Just like in any other travel destination, safety is always a concern irrespective of whether you are traveling alone or as a group, especially for women traveling in India. Thankfully, foreigners are largely exempt from crime. The only notable concern of crime towards visitors is the physical and verbal harassment of women. Such kind of statistics are replicated across many towns in India.
Here are nine tips that female travelers in India must bear in mind.
1. Carry yourself with confidence
Most women attest that when in India, how you carry yourself matters a lot. If your demeanor telegraphs confidence, then you are unlikely to get any unwanted attention.
In case you feel someone is paying too much attention, or if someone is outright harassing you, then be cold, ignore them and tell them outright to leave you alone. You can use the phrase “jaao” which means “go” in Hindi.
2. Avoid going out at night alone
Admittedly, India’s nightlife is exciting and fun. However, always make a point of going out with someone so that you can watch out for each other. Also, a criminal is more likely to target a lone person, as opposed to a group.
3. Be wary of strangers even seemingly harmless ones
Sometimes, people tend to drop their defenses for people they perceive as safe, such as youngsters. When in India, avoid doing so and be very careful of the strangers you interact with.
Consider, for instance, the 2017 incident where underage boys assaulted a Swiss couple. Though it is an isolated incident, it goes to show that such a scenario is not out of the realm of possibility.
However, please do not avoid people. Local Indian culture is one of the most beautiful things. The aim here is to be wary and to trust your gut.
4. Have your phone and a power bank with you always
Sometimes a taxi driver or auto-rickshaw driver might drive you to an unfamiliar place. If you have a phone, then you can use Google maps to look up the area. If you are uncomfortable, you can call someone you trust. In line with that, a power bank will ensure your phone does not die.
5. Either memorize or note down emergency numbers
As soon as you land, it is advisable to learn the local police contacts as well as available helplines for women. If possible, key in the numbers in your speed dial.
Moreover, know who to call in case of a medical emergency and who to call in case of a transport emergency—public transport and medical helplines. That way, if you happen to be in an uncomfortable situation, or are in an emergency, you can quickly ask for help.
6. Encrypt your internet traffic
As noted above, cybercrime is an emerging threat. A key way to protect yourself from cybercrime is to have a VPN that will encrypt your connection. This is especially important when accessing public Wi-Fi. Unsecured networks render you vulnerable to Man-In-The-Middle attacks, whereby hackers in proximity snoops on your internet traffic, including your account credentials and personal communications. This is possible because unencrypted communications are sent in plain text, meaning that it’s completely exposed to anyone with the simplest hacking gears.
Research and subscribe to the best VPN in India so that you can avoid identity theft or the theft of your financial details.
7. Dress modestly
It is imperative that you dress in a modest manner so that you can avoid attracting more attention than necessary. Moreover, dressing modestly allows you to blend in more. You can even go for saris if you think you can rock them.
8. Be careful how you relate with men
India is still a traditional society in a lot of ways. In some areas, men and women do not mix. As a result, do not be over friendly with men. If you are, some may see that as a come-on. Even when asking for directions, either ask women or exercise judgment when asking a man.
9. Use women’s compartments on trains
When using a train, though there is nothing wrong with using any other compartment, using the women’s compartments especially during rush hour will ensure more comfort, you will avoid the occasional gawking by men, and it is roomier.
Bear in mind that this is not to say public transport is unsafe. However, trains like Mumbai Local has ladies’ compartments in first and second class. On the other hand, the Delhi Metro reserves the first coach for women. The reserved spaces in trains are extremely comfortable.
As a woman, following the tips above will play an essential role you remain safe and that you enjoy your trip sans worry.
who is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and encryption tools.