I can assure you there will be follow-ups to this list of travel to India for tips on solo female travel in India. I’ve lived here for years now, and I’m still learning more and more about how to fit in here in India as a blonde girl.
I have a lot of male Indian friends and readers that I don’t want to offend, but I do have to be honest for my Western readers. There are certain precautions and things to keep in mind if you’re a woman traveling alone.
Below are 14 tips for solo female travel in India. If you want more tips, I have a whopper of an ebook (100,000 words) about traveling India. Get a copy here.
henna, yoga, tea, relaxing afternoons, friendly people, elephants in the street. Udaipur is a dream.
India is home to some of the most incredible landmarks. It’s magical, awesomely confusing, and jaw-dropping. It really should be on everyone’s bucket list.
With so many stunning places to visit in India, why do people back home have thoughts of slums, rape, and danger?
Maybe it’s too many episodes of [easyazon_link identifier=”B001MYIQKE” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]”Locked Up Abroad”[/easyazon_link], the popularity of [easyazon_link identifier=”B009SBP83Q” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Slumdog Millionaire[/easyazon_link], or the huge number of articles on India’s rape culture?
I get it. First and foremost, I strongly recommend signing up for travel insurance simply because you never know. I use World Nomads, which you can check out here.
When I traveled to Uganda, I also signed up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. State Department because the country was considered dangerous at the time. It’s a useful tool, as they know where you are and can help you in the case of an emergency.
Although a great resource for visa requirements, vaccination details, and updated terrorist attack warnings sent straight to my cell phone, they aren’t always a reliable source for making your next destination decision as they make India seem very scary!
From the U.S. State Department on India:
“U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India.”
“Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions, restricting evening entertainment to well-known venues, and avoiding isolated areas when alone at any time of day.”
The list goes on and on, telling me how to prevent from being raped, what to wear, and not to ride in a taxi alone, especially at night. They give advice on avoiding the increase in rapes, particularly in Delhi, and of “eve-teasing” increasing toward Westerners… Indian men are getting bolder, they imply.
Imagine knowing nothing about a country and reading that information… would you want to plan a trip traveling to India or choose a new country? Unfortunately, that might be all your parents or family members read, and it might be the only thing that is portrayed in mainstream media.
Take the State Department with a grain of salt. Perhaps politics are involved when they say, “don’t go here.” Check other government cautions such as the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. When you dig further they also give advice similar to the US for women but start out with:
“Over 800,000 British nationals visit India every year. Most visits are trouble-free.” -UK
It seems much more positive. Anyways, along with taking their tips with a grain of salt, I’m about to add a few more that personally, I think you should take with a heap of sugar (is that a saying?). I’m not saying they are the right way, but these India travel tips have helped me both in my solo backpacking travels around India and living here as an expat.
PS: 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.
14 Tips for Solo Female Travel in India
Don’t be afraid to be a solo female traveler in India… just be prepared.
I don’t know why guidebooks like to keep telling women not to smile. They say men take it as a come-on. Let me tell you something, some men here take even eye contact as a come-on. You can’t think like that or you might as well stay in your room. I smile and wave.
2. If a man wants to take a picture with you: know two things are possible
1) a line will form (you get to feel like a celebrity, but it will get old trust me) or 2) they aren’t always taking these photos in an innocent way. Many of my male Indian friends have confirmed that these boys will show your photo to anyone who will look and tell the story of your lovely night together (ew) or they will use it for umm, more personal photo-shopped media (ewwww).
I still take photos with men, but I will do a group photo. Just say straight up “One photo only, group photo.” I feel like a b*tch completely declining.
Ok, this one isn’t boys AND they got individual photos, each and every one of them. sigh..
3. If a family wants to take a photo- it’s the cutest thing in the world, just go with it!
I saw this family in 2 different states a month apart! for a country with 1.2 Billion people, that’s a miracle! One of many photos posed for at the Taj Mahal
4. Men staring can be annoying.
Try to ignore it. Don’t give them a reason to stare. Only if it turns to stares + whispering +laughing + you feel teased, should you say something. Because although the world is telling you they want to tear your clothes off, sometimes they really are just curious!
sleeper class train (more train tips) from Varanasi to Delhi, these boys watched me all night
5. If a situation turns uncomfortable-
First of all, let the men know. If it persists and still gives you a bad gut feeling, leave the situation completely.
6. Make a scene if something happens.
I have been the only girl on buses in India, I have rode buses alone at night in Delhi and I have had very few, hardly any, problems. Friends from Delhi tell me I shouldn’t at night.
When I have encountered a problem (a sneaky little ass-grab), I went bat-shit crazy on the men and they cowered, embarrassed by their actions. My go-to is always making a scene when I’m being cheated or eve-teased. If women are around, they will help you.
Maybe it’s not the best advice but all together I’ve been in India five years and eve-teasing has happened a lot…although not so much in Goa, making a scene always works for me. Stick with what you know ;) Be sure to read my safety tips for transportation in India.
Bonus: Take a bike chain to wrap your backpack to the lower bunk. This way you can sleep in peace! I also take a mummy liner to sleep in and a travel pillow, like TRTL.
Bus in Northern India. Worst bus ride ever, so crowded, so cold, SO many stares
7. Be conscious of what you wear
If you’re clubbing or in Goa, by all means, wear what you want to, everyone else is, BUT be prepared for the attention it draws. Keep in mind, the overnight local buses and sleeper class trains are like being in a fishbowl. No amount of clothing/hiding made me feel covered enough. It’s unfortunate, and I do have remarkable Indian guy friends, but I can’t pretend like this doesn’t happen.
Tip: over your top drape a scarf to cover your chest, even if you don’t have cleavage, do what Indian women do with their duppata. Here are some more do’s and don’ts for how to dress in India.
You can hide, or pretend to be a dork (jk I wasn’t pretending. I NEED a headlamp to read, and I have to put a scarf or it leaves an ugly mark on my forehead!) but they will still stare
8. Have someone from the guesthouse meet you at the bus stop/train stop if you are arriving in the middle of the night (as most buses do) or even during the day.
It beats having to deal with the rickshaw drivers fighting over who gets to take the tourist at 10x the real price. Most guesthouses will pick you up for free. Tell them to call you by name so you know it’s really them. (Funnily enough, as soon as they say your name everyone starts saying “Rachel, no no come with meee!” So I also ask them “Where am I from?” or another question.)
9. You always have a boyfriend.
Don’t be silly. Not a possibility. You’re a beautiful unattached girl! You might as well be saying, “I want to date you, marry you, have your children and get fat.” You have a boyfriend, you love him, and you are meeting up with him in a couple days. If you meet a lovely guy you’d like to flirt with, by all means, be honest. But for the most part, you’re very much attached.
10. Be wary of even minor forms of Eve teasing.
There’s this really annoying thing that dumb boys and uneducated men like to do here, and that is graze their elbow over your boob.
I cannot begin to understand what they really get out of that, but regardless they love it. Resist the urge to bitch-slap. Most men who pull this stunt don’t speak English well enough to understand your yelling either.
Don’t just let them get away with it though. I very softly push their arm off me and say “Hey! Very bad!” the same way I do to my dog when he humps me. I let the people around know what he did. He’ll at least feel embarrassed, especially if his wife is there!
Do NOT hesitate to go to the police for eve-teasing. This is not only happening to Western tourists; they do this to Indian women too. Police take it very seriously; they even have a special force dedicated to stopping this crime. Many times, Indian women are afraid to go to the police because they may be blamed or judged.
As a tourist or even an Indian woman, help out by making law enforcement acknowledge these crimes. In Delhi, 1 out of 706 rapes the man was held accountable in 2012, so you can see why women don’t bother telling. I’ve actually read that the statistics are worse than that, but can’t find the source now. Imagine how much more go unreported.
*check out this awesome satirical video of the rape situation in India, from a women’s view
11. Remember that even many Indians find some of their culture inhumane.
Keep in mind in villages in India some things that happen are very inhumane to not just Westerners, but Indians alike. Sadly, in India, there are areas that still drown baby girls at birth so they don’t lose money raising her and paying a dowry. 47% of girls are married before they are 18, although partly normal due to culture, some against their will.
Young girls have been forced to marry their rapists in rural areas. I could go on and on about the sad things I read in the news every day (I will say at least Indian papers don’t hide what’s happening here, though it could decrease tourism).
Because of the differences in equality here, expect some men to cut you in line, demean you, yell at you, or even expect you to get up and give them your seat (shocking, I know!). Catch me in a bad mood and they might get a “f*ck you,” which is truly just a waste of time. When I’m feeling zen, I shrug it off; I can’t change a culture that many Indians have been trying to change for years. But I do find it comforting that many Indians do want to change the culture.
12. Don’t let your driver “bring a friend.”
I thought that’d be strange, why would a driver do that? They do. I still don’t know why it’s scary; I suppose because they will drive you off to the middle of nowhere and rape you? It could just be because the friend needs a lift. I cannot count the number of times a rickshaw driver’s friend has hopped in right before we take off.
I say, “Stop! Your friend cannot come.” If they have a problem with that, I get a new rickshaw. If they ask why, I don’t say, “Oh because I’m afraid you’ll rape me and this here is your partner in crime!” That’s just silly but why risk it since everyone warns of it?
This guy was friendly, but sometimes your drivers’ friend will hop onto the front seat with him
13. Be very careful when choosing to Couchsurf in India with men.
I had a bad experience staying with an Indian man in Delhi, and from now on will be staying with other expats or with females. Read here for all my tips on safe couch surfing.
I get about 10-20 messages a week from Indian men asking me to meet them; most add a wink face or a “P.S. You’re pretty”. “Pick me up a bottle of Jack Daniels in the Duty-Free on your way through the airport.” –blank stare at the computer screen-
14. Remember, for each story you hear in the news, there is a nice guy in India outraged by the evil man who made the story happen.
Do not clump all Indian men in the untrustworthy category. Like any country, there are good and bad. It’s important to see what’s happening in the news, but not to let it ruin your mindset. Keep an open mind, be friendly, and keep smiling.
There is a strong love/hate relationship many people have with India. I struggled writing this post because I hate for India to have a negative image, but these are the things I would tell a friend of mine if she were to travel here alone.
Still worried about traveling solo?
If all of these tips made you nervous, don’t let that get you down. Traveling alone isn’t for everyone, and solo female travel in India is like jumping right into the deep end!
I LOVE G Adventures if you’re looking for a quality group tour experience. They have plenty of different trip itineraries and tours that you can check out here.
Extra Tips for Solo Female Travel in India
- Get a copy of my India tips ebook. It will have you 1000% prepared and excited for this trip and make sure you see/do everything on your India bucket list (that you didn’t even know about). You can buy it here.
- Don’t forget to get your visa sorted. No sense in worrying about safety if you can’t even enter the country! I use iVisa to do everything online.
- Check out my complete PACKING LIST & $20 a day budget for India
- Of course, having a form of communication is pretty key. You can get a SIM card and put it in an international unlocked phone. If you don’t have a phone like this, try Trabug. Trabug is a travel phone that you can have shipped to your hotel in India. It has travel apps on it and makes life a lot easier, although it can be more expensive.
- Again, get travel insurance! Although healthcare is affordable if you need the hospital for an IV, broken arm, or worse then the insurance will pay off. Good hospitals in India DO cost money and World Nomads travel insurance is SO cheap and affordable. It’s what I personally use while backpacking in India. If you look on my sidebar, you can even plug in your trip details to get a quote.
- Please take the time to read my whole blog (haha just kidding) and the Lonely Planet to India.
- If you’re planning a trip to India, check out my step by step guide to plan a trip from scratch the easiest way possible
- One last thing! If you are with friends and want to rent a villa in Goa, which is the most affordable way to go, you can sign up to Airbnb with this link and get $25 off your first booking (the credit doesn’t expire).
- Check my travel resource page for booking tips. I am obsessed with Kiwi for flights for about 1,000 but mostly because they search ALL the budget airlines giving you amazing deals. They’re also really great for travel changes and emergencies.
- If you want to do a yoga retreat or yoga teacher training, DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are so many scams. I recommend bookyogaretreats.com for retreats and bookyogateachertraining.com for yoga teacher training. These are legit sites with only good listings and lots of reviews.
Have you traveled India solo as a girl? What was your experience like?
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“You have a boyfriend, you love him, and you are meeting up with him in a couple days. If you meet an educated guy you can tell him the truth, but not strangers.”
I just had to laugh at this because it’s soooo true – always a safe route! This list seriously makes my trip to Turkey seem like a walk in the park. I wish I could have been flattered by the offers to whisk me off to Cyprus and get married but seriously, barf.
Also can’t believe you ran into that family again! Absolutely nuts.
haha I started to kind of like my imaginary boyfriend… he was so patient always waiting on me!
Excellent tips for females traveling alone in India. Personally if you’re a female it’s a big no to take the bus by yourself. To be honest the only state that I recommend females to travel to is Goa where safety is far higher (possibly because people are aware that tourism drives the state?/ richest GDP per capita?). The mainstream media do like to pick on India though, which is funny when rape in western countries is incredibly high given better political governance .
That’s a good observation when you compare the political governance! And I agree Goa is safest, but I think females can travel other places alone safely if they stay vigilant
This is a dangerously misleading thing to say. Of course, not all guys in India are rapists, but a vast majority of low-income, low educated, urban boys/men are steeped in a culture of misogyny, and have been so for millennia, making them highly prone to sexually molesting women. All women, foreign as well as Indian, are potential targets and travelling alone by public transport, especially long distances at night are a BIG o-no, if you know what’s good for you! Vigilance can help you only so far. May be after that, you may have to resort to taekwondo, but ultimately, prevention is better than dealing with rape!
As you know (but others might not) I lived in Delhi for over a year and coped perfectly, and have written a blog entry in the past with advice not dissimilar from yours :)
I couldn’t agree more, i am so glad to see you dispelling the myth that India is inherently dangerous for girls and naturally you have to be cautious, and sad to say, bad things can happen everywhere.
Speaking of the boyfriend/’I’m unavailable’ thing, friends and I often donned ‘wedding rings’ to persuade auto-wallas and shopkeepers that we were definitely taken, despite definitely not yet being married!
Hope you’re well and enjoying sunny Goa
Glad to see someone else who understands! I was keeping a ring on my finger here in Goa at times, but a pic ended up on FB and everyone back home thought I was engaged! lol So no more rings for me
This is great advice! I’ve never been to India, but I can see how it could be a challenge for solo female travelers. I pretty much always cause a scene anywhere men are behaving like that… most times once they realize I’m not going to put up with that shit they slink away, dejected. Once on a bus in Peru I had an incident with a guy just being a jerk, and I stood up to tell him off. Once I got up in front of him and he realized I was towering 8 inches over him (I’m 5’8″, and Peruvians are mega-short), he sat down and everyone laughed at him. Priceless!
awesome, another girl who makes a scene! I have told myself I’m helping give women here a voice by doing so- because you never see an Indian woman do that! Good for you with the Peruvian!
I think Indian women stand up to it too.The advantage of making a scene is that no one will side with the losers who do that.The ” conservative” older generation will side with you too .It is very common for women to stand up to it, that we regularly see those guys given nice beatings by the public present there, by you urge them to help you.They are shamed on television.The govt encourages women to stand up to it too.Because,by not standing up to it ,you will only encourage them to continue their nasty disgusting habits.
-From a guy outraged
Ranju, I have to correct your views. I am a female and, naturally, have been harassed in India. Making a scene is useful only in certain areas like the metro (rail) where you can move away from the harasser, leave at the next stop and will be surrounded by people of both/all genders. But, not on the streets. No one sides with you. A crowd forms around you and men stare at you as though you have committed a crime by yelling at your eve-teaser. You have only yourself to rely on. The attacker may stalk you later and there is also a threat of an acid attack. This behaviour is extremely common today when the misogyny and violence of men against women have become bolder. Police do not listen to you either. They ask you what you were wearing, whether you were alone, what you were doing and do not file a FIR. They ask you to let the case go as it is trivial. This is what prevents most women from fighting back. In India, it has come down to luck. If you’re lucky, you might come out alive. Tragic and alarming!
Yes, I said only to make a scene when on buses and transportation where there are other families women around- not on the streets, which is the same thing you have said.
I agree, on the streets you should not for all of those reasons. Thanks for sharing!
This is a great post! I’ve always wanted to go to India (someday!) but recently it seems everything I hear about the country in the news is related to rape. I’m a little nervous to visit, which is crazy because I’ve spent most of the past 3 years in Latin America and I roll my eyes whenever I hear how “dangerous” it is to travel as a solo female. I guess its just something you have to experience for yourself to feel comfortable. Great tips & a very informative article.
thanks, I hope that you get to India- it’s a beautiful place! So much to see, I don’t know when I’ll ever leave.
Everywhere has it’s dangers, but India is no worse than anywhere else! I hope you make it here to India some day.
I moved to Delhi alone this time last year. I ended up living in a large expat house for the first few months. I traveled almost every day on the metro alone when my female flatmates would not even think about doing it alone. I think a lot of your tips are spot on for my experience. Its funny how my advice changed after being there for a bit – for instance, at first I would say don’t smile, always cover up head to toe – but honestly you will be stared at no matter what so I ended up being like screw it. (except at night – I always covered up then when traveling alone). But during the day in 45 degree heat I wore shorts. Your comment on the elbow-boob action is hilarious and something I did notice but never really thought about as being a act of groping. I never made it to Goa unfortunately but hope to be back sometime next year!
omgsh 45 degreees. last year I think it was around May- it was SO hot in Bombay & then someone told me it was even hotter in Delhi and I thought wow there’s NO WAY I could deal with more heat, I would be wearing shorts too! I think the longer I’m here the less caution I take, but new travelers not used to the eyes should be more careful or they’ll end up feeling objectified. Even last night at the Goa Saturday night market an Indian guy grabbed by butt- that’s the first time it’s happened in Goa.
wow, i think this is a great article with some very useful advice. I travelled in India a few years ago with my boyfriend and got really fed up of being stared at… i covered up and sometimes put my umbrella up tilting it strategically !!! also, when we visited the taj mahal, i got seriously groped on my boob. i made a scene! i followed him and told my boyfriend and i confronted him…. and hit him accross the face! everyone was looking… the security guards cleared inside the taj and tried to find him but he must have dashed off really quickly…. so it is not just if you travel alone… i loved india but found it challenging, hated being stared at so much and don’t think i could have travelled round alone…. brave you, go girl and keep making a scene!
I’m so happy I’ve come across this post… I’m currently planning a solo trip to India for a few months, so reading some solid advice like this is super helpful. Where will you be in March-May?
I’m so glad you’re planning a trip here! I’ll be in Goa March (you’re coming just in time for Holi!) but I head back to the States for the first time in a year for a friends wedding in May.
Hey, Rachel it’s nice to know you have been living in India over a long period of time and i believe you must have been accustomed of India culture and tradition, so how it feel like to be in another country that is totally different than that of yours ..
Gosh! I can’t imagine having to put up with stupid things like that, and me not shoving their teeth down their throat. I’ve wanted to go to India since I was little, mostly due to seeing the Little Princess movie in the ’90’s. It was so romantic and beautiful, with elephants–I definitely wanted to go. Hope I still can someday. Hopefully with a friend! Thanks for sharing all of this helpful info, Rachel!
Yeah, it’s a funny place because nowhere I’ve traveled has testing my patience like India & at the same time it’s where people go to gain patience and “find themselves”. They don’t make it easy sometimes! I hope you get to India one day!
Rachel – I greatly appreciate your candid statements about how the US has a tendency to paint an uglier portrait….perhaps we could say inspiring a more fearful view….of the world for American travelers. I’ve also found this to be true after traveling in southern Africa, part of the time as a solo female. Is everyone just afraid of being sued because they didn’t state the potential dangers or something? I think you’re right about it being very politically motivated. I take real personal issue in particular with our view of malaria. Every doc you see wants to put you on an exorbitantly expensive anti-malarial pill with potential side effects. In many places, there are more than adequate health clinics and as long as you go in when you’re feeling sick it’s very simple to treat malaria. It should really be assessed as a case-by-case basis. Sometimes I feel like Americans forget that perfectly healthy people actually do live their entire lives in these places haha!
I feel ya on the malaria front… one option is a low dose antibiotic doxycycline- I’ve been in india a year & what, they want me to stay on this for life because of where I live? No chance! Malaria is super treatable if it’s caught early. My indian friends here laugh becusse they get it often. One has had it 7 times. They think it’s like the flu, no big deal. Thanks for your comment!
So helpful! I’ve always wanted to visit India but have honestly been a little freaked out from some stories. It seems like you can never go wrong acting “bat shit crazy” when someone is bothering you, no matter where you are. Great tip! :)
lol yes acting bat shit crazy is where it’s at! I hope you come to to India one day- it’s not as bad as they say ;)
Great post Rachel! I’m considering visiting India solo, and, as you said, as most westerners I’m very concerned about safety!
Your posts make me a bit more confident, plus I discovered a whole bunch of things I didn’t know -the eve-teasing thing for example!
I’m going to dig your blog for as much info as possible, and get some courage as well! :)
awesome! I have SO many posts pending I sometimes want to put them all up in one day so I can tell everyone about how great goa is!
I appreciate you sharing your candid experiences in India. However, what you described sounds pretty terrible & I’d probably get myself into trouble fist fighting those ugly smelly men!
It’s a love/hate kind of thing while you’re traveling. I’ve found that now I live here things are much better and less stressful!
Great article! I finally went to India after dreaming about it for 15 years. I backpacked from Trivandrum to Pushkar, taking sleeper trains and express busses. I loved it! I figured that since I’m an older woman and virtually invisible to men in the US, that I would be left alone in India as well, but that wasn’t exactly the case. One time a rickshaw driver pulled over to ask me to kiss him. I laughed and told him not to be silly, that I could be his grandmother, so he reconsidered. One time a guy tried to lure me into a hotel room, just to “talk”. Yeah, right! I didn’t have any other scary incidents.
I agree with the advice about drivers and their friends. It’s a lot easier to grab one guys privates, than it is to grab two guys privates. Also, I carried a cell phone and took pictures of every rickshaw I got into and pretended to message it to someone. Just an extra precaution. All in all, my trip to India was epic! I loved India, the people, the nature, the spirituality, the architecture, the colors. It’s fabulous.
I believe our lives are pretty much predestined, the only real choice we have is how to respond. I follow my gut and take precautions, but I also jump in with both feet when so impelled.
I’m glad you had such an epic trip! I think age doesnt matter as much here, it seems INdians like older women, especially down in Kerala I’ve heard so interesting stories! I also jump in with both feet! :)
These are some excellent tips for a solo woman traveller in India. I am so glad that there are people who aren’t blinded by sensationalized incidents and experience the country like it should be.
I came across your article while searching for tips and ideas on where to go alone from Delhi for a solo-trip. This will be my first time alone though I travel a lot otherwise. Your article was really really helpful and got me super excited about doing this!
I’m glad the article helped you! Enjoy your trip :)
Thanks – really great article – it’s good to read actual practical tips as some of the blog posts I have read have talked about how it is safe to travel alone in India but don’t actually point out some of the uncomfortable (but not necessarily dangerous) situations you have described. I’m planning on travelling to India alone in September. It will be my first solo trip so it’s good to read that there are others out there doing it too. Even in the comments section it seems there are a lot of others out there doing the same thing. Glad to hear you are having such a great time in Goa and thanks for all the helpful advice!
thanks una, it’s good to know what weird stuff you may encounter :) you’ll have a great time I”m sure. Email if you need anything!
I loved your article. I live in the US but I am colombian and I will be travelling alone to india (kashmir is my final destination) in October. I was planning to stay only 15 days but after reading all the posts I think I want to stay longer! Im just going on a budget… any cheap hotels that you would recommend in delhi? On an average between food and accommodations how much do you think one can spend? Ill be visiting srinagar through a tour agency but imtthinking about staying in delhi and going to the taj alone…. what do you think?
Hi Indy, I just did a post about the Taj I think will help you , you can search it on my site’s search bar. I couchsurfed in Delhi, so not sure about the hotel scene. I think you’ll spend about 2000 rs a day in the delhi area! not counting transport.
As many have already said, thank you for the informative post! I am traveling solo to India in September and a friend scared the bejesus out of me talking about assaults against women especially in Delhi. I really appreciated your perspective as an American female who is currently living in India and loving it. It seems like a magical place and I am looking forward to experiencing it to the fullest…safely.
Your welcome :) let me know if you have any other questions!
Hey Rachel! I am an Indian woman and I have been looking for options and tips to travel alone and I landed here! Most of the issues you face being expats, we indian women face too and Indian women don’t travel alone much and write blog posts on it! So, this gives me a good perspective on what to expect. Do you have any recommendations on places to visit & good places to stay in Goa for a woman traveling alone? I don’t have any specific reason or purpose to travel. I want to escape for a week and spend some time alone and Goa is one of my considerations. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated. Thank you :)
I’m so glad this post could help you & that it’s relatable (but also sad that so many women relate to being treated this way!) In Goa, I would say stay in Anjuna area- it’s crowded and not secluded so you’ll be safe. You will make a lot of friends at restaurants and guesthouses!
I’m traveling solo female in India this christmas. First Dehli and the golden thriangle for aprox a week, then Christmas and new years in Goa. Do you have a page to recomend for solo female travelers vant to meet up in India. Or maybe a hostel in Dehli where backpackers spend the night?
A friend og mine traveled in India a couple of years ago. At the airport she bumped in to an american boy, and she hold on to him for the whole week. She still doesnt recomend me India, just saying it is to crazy. But I cant wait to go! :)
No I don’t have a page but that’s a great Idea and something I should have! I get so many requests for something like that.
Interesting. Traveling alone in India is something I’ve thought a lot about. From the people I’ve talked to, it seems that both amazing and terrible experiences in India are possible. How big of a role do you think luck plays?
I think LUCK plays the biggest role of all!! Absolutely. I actually have a post I’ve partially written about how luck can make you hate a place or love it.. so very cool you commented this!
Hi Rachel, thanks for your post, I really enjoyed the read and some great tips for sure! I’ve been thinking about going to India for quite a while now and I’m planning on heading there mid September! I’m going solo and definitely feeling a little nervous. The oggling, the getting sick and the going solo makes me nervous but at the same time growth never comes from the comfort zone! I’m going for 2 months, just trying to figure out a route! I saw you recommended Goa for safety so may start there. I hope to meet other travellers to share my journey with. I saw a couple of other ladies reply to your post going around the same time, if they want to try and meet up they can e mail me on email@example.com. Did you find it easy to meet other travellers? I’ve heard mixed reviews as one friend told me that since it’s mainly hotels and guest houses without common areas it’s a little bit harder to meet people. What is your experience? Only having 2 months do you have any top reccommendations?
That’s great Tamsin. I am hoping to start a forum on my site for travelers like you to connect. It’s different than Europe mainly because there are no hostels. You have to try a little harder. Talk to people at restaurants and shops! It actually wasn’t much of a problem at all. For two months I think you could use my itinerary which was a little longer and shorten it. check this post! https://hippie-inheels.com/itinerary-for-india-guide/
Also I too massage and would love to take a massage course in India, have you had any experience with that or do you have any recommendations?
Hi, check out this post: https://hippie-inheels.com/learn-thai-yoga-massage-in-india-how-i-afford-travel/
Rachel, thank you so much! I am heading to Goa for an indefinite amount of time next month and your blog is really very helpful as someone who also embodies the dichotomy of dirty hippie surfer/ girlie girl. Keep up the positive vibes girl! xx
Awesome, happy to be of help. Enjoy Goa!
I have to admit I’m still terrified of going alone. 1) I am “blessed” with large girlfriends on top. I get stared at in the US. although I’m able to ignore it, I’m not groped here. 2) I’m very passive. I can’t picture myself yelling at someone in private, then add being in public, not gonna happen. I think I would want to walk (or run) away, which wouldn’t be feasible on a bus or train. 3) US keeps sending emails (I signed up for STEP) about a worldwide travel caution, warning attacks against westerns could increase.
BUT I still desperately want to go. I’ve never traveled alone, is there a tour guide for hire? I know of the couch surfing community, but I assume most people that are able to allow a couch surfer stay in their home, have a job and cannot be with me all the time. Any advice, articles, etc. are greatly appreciated to increase my confidence. Thanks :)
Hi Staci, yes having that “blessing” will draw more attention so be sure to cover up well! but if someone gropes you, even though you’re passive I think you’re instinct will be to yell .. keep in mind india is very stressful so you’ll already be annoyed lol! don’t take STEP too serisouly, i don’t use it for warnings but more for if I get lost, I’m in the system and they’ll help find me. look at paadharo india which is where they help you meet local tour guides in cities to show you around!
must come to visit Lucknow …
Hey Rachel :-)
I love this article – it’s such a no-nonsense way of looking at things. Yes, bad stuff happens, yes acknowledge it, but don’t let it wreck things for you.
I think my favourite tip you offered was the imaginary boyfriend – I just loved the way you phrased it. I sometimes have an imaginary Fijian husband – a big local guy, who’s waiting for me at home. But honestly it frustrates me having to use the excuse. Just because I’m unattached does not mean I want to give you my number. It’s both the Indo-Fijians and the Indigenous Fijians who have this attitude here, though I think I get more marriage proposals from the Indo-Fijians, generally speaking. But since the rape culture here is different and expats/tourists are not so targeted (most rape here happens within a relationship), I’ll often leave my imaginary husband behind and just insist that the guy deal with the fact that I’m not attached and I’m not interested in him either. There’s a strong argument that always using the “I have a boyfriend” excuse perpetuates some men’s notions of ownership over women, because it means he isn’t making a move out of respect for the other man’s ownership of the woman, rather than respect for the woman’s right to choose for herself.
Anyway, that was a bit ranty, haha. Sorry about that.
I love the photos thing too. I got a bit of this in Myanmar and China, and it was hilarious. I was only there for a few weeks though, I imagine it would get old pretty quickly. I always wonder what these people do with the photographs – “here’s me with some random tourist – look at her, she’s blonde!!”
You’re right it’s a bummer to resort to making up a fake boyfriend, but it sure does work! I also wonder what happens to the photos.. one woman told me it was to show her mother she met a foreigner!
As an Indian I am agree with your Opinion.
Your twitter profile link seems incorrect in your author bio
Just wondering about overweight women. Are they usually discriminated against or do the Indian men feel they are more desperate, thus subject to rape more than any other women?
I haven’t heard of anything to make me thing it would be different here for women based on weight, so I don’t think so.
I usually get irritated reading westerners’ silly perceptions of India, but your article here did make me laugh at some parts though its all true. I came across it by accident, but it made for enjoyable reading even if I am an Indian male and therefore part of the “problem.”
Anyway, I always want to smack my head when I hear the silly notions people have of India, but from here on out, I’ll just send them a link to your article.
I guess I shouldn’t complain though since Indian men (even some educated ones) have equally silly notions of western women (my head aches from all the wall banging).
I’m glad I haven’t irritated you too much, and that you’ll share the article. thanks
Hey Rachel, Just came across your blog while looking up for the couchsurfing website.
I am an Indian girl living in India since the past 19 years and I totally agree with each and every word you said. Not just Delhi, Bombay but NO PLACE IN INDIA IS SAFE, Roger that.
India has its own beauty and charm but the perverted behavior of majority of men here becomes too hard to handle even for a local person. But yes if you are strong, careful and have done an indepth study of the place you are going to in India, you can be sure of having a good time. Plus- Always keep the number of a local police station, Women helpline number, a local friend, a nearby hotel, cabs on speed-dial incase of any emergency.
And yes, I have never tried Couchsurfing yet but am trying to give it a shot on my first trip ( that I am planning ) to New York, USA. So if you could just let me know how safe it is to travel solo to New York? Would be great help!
Looking forward to your reply and here’s wishing you lots of amazing moments in India and stay safe, Love! xo
Great tips. I think solo travel in NY could be just the same as Bombay.. it’s a big city and of course crimes like muggings etc happen in NYC a lot. but couchsurfing with a great host will help keep you safe.
Jennifer, I travel to NYC by myself A LOT and have never felt unsafe. Granted, I do not do “stupid” things like get drunk and rub up on men, but during the day and even in the evening after a show, in Manhattan, I never feel scared. I do not ride the subway late at night, and I stay away from areas known for being dangerous, like Washington Heights.
That’s well written. I have got many backpacker female friends travelling/wanting to travel solo in India. There is this one Belgian girl who I met in Turkey and we got really close as friends. SHe is travelling the whole of India. SHe wants to stay for 6-10 months in India. I have been so worried for her and being an Indian I know how India can be. And gave her my own tips and told her to contact my friends. Lol…i have given her the contact no. of my friends belonging to different states of India. Maybe I am over-reacting. But nothing wrong in being alert. Your blog is brilliant. I am definitely gonna share this to her and many of my other backpacker friends. Keep up the good work :)
I think it’s nice you’ve given here some contacts around India. I wish someone had done that for me when I first came!
Do you know how she is going to stay for 6-10 months in india? I thought i only could get a 3 month tourist visa but really want a 6 month or longer one :) im also belgian, every country it is different
I don’t know for all countries but americans can get 5 or even 10 year tourist visas.
I was just wondering if you have been in Agra and Jaipur? Me and a friend are planning on going backpacking there in march, and I wanted to know if you would recommend these places.
I find this blog very helpful – thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences!
Yes both, use the search bar on my homepage to see the posts :)
well,i live in India and i would recommend all solo female traveler not to travel solo , cause unfortunately there are a lot of creepy perverts out there .
I appreciate your comment & strange as it is, most Indian men and some women I meet have your view that women shouldn’t travel alone here. They think foreigners are a little mad for doing so.
I am so happy I found your page. I’ll be going to India as an IELTS (English language) examiner for about 6 months starting in mid-February. I am a bit older, married with 2 young kids (they will all stay in Australia), but have the blonde hair and blue eyes, so I will definitely stick out like a sore thumb! I’ll be in Punjab in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Have you been up there at all?
I’ll be looking around some more to see what other tips and tricks you have for us women then.
BTW, I’m American, but also now Australian, so officially I will be an Aussie in India–that’s the passport I’m using. :)
I’ve been to Amritsar it’s lovely and punjab has great food! I hope you have a blast.
Thanks Rachel! Im planning a trip to Delhi then on to Rishikesh in Sept. Your site is very useful for American women traveling solo to India! Can’t wait! Keep being awesome and inspiring us all to travel more.
Thanks for reading along and have fun on yoru trip!
Hi Rachel, i would love to travel too. I googled and found this page. Thanks for your advice, really helpful. I am a bit scared though, i have never travelled alone and i dont want to bother someone to come with me. I think that i should have a guide, that will make it less scary. Btw, my question is how you decided to go/move to India? I really want to move to a foreign country but what about a job and a place to stay? Was it hard for you to find one? I dont know if you already wrote this in another article of yours, if so then i am sorry.
Looking forward to your reply.
Hi Sarah, I have written a bit about it – you can read my “about me” page and at the bottom has links tthat explain why I’m in goa and what work I do :)
Being an Indian, I have to say everything you have written in this post is quite true and frank. India is an amazing country but majority of people here are uneducated especially in the north. It is these uneducated men who are bringing the image of our country down. Its a very sad thing and immensely difficult to change but we are trying.
thank you, and you it does bring the country image down sadly
As an Indian it feels so embarrassing to hear these experiences. But its good to know you understand, that there are good and bad people everywhere and one should keep a positive frame of mind.
One more tip I would like to add is one must keep an emergency number with him/her for local reference. It can be the contact number from your hotel or somebody you know in the city.
Hi there! Where do you recommended to celebrate Holi? I fly into Mumbai on the 4th and would love to celebrate with colors. Should I stay in Mumbai or travel some place close by? Thanks!
Holi can be very overwhelming and although a religious “party” it’s sometimes out of control with men drinking. None of my Indian girlfriends recommend playing holi in Mumbai or Delhi, and I don’t think I would either. Pushkar I’ve heard is great though
I’m headed to Delhi for a month in June, alone! Can’t wait, thanks for the advice!
I gotta admit, amazing observation and perfectly compiled with great narration. It hurts though. being an Indian, as i have seen all that happening, I’m proud that i was NEVER and WILL NEVER be a part of all these inimical parts of social truths of India. I don’t know what exact amount of effort would it require to change the mentalities of my people, but all i can say is that India will learn eventually. I am a 19 years old guy, not a very bright kind of a person, but i know that i am supposed to respect a woman. i know that liberation is meant for every gender. i know that no god, no government and no nationality or religion can give me the power and right to threaten a woman’s integrity. and i will make sure my son (if i ever had one) knows all that i know and do his bid for the renovation of India’s reputation in the world. There are millions of youths like me who feel the same way. maybe this generation could make the change. Maybe if you ever have a daughter, she wouldn’t be looking to ‘tips on the visit to India’ on google before visiting my country.
PS. YOU ALL ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO INDIA, TO WATCH THE YOUTH TRY CHANGING ITSELF and THE BATTLES BETWEEN THE GENERATION THAT EVE TEASED YOU AND THE GENERATION THAT WILL RESPECT YOUR VISIT.
Bahut bahut dhanyavad! Love your kind words and compassion, “Shameful Indian”. You have no reason to feel shame, as it is not you doing these actions. You have a good heart. The best thing to do is exactly as you said, but not only telling your child(ren), but anyone who will listen. I know in India there is a great respect for elders, but sometimes elders can learn from the young too. The whole world is our Guru, from the drunk old man on the street to the sweet little girl who lives next door to the beauteous bird singing in the tree and beyond.
I came across this blog, as I am planning my first trip to India – Rishikesh! I am going to Sri Swami Sivananda’s ashram, among others. He is my great grandfather in my guru shishya parampara and I feel a strong urge to go there. I know this is Bhagavan leading me. If it’s His will, so shall it be!
At any rate, I want to thank you, Rachel and everyone else for these tips.
May Bhgavan bless you all abundantly!
Har Har Mahadev!
Enjoy your trip and thanks for commenting! :)
Great blog, Rachel! im going to India in 2 weeks. Will visit Cochin (and around), Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai.. Any suggestion where to stay at? (hostel-guesthouse that you may know) thankyou in advance! x
Varanasi and Agra have hostels now by zostel and stop ( I think). I would check hostelworld and see but those are good companies.
Hey Rachel! These are great tips! I’ll be headed to the Spiti Valley in July for three weeks and am looking for suggestions on places to travel after this study abroad trip. Do you have any ideas??
Hey! For someone who was born & brought up in India, this article sums up perfectly what women face here on a day to day basis. Thankfully, i live in a much more modern city – Mumbai.
Sometimes i wonder why foreigners wear salwar kameez in India whereas most young indians wear jeans/shorts. Other than the rural areas, foreigners can wear any western wear in cities. In rural areas, stick to loose kurtas & pants. Dupatta/scarf is optional. In cities like Mumbai, Bangalore,Jaipur or Delhi, you can pass away with wearing anything.
Then again, remember that like in any country, some areas are more safer than the others.
thank you for your extra tips. I’m glad as an indian reader, you agree with me :D
Hi Rachel! I love your blog!
I’m going to be helping out in a kindergarten in Trivandrum for a few months starting July and although I’m incredibly excited about spending time in India, I’m nervous about a few things. The thing which is causing me most worry is the idea that women ‘shouldn’t’ go out on their own. One of my favourite things to do is to walk and explore in new places and, as I don’t know anyone there yet, I keep picturing how I’m just going to go crazy being stuck in my room the whole time. If I cover up, do you think people will just accept that I’m ‘the strange European girl’ that wanders around alone or do you think people will think badly of me if I do that. I don’t think I’m so worried about safety but more about reputation as I’ll be in that town for some months. What do you think? / or anyone with experience of this? Thank you :)
You can wander on your own, just don’t do so at night. I do to be honest, but I don’t tell others to because maybe I take sometimes more risks than I should.
Once come to BIKANER 300 km away from JAIPUR Rajasthan. It is a small city cum village. You will not any issue here other than staring. You can visit junagarh palace, rat temple, desert, indo pak border and can have delicious foods. A one day visit will be enough.
Have heard it’s an interesting place.
All great tips! Just came across your blog after being in Delhi for about a month…currently at “Can I REALLY do this?” so I’m happy to read your posts and find common sentiments. From America as well and here for 3 more months so I will have to try using couchsurfing to find travel companions!
This is a great article. You really summed up the experience you will have in India. I also travelled to India this February and had an amazing time. The people are really friendly but we made sure to be smart and cautious at the same time. I also wrote a small blog post on tips to travelling to India. Check it out! http://naturallycured.blogspot.ca/2015/03/top-10-tips-on-travelling-to-india.html
Hey Rachel, you should visit Nagaland too. I believe you’ll love this place.
would LOVE to go!
I am traveling to Goa India in December 2015 and reading your posts make me feel so much for comfortable and excited for it! I have SO many questions I would love to get answered. Your life looks so exciting and I can’t wait to experience Goa!
Yay!! so happy to hear my blog has helped you! email if you need anything.
Good observation and tips
I am not defending unnecessary starring and harassments by brown men
but as an indian starred several white women once , want to make some points
1-Due to social and cultural framework and rules Indian man see what is under the girl’s skirt only after his marriage , that is when he is around 30 years, until then he is supposed to be a virgin ! TRUTH
2-No opportunity as in west to have sex from the age of 13 ( my westers collegues said this -personally visited 6 European countries and envied the youth there!!)
3-No legalized prostitution , and men stays with his parents until his death , so somebody from your family will be around , to check what you do where you go or who you brings home .
4-only option to quench the thirst is pornography , men watch porn a lot here , and all the porn video we get is of white women , we dont know it is eastern russian white or western americal white , so average men relate any white women to the hot pornstar , he watched the previous night .
4-we are not used seeing bare skin , Indian women cover herself fully , so exposed bra suspenders and bare shoulders ,thighs, tight dress etc may attract “unwanted ” attraction.
you don’t mind Italian men starring with their piercing eyes in rome , next time when an Indian stares you think of him as an Italian with 3 vineyards .(you will like his starring !)
Take the Starring as “Thank you for noticing my existence ” If you’ve ever lived in New york? London? Paris?You’ll be able to walk in those streets bleeding to death for hours and no one would even look, not to mention talk to you.
Its very tiring to have people flashing their skins at you – At least Indians try to get you by a good conversation and a mind game rather than flashing their tits / muscles at you.
I am approving this comment because readers should see how Indian men think and feel, and this is an example of that.
I completely understand why you approved this comment Rachel as it is a good insight into the male Indian mind…
BUT there are a lot of untruths here that I’d like to clear up for Hemanth.
Firstly, I have travelled to more than 40 countries and can assure him that there is no difference between the intense unease and fear of being stared at – it does not matter if you are Indian or Italian.
It is not a compliment to have your existance noticed. We do not need your attention or your validation of our existance.
It is also untrue that it is your “existance” being noticed when men are specifically looking at your breasts. We are human beings – or existance is in our soul.
New york? London? Paris? I have been to all these places and can assure Hemanth that no city in the world could you bleed to death without someone calling an ambulance.
Hemanth, if you want to understand people from outside your culture you must stop thinking that women are doing anything ‘toward you’. We are living our lives – we are not thinking about you. We wouldn’t even see you except you are harrassing us.
We wear clothes in order to keep cool and dry – it has NOTHING to do with you.
Your comment is totally racist saying that “at least Indians try” etc etc. Do not compare us while you don’t even understand the situation. Believe me, no woman goes to India to flash their tits at you. The sooner you understand that, the happier you will be.
Read this very carefully….
Western women with white skin travel to India to meditate, to do yoga, to see an elephant, to eat good food, to make art, to learn about your culture, to expand their minds. WE DO NOT TRAVEL TO INDIA TO BE STARED AT LIKE PORN STARS.
You took the words right out of my head. I actually started to reply to his comment back then, but my reply was so long that I am wrote a post about it which won’t up for another month (it’s a “this is friday” and I had some scheduled”) but how I address what he said is very similar to your thoughts.
I think when men leave comments like this on my blog, it explains to girls how it CAN be when you encounter men like this WAY BETTER than how i could ever explain it which is why I leave them (unless they are reallly bad I delete them, and as you can imagine I get a lot of those).
Lol. “I think when men leave comments like this on my blog, it explains to girls how it CAN be” – now you took the words right out of my head!
I knew exactly why you posted this and anyone reading this post would do well to learn just how completely different people think to us. The best educational tool is to witness something first hand.
I have lived in South America, Indonesia and Cambodia and experienced it – been to Italy and Greece and experienced it… it’s far from a specifically Indian problem… it’s a patriarchy problem.
The modest dress, the wedding ring and even walking in broad daylight won’t help you when half a population truly believe that you are on this earth to ogle, and that they deeply, profoundly believe they have the right to stare and touch your body. This is an inherent cultural belief and has nothing to do with the man being ‘nice’ or not.
While we must take a stand and make a fuss, helping our international sisters if they need it and keep trying to educate people, we must also remember that the western world was very much like this only one or two generations ago – and there are still some men in our own culture who regard us as decorations and sexual objects.
It’s important that this issue remains about sexism and not race or nationality. My boyfriend in Indian but schooled in Australia and is very different because of it. He has been the one to really teach me what young men in India are taught about women… but the good thing is, they can change :)
p.s. This is one of the best travel blogs I’ve come across. Well done Rachel – I can’t wait to keep reading xx
It’s sad but it’s true … I do wonder what percentage of men in Indian cutlure have this mindset of the guy who commented and how many are with it! Because in day to day life it truly does seem very 50/50.I’m glad you like the blog and thanks for reading!! :D
Thank you so much for the tips. I will keep them at the back of my mind as I do my solo travel to India, Goa in September. I hope to bump into :)
I am recently widowed and had always planned to go to India with my husband. Plans change..I’d thought about traveling with a friend which I still could do, but lately I’ve been looking into solo travel and found your brave post. I’m very brave in general but lately a little less so. Anyway, I have lots of questions. Practically, the immunization thing. Every time I mention I am thinking of this I get a big scary story about getting sick in various parts of the world. I did think it would be more like you said, people get malaria in India and there you go. I don;t know if you’re still there since this was over a year ago but I hope so.
Hi, I do still live in India and am happy to answer questions. You can email me them! As for the vaccines, I wrote a post on that you can search on the top right of the home page :D I hope you come to India.
I couldn’t thank you enough for making this blog and stating at the pros and cons of our country. Every thing you have mentioned in this article, I totally approve them. I have also been reading all the comments people have posted.
About the safety concerns, men starring at you, wanting to talk to you, get acquainted with you and having attracted to you has been happening ever since the globalization era. I would like to quote Hemanth’s comments especially point #4 about men watching porn. I do agree that most of the men here are sexually starved since they hit puberty till the time they get married, but I think it is more than that. I would like to share my insight by looking at this fact with a more psychological point of view.
Ever since the globalization people have become more aware of who is the most powerful people in the world (not to mention that we have been ruled by the British for more than 2 centuries). If you look at most of the developed nations in the world who are considered to be more powerful than the others and influence the world are the ones with the majority of white people, like the USA, UK(&rest of the European countries), Russia, Australia….. and the list goes on. If you believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection, every creature wants to pass on its genes to the ones which are more powerful, in other words the survival instinct.
I know you think I’m cooking this all up, but this is not just the case with foreign people. Even in India there is a disparity between the people who have fair complexion and dark. You can find all kinds of skin tones in India. People from the north (where the majority of the population are fair) are considered superior, in spite of the fact that all the states are equally developed.
This is more evident when you look at the casting options of south Indian(Tamil & Telugu) movies for the lead female actress. More than 90% of them are from north India and Kerela(a south Indian state) who are fairer, even though most of them can’t even speak a single word in the language of the movies they are being cast (Recently “Amy Jackson” a British model has been casted in some Tamil movies). It is because somewhere deep down in their brain they feel attracted towards fair complexion or the race which has it.
When Aishwarya Rai, Sushmitha Sen, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta and a few more were chosen as the winners in Miss World and Miss Universe pageant which was around 6 times within a decade, it was for a reason. The western countries found Indian market as a potential investment for cosmetic products to dump their goods. They used the desire of the Indian people to become more fair to their advantage.
Even the mothers in the families would prefer a woman who is fairer as the best match for her son (If it surprises you that mother chooses her son’s bride, well that’s totally a different topic altogether – ARRANGED MARRIAGES in India).
I know this comment does not even remotely give you any tips to be safe while you are in India. But I just felt compelled to share my insight about this issue, that we are not sexual predators by nature who prey on western white woman. Its just the way the human body works. The conservative culture of our country which the world seem to admire has a huge downside. But the same conservative culture has also taught us how to respect other people. Just make sure you find the right kind of people.
I really want to share more insights on this, but I think I’ve written more than enough for a blog comment. I wish I could create my own travel blog some day.
Below are some useful websites and mobile phone apps for people who travel India:
That’s an interesting point and i love reading other people’s insight into this. Thanks for sharing
hi Rachel, I just have one thing to say that u are beautiful and a wonderful person for inspiring female wanderlust all over the world to visit INDIA and enjoy the paradise.
Hopefully it brings people to India
You have traveled all around india, i guess now you are having a lot of experience with india, i have a question plz, I’m a indian but i stationed for 5years in america, i have a american girlfriend and she is blonde, I’m currently in india and she want to come to india and want to spend some time with me, but i feel everyone will give us weird look that indian with a blonde and she want to go to rajasthan jaipur and udaipur etc. but we aren’t married so it’ll be difficult to find a hotel which can accommodate us both. Moreover hotel people will also give us a look so what to do.? I’m fed up..!! I had told her many a times not to come but now she is getting mad over me…Please help
I don’t think you’ll have a problem with the hotels especially in tourist areas of Rajasthan. And I know many couples that are indian and western and they have no problems.
I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. I’m in my 50’s and suppose to head to India in January 2016 for a conference. I have to say I’m a bit frozen in decision to go. I have an Indian friend who will be there visiting family but she said if she didn’t get to Delhi when I was at the airport that they would send a taxi. A taxi from Delhi to Agra. So, is a taxi being sent different than a taxi outside the airport?
I’ll wear the fake wedding ring, and I don’t have blond hair…does that help?
let your friend send a taxi.. usually they will know the driver and the price will be negotiated adn arranged for you. at the airport you risk being ripped off and actually i would never take an airport taxi all the way to agra.
I am glad you loved our country. Your narration is very apt. I feel ashamed though that India has earned a bad name and people are scared to visit and explore the beauty our country offers.
Being an Indian girl, I can assure you, we feel more or less the same too. The words of caution in India are not only for foreigners, but for women in general. It is not because all Indian men are rapists, but because India being a relatively underdeveloped nation, has a larger poorer and illiterate population as compared to the literate ones. Cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida (the NCR region), and the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana are amongst the most unsafe places for women in India. But I think the North-Eastern states, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Leh-Laddakh, Rajasthan are safe and have a number of tourist attractions.
The “attraction” for the fairer skin has been explained by Rajeev in the above comments. So fairer people especially foreign men and women do tend to get a lot of stares and comments everywhere in the country. Most of the men might be just might just be curious to see someone so fair, talking in an alien language (Yes! English is alien to most of them), traveling alone! :O However, some of them have other intensions.
So, firstly, learn to say NO. If you see men wanting to take ‘single pics’ with you, or pestering you in any way, firmly say no. Say it politely at first, if they dont listen be rude – dont hesitate. But never get forced into anything, be it taking a cab, chosing a hotel, nothing.
If you are in a crowded place and you feel someone is stalking you, shout out! Most men would get scared or shy away, rest would know you wont take it for granted. If you find any officer around, let him know.
The concept of travelling alone (for women) is not popular in India. Although the educated youth is now more independant and are taking to solo travel, the uneducated majority of Indians do not approve of it. Hence, when foreign women travel alone, they become the point of attraction and amazement for such Indian men. However, some men take this as an opportunity to misbehave. So it is better that you stay at a safe distance from them.
Clothing is another must-know here. While, in the cities you will find Indian women dressing like everywhere else in the world, the scenario changes beyong the city lines. It is preferable to wear pants or anything full, carry a scarf around all time, and avoid wearing anything thats too revealing. You dont want to attract even more attention from the wrong men. However, in metro cities and in Goa, in nightclubs, feel free to wear what you want, everyone does!
Always make bookings in advance, check reviews about the hotels, choose ones that can provide you with cab facilities, if they fall in your budget. If you happen to have any friends (or friends of friends) down in India, get in touch with them. I am sure they would be glad to help you and assure you have a safe trip.
Travelling in local bus is not dangerous. It just happens that women in India also do not prefer travelling that way (esp. after dark) since it can get tricky at times. Take a radio cab (such as OLA, check online/apps).
Travelling alone at night and to lonely places is not advised, mostly as a precaution. However, if you wish to, always take the crowded route.
Always carry a map, or use the GPS, so that you know where you are going.
All in all, India isn’t a baaaad country full of baad men. It is well worth visting and travelling. Most people are there to help, you just need to keep your eyes open for the wrong ones. Hope everyone who comes here enjoys a safe trip!
Thanks for your tips. I totally agree to learn to say no to photos, to shout out of someone is bothering you and the rest. Thanks for sharing :) I would say that the thing about India that takes some getting used to for me is what you said here “It is not because all Indian men are rapists, but because India being a relatively underdeveloped nation, has a larger poorer and illiterate population” about the men… when I see news articles about politicians and lawyers saying such horrible things about women – who are educated, but culturally have been raised to have these thoughts – it’s a bit worrisome and when it pops up in the news i can’t help but tear up over it
Nice tips ..,I wish to add few more to it..one visiting India for the first time should also be very cautious about the road side food that could be very unhealthy, and always keep some antibiotics,antipyretics ,antidiarrheal,antiemetics,oral rehydrate solution sachets ,a hand sanitizer solution with you while travelling..hope these help..thank you…
thanks for the tips :)
My name is dorna and i’m from iran i’m going to dentistry in bangalore next year so i’m kind of scared and i don’t have any male frined so i don’t know how act around them do you have any tips for me ?
I’m going to study dentistry sorry i forgot to write study
Yea Dorna … come in with out any worries … you will be safe for a large part and it shouldn’t be easy to deal with nasty situations if you have to. You will find quite a few students from Iran … if not you will be able to make some new friends real quick and find your way through :) wish you luck with your dentistry … Bangalore food is awesome … :)
sorry … I meant to say “difficult” .. it shouldn’t be difficult for you to handle situations …if they come up …
Well … I’m a guy and an Indian … :) …
well … yes Rachel this is a problem in India in general for all women. But you know what ?? The first step in addressing an issue is acknowledging the problem and the Indian society and government has acknowledged this as a huge problem for a long time now. Changing age old mind sets is not going to happen over night. It can happen through perseverance patience and education. … so yes .. in future we hope to change things for women in India for the better. I certainly cannot speak for what a women should do or how she ought in the society because you girls have developed suitable effective defences of your own. … :)
Now the hardest part is acknowledging the problem and saying “Ok girls … now pack your bags and head for India” in the same sentence … :D :D … that’s not going to happen. However that is exactly what I’m gonna be saying to all the girls who may be planning a solo trip to India. Go ahead and step into the wild … and you may be pleasantly surprised and learn new things. You will find the good with the bad every where … if you can deal with the bad … you should be fine and then you do have all the tips from the gals who have been to India and the girls who grew up in India …
Come on girls …we guys only look tough … but we are not that hard to scare …we scare easy !!!… you only need to know how to scare the hell out of us … :D :D :D
Thanks for sharing Sandeep. I agree that it will take time, as it’s nearly impossible to change some older people’s mindsets. Although with such a large population and some percentage of that population having this mindset I would say it will take a LOT of time as some children are being taught things at home about what women can and can’t do, which are what most Indians hope to change. I hope to continue to see progress.
Very well captured and true picture. You need to be careful and rest should be just ok. Sharing on my page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aman.indiatravel/
Ultimate and useful information of all women who want to visit India , All the tips are so useful and helpful all women, thanks for sharing awesome information about solo female travel in India.
Rachel I really like this article and thanks for sharing all these tips. Currently I’m planning on a trip to visit my close friend in India BT my parents are strongly against it (same common reason is unsafe for women to travel in India ….) any tips on how to convicing my parents for changing their point of view lol
Mine didn’t until after the trip ;) “better to ask forgiveness than permission” lol it’s so hard to change parents’ minds
OMG THE BOOB GRAZING! I travel regularly on flights filled with Indian men. On one flight last year, the guy next to me did it a few times before I realized he was doing it on purpose. I shrieked at him. He stopped. LoL. You do offer some great tips here. Thanks!
hahah yeah yell at that for sure!!
Thanks for the tips! I am leaving in a few days for my first solo trip to India and Southeast Asia! Do you have an itinerary on any of your posts?
Thanks so much for posting this. I have a trip planned for India Oct-Nov. I was originally going with a woman, who lived in India for 6 months, and her husband. Well, they have to cancel the trip now, but I am still going to go since I have already bought my ticket. I am interested to see my experience as a young- ish African American woman traveling solo to India. I wonder if I will be less objectified, because I am a POC, or maybe it will still be the same, as I am young, attractive and fairly heavily tattooed. I am going to Goa, Kerala, Udaipur and flying in and out of Mumbai. Thanks for all the information.
I think with the tattoos alone you’ll get some stares :) but I think you’ll have a blast… enjoy!!
I would love to go to India one day, but I would still prefer going with a travel buddy… Maybe it is, like you say because of the bad media attention, maybe it’s really not that safe.. Guess Ill have to find out for myself some day!
Yeah, it’s good to go with a friend if you’re not up to it alone – which is totally normal
Nice to hear of your personal insights and observations.
Have travelled solo round many countries and am just beginning my India research.
My own website fionaludbrook.com also has lots of posts geared at solo women travellers and places I have been to!
I picked up so many useful and realistic tips from you.
I also must say, one great advantage of having reached my mid 50s is that unwanted male attention is way less now than when I was young and attractive, so its one blessing of aging we never get told about. I am still conscious however that I stick out like a sore thumb as a Western woman in many places and continue to keep my guard up.
I also always carry pictures of my “husband”, alone and with me. A couple shot makes a good screen saver on my phone. Worth getting a male friend to oblige for suitable shots prior to departure. Sometimes good to ring him “back at the hotel”, or somewhere not too far away, as you get into a taxi, even if you are just chatting to the hotel reception!
HI Fiona, Glad my site has helped you :) Good ideas you have as well.
thank you a lot for those tips! returning to india in 2 weeks, can’t wait! maybe i’ll drop by in goa… best wishes, flora
Loved the post. Great work Rachel. Was looking for some tips to travel solo. Very informative!
Its really a nice read specially for me as i am from New Delhi, India and while reading your blog i got to know how people from US or other countries think about India
I would like to give few tips to you guys so you can experience the real India while being safe.
1.India is going through a didgital era and now specially metros Like New delhi , Mumbai , Bangalore , Hyderabad are well connected and getting safer.
If you have an android based phone or IOS it will make life much easier as you can book cabs , bus or your own ride online through an app in normal standard rates.
REf: OLa Cab , Red bus , UBER are few of them.
2. There are new hostels coming up in metros at Rs 999/ per night which are safe and fun for people coming from abroad . For Example : Madpackers in Delhi.Please find it on Facebook to know more.They post their pics online and share their activities.
3.Always remember the 100 no. in case of an Emergency.
4.Dont take the local bus and local trains. Try to get atleast a 3 tier ac ticket while travelling through a train.Take Volva buses if you are travelling to HImachal Pradesh or any hill Stations.
5.Each and every guy you meet is not a Creep.Guys here are just like guys you know in your country.But to make friends you need to be at the right places.
However every guy is not sane.Try not to fit in to a heavilly crowded bus or train.
6.I have many friends who are from France , US and China. They never have a problem as we are always there to guide them.
7.India is a place where you would experience a lot of freedom .
At last i must say that anyone of you travelling to India , will have their own unique experience as no one’s journey is the same but its always better to know about the Country before you travell.
My only advice to solo women travelers wanting to come to India – Don’t.
Great article! It’s my dream to visit India but I hate being photographed. Can you give us tips how to avoid being photographed..?
You can say “nahe” which is no or just put your hand up with a go away gesture as well.
great and absolutely true post Rachel. I love the way you described everything in details. you are absolutely right about the typical behaviour of some Indian men, even they also do all these with us, indian girls. but as you said, some just stare out of curiosity as you are blonde. they cannot understand that you just belong to this earth also… :-) hope this situation will change someday.
I want to say that I am a big fan of your posts and it’s one of my most desired wishes that I want to be your travel partner someday if my parents allows me to go on my own… :-) anyways your blogging should go on like this.. good luck :-)
great post Rachel. I totally agree with you. we Indians also face all these creepy behaviours. But I must say that everyone is not same. hope this situation will change someday. one more thing I really want to say- I love your posts and I really want to be your travel partner someday. it’s just my wish.. I would love to meet you :-)
You are right Indian women face the same problem! Thanks for reading and let me know if you come to Goa!
Thank you!! This was very helpful. I’m just about to embark on my first trip to india with a girlfriend. Very excited but also a bit intimidated I have to admit.
This made me feel better prepared!
Awesome: ) I’m happy the blog has helped!
Hi Rachel, you’re blog is soo helpful and amusing to read. Really! :) Thank you for sharing your real experience in India (thinking about visiting there). I can feel your frustrations but reading through the whole blog, it will just challenge you more to get to know and experience the country. Despite the hate, the love and fun will always outnumber those negativity. Enjoy your stay there and be safe!
I’m glad you’re enjoying it! It’s a love hate place, but overall I love it enough to stay 3 years now lol :) It’s magical!
Hi, Rachel. I’m from Perú and I’m going to work to Delhi for 6 months. I was worried because all the news about the rapes in that City, and because I saw the documentary “The India’s daughter”. But now that I’m reading some more information like yours, I’m feel more calm, because I know that if I had the correct information and attitude I will be safe.
I’m so excited and glad.
If any girl lives in Delhi, write me :)
Thanks for your time and your information. I love to read people like you ♥
Ps. Maybe I can go on the holidays to Goa… It seems like a beautiful place :D
I’m glad you are feeling confident and excited to go!! That’s great.
I’m totally loving your blog and reading everything that I can. I’m going to India this December to meet my fiancé’s family and although, I won’t be alone it is still freaking me out sometimes. Thank you for all these wonderful tips and even that I’m not going to Delhi I would like to meet you around on another occasion. All the best!
Thanks SO exciting!!! Enjoy your trip :) & thanks for reading!
I’m leaving for India a week today and my anxiety is through the roof! (Can’t wait for over the counter Xanax lol)
I was meeting a guy, a holiday romance I fell madly for 2 years ago in Thailand, and over the last couple of months something rekindled as we started chatting more and more online. He’s in India now, and I booked my flight using him as an excuse to go on another great adventure. Now something in the last week has changed, he’s become very distant and although I’m sure he’ll still meet me, I feel I could become solo pretty quickly.
I am starting my own travel blog, bursting with ideas from three years as a travel agent and adventure enthusiast. Your blog has been so inspiring to me, I can’t even explain!
My question is this, if you find the time to answer you would be of great help! I would love to find other bloggers to go visit in India to talk business and get tips on the trade. Find more inspiration and get my AdventureHaze.com show on the road! Do you know of anyone or even yourself who would be willing to do such a thing or where I would start to find a meet up group or workshop even within India?
Sorry for such a lengthy comment, but sometimes I find it hard to shut up! Haha
Thank you again for your amazing work!!
Liz @ Adventure Haze
Thanks for reading my blog and all your kind word! Any excuse is a good one to come to India :) There is a travel massive group in Delhi that Mariellen from breathedreamgo is head of, and I think bloggers meet up. In Goa sadly there is no such thing! I would msg Mariellen and ask her if anything is scheduled. There are a lot of successful Indian travel bloggers here, and just a few foreigners with travel blogs who all live kind of far apart!
Typical Westerner trying to cash in on an internet blog?
Yeah This is definitely how this country works. It has been this way since many centuries and has nothing to do with western women/ Hispanic women or any women.But it has a lot to do with feminist women. I myself am a bi product of the Indo-western cultural collaboration which went into my granny long ago. all your p0ints are spot on but dont elevate yourself by praising yourself too much . looking at your pic you are ok looking but not as good looking as the actress and heroines in the bollywood movies or their western counterparts. I see you are getting some attention via this blog. But honestly though the culture is what is causing the problem of objectifying women here. When i say culture not the traditional values. Because those traditional indian values are much higher and has a lot of respect for the mother figure(not so much for the father figure). so its just basic area to area reference. India has 29 States(province) and 7 Union teritorries(of which the teritories were owned by other countries earlier, for eg Goa -Portugal , Pondicherry-France). And some Indian girls in these territories are scared of the french guys living there funny and ironic. But do they genderise or racially discriminate?
I am in a relationship now with my Girlfriend. But In the past I Have dated women from ( Russia, France, China,Germany, Vietnam, Netherlands and Morrocco) I have been in some of these countries as well and they all wanted to come to India. And I said please come but expect what you expect in your country.Reason why they wanted to come is because it was one of the cheapest travel option. Because if India had the infrastructure and quality of travel it wouldnt be a 20 dollar/ day affair. Some of my friends from other nationalities came to India after they broke up they used the ring tool like you did, it works (the i’m engaged excuse). But some found love here.Not the kind of men Rachel was talking about , of course ,Good looking, educated, Respectful and Caring Indian Men. So there are people who are coming to find partners as well which will be a minority when compared to the rest of the world ( Coz Indian men are the last prefered ). and that minority wont find good ones easily unless they don’t look in the right areas. if you go to touristy areas you will find Indian jerks. But if you are working and living according to the Indian style chances are you may find. Ok that’s not the point here. But again We are not a bad race at all. If any guy wants to go to any of central american countries the risk of being abducted, robbed , killed, framed are all inclusive of the cheap package. Somewhere while reading your post i felt you wanted to change something in India but its not in your hands by making such statements about the men in India. Female Travelling in solo In India. And all you had done was state 1, 2, 3, 4, ,5, and anyone who reads this post would go to some sri lanka or Myanmar or burma if given the opportunity. India was huge . Srilanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Afgan, and all othe small dundees where part of us before the brit came and split us up due to their idden agendas. many europeans have come via silk route by ship and looted for ages. and still we are rich can you beat that. Can any country take that kind of a beating. Its the Men and women In India the people living here that survived so there is definitely some good in us. Along with other developing countries India too had the first woman country leaders in the world (Indira Gandhi ,Prime Minister= to president of other countries elected) for which USA is still backward. We have huge geneder equality in your roots. But not much is practiced .Thats all.
Westerners travel a lot so they know the perils of travel. Unlike average or poor Indian who don’t have the means or money(luckily air asia /tiger n few other low cost airlines have created opportunities for Indians to travel. so they willstart to see more than what they see here.They will see more women other than Indian women(white/Black/Yellow/Beige/Orange/Green or whatever i hate people being called colours.) I travel extensively.because my job is exporting food to other countries. One downside to this Indian Men problem is the porn industry. Where is the Porn from???(God bless america). so porn show a lot of western women in unrealistic /objectifying ,slut behaviour. and asian countries and middle eastern countries are its biggest consumers(im not joking). So After my little comment . You may delete it. or throw me out . But if you read my comment and deep down you felt you are doing some injustice to the country where you are living. You will make necessary changes and tell the world that the route cause is something and not to stereotype the Indian Men- Tality . Or worse i would take a beating from all the women who visits your blog for genuine advice. But the truth is there many other points and things which you haven’t still touched when a female decides to travel solo in India. But I like your Blog it has the points which are nevertheless important. But i feel its only one point showing off as many points.
Maybe thats why most of the women from other nationalities believed me when they asked me what to expect. I exactly told them the men issues but also knew what they were expecting. Some girls came to goa only to party and have drugs. Those i guided in the right direction. :) But others wanted some peaceful retreat and get Intuned with spirituality. Some women came to help and work as NGO’s. They are not here for bullshit. They are here for a reason. I do respect those Women the most. I would like to marry those ones one day ;)
So female solo travelers traveling to India.
*As a student : Stick to the University Guide and website.
*As Naturalist/ : Indian Govt officials are the trustworthy sources . Good to go you are.
* As NGO / helping : same as above or there are big famous christian authorities to guide you in the right direction or many Hindusm Board /
* As Artist /Entertainment: Mumbai and Chennai are the Cake no other cities> Google about the companies who are going to work with.
*As a tourist. lonely planet is very old . Price have changed . Info is not correct for most part. Be ready to argue with all those places mentioned in it. Trip advisor if the info is very recent then maybe trust it if its 2009 or ealier then dont bother., Lot has changed . The bloody country is developing at a faster pace.
People are cominga s tourists /as students/ applying for jobs/ settling/Retirement. all have a reason for their Visit to India. ” Its Magical and Incredible” .. so stay safe.
Readers, I keep comments like these from the self-appointed “true Indian” to show you the thoughts some have even though most of this is ridiculous.
“But if you read my comment and deep down you felt you are doing some injustice to the country where you are living. You will make necessary changes and tell the world that the route cause is something and not to stereotype the Indian Men- Tality ”
No, I am doing no injustice at all and I won’t make a single change in promoting safe travel for women in India. :)
Hello There !
I’m going to India in March/April, looking up on a way to go to Mysore from Kochi, looks like the only buses available for this are KSRTC… are they okay?
It might take over 8 hours to get there…
KSRTC is known as being the best bus system in India actually! I have had one issue with them in the past but overall they have a great reputation.
Well I am from India and I agree to most of the things. Ofcourse, the eveteasing and harassment is far less in my case, being an Indian and I have seen the “Focus” is more on foreigners.
These tips are awesome for solo females traveling to India. Great stuff.
Hey Rachel! I have literally been stalking your blood for a few months. Thank you so much for your advice and information. I am currently at the Dehli airport, I’m going to Rishikesh for a Yoga Teacher Training course. Even though I have a place to stay for a month, I’m still very much grateful for everything you’ve posted so far on your blog. It has helped me a lot, mostly mentally pr paring myself for my trip. And I’m glad I have! I still keep reading and rereading all your posts to make sure I don’t miss anything! Thanks so much!
Haha happy to help! I hope you have a great trip :)
Wow. Amazing, common-sense advice. I am India. I travel solo outside India a lot, but I confess that preconceived notions from years of being here stop me from too much of traveling alone in India. Having said that, there is not one piece of advice here that is out of place
Thanks for sharing such valuable feedback for India. As being Indian proud moment for us. I am glad you enjoy India Trip. Hope you enjoyed pani puri as well. :)
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! :) I did enjoy pani puri many times
like everywhere in south asia and actually most of the world, it is a little dangerous for women to travel at night. With articles like this, you are doing an amazing job at educating the appreshensive tourists. Hats off !!
These are amazing tips, very useful. I, being an Indian really feel bad about the lack of security for women here. I totally and completely agree with all the facts mentioned above. And from my side I would like to suggest the women from abroad travelling alone in India is that please be very careful in trusting the people like the drivers. Please do not disclose your identities. And I hope you have a safe and happy travelling around.
Thanks for your insight and comment.
Great read! I am planning on travelling to India alone and I have been a little apprehensive due to the media and opinions of family and friends at home. Reading this puts me at ease and also gave me a little giggle!
I’m glad it’s easing your fears!
i am planning for Bike Trip to leh & Ladak , would you love to join us . Or if anyone wish to join my trip Please most welcome .
I may send you the compete plan
Hi Rachel, I’ve just discovered your blog and am reading through your posts with interest. I’m a Family/Travel blogger and also half India/half English and will be taking a trip to India soon. I’ve been many times but have never lived in India for longer than a few months. I came across this article and it is so helpful. I have had harassment in India since I was young and never know the best way to handle it. I’ve ignored it and also shouted and have usually felt incredibly annoyed afterwards. It is a different culture and these instances are rare but when they happen they really do end up ruining my whole day/trip! It’s so useful to read this post though and hear about your experiences and how you deal with them. I admire how you’ve travelled independently throughout India too. Thank you for sharing. Polly x
Hi Polly, great to meet you! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hate that it can ruin a day, but it truly does. In fact, when I face it flying into India from another country (as it often happens during transport even at airports sadly) it makes me not even want to come back I get so angry!
I was searching for a solo trip advice about Goa and somehow got the link to your page. I have read all the comments, your amazing experience and yes it sounds funny but yes its also a shame. Being an Indian all I can say is some people gets so over excited by looking at different skin color that they start behaving differently. Both type of people exists and hope you and your frnds meet the right kind and have some nice view about India.
I read your blog and being from India, you are very brave to have traveled India like this. Believe me, some of the things you said were pretty scary and shouldn’t be done in India but hats off to you, you are one brave woman!!
feels bad man
Hi Rachel, I’m Bee from Indonesia. Will be traveling solo to NORTH India for (only) two weeks on December. Despite the good experience I got when I went to India in 2012, it is still nerve-wrecking thinking about my upcoming solo traveling. Hahaha. This post helps. I’m so buying a wedding ring. :D
Hi Bee, so glad to help! It can be nerve wrecking even if you live here and then go off somewhere new :) not to worry though! the wedding ring will help lol.
Hello Rachel… First of all a big thanks to you for clearing the big miss understandings people had about India around the globe… Also spreading the awareness about how to travel alone as female in India.. As a girl I myself have faced small incidents of staring and grabbing but not all men are same you know that… Also I am glad that you still reside in India this clearly means that you have fallen in love with Goa right… Well I wish you all the very best and If I get a chance to visit goa I will wish that I get to meet such a genuine person like you… Thanks again.. God bless you…
Hi Rachel, hope you are doing well.
Though I am a proud Indian, I am totally agree with your experience and thoughts about Indians and travel related issues we face be it foreigner lady or an Indian. You have correctly understood India and put in a right words. I am reading your blog to be prepared for traveling alone in India. The problems mentioned in your blog are very common here and hence makes me fear to be a solo traveler.
You said correctly that there are good and bad people everywhere. But the problem is that most of the time we can not identify them.
As I am planing for solo traveling i hope we cross our ways someday :)
Have a safe traveling!
Good job Rachel, well written.
I’l have to check whether they have a Women’s wing in the tourism department. If they do, then you should definitely be its ambassador.
Wonderful post. Something I am going to refer to my female friends-to-be-solo-travelers.
Aw thanks Ananth! that’s nice :D
Keep in mind in villages in India some things that happen are very inhumane to not just westerners, but Indians alike.//rachel do you ever visited kerala, India’s far south…? If so do you felt the same…?
Yes I know terrible things happen to Indians here in villages sometimes, you can read this stuff every day in the paper. Yes I have lived in Kochi for a couple months and also traveled all around Kerala, Karnataka etc.
i wish you got raped. you fuckers always bring racism to us here in the states calling us curry lovers and making fun of our acents and everything and now you coming there no problems i dont think so
Yes, and now people can read your comments and think so highly of Indians. Way to go. Your first thought is I should be raped. What does that say about you?
To my readers: I leave nasty comments like this sometimes to show you that there are some people in India who have a horrible mentality and judgment to foreigners who travel here. But, after this comment, I’ll be deleting any subsequent comments from this person. I think the point was made.
its an eye for eye in america we get more racism then blacks but blacks bitch harder, the whole point we dont want you there, leave if your there then we cause problems. they dont want us here, by the election results so we dont want you there.
let me ask you a question in india maybe you will get lears and smoe other stuff. but do they call you names make fun of, not serve you in restaurants ask for your passport in buffets they do here in some, check you a hundred times at all airports cause of your skin color. no they wait hand and foot on westerners so nice, but we get that here.. so fuck you, hope you get gang raped
Thanks for stopping by and leaving such intelligent thoughts ;)
That’s horrible that someone has thoughts so careless… I am sorry you have to deal with people like this. No one should wish rape or anything else upon another human.
Thank you for tips, I keep reading your posts and I can’t bwait to go to India. I feel like there is also a lot of precautions, exspecially for women. But I also feel these things at some point in the Western World. I guess it’s more about a common sense and the way you feel to behave in the situation. Culture is sure different and you have to adjust.
Wow, well this was eye opening for me to read! Lots of great information, lots of uncomfortable information. I do not think I would travel to India alone. At least for a long period of time. But this was a good thing to stumble upon. Thanks!
Hey Rachel yes, it’s important I think to kind of have a grasp on how things can be in India if you are unlucky and meet the wrong type throughout your trip (just like anywhere in the world) – but like you saw in the comment above you commented on, one man’s reaction to my tips is that I deserve to be raped, so that’s kind of a weird go-to reaction that some people do have here which is why I left the comment.
Funny enough my middle name is Rachel, something in common right there. :) I have been looking into traveling to Goa In October for a month by myself. This will be my first place to actually travel travel and especially solo. Your tips were incredibly helpful and eye opening. I am a little fearful, but I don’t want to base my life off of fear and I want to go to India. Is there anything you can suggest for places to stay nights, and what is the easiest way of keeping your footing with direction and ways of transportation primarily? Is there lots of other tourists that I will meet?
Are you still living in India?
Im from Canada and have always wanted to explore the world just been far to fearful.
Thanks for any advice you can give. :)
Totally agree with the article. I’m born and raised Indian. It’s a beautiful place for traveling and exploring cultures. But I would like to recommend one more thing. If you must travel alone at night. Than call someone any one and just talk to them tell them the number of auto, destination, etc. Even if u don’t call just pretend to be talking with somone. We use this trick often.
Rachel, so do you give the guy your seat on the bus or not? I’ll be there all next month, including Goa, and I’m so excited. Thank you for your blog, it’s been such a help thus far!!
Hey Erin! I didn’t understand your question :/ I’m sure it’s something I wrote but I don’t remember properly, can you remind me? & thanks for the kind words on my blog!
Hi Rachel! Your blog rocks!
I want to plan a trip to India but I’m a bit scared about it. From what I’ve heard, blonde girls receive more respect than brunettes, that short girls are more likely to get harassed, and that if you have big breasts men will treat you as a sex object (even more than here). Is this true at all?
Thank you and keep up the great work :)
I don’t think this blonde>brunette thing is true – I’ve never heard of it or encountered it… they are more curious toward blonde hair but not more respectful, possibly even less so. Never heard anything about short girls either?? Yes, big boobs should be covered!!
If i were a single blonde, planning to travel solo, id be shitting bricks after reading this article. I have been a solo Male traveller, for a while now, I’d say the world is almost the same for everyone,everywhere. Don’t do stuff that would get you into trouble at home and you’ll be ok. Indians tend to be more helpful than other countries, according to my experience. For ex. If asked for directions, Indians would go out of their way to ensure that you get there whereas a French would ignore you and make a pissed face and move on.
I still think it’s the same with “TOURISTY” areas across the world. It does get tricky when you want an offbeat holiday. Try being an Indian in the western part of America or Interiors of Europe. Every country has a certain check list that you need to keep in mind before planning a trip. It’s not that bad here in India. Men in India are curious, more than anything. Stare them down and they would go down with their eye contact.
Thank you for writing though. I hope people read about India a bit more. Stay blessed and remember, whenever you’re travelling Solo, safety is the priority and you cannot trust anyone. But that’s a constant around the world.
Ps. Written via phone. please ignore the typos and mistakes.
The media has people already scared to travel to India and the majority won’t consider it – so, these tips help people GO for it (at least that’s what hundreds of girls email me and say when they read my blog and book their trip to India).
I am an Indian girl and I totally agree with this article. Anybody here who doesn’t agree cannot admit that Indian society has a problem with the way they treat their women. Another tip that I would like to add – always wear sunglasses and a cap in tourist places because Indian men take your photos without consent and it may just end up morphed on to a pornstar’s body in a distasteful manner or be used for a personal jerk off session by some of these men. If they follow you in tourist places either call them out on it or complain to the authorities. This is something that I have experienced a lot while travelling across India WITH MY FAMILY! Several times my dad had to shout at the boys or tip the security guard to take care of them. I always wear jeans and a half sleeved top/kurta while travelling in India, but they still want to stare. Its practically harassment. They think we are oblivious to all this. Worse yet, there is a whole song in a mainstream bollywood movie normalising this behaviour. It called “Hans Mat Pagli” and it features Akshay Kumar, a well-know bollywood actor clicking pictures of his love interest without her consent. Wearing sunglasses gives me personal satisfaction that these men will never really know what my face is actually like. At least they can’t easily morph it onto Mia Khalifa’s body. :P
Thanks for sharing – I’ve also heard from Indian friends that some guys will take the image and photoshop it onto porn, so that’s why I never let a guy take my pic!
Hello Rachel, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I am planning on going to India soon however i wanted to go on a meditation course is there anything you can tell me about this? Thanks!
First of all Thanks for selecting India. I am following your blogs and read few of your articles. It is good you are exploring remote places of India.
No country in the world is 100% safe for women, even US also not fully safe
. I agree about staring during traveling in India . Not all boys are bad there are good one too. I like to just clarify that the staring may be due to curious also and not in bad way.
And not all buses are bad. Since all type of people are living in India, Indian government has to provide facility to all. If you want there are lot of bus facilities available based on the money you pay. If you are expecting AC experience with open ticket price means it is not possible.
On behalf of all Indian I like to apologise for your bad experience in India. Hope you explore more places in India. I want to explore South and north east India.
Thank you for sharing your real experience in India. I’m going to India in next winter, looking up on a way to go to Leh and Ladakh. It’s in my bucket list.
Thank you for your blogs on your experiences in India, particularly Goa. My 17yr old daughter is planning to travel solo to Goa for 2 weeks of volunteer work with children this summer. I am very worried and uneasy and yet can understand her reasons for wanting to go. Please help ease my mind. This would be her first trip abroad and alone, and there are only so many precautions that can be made for a hopefully safe trip. The volunteer organization says she will be chaperoned 24/7 while in Goa.
Thankyou so much for your article its just what I needed@
I am flying out of Australia in a week for 6 weeks in India; 8 days on a Golden Triangle tour and then 4 weeks at Rishikesh at a yoga school
I am very excited but have never travelled alone before either. Your advice made me a bit calmer as to what to expect and how to manage.
Am sorry I am not visiting Goa, maybe next time!
Love your honesty in this post Rachel – the more people that show how ridiculous the warnings of foreign governments (and many other people) that tell us (solo) female travel to India is risky, the better! I spent 6 months over the last year living in Mumbai and travelling around India – partly solo, partly with my boyfriend (who is a wonderful, kind and respectful Indian man!). Like many of us, I had my moments when I felt uncomfortable, but we have to remember that like many places in the world, 95% of the people we meet are good.
I remember my travels in India (particularly by train) for the kind people I met, the beautiful views, the musical calls of the chai wallahs, and sometimes the odd delay ;-). I hope your tips will encourage many more women – both Indian and foreign – to travel solo around Incredible India.
Brilliant article! It really helps! After a lot of news about sexual harassment, female travelers should be pay much attention on travelling in India. Thank you very much for useful tips and advices.
Wow, just found your blog and I love it! You’re literally life goals haha
Thanks for all the tips. I graduated a few weeks ago and now I’m planning to travel to United State. so I bookmarked this post for future reference.
Hi, Rachel. Wish you a great, great start to the New Year. I found your article to be very informative and real. I, too, made the bravest decision of venturing to East Europe (last year), on my own. I was scared to bits (although, i pretended like I had it together, all the time). But what an experience it was…so liberating and exciting. And surprise surprise, can’t wait to do it all over again. And the people where friendly and helpful beyond words. And, no staring…phew!
Rachel, I was planning a solo trip in November this year and reading your blog was enlightening. Any advice for a 66 year old woman beside what you have already said? I will mostly be flying from place to place but taking local transportation in the cities. Thanks, Terena
Great post. I’m thinking of moving to India for 6 months for work. So really helpful to figure out dos and don’ts. I’ve travelled extensively elsewhere in the world but will be the first time in India
Hello my name is Kelly and this is my first trip to India I fly in to Ahmedabed meeting my friend and his family there I will be staying with them in their city Vadodara .I will be meeting other friends.Some friends and family instill fear in me.But I don’t buy in to this.This is my dream. I am going for it.My friend is a good young man that assist the police there.And will protect me.Thank you
Wow, just found your blog and I love it! You’re literally life goals haha
Thanks for all the tips. so I bookmarked this post for future reference.
my only tip to any girl/woman visiting india
if any male compromises your safety or is sexually aggressive / abusive towards you curl your hand into a fist and punch the bastard in his teeth as hard as you possibly can or even better aim for his nose – then be loud and create a scene where everyone around you knows what is going on and boy his ass is fucked – and please please
please dont forget to call police ! i presume most western women to be capable of this being much bigger stronger and confident than indian women .
i say this because women deserve only love and respect and this shamefully does not exist in india as evident in the nirbhaya case .
men in india do not realise that they came from a woman .
i do not generalise that all indian men are pigs but a vast majority are and its going to be a while ( a few light years ) before any sense prevails .
and lastly to all you girls / women visiting india – dont be afraid and have the time of your lives .
anonymous indian .(male)
Wonderful post. Honest and no scare mongering. I love your attitude to India. India is a wonderful country that doesn’t deserve the scumbags who give it a bad name. As you say, there is good and bad everywhere. I loved India and I would love to visit again sometime soon.
Hey Rachel, Just came across your blog and I feel so sorry about my country. However, can’t deny for all that you said. Here is one more trip for you all who wish to travel India.
*Avoid travelling with local buses since they’re always crowded and it’s highly probable that bad things could happen.
*Plus, do not go for sleeper class in trains, try to book your seat in advance for third, first or second class AC subject to availability.
*Go for ola/uber cabs, in case they’re not available, try to book a two-wheeler for a day so you can roam around on your own.
*There are apps available for girls to join a gang of girls travelling the same place. Would be safer.
Have a great trip and India is beautiful so keep travelling. :)
I loved reading your post! I am going to India solo next mouth and its great to read an honest opinion and real useful tips. Thank you!
Hi Ms Rachel!
Hope you are doing well! You have written all the points that a woman/man must keep in mind. I really appreciate your love for India and your guts for travelling alone. I love travelling too, the only problem is I am pre -millionaire (ok, ok broke!). I would love to suggest you one more thing and I hope it will help you (cause it helped me a lot!!!) Learn some self defense moves!! Even if you are not strong enough or physically fit to attract. People are afraid of strong women. Nobody wants to go home with a bruise on their face (and get reminded of what they have done). Just knowing some techniques, boosted my confidence and motivated me to do what people things girls are afraid to do. Travel solo!
Great piece of information for people who want to travel to India solo. Many of them must be worried but I am sure that your article will inspire them to take a trip.
Great tips. I always travel solo. that’s why i am always on the lookout for new solo travel tips. I am glad i found this amazing article. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. :)