India has a multifarious culture, and every state is unique. You can't judge the entire country based on a bad experience in one city. While most of the hill stations are considered safe for solo women travelers, the metropolitan cities can vary in terms of safety from one area to another. The word "unsafe" is not only pertinent to India, but most of the countries are considered unsafe for solo women travelers as well as for families due to crimes of different nature. There have been various shades of travel tales - a couple who was mugged during a Euro trip; solo women travelers who praised the people of India for their compassion; a drunk woman who strolled safely on the streets of Amsterdam, and so on. So, it wouldn’t be fair to set a stereotype for a country and restrict yourself from traveling there.
Now let's delve into other real-life stories that can help you judge whether it is safe for Indian women to travel solo or not. This story is about a woman who has been wandering alone in India for the last five years. A passionate traveler, Amrita has visited most of the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. In one of her anecdotes, she had mentioned an incident when she was traveling from Delhi to Manali on a bus during the night time. When the bus halted at the Dhaba on a highway, she realized that she was the only female passenger on that bus. She went to the washroom and sobbed for a while in fear and apprehension. However, when she came out, her face was firm and bold so that the people around don't sense her fear. She sat inside the bus, stayed awake the entire night and enjoyed the cold tranquil breeze that was coming through her open window. The moment she reached Manali, she wanted to tell this story to her followers through her "women travel diaries" to inspire women folk for solo traveling.
Another story is from a traveler called Riya who had once hopped off on the Delhi-Agra highway mistakenly during the day time while going to Agra. Soon she realized that she was at the wrong spot, and the buses were not stopping there. Amidst this chaos, few bikers came along, inappropriately signaling her to sit. When she didn't respond, they left. By this time, Riya had tears in her eyes and was a bit scared. After some time, a man on a bike stopped there and inquired why she was standing there and where she had to go. Initially, she was skeptical about whether she should respond or not, but then she shared her problem. The man told her that the spot where she got off the bus was a red light area. He insisted that she takes his help; he offered her a lift. However, soon he sensed her unwillingness and tried to stop the bus. Luckily, a van stopped and took her in. It happened so fast that Riya couldn't express her gratitude to the man. However, through this experience, a decisive moment was appended in her travel story. So, if you have dreams of becoming a solo traveler, don't let fear restrain you. Adopting a few precautionary measures is always better. When you are traveling solo, then the only person whom you can trust entirely is you.
We have prepared a comprehensive list of safety tips for you to ensure that you travel safely.
Prepare a road map before you travel: Take a chart or a big notebook and list down the cities where you want to go. Under the cities, look up the best places to visit, route (distance and routes) and required modes of transportation. Although there’s GPS to track the directions nowadays, yet what if you don't find the network at that place? This road map will help you in such times.
Don't go to remote sites during night time: It is best to avoid distant sites during the wee hours of the night. Start your plan early in the morning so that you may return indoors before sunset. Also, if you don't want to return to the hotel early, then you can wander around in the heart of the town, i.e., the market area.
Always keep a knife and pepper spray along: Whether the place is considered safe or not, you should always carry a knife and a pepper spray for your safety.
Stay cautious: The concept of solo female travel is gaining popularity in India since modern women know that staying cautious is the trick to ensure safe travel. If you feel that something is not right, then immediately take action or leave the place. Always listen to your intuition as they tend to warn you from landing in precarious situations.
Book accommodation through trusted sites: Check the reviews of the hotel or homestay lodge before booking and book them through well-known sites.
Keep significant contact numbers on your speed dial: Save the numbers of the hotel and the local police station on speed dial so that you may call them immediately in an emergency.
Solo women travelers are increasing in India as more women are following their passion. Also, technology has played an integral role in encouraging female solo travel in India, irrespective of the fact whether India is safe or unsafe. So, if you are new to the solo trip trend, then follow the safety tips and create amazing stories of your journey. Happy solo traveling!