• backpacking india alone

Backpacking India Alone

Last year, I chose to travel to India as a place to backpack for three months based only on the fact I wanted to see tigers and elephants. The more I read online and in Lonely Planet about all the things to see while backpacking India, the more I added to my list of things to do in this beautiful country.

It still blows my mind how many amazing sights there are in India. I wish I could bring all my friends and family here and start some kind of hippie commune, but for some reason, people don’t want to or are afraid of backpacking India alone and a trip to India is the last place they’ll plan.

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaAmritsar, at the Golden Temple

I first was introduced to the mystical land when I saw A Little Princess. Shockingly, no one thought of that movie when I said I was headed to India; they thought of Slumdog Millionaire and the headlines of rape and corruption.

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asia

A Little Princess, such a cute movie! 

I do read the news, and I am not that naïve, but I still had no fear of backpacking India alone. I know India Tourism does everything it can to combat that, but sometimes it looks like they brush the troubles under the rug which can scare foreigners. Truthfully, the only way to know what solo travel in India is like is to experience it for yourself.

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asia

The Logistics of Backpacking India Alone

I’m guessing you’ve already gotten your visa and booked your flight. If not, my favorite places are iVisa and Kiwi. iVisa makes it really easy to get one online, and Kiwi is by far the best place for finding the cheapest flights.

The next step is to make sure you’re protected. I always recommend buying travel insurance because you just never know what will happen! I personally prefer World Nomads. You can read a full review here and check out the site here. I like that you can enter your trip and get a quote pretty without too much hassle.

My Experiences Backpacking India Alone

Looking back, I’ve done a lot of backpacking India completely solo…

I survived the challenging cities of Mumbai and Delhi (barely), trekked through the Thar Desert on a camel, learned yoga, and stayed in meditation ashrams.

I made friends, I rode a yak in the Himalayas, saw the cremations in Varanasi, took in the view of the Taj Mahal, stood in the Ganges, became a masseuse, toured through jungles, met the love of my life

… and didn’t get hurt, scared, or molested by anyone.

Jog Falls and Homestay gundimane

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaRowing a boat down the Ganges in Varanasi

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaSweaty and crammed onto a train… it’s not the most glamorous transportation unless you pay for first class

I rode buses alone, was surrounded by only men on multiple trains and bus journeys in India, and I never felt unsafe.

There was ONE butt grab on a bus in Delhi and after making a scene the guy was embarrassed and the whole bus had turned against him.

** My advice is to not be afraid of making a scene. If there are women around, they will be on your side, and Indians, really everyone, hate a scene. As a female traveling solo in India, you should be extra aware of your surroundings, but I think that is the same in every country.**

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaRenting bikes in Hampi

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaHanging out in a Rickshaw

I battled Dengue fever, Delhi belly, being lost, being homesick, and being pissed off (the love-hate relationship with India is a real doozy) all by myself.

Now that I’m living here, my list has only grown longer of the places I want to visit. I still haven’t seen a tiger!

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaWouldn’t have met him if I didn’t take my trip to India

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaCamel safari in the Thar Desert

It’s safe for you to backpack India alone too.

Believe it or not, the tourist trail places in India are more than ready for you. There are guesthouses, yoga classes, cooking and art classes, and tours.

Women come here for yoga retreats and yoga teacher training (YTT) ALL the time and love it. That is one of the best ways to see India. This site is the best for searching retreats in India and this site is the best for finding YTT. They both are owned by the same person and people leave detailed reviews about the courses.

Of course, there are little things that might be different. India has its own dress code, and you have to pack a little differently than other places.

If you’re coming to Goa, I wrote a 170-page ebook the Insider’s Guide to Goa which you can buy with this link. It’s all my secrets to make sure you have the BEST time here, chill in the coolest places, and meet other travelers.

When it’s “on season” there are loads of westerners touring the country. Everyone seems to stay on the same path because of the fact most areas are very seasonal.

Chikmagalur Homestay & Trekking the Highest Peak in Karnataka

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asia

Painting class in Udaipur

India is far from becoming the newest gap year trip, but that’s what makes it so perfect. My advice is to come now before it is turned into a tourist-churning machine. At this moment, each town is still excited to see tourists and happy to help. They all still look just like they would if no backpackers came through.

The Best Place to Start Backpacking India

If you’re still not ready to jump feet first, I’d start your trip in Goa. It’s known for its trance, drug-induced parties and beaches, so the locals are very used to girls in bikinis and Westerners riding their scooters around from bar to bar.

Everything is a little “easier” in Goa, and it will be a good transition between the West and India.

backpacking coorg Hiking Thadiyandamol

backpacking india, solo travel, india, travel, solo female travel, asiaSadhus (holy men) hanging out 

Just Remember

India as a whole is a little off the beaten path, and each day the sights will shock you. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions in India. Cried from being tired, dirty, angry. Annoyed in between crying. And, of course, I’ve experienced total joy at things I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to see.

Backpacking India for me was just as safe as anywhere else (it should be noted that I wasn’t getting drunk and I was going to bed at 10 most nights for early morning yoga).  Don’t let everyone’s opinions get you down on visiting a “dangerous” country.

Do your own research, sign up with the state department, get travel insurance, let someone know your itinerary, and make an educated decision yourself before you head out. I also recommend everyone backpack alone at some point in his or her lives because “finding yourself,” although cliché, actually happens.

backpacking Coorg secret waterfall cheladara

What to Put in Your Backpack

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2017-09-12T16:39:56+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

123 Comments

  1. Michael Huxley November 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Absolutely GREAT post!

    I travelled through India solo myself and it is a fantastic place. There were parts I hated of course but parts I loved too, I think India is a unique place where it is possible to feel those two conflicting emotions at the exact same time!

    I could not agree more that it is so safe to travel through too! It is nice to read an article that takes a positive stance on this, as there is just too many people (most of whom have never even been to India) practically declaring it an absolute no go zone, especially for women, and even more especially for solo women, which is ridiculous on so many levels! (Don’t worry I’ll step off my soapbox now!)

    Great article, keep up the good work!

    • Rachel November 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      yes i agree! i have so many more posts to make about the greatness of India, its just such a unique place. i hate when people say they hate it when they haven’t been! WOMen do have to be careful b/c of certain issues but it’s defnitely do-able

      • Hannah June 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply

        Hiya,

        My names Hannah, I am 24 years old, have not travelled yet but have my heart set on India for March next year..

        I will have just graduated with a psych degree, and be travelling by myself :)

        I have so many questions I would like to ask!

        Any way I can get in touch FB? email? etc

        Ta :) Hannah

  2. Shruti November 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those of us that do or have travelled through India solo, it seems we all agree: it’s either love or hate, usually one at a time, and rarely with a middle ground. Great post!

    • Rachel November 25, 2013 at 6:16 am - Reply

      ‘rarely with a middle ground’ ha ha so true!

  3. Alex November 25, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos of you in this post! I haven’t really been bitten yet by the India bug, but I am dreaming quite frequently of Africa. As another place that woman are often told they are not to travel alone, I found this post inspiring. You go girl!

    • Rachel November 26, 2013 at 4:46 am - Reply

      You’re a travel machine, so one day the India bug will bite! Africa alone also has it’s safety problems- I spent 6 weeks in Uganda alone at a fairly dangerous time politically.. as always if you do your research and make sure things are docile you’ll probably have zero problems! thanks for the comment, alex!

    • Michael Huxley December 6, 2013 at 12:30 am - Reply

      Never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t travel somewhere! That’s all the more reason you should go! ;D

  4. Jessica Wray November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    amazing that you did it alone! I went with a boyfriend but I sometimes questioned if I could do it by myself. Of course I coouuuld, but if I really wanted to. India is such an up and down experience like you said.

    And YES to the little princess!! I totally remember!

    • Rachel November 29, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

      i definitely had rough moments traveling alone, and now that i live here i travel with my boyfriend a lot, who’s english, so things usually go a lot smoother. i have another post i’m putting up soon about the highs and lows !

  5. Romy December 29, 2013 at 4:35 am - Reply

    I’m planing to go to india after volunteering in Africa, but I wasn’t sure about backpacking alone there, I’m now defenetely sure I’m going alone. Thanks!

    • Rachel December 29, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

      great, I love to hear that!! I’ll be posting more tips about it soon! Stay posted. you’ll love India!

  6. Victoria January 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this well written post. More people need to see it LOL!

    I’ve been to India and travelled solo.

    Yes, it was challenging, I got food poisoning, men followed me around (more in fascination I think), I hated the train but I still ate the best nan and lassis and ended up teaching a bunch of women nursery rhymes and survival English and discussing British politics with random strangers!

    I was a bit worn out, dusty and dirty yes, but not afraid. Never afraid. I didn’t like Delhi but I’ve taken a fancy to Mumbai!

    • Rachel Jones January 9, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

      i’m not much of a fan of Delhi either, but after many trips to Mumbai it’s grown on me- I really like it now!

  7. Bharat January 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    After a long time I am reading a blog written by a Girl who appreciate Solo travelling is Safe in India and it is perfectly true, just you have to take care certain measure. India is so vast that it can not be covered in some duration. I am from India and really is passionate of Travelling and exploring new locations. If you still are in India and want to explore more then definitely go through . I am sure it will help you in understanding beauty of Real India.

    • Rachel Jones January 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I am living in India, have been here a year all together! Thanks for the link I’ll check it

  8. Hiral Trivedi January 21, 2014 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Rachel, I am so glad to hear that the general opinions didn’t turn you down. Aptly said, every traveler develops a love-hate relationship with India. This country teaches you to survive in the graves of moments and gives you new eyes everytime you visit a new place. Thank you for sharing. I am following your blog.

    -Hiral

    • Rachel Jones January 21, 2014 at 6:37 am - Reply

      Thanks for following. India is an amazing place and I feel lucky to live here.

  9. Anna from The Blonde Banana January 28, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

    Love this post! I wish people weren’t so afraid or hesitant to travel to “dangerous” places. There are certainly some places I would NOT go (at least right now) but I think in most places if you’re careful you will be just fine.

    The main thing I hate about being alone as a female traveler is feeling uneasy walking around at night. I feel like I’m missing out on things when I spend so many hours sitting in my hostel or hotel.

    • Rachel Jones January 28, 2014 at 7:14 am - Reply

      I know that feeling of missing out, whenever I’ll be in a “party” city that I want to go out but I’m alone, I’ll couchsurf- they hosts have to be my friends lol

  10. Synne March 12, 2014 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Such a great post, and so so true! I lived in Goa for a month last year volunteering and then travelled to the north, and so I really recognised myself in what you wrote . I didn’t either like Mumbai as a whole (although I met the greatest taxi-driver who invited me to his home in Dharavi to meet his wife and newborn:). Delhi was better for me, but insane haha. After leaving India there were more places I wanted to visit there than before I came!!

    • Rachel Jones March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Wow that’s awesome about the bombay taxi driver! Very cool. There is so much to see and do in India! & the rest of the world! But just not enough time.

  11. Lucy April 22, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Amazing post Rachel! I am travelling the world in September, from the USA, south east asia, australia and New Zealand. I will leave next June to travel alone and cannot stop myself from wanting to go to india, but so many people have said not to do it alone that it seemed unachievable.. My worry is that (I will be travelling alone for about 3 months through Philippines, china and hopefully india) I will want company in a culture shocking place like india.. How long did you travel alone for?

    • Rachel Jones April 24, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

      You’ll be fine!! I spent over 3 months alone and had no problems. I loved every minute of it!

  12. Aimee April 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Great post! And fantastic that you are now following your heart and living in India!
    I am travelling to India in September and do have the odd worry about being a female travelling alone, but, like you say, if you have your wits about you and exercise caution then I think I – well, anybody for that matter – will be ok.
    The more I am looking into the beautiful and magical places to visit, the more my worries actually turn to not being able to meet fellow travellers rather than safety (I realise that probably shouldn’t be the case). I am happy with my own company and can definitely spend periods of time on my own, however, I keep thinking about not being able to soak up a breathtaking view with somebody or share stories of an event that happened. Did you find it easy to meet other backpackers whilst travelling alone? Did being alone make it more difficult to take day trips such as the camel safari or boat trip on the Ganges? Any tips would be great. Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones April 30, 2014 at 2:25 am - Reply

      It isn’t as easy to meet travelers in India as it is in Europe mainly because there aren’t “hostels” in India so you have your own private guesthouse. But, I still met at least one cool person in each city I went to! I made sure to be very talkitave though and make an attempt. Usually other solo travelers really want to make a friend as well so it works out :) And not having a pal doesn’t make it harder to take the trips- you can always find someone or they’ll put you in a group!

  13. Atul Narang May 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the information. I am an Indian guy who is looking forward to leaving home forever. I have started building online income and want ti be free for a few months before I get back to the place where I live, New Delhi. I am not really fond of snakes, sadhus, overcrowded trains or any places tourists find fascinating. I am just looking for the naturally beautiful places like ladakh, Khajjiar and so many other such places. India is full of them. Thanks for the writing this post. I am sorry about the butt grab. I have done that too a couple of times too, I did’t get into trouble, but I know that it is the most useless thing to do. First, its wrong, it is risky and it is totally useless. I know our mentality needs to be changed. It is yucky to do such things. I am happy that you liked India. Visit again. Have fun..

    • Rachel Jones May 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Great that you want to travel, but eek that you admit to grabbing someone’s butt… It’s really really wrong… Hopefully you never do it again.

  14. Rik May 10, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Hi! Cool you keep replying on these comments! I have a question as well, are there no hostels at all? or only not in the smaller places? could imagine staying in a bigger city for a while to meet people you can travel with to the more rural parts. And also were should i start?? only got around one month time, and just want to plan the arrival and departing city for the flights. Also do you think whether including Nepal is a good idear? Thnx already,
    happy trails!

    • Rachel Jones May 10, 2014 at 10:33 am - Reply

      I think for one month you for sure can’t fit in Nepal. There are not hostels, just guesthouses and a couple “youth hotel/hostels” but they aren’t shared dorms, so it makes it a little harder to meet people. In bombay there is a YMCA type place that is dorm- but very very simple & you could meet people there. I had more luck meeting travelers in the more rural places than the cities, b/c most try to get out of the cities asap.

  15. venus john May 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    you are a great and brave girl..and deserve a medal and an award..

  16. dave stevens May 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    hi, great blog. I’m heading into India in November, not sure whether to fly into Mumbai and meet India head on, or fly to Chennai and work round to Kerala and Goa.

  17. Sundeep May 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Loved this post. I’m planning a trip to india for 3/4 weeks before I start my third year back at uni. I’m planning to travel solo and backpack, but one of my main concerns is not meeting anyone out there. Any advice?

    Look forward to reading more of your posts!

    • Rachel Jones May 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      It is a little harder in India. Traveling on season helps. Staying in “popular” guesthouses helps too because they’ll be more crowded. You have to try a little harder though to talk to strangers!

  18. Razzan Razee June 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I will be travelling to Goa this july for a two week trip, for a research trip for my Master’s Theses about Youth tourism.

    However, I would like to know weather its easy to get tourism related jobs in Goa?

    I am 22 years old and am highly ambitious in working and experiencing the life in Goa,

    I will be bringing my CV as well as well as the relevant certificates, in search for employment in Goa and my intentions are not to find high salary jobs.

    Do advice me on my situation.

    • Rachel Jones June 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Razzan, during season time it is easier to find hotel and restaurant jobs, but in July most business owners are on vacation.

  19. Jaime June 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I have just arrived in Kochi at the start of a backpacking trip, I’ll be spending around a month in India and then heading off to see more of Asia. After not sleeping for 30+ hours and then being caught off guard slightly by the level of poverty and disorganisation I have seen, coupled with the fact I have really struggled to contact home (knew I should have ordered an international sim card!), I felt like breaking down and crying for the first time in years. After a good sleep though I am ready to pick myself up and explore. After being here for 2 days I can already totally understand what you mean by Love/Hate. I want to be amazed, would you recommend travelling more in the North or South?, it seems somewhat less grand where I currently am.

    • Rachel Jones June 12, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Ahh Kochi can be overwhelming. Have you gone to Marine Drive? It’s better for sightseeing/people watching that Fort Kochi. Just know that all westerners who travel to India have this same feeling at first- it’s really stressful! You’ll do better to start in a smaller place. Because of the time of year, I would go to Manali to start. That is where the party people are, since all of Goa is closed for monsoon. You can take train connections to get up there or fly direct to Delhi then bus/train combo. You could spend some time in Manali, Mcleod Ganj, then head to Rajasthan! The cities are the hardest part. It’ll get better, promise!

  20. Bernard Koortzen June 14, 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    My name is Bernard and I am from South Africa. For more than a year now I have been working in Finance and I am sick of it. I want to be a writer and travel the world. I am planning to backpack India by myself for four months in September, and as I am very much a hippie at heart I would love to visit easy going, laid-back areas. Apart from Goa, can you recommend and places to visit in India that stood out to you? I don’t mind westernised areas, though I am on a budget and I don’t particularly want to become a victim of any tourist churning-machine or scam. I am very much an introvert, and although I am a highly functioning one at that, I suspect I will be crying my eyes out in places like Delhi and Mumbai. but I have grown weary of my comfort zone and I would like to disrupt my current circle/ pattern and find out who I reallly am. Finding the love of my life will certainly not hurt either. =)

    • Rachel Jones June 14, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      You might like Auroville, a true work for your stay hippie commune! Also, inland kereala like in Wayanad. Try out Sikkim, The Valley of the flowers in Uttakhard, and Mcleod Ganj. Rishikesh is a little touristy but nice. These are all places the hippie at heart would love! If you want a little way off the beaten path, go NE to assam, nagaland etc! While in Kerala, you can chill at Kovalam for a few days too.

  21. Omar June 16, 2014 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Hey, Rachel awesome blog, really put a smile on my face. I’m currently in India, kochi. I will be in India until September 5,but spending most my time in Kochi until August 20 ish , I will be free after Aug 20 ish, my flight back home is September 5.

    I want to travel form Aug 20th until my flight back home which is from Mumbai, I want to see as much as i can between those days, I love photography so I want to take a lot of photos. I want to plan something, Starting from Kochi ending in Mumabi on the 5th of September, but I have no idea where to start, and I want to travel by Train.

    I know I want to go to Goa, Taj Mahal and Nepal. That’s all I know pretty much. Any tips? any ideas, or a simple road map lol….thank you

    • Rachel Jones June 17, 2014 at 2:45 am - Reply

      I have been spending a lot of time in Kochi actually, although am not there now. I don’t think you’ll be able to fit Nepal in that short amount of time, unless you are planning on flying and even then it’ll be tight. A train from Kochi up to Goa will take you 14 hours, then Goa to Agra is going to be I would guess 30 hours. Then to get to mumbai, another 20 hours or more.

  22. Kevin July 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, great article, i enjoyed reading it.

    I have inherited some money so i have decided to do some traveling as i figure, you only live once. I would like to go around the beginning of August as i would like to strike while the iron is hot ! I do not really want to wait around thinking of doing it, i would rather just go !

    I was thinking about going to Goa but i see that it is monsoon season. I do not know what this really means. I know it will rain but i do not know how bad the rain will be. Is it still worth going to Goa this time of year ? My thinking is to spend two weeks in Goa on a normal holiday, this way i have time to relax and acclimatize, then i would like to travel down to mumbai, by train, maybe taking in a few stops on the way. After that, i will see what happens and see how i feel.

    How is it for traveling on trains around India ? Is it easy to be spontaneous and to take train journeys around the country. I have read that, one needs to buy tickets well in advance as the trains are so busy. Is this true, i hope not. I like the idea of being able to jump on a train after my two week break and just go to wherever i fancy, it sounds like fun !

    Any advice would be appreciated. To be able to talk to someone who has been there and done it is a big help..

    Cheers, Kevin

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:13 am - Reply

      Hi Kevin, if you use the search bar on my site I think the posts that would help are my posts on buses and trains and goa in monsoon! I have another monsoon post coming this week as well.

  23. Kevin July 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Hiya, i noticed Mumbai is north of Goa, my bad ! I would like to travel down the coastline heading south. Not sure where to be honest, but i am looking to see some history, culture and just to relax and enjoy the experience. I am thinking a month is a good time frame but if it goes well then who knows !

    Cheers, Kevin

  24. Neha Rastogi July 23, 2014 at 12:29 am - Reply

    It is a great article to read to. I am 24 yr old native indian. I have been building up courage to do a solo backpacking trip of south india for quite sometime but a bit scared thinking about all the things that may go wrong.
    But your post have givem me oodles of inspiration! Hope to do my solo trip soon :D

    • Rachel Jones July 23, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

      I’m glad you found some inspiration and love that my blog helped you gain courage! Have fun on your trip.

  25. Thank you for this post. Everyone seems to play up every single danger there is. It is a breath of fresh air (and reassuring for someone who want to visit India) to read a post that is not leaning towards alarmist.

    I live in China, and have read posts by women who will say that the men are creepy are leer all the time. I’m generally left scratching my head thinking “what?” In a year and a half living here I have never had any sort of issue.

    Also thank you for making a scene with the butt grabbing incident. I feel like hiding my head and screaming when I hear woman after woman (from personal friends to women on the internet) say that they froze and did nothing. I understand that it can be an awkward situation (I’m been groped three times I know), but I honestly think standing up for yourself is the best option.

    Thanks for the post

    • Rachel Jones July 30, 2014 at 6:53 am - Reply

      I’m glad you an relate! I always make a scene if someone is wronging me in that way… they need to feel embarrassed for what they’ve done!

  26. Synelcar August 9, 2014 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Hello sister very nice your post, is so helpful for us, my husband and me are going to India for first time the next week we are now in Nepal so thank you for your posts, keep enjoying the world, the best way to invest your money is just traveling :) big hug and God bless you .. Venezuela

    • Rachel Jones August 10, 2014 at 5:16 am - Reply

      Happy travels! I haven’t been to Nepal yet, but hear it’s lovely.

  27. Nimish August 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel
    Its such a good thought.. being free and travelling .. living life to the fullest ..
    My friends never dig this idea.. they need everything planned .. wouldn’t it be really nice to move out see things with some fellow traveller?

  28. Joanna August 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    I bought tickets to India on a night when my life was in the lowest and I wanted adventure, without really knowing anything about the country. So booked my flights and then started to read all this horrible stories about how dangerous it is (sent by my mum mostly).
    It wasn’t. It was beautiful, exciting, amazing and fantastic. Met some incredible people, had most crazy adventures, felt alive and happy and found my strength.
    I went back there two years later, this time with my boyfriend (met later on in life) and it was not quite the same. It was still amazing (travelling with the loved one always is) but less challenging, as there was two of us to face this mad country.
    I would recommend to anyone to travel to India on their own. So worth it.

    • Rachel Jones August 13, 2014 at 1:44 am - Reply

      What an interesting way to compare India! I can relate having traveled solo and then now living in India with my boyfriend & traveling with him- it is different with someone to help you along.

  29. Ellie Gilpin September 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I am travelling India solo in January. I am thinking of doing a trip to Ranthambore National Park from Delhi. Would you recommend this? How would you recommend I get there? Over night train? I am quite nervous after all of the things I have read but your blog has made me feel a little bit better. My main concern lays with travelling that distance as I know that I will be able to look after myself when I get there but am unsure about the travelling. Like you my main interest in India is the tigers and the elephants which is why I am interested in Ranthambore. I would love to hear back from you and am interested in anything you have to say

    • Rachel Jones September 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I haven’t been there unfortunately. I recommend checking about.com india and seeing what Sharrell Cook has to say. I actually haven’t been to any of the parks yet!

  30. Bekka October 7, 2014 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I have been interested in travelling to India for the past 5 years. I am currently in grade 12 and I plan on taking a gap year to backpack.
    My dream is to backpack through India for a few months, I would love to do everything you mentioned in your trip. I would also like to volunteer (if possible).
    Anyway, I wanted to ask you a few questions. My mom along all her friends who have gone say it would be incredibly dangerous fro me to go alone at 18. How do you feel about that? Also, what kind of aspects of your trip did you have planned out before you arrived? Or were you very ‘spur of the moment’? Lastly, how much money would you say would be needed for a few months in India?
    Thanks :) I am extremely interested in hearing what you have to say. This has been a huge dream of mine. I would love to get all the advice and input.

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I think 18 is young to travel India alone if you haven’t been abroad before. I will be quite a shock. I came at 22 after traveling abroad for years. I think it’s safe with good common sense. I did some planning, get a lonely planet and jot down what stands out to you. I think about 1,000 USD per month is for sure enough and you could do it cheaper.

      • Poonom October 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

        hi rachel,you realy a brave lady.I am a Indian girl live in kolkata but afraid of travel alone inside India.where r u staying now?

        • Rachel Jones October 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm - Reply

          I live in Goa! I think as an Indian girl you could travel alone, Take small trips first

  31. Kevin Veldkamp October 20, 2014 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel,
    First of all great post, I’m thinking of traveling to india with my cousin in a couple of months. We plan on going to mumbai first and then eventually making our way to nepal. I was wondering what the negatives of mumbai were and what route we should take as we travel eastward. Also, I understand it was safe for you as a female alone, so two males over 6′ should be safe to travel there right?

    • Rachel Jones October 20, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Mumbai’s negatives are a pretty long list lol, but it is a cool place at the same time. You and your other tall friend should be just fine :) Book early in Bombay and get your hotel to set up a pick-up. That’s when most scams happen.

  32. Robert November 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    We are a group of mix Asian (Filipinos, Chinese, Thai) currently working in Saudi Arabia & we are intending to travel to GOA, India.
    Kindly advise us about places to stay, transpo, Internet and possible surprises. We would prefer to stay in an apartment if possible. Best time to visit GOA?
    We are a group of 3 pairs (3 Men/3Women) and intending to stay 4 or 5 days.
    Appreciate your tips or advice. Possible surprises not available online?
    Best regards.
    Robert

  33. Jaclyn November 12, 2014 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I absolutely love this post! Reading it reminds me of my own India adventures back in 2008. I didn’t backpack alone, I was with one other female friend , but we had many similar love-hate and in awe experiences that you had. Again, fantastic post and I like that you have showcased a positive side of India travels that we often don’t get to hear about as much as the negative ones. India’s the most magical place and I really hope others will step outside their comfort zone to go and explore it :)

    • Rachel Jones November 12, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Awesome Jaclyn. I just met two Canadian backpackers who were sharing their highs and lows and it was so fun to relive the through them!

  34. Sushil December 11, 2014 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel,

    So glad that you loved India :) Sorry about what happened in Delhi !!! Delhi guys are so *** deprived and horny all the time :(

    Anywho I’m also a backpacker like you, but I haven’t backpacked much across India yet, I know this is might sound funny but could you suggest the best backpacking places in India for solo
    travelers.

    • Rachel Jones December 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Hi, Most places I talk about on here I’ve traveled solo, so I recommend them all :D

  35. Anna December 19, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

    I’m planning on going to India within the next couple of years, but none of my friends want to go, so I’ll probably be going solo. I also think of A Little Princess whenever I hear India – it’s one of my favourite films!

  36. Zahra December 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Just come across this awesome post after googling backpackers in India. Im just a standard British Indian who dreams of touring the whole of india. Shimla seems absolutely gorgeous, hve you ever been there? And Hyderabad? How about gujarat? Ive visited India thrice but only ever been to Mumbai and Bharuch, Gujarat (to see family, why else). Hope I can go on a backpacking trip one day (my family dont see the point)

    • Rachel Jones December 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Yes, Shimla is great! I admit I got a bit bored, but it seems like a good honeymoon place. Haven’t been to Hyderbad except airport & gujarat I haven’t either. I hope you get to travel India even more!

  37. Jo January 9, 2015 at 12:17 am - Reply

    This is so incredible, I hope to do exactly this one day. I was wondering if you knew if developing photographic film was common (and cheap) in India, particularly Delhi as from volunteering abroad before I found the children really loved taking photos and was thinking of taking disposable cameras for them on my next trip (idea from Born into Brothels documentary). Or are disposable cameras readily available there anyway?
    Absolutely love reading your posts!

    • Rachel Jones January 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      I haven’t seen disposables here ever actually – not to say there aren’t any. But I have a feeling they might be hard to get. I saw that documentary though, very cool idea!

  38. Michelle January 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Rachel, thank you SO MUCH for this post! I am leaving on a one-way ticket to India in 3 weeks, and even though I know that people tend to hold stereotypes about places without any real validity, I am getting nervous and don’t know what to expect. I loved reading this, because it confirms the beliefs that I hold about India. I am going to share it with all my family and friends!

    I’ve been following you on Instagram for some time now, but didn’t realize you were living in Goa! Off to check out your other India posts now :)

    Michelle
    http://www.fortheride.org

  39. shekhar January 20, 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

    yes India is very beautiful place in india , its a country of different cultures , feeling very close to your soul , very old civilization , you must visit in india

  40. Hazera February 8, 2015 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    ive really enjoyed readings all the posts here and have learned loads. I’m flying from UK on the 27th and doing it solo. I would love to meet anyone doing the same. I wIll be starting off in DelhI so please email me

    • Chirag February 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Hazera,

      I am also looking to backpack in India during March. I haven’t done backpacking solo before but really want to try it. Mail me the destination or the area you are planning to visit. lets see if something materializes.

    • Rachel Jones February 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hi glad the blog has been helping you I don’t know of anyone in Delhi at that time.

  41. erni February 9, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

    hi rachel! saw your post and I’ve always find girls who travel alone in any country is amazing! I’m planning to challenge myself and backpacking around india as my graduation trip. If you could email me and advise me more about travelling alone in india and how to get around in the most cheapest way, that woul dbe great! Thank youuu

    • Rachel Jones February 11, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Hi good luck on your trip. Check the blog for posts on female travel in India. If I had more time I would email but working so much

  42. Lisa February 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m so pleased to have come by your site and this post in particular. I was hesitant about travelling solo through India, but both my gut and the reassuring words of other fellow female travellers have spoken against my initial apprehension. Strangely enough, my favourite quote in my post was “I cried from being tired, dirty, angry and annoyed in between crying from joy at things I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to see.”. I look forward to seeing India with my own eyes and limbs. Thanks!

    Regards

  43. Ratheesh February 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Hi all .

    I am planning to travel Himalaya and Darjeeling . Please let m eknow any ne want to join with me . please note I am planning my travel cheaply not high level .

    rcnaair1981@gmail.com

  44. Nikhil I March 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, Its Nikhil here. m basically from Mumbai. being fond of travelling since i was a kid, my dad kept that fire burning in me, like in him through my Granpa. so i have traveled loads of places in India. but this time specifically i really need your help. coz i have a friend coming from NZ. i always traveled in India with Indian crowd. So was easy to do anything. but this is different since she is a foreign nationality, and i want to know from your point of view what could be the best places to travel with her in north. honestly i wanted to have all the best suggestions i can have so i found you while browsing around. and must say your keeping put at one of the amazing places in India & to add i really admire your efforts to help others discover India. Million thanks for that. now coming to the point. could you please suggest me some places to cover in the north India specifically ahead Delhi or Srinagar. Unfortunately we have 10 days max. n pretty tight budget so could you please please help me out?? Anyone is welcome to comment, so please go ahead if you feel like suggesting something. i just want to make sure that i give my friend the best out of these 10 days i have spared to travel along with her. i’ll be waiting for your reply. nji1628@gmail.com
    Thanks!!!

    • Yogendra Singh June 24, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Dear Nikhil,
      Just read your message but I am not sure if you have already travelled with your friend or still to go.
      If you are planning to visit North India with some foreigner guest then I would suggest you to visit Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra and Varanasi based on your dates you can shorten the trip accordingly. Highlights in Rajasthan would be Jaisalmer with night at Desert Camp, Lake facing room stay at Udaipur, Elephant ride at Amber fort Jaipur, Sunrise view of Taj Mahal, and off course the prayer ceremony and boat ride at Ganges Varanasi.
      I hope all these destinations will make a strong cultural impact on your friend’s mind and she will be delighted to c our rich heritage and spiritual aspect which represents India as one of the best place to travel in the world.
      If you have any query you can call me +91 9785011850.
      Thanks and regards
      Yogendra Singh Jodhana (Jaipur)

  45. Nandan Singh March 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m so pleased to have come by your site and this post in particular.

    I am too happy to read you blog about my Bharat Mata.I reached your website from mailonline .India is one of the world’s oldest and most diverse cultures.I hope you are enjoying.

    You are my inspiration to explore India.

    Thank you for great post…

  46. Tom Tatton June 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    I am travelling the world at the end of the year and always thought i’d do thailand first. Now, for some reason, I really want to do india for a couple months before I go other places. I am thinking about going to GOA this December and work my way from there.

    Is December a good time to go? As I will be going around New Years I don’t want to be the only tourist there and be on my own (I know im stupid for thinking this).

    Also, do you recommend where to go after Goa?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Tom x

    • Rachel Jones June 6, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Yes do India first!! But then all other countries will disappoint ;)

      Dec is great but prices are double so depends on budget! After Goa, go inland to Karnataka or head up to Rajasthan

  47. waleed June 23, 2015 at 3:42 am - Reply

    I am traveling to India in the month of August or September for the purpose of tourism and will be Ugeta Goa and Bangalore and Mysore and Otte city and I will be by myself I hope to find a nice woman who shares my travel wish to accompany me to relate to me on email : waleedanon@yahoo.com

  48. Sunil July 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    lovely post and great photos. Nice to read about your experience. It sounds similar to experience shared by solo female travellers who stay in my eco-cottages. Keep posting.
    Regards
    Sunil

  49. raaj kapilla July 8, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Nice to add another Indophile in my list. I have met and befriended so many travellers like u in last 35 years of my career who came to India as backpackers and went back much richer in their lives in every way. India is only for the people who come with an open mind and are ready to take cultural shocks.

  50. Sandeep July 24, 2015 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    really nice to hear about your experiences and I’m glad you are enjoying your stay. majority of the western opinion about India is just the usual canned and stereotyped variety which I think may be a good thing for India. India, I hope, never becomes a touristy spot and continue to retain its charm for ever … ;) .

    India is best enjoyed only by the souls seeking …to explore, within … and outside… :)

    I grew up in Mumbai and travelled a bit up in the northern India in the Himalayas. Closer to the city there are quite a few spots that tourists generally don’t frequent. Maharashtra has as many forts as Rajasthan if not more, but these are not very well maintained. During monsoons often groups of trekkers make their way to one of the many forts nestled up the hills. There are quite a few trek groups and a few books detailing the routes. Most of the treks are day treks and we pack our rucksacks our trek foods (kanda poha, theplas, chutneys etc ..;p) and make way to the top of these mountains. The rains make the mountains seem almost magical. The forts around the place have interesting histories …So if you are into trekking and that kind of stuff do explore the forts around Mumbai and in Maharashtra.

    Happy exploring … :)

    Sandeep

    • Rachel Jones July 28, 2015 at 2:37 am - Reply

      I haven’t explored much outside of Mumbai (other than Pune) so I should do that.

  51. Donna September 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Hi, this post is few yrs back. Do u think its still safe to do it solo now ? Im just curious since u did reply to the comments few months bfre. How to be safe actually ? There’s few news saying that they put u into sleep and got raped while in the taxi. Im sorry if this sounds rude

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Yep, I still think it’s safe and still continue to travel alone here myself

  52. Iveth December 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Up late couldn’t sleep, I was flipping through channels and House Hunters International is on. Read the info and realized that an adventurous young woman from Ohio was relocating to Goa after backpacking through India, so of course I googled how to backpack through India and found this blog!

    I also was very intrigued by A Little Princess and became infatuated with visiting India and seeing elephants and all the beautiful scenery and somehow finding and becoming entranced with the magic from the movie…it wasn’t until I saw the picture of you and your love that I realized I was watching your episode!!

    Loved your blog! Loved that you’re an adventurer! Best of luck in the future!

    • Rachel Jones December 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Iveth, I’m glad you found the blog! awesome :) A little princess was such a good childhood movie! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  53. Ravi Chandar December 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for writing such a nice article – and keeping a balance between “the risks and rewards” of travelling solo in India.
    A little about myself – I was born in London, I grew up in India and then I went back to London for higher studies and now I am back in Mumbai for work. I am Indian by ethnicity, so know lots about the local culture etc. but so far I have failed to find a backpacking website or a group of travellers I can go along with. I am reaching out to you in the hope that you might be able to share some information on such a group, if you know any. I don’t like travelling alone but love to do so in a small group. For instance, I did a semi-backpacking trip across Thailand and Laos earlier this year and loved it. I’d like to do something similar in India.
    I came across this blog while I was trying to look for backpacking websites in India. Is there any resource you could point me towards?

    Regards,
    Ravi.

  54. sudhir January 1, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Western people like Indian culture,Indian people like western culture…Both are searching there happiness its called LIFE…..Rachel nice blog visit Banglore with your DSLR ..

  55. Grace January 26, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    i about to visit india, to visit my friend, actually his my special friend but you know the culture in india :-(. We date but i dont know if we could have a serious relationship.
    By the way, thank you so much for this … Now im so excited to go there!

    the only problem is my work schedule was tight i dont think so 5 days would be enough :-(

    • Rachel Jones January 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      I hope you get to go, but yes with jet lag 5 days isn’t enough.

  56. Sumit January 29, 2016 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Could you tell me if Its poosible to read your website in Portuguese. Is there any way to do it?

  57. Tania March 19, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel! My name is Tania & I’m over the moon I stumbled across your blog as I’m looking to go India myself in August.. well actually a bit of Asia.. but as everyone else here I’m a bit torn on weather to go on my own as I’m a white European blonde girl. I travel a lot & probably will end up going anyways because I’m impulsive like that. Any recommendations? Should I join a backpackers group maybe? Hope to hear from you soon! Hope you’re travels are going well too.

    • Rachel Jones March 19, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Hi Tania, I think if you’re feeling nervous to go on your own then you might be better off going in a group! :)

  58. ankit negi March 21, 2016 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Hello rachel,

    I am a 29years old delhite, and i really liked your post. I know in delhi its hard for a women to travel alone as sometimes there are people who may behave nonsense as it happens with you and i feel bad about the incident you mentioned but anyways i am happy u like our country. I always wanted to travel. But because of career and family it was hard. As in india we always says most of the people live for the family and not for themselves. But now i have started travelling and i read traveller blogs and watch youtube to know about places before i visit. As you mentioned a village named humpi which i never heard of have created curiosity in me. I would love to hear more about this place. Please reply here or can email me. Keep travelling and exploring

  59. Hemant G March 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Hey Hi Rachel, I am an Indian and haven’t gone on any backpacking trips through India, well I have went with family/ friends , but never on a solo quest … your blog just motivated me to go on a solo mission!

  60. Brian L Brink April 3, 2016 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    I’m currently planning a trip to India. I’ll be alone also and even though I’m scared I’m also super excited. If you could give me any advice besides what’s on this website I would really appreciate it.

  61. Pratik April 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot Rachel for portraying good image of India. :)

    My name is Pratik and I am from India. I am planning a solo trip to Thailand for a couple of weeks.

    If anybody is interested to join can contact me @ pratik1255@gmail.com

  62. Grace May 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    This is a brilliant post – it really is. I think advice for the solo traveller is absolutely priceless as although companies and tourism boards do everything they can to combat the fear/ensure travellers are safe etc. there’s still a huge fear associated with travelling because of the issues in the world today.

  63. Dan June 27, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I’m currently planning my escape to India and reading all about your experiences and your advice to solo travellers has been absolutely invaluable.
    If my trip is even half as fun and successful as your seems to have been ill be a very happy man!
    I hope my blog https://wandercursed.wordpress.com/ will be as filled with such good advice and experiences as yours by the time I’ve finished my trip! (If I ever finish it)

    Keep up the great work!

  64. Renan September 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Nice pics and tips.
    Adding India to my next year plans!

  65. Kerrie September 5, 2016 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Hello,

    Just wondering, did you need to know any of the local language (I assume Hindi for the most part), or do most people understand English? I’m thinking with all the haggling everyone says goes on, it would be hard without knowing at least the numbers.

    • Rachel Jones September 5, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      I know a little hindi, but you will be fine with just english, even haggling in shops. Most places a tourist would visit, they shopkeepers know english.

  66. Julia daly November 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Hi
    I’m thinking of travelling India next November for one month.
    Any tips of how much money I would need and the main places to fit in would be appreciated?
    I was thinking of doing a yoga retreat and maybe attending a tantra festival. Any cool hippie suggestions please

  67. tile February 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I am planning to come to New Dehli. India in 2weeks on my own and Im slightly worried. any advice? anything changed in 2017?

  68. […] you with spiritual instructions.  Staying at an ashram is a great experience especially if you are traveling India solo.  Even if you don’t want to stay there, many of these ashrams are open to westerners who just […]

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