Is India Safe for Solo Female Travellers
As one of the most visited countries in Asia, India draws in millions of tourists from all over the world, including many female solo travellers. It is generally considered to be a safe country for solo female travellers. However, some caveats apply.
Traditionally, women have traveled to India with friends, family, co-workers and fellow group tour companions. However, times are changing as many women worldwide are choosing to travel solo to discover the world on their own terms and embrace their independence.
The trend is catching on in India as well as more and more females venture out into the rest of India and the world alone on travel adventures.
Solo travel is a great way to encounter new cultures, meet new people, make exciting memories, and in doing so, embark on an inner journey of personal development and growth. This form of travel can be an empowering and transformative experience—provided it is done right.
In this guide, we will give you a thorough rundown of whether travelling in India as a solo female is worth it and highlight the things you need to be aware of before you embark on your journey.
As exciting as solo travel is, it does come with its unique set of challenges and perils anywhere in the world, and India is no exception.
It is, therefore, extremely important that you are aware of the pitfalls of solo female travel, and know beforehand what to expect when you travel so you are prepared for it.
Travelling in India does require female travellers to take certain precautions, be aware of certain considerations, and plan travel accordingly. But in the end, we reckon, it is all worth it.
With its immense cultural diversity, breathtaking beauty, endless charm, warm hospitality and spiritual wisdom, India is one heck of a transformative and rewarding destination.Plan A Trip
Tips And Precautions For Solo Female Travellers To India
1- Research Your Destination Before Your Travel in India
There is tremendous diversity in India.
There are themes and characteristics like warmth and hospitality that are common to all regions of India.
Wherever you go you will be greeted with smiles and genuine kindness, but there are also subtle regional differences in local languages, cultures, etiquette and mannerism.
There are, therefore, things that you can do in one part of India, which in other parts of India may be frowned upon.
There is also the difference in terms of the socio-cultural context between urban India which tends to be forward-looking and modern and rural India which is mostly traditional and conservative.
Take your time researching the regions of India you want to travel to. Read up on their cultures and norms and be aware of the “Dos and the Dont’s” of the respective region. It will come in handy.
Here are a few handy examples. Greet people with “Namaste.” Remove your footwear before you enter someone’s house, a place of worship or a sacred space.
Eat with your right hand. Respect elders.
Prefer not to address them by their name. It is not unusual to address older people as ‘uncle’ or ‘aunty’ even if you barely know them. Avoid Public Displays of Affection (PDA).
To avoid it, it is also wise to take small strategic breaks between destinations.
2. Slow Down. Do not Rush It in India, You Will Burnout. Take Strategic Breaks to Replenish.
In most of other popular tourist countries of the world, the usual listicles like “Top 10 Things to Do,” or “Top 5 Must-Have Travel Experiences” are enough to give you a well-rounded and thorough travel experience.
This does not usually apply to India which is a shockingly diverse and varied subcontinent of 1.4 billion with rich cultures, civilizational heritage, linguistic variety, culinary traditions and climatic milieus.
You can’t see it all in India. Pick what you like and do not rush things.
If you are a first-time traveller to India, the right way to go about is to slow down and take things slow.
Sometimes the intensity of India, its frenetic metropolitans, crowded sights and frantic attractions may get to you.
Since it is so much to take in, all at once, a lot of travellers report what is called a “sensory overlord” and burnout.
Treat yourself to a pampering spa or yoga therapy. Replenish yourself and then hop on. Take an early morning boat ride in Varanasi.
Watch a mesmerizing sunset looking at the Taj Mahal with a sundowner drink from the terrace of a heritage building with exclusive views.
Spend a relaxing few days serenading in the relaxing waters of Kerala. Go on a street food tour in Delhi or Mumbai.
Live like a Maharaja for a couple of days in a Palace-turned-Heritage Hotel in the land of Kings, Rajasthan. Go on a wildlife safari. Book a secluded beachside villa in Goa or Karnataka.Plan A Trip
3- Consult Your Government’s Travel Safety Advisories
Before you embark on your Indian trip, make sure to check out if your government has issued any travel advisory for India.
Many countries issue periodic travel advisories and warning from time to time for their citizens who are looking to spend their holidays in Asia, Africa and the Pacific region.
These advisories are routinely updated and typically factor in current geopolitical situations, climactic or natural disasters-related events, and political unrest.
4- Get Vaccinated. See Your Doctor Before Departure
Before you travel to India, it is advisable that you see your doctor and tell her about your plans.
Get the prescribed medicines and other essential items that she recommends. Get properly vaccinated against infectious or any other diseases that this region is prone to.
Do not forget to pack a first-aid medical kit.Plan A Trip
5- Prefer Private Tours to India. Select Reputable Tour Operators
You chose to travel solo because you value your freedom, independence and privacy—which are things that traditional group tours comprising a dozen or so people do not provide you with.
It is therefore a good idea to invest in a private tour with a reputable tour operator that has been tried and tested by other female solo travelers you know. Backpacking is one way to go about it but that comes with its perils and dangers.
Private guided tours offer 24/7 guidance and personal support with experienced travel advisors and on-ground local guides. You will find these things helpful.
Check out our bespoke private luxury tours for further details.
Although India is not as easy to navigate as Europe, it is still possible to create your itineraries and travel plans with a little bit of research and consultation with your tour operator.
In some places, language can be a barrier but if you are up for the challenge and choose the accommodations and services well, such a personalized tour can be quite a fulfilling experience.
6- Do Not Stay Out Too Late At Night. Stay Safe
In bigger cities, you might want to go out to a bar or a club. In that case, have your hotel or tour operator arrange private pick-and-drop for you. But, in general, in smaller towns and outbacks, it is best to not stay out late at night unnecessarily.
7- Stay at Reputable Accommodations When You Travel Alone
The pace and intensity of India are overwhelming. Definitely check reviews online before choosing your accommodation, try and pick centrally located hotels.
If the budget permits, investing in a good quality hotel or resort equipped with all kinds of modern amenities like luxurious rooms, swimming pools, a 24/7 front desk, room service, a spa and a gym is never a bad idea.Plan A Trip
8- Share Your Itinerary with a Trusted Friend Before You Make Spontaneous Travel Choices
Standard itineraries that cover the most popular tourist destinations make sense. You will find yourself in regions with tens of thousands of tourists from India and around the globe.
But should you decide to make spontaneous changes or make any spur-the-moment decisions, make sure you share your plans with a trusted friend.
9- Get a Local Sim Card
India has undergone a technological and IT revolution in recent times which has made communication cheaper and more affordable. Almost all regions of India are now connected by very affordable 3g and 4g technologies.
Local sim cards are extremely affordable and give you 24/7 connectivity and coverage.
10- Do Not Share Too Much Personal Information
This is one tip that is true for all regions of the world. There is no need for you to share all of your personal information when you are solo travelling. Always hold things back.
Give out only bare minimum basic information where required. Do not give out where exactly you are staying, your daily routine and other specific details about you.
It is more prudent this way.Plan A Trip
11- Get Good Travel Insurance
Things can go wrong in travel anywhere in the world.
There may be unexpected cancellations, illnesses, natural disasters or accidents.
Investing in good travel insurance that covers all of these things gives you the peace of mind that is priceless.
12- Beware of Strangers Offering You Things That are Too Good to Be True
This is another golden rule of female solo travel. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So when you are offered something like that by people you do not know, just say no.
Be wary of strangers approaching you at beaches or busy tourist places suggesting that you attend their parties or late-night events. Trust your instincts. Say no when you have to. Be firm.
Likewise, say no if anyone offers to drop you at your hotel late at night. Have your hotel or tour operator arrange pick-and-drop services if you have to travel somewhere late in the day.Plan A Trip
13- Prefer Women-Only Transportation Where Available for Extra Safety
Some major metropolitans Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have bus services and metros that offer women-only buses. You can avail them as well for more safety and security.
In order to avoid last-minute hustle during inter-city travel, it is advisable to arrange transfers from railway/bus stations and the airport to the hotel through your travel agent or your hotel.
13- Reach Out to Other Solo Female Travellers
Since Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 blockbuster memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” and the hit movie of same name based on it starring Julia Roberts, the phenomenon of solo female traveller to India has taken off and a large number of women have ventured out on solo journeys of personal discovery and spiritual growth.
Some of these women document their journeys via blogs and social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook. You can reach out to them for advice and inspiration.
India has a wealth of charming Homestays/AirBnBs, which are a great way to experience the Indian family living experience and cultural intricacies. You may also get to meet other travellers sharing their experiences of places at such accommodations.Plan A Trip
14- Dress Appropriately
India is not a backward-looking theocracy with an anti-women moral or dress code. In bigger cities, you can dress as you would in West.
However, in smaller towns and rural heartlands, where people are traditionally conservative, it is better to dress appropriately.
Dressing like a local in salwar kameez now and then is also a good idea for blending in and cultural immersion.
At Gurdwaras like the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Jama Masjid in Delhi, you are expected to cover your head, dress modestly and not bare a lot of your skin. When visiting Hindu temples, you are similarly expected to dress appropriately and are often required to take off your shoes.
15- Protect Your Documents
The last thing you want to do is lose or misplace your local documents. Keep your original documents safe and secure in your hotel locker. Carry photocopies or photos of your documents on your smartphones in case of any emergencies.
16- Practice Digital Security
In age of social media and technology, digital security for women has become crucially important. It is advisable to practice smart digital practices and not be irresponsible with your personal details or whereabouts on public social media forums.Plan A Trip
17- Keep Emergency Contacts Handy
To cover emergency situations, save the numbers of your local embassy or consulate in India, police helplines and other emergency helplines.
18- Prefer Not to Travel Late at Night or Overnight Between Destinations
If you are travelling between states, prefer traveling during daytime.
19- Respect Local Customs and Norms
India is friendly, warm and welcoming. But it is also incumbent upon visitors to respect local norms and culture and travel responsibly. When touring places of religious and spiritual significance, it is important to be aware of these facts.
20- Use Reputable Local Tour Guides
Accredited local guides, including female guides, are available in top tourist attractions like Delhi, Agra, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata and other major destinations. Consider hiring their services for more safety.
Now that you know what precautions to take and how to carry out safe solo female travel in India, let us look at some places to travel and top attractions.Plan A Trip
MUST-SEE PLACES FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL IN INDIA
If you are traveling to India solo, chances are you are looking for venues for inner growth and personal development. There are no better places in India to seek such things than “Yoga Capital of the World” Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.
Known also for its picturesque beauty, serene valleys and divine Ganga river, this small town near Dehradun is an important spiritual and pilgrimage site for Hindus.
You can check into a state-of-the-art “destination spa” resort at Rishikesh for some self-pampering quality time or spend some time at an Ashram for spiritual enlightenment.
India’s “Maximum City” is where dreams are made. The country’s economic heart is also home to the face of Indian global soft power, the Bollywood film industry.
This sprawling metropolitan of 23 million people is hip, modern, trendy, cosmopolitan and overwhelming. It is a great place to start a solo journey in India.
3.The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur)
If you are into history, cultural immersion, heritage and artistic allure, the Golden Triangle tourist circuit —most popular tourist trail in India—is for you.
The region is home to India’s greatest landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-doula, Tomb of Akbar in Agra; the Red Fort, Humayun’s Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, India and Chandi Chowk in Delhi; and regal palaces, Havelis, forts and attractions of Rajasthan in Jaipur.
For further details, check out our exclusive Golden Triangle Luxury Tours.
With its pristine beaches, serene backwaters, vibrant culture, sumptuous cuisine and friendly people and spice & tee plantation tours, Southern India state of Kerala (known affectionately as “God’s Own Country”) is a huge hit with international tourists.
It is a great place for solo female travellers.
If you are to pick one place in India that has highest concentration of a multicultural global crowd from all over world, the tropical beach town of Goa stands out.
Known for its stunning palm-lined white sand beaches, hip nightlife, rave parties and Portuguese colonial heritage, Goa is a great place for a tropical beach holiday.Plan A Trip