Traveling to India is a great adventure. The country is very large and diverse and has many unique cultural and natural tourist attractions. India’s bigger cities are cultural melting pots and offer great cuisine and nightlife. A trip to India is a time to create memories that last a lifetime. Here are some tips for traveling solo and staying safe in the vast country.
Buy and consume only bottled water
Tap water in India is generally considered unsafe for drinking compared to western standards. While the water in some bigger cities including Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi is sterilized, it is better to only drink water bottled by reputed brands.
Trains and buses generally don’t run on time
Solo travelers often don’t have the luxury of renting or chartering private transport. Trains, buses, and other public transport can run on average half an hour to an hour late. While it can be frustrating to the western traveler, we urge you to remember that you are on vacation. Have patience and use your spare time to people watch and you will soon start enjoying the incredible experience that is India.
Keep your valuables safe
This is by far our #1 tip for traveling solo in India. Pickpockets and thieves abound in crowded places and foreigners are an easy and obvious target. Losing your wallet, cards, passport, and other documents in India will be a big hassle and something you don’t want to go through. Solo travelers can invest in backpacks with hidden compartments and hotel safes to keep their belongings secure. Visitors are also recommended to be cautious with their electronic and keep a firm grip on their cameras, tablets, and phones in public places.
Haggle with the shopkeepers
While India has large malls selling goods by international brands in most big cities; shopping at the street side vendors is more fun. Most of the items sold by these vendors are unique, local to the region, and handmade. By buying from these vendors, solo travelers support the local economy and participate in responsible travel. However, buying from the street vendors is not that simple. Most often the vendors quote prices that are twice or thrice the original price to foreigners. The trick to haggling is by starting at less than half the quoted price and staying firm.
If you are a female visitor, this tip for traveling solo should come in handy in several countries. While not as conservative as Middle-Eastern countries, India is still more conservative than western countries. Travelers need not be covered from head to toe but revealing too much skin is frowned upon, especially at places of worship and in rural areas. Similarly, crop tops, yoga pants, and shorts and frowned upon in most places. You will blend in perfectly with comfortable jeans or leggings and long t-shirts that cover the waist. We also recommend carrying a scarf to cover up as needed.