The media has been treating India like a punching bag recently… and not without reason. Even Indian media reports on the horrid incidents occurring somewhat regularly in India. This will be one of many posts dedicated to safety tips for traveling India: safety tips for train and bus travel in India.
Many of us have heard of tragic attacks in India over the years, often involving transportation and women traveling alone, and some became subconsciously nervous to travel in India. Before these stories were in the news, six years ago, I was in Delhi riding buses, alone, at night. I didn’t make a fuss of my safety because I really didn’t know I needed to – but these things had been happening then as well, they just weren’t in the news as much intentionally.
With more and more women coming forward about their attacks (the only good thing that came out of the mass attention), it’s becoming clear, if it wasn’t already, that safety for women is an issue in India particularly but not limited to being on transportation. Regardless, I will continue to travel throughout India just like many other women, foreign and Indian, will. I have 14 tips for solo female travel in India that might help you and even wrote an India Guide ebook.
I traveled solo and still continue to do so on overnight buses and lowest class trains, as well as local buses and trains, like in Bombay. I have additional information you can read here about which classes to book on trains in India and tips for specifically solo train travel.
If taking trains and buses in India is daunting and something that stresses you out, then on the longer legs just FLY. It’s so cheap here in India. Use Kiwi to search for the low cost carriers and ask hotels to arrange transport to the airport.
Here are my Safety Tips for Train and Bus Travel in India
1. Don’t take heavy sleeping/anxiety pills before an overnight bus or train. It’s so nice to conk out (and I have to admit, even I’ve done it), but it’s not worth sleeping through someone taking all your stuff, is it?
2. I took a bike chain on my first trip to India. If I were to do another extended trip by train I would do it again. I ordered this Master Lock Chain from Amazon for about 15 dollars. On buses this wasn’t necessary, and it wouldn’t be necessary on 2nd and 1st class trains. On sleeper class trains, it was necessary. Overnight sleeper and second class trains can get overwhelming, and I wouldn’t have slept well without this. The doors are open, people are on and off all night, and could easily grab my bag.
3. Hold your purse or “daybag” while you sleep. I wrap a handle around my arms and keep in in my sleeping bag, which leads me to my next point…