioned. I’d like to add, that it’s also important to carry a pepper spray and always make a scene when you are eve-teased. Don’t let them get away with it, or they’ll never be embarrassed by their actions.
    Great post, Renuka! 🙂

    Reply
    • I am not sure about the pepper spray and all. Personally, I have never done that! Yes, creating a scene is important. There are lots of obnoxious people in India, but there are some really nice ones too. All I want to tell everybody that India isn’t a country to be ruled out for solo travel. Be here and experience it!

      Reply
  14. The fifth point is something I swear by, even if we don’t count those incidents. Taxis are a king-sized waste of money that often cost two nights in decent budget hotels. However, some places are not easily accessible by bus or train, and the taxi is the only way to travel, and even if there are buses and suburban trains, they do not get the coverage on internet services (unlike Mumbai and Delhi) that can help travellers (think Rajasthan- their cities’ bus services isn’t mapped on any mapping service- nor any intercity bus operator). What seasoned travellers as well as residents can do is provide a guide to new travellers for intercity bus and suburban train routes, so they are not overly dependent on overpriced taxis. A lot of work needs to be done here for tourists.

    Reply
    • True. Traveling in India requires a greater amount of research. Taking tips from locals is a smart choice. Yes, taxis cost a fortune! Buses and trains are safer and cheaper options, but there are always exceptions. Sometimes, taxis are the only way out and if it’s a reliable taxi service, you can go by it. But, as I said, always build a rapport with the driver. Don’t sit quietly in the cab.

      Reply
  15. I would have loved to read this before going to India! I had a wonderful experience, but I know my family was worried before I left, even though I am overly cautious when I travel. I found spending the extra for private transportation and better accommodation made a big difference – and I loved the women only carriages in Delhi!

    Reply
  16. Great post Renuka! It will really help people understand Indian culture. I would hate for anyone to miss out on how amazing India is because they are afraid.

    Reply
    • You’re absolutely right, Christine! Just being a little prepared to face something is better than never experiencing a place at all.

      Reply
  17. I’ve been to India twice as a twenty a something gal- the first time alone and the second with my husband. India is a rough place to be a girl. I have never had my ass grabbed or boobs pinched so many times anywhere else and I made it a point to dress modestly. With my husband no one bothered me but on our last day I went to the market two blocks from our hotel and within a minute a skinny middle aged man had grabbed my ass from behind. When I turned around startled he gave me a shifty near toothless grin. I was annoyed – but what can you do?

    Reply
    • That’s sad to hear, and it’s not something that I haven’t heard before. It’s an ugly reality. But again, I’d say the same thing that there are bad as well as good people. Bad experiences can happen anywhere! I have heard even Italy is not so safe for girls!

      Reply
  18. Having been to India I do have to say that I’m a little bit concerned with my younger sister going there on her own next year! I will certainly show her this post – there are some great tips here.

    Reply
    • That would be great! I am sure your sister will have a wonderful time in India. It’s just about a little bit of research and caution.

      Reply