India is a country full of culture, history, amazing landscapes and of course lots and lots of people! With a fast growing population you’ll understand just how chaotic this country can be, but nonetheless still a place many go out and seek, taking the time to explore and marvel at its awe inspiring landscapes. If you’re female and planning on travelling to India, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Watch what you wear
Much of the attention that you draw is a result of what you are wearing. Try to avoid wearing tight clothes and short skirts as this will attract a lot of unwanted attention from others. Stick to wearing a salwar with a dupatta/shawl. You can wear jeans and kurta too but carry a shawl with you always.
To avoid hawkers, wear sunglasses AND keep walking. When asking for directions or simply talking to someone, take them off and converse. It’s disconcerts a lot of people as they can’t discern emotion.
Ayurvedic treatments are common in India. However, a general rule of thumb is that a female therapist treats female clients and a male therapist treats male clients. Prior to entering the massage room, confirm with the staff that a female therapist will perform the treatments.
Watch your body language
The important thing to remember is that an action or gesture that may come naturally to you, such as touching someone’s arm while talking to them, might be misinterpreted in a conservative country like India. Be mindful of keeping your physical distance from men even while being open to them, especially on public transportation where personal space is at a premium. Interacting with men in India is a constant balancing act of being guarded and friendly.
Do not indulge in conversation with strangers
You love to socialize. Yes, we understand that. But don’t do it when you are travelling alone. Keep to yourself and try not to make a conversation with others. If someone does manage to pester you and get into a conversation, keep it minimal and do not let out any personal information.
Love your wallet
Keep your wallet close to you at all times. Also, place money in different parts like your back pocket or the sides of your bag. In case of an unfortunate incident, you will have some money to get out of the situation.
If you are a first time traveller, be confident. Do not give away that you are travelling for the first time. Act like you know what you are doing and where you are going at all times. Keep your head high and voice firm.
Do not borrow anything from anyone
Do not accept anything that is given by a stranger. If the person offers you biscuits or fruits, politely decline and retreat to your seat. If you have watched the railway ads that constantly run at the stations, you will know what I mean.
No smoking in public
Forget about smoking or drinking in public, it only fuels the stereotype; do it in the privacy of your room or in a bar where you can see other women do it. If you’re the person who’s into drugs & rave scenes, this advice is certainly not for you. Being spaced out in your country is one thing but getting stoned out here is <shrug>…is way out of my league for rational behaviour & discussion.
Do not be alone
When you feel you are in one corner of the train/bus with a man, go to an area where there are women around. If you are uncomfortable with the person sitting next to you, request for a seat change or negotiate with other passengers.
Do not carry lots of luggage. You will need to handle these things alone. So make sure you travel light, probably with a backpack and one trolley bag. Do not carry a lot of jewellery and cash.
Part of manifesting good and bad events are through your thoughts and emotions. If you are on overdrive with fear about getting robbed or starred at, then take it as a sign to join a tour or day trips. When someone obsesses about something bad happening, it usually happens. If you catch yourself thinking or saying, “The only thing I (do not want) did not want to happen was…” it’s a sign that the universe is sending you what you are thinking about most of the time.
Everyone has their memorable tale from the Indian rails – the couple who helped them get off at the right station, the family who insisted on sharing their dahl and chapatis, the college student who said to wake him if there was any trouble. Nowhere else in the world is the journey just as fun as the destination as it is in India. But it’s also important to take certain precautions. When booking your journey, request an upper berth. This will not only be a place to keep your bags secure during the day, but will also give you a sense of privacy and keep you out of the fray at night as you sleep.
Exclusive Tip for Foreigners
You’ll have the Indian version of the Paparazzi
You will notice that mobile phones will be held up and photos taken of you a lot of the time. Half the time, because they are so quick at snapping your picture, there isn’t much you can do about it. If it’s really obvious and you don’t like it, a firm ‘stop’ or ‘no’ will usually suffice.