Solo Travel INDIA – Is it safe? My experience


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To make a long story short, in March 2020, I was supposed to go to India with a small group of people. At the last minute everyone dropped out because of the pandemic, which at that time was just beginning.

About 2 months before departure, India was no longer issuing visas to foreigners, so as you can tell from the context, I went at a very specific time.

Not only were we at the beginning of the pandemic, but there were also protests in Delhi over the new emigration law, so the capital was in turmoil.

It was a very peculiar time to go, which made me have a different perspective than someone who visits the country under normal conditions.

Solo travel India

Is it safe for a woman to travel solo in India?

So, let’s start at the beginning. I went around the country for 2 weeks, traveling mostly in Central India, in the states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhia Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

This means that I went to the most conservative part of the country, so even though I didn’t have any problems, obviously a woman traveling alone is going to attract a lot of attention.

People asked if I was alone, if I was married, why was I traveling alone. It’s normal for people to ask a lot of questions.

However it’s important to realize that if they do it, it’s only because they are curious. Not because they wanted to do me any harm. It was just because I was different.

Obviously, there were several factors that attracted a lot of attention on me, one of them was traveling alone, another was the fact that I was very white and blond.

That also made me attract stares. I was stared at for quite a while. But I never felt intimidated or uncomfortable about it. It’s a normal, culturally accepted situation.

Above all they wanted to know why I was in India and if I was enjoying the country. Indians are a very proud people of their traditions and are happy to show and share their culture with outsiders.

If you show a little bit of “open mind”, they will show you the best of their country, because they are so grateful to have you there and so hospitable, that for them, “guest is God”.

If you behave properly, respect the culture, don’t do anything stupid like going to dangerous areas, if you avoid public transportations at night, like long distance transport, and if as a woman traveling alone you don’t stay in risky areas, you won’t have any problems.

During the trip I took internal flights, traveled by train, traveled by car with a driver on a route that lasted 6 hours, rode rickshaws and tuk-tuks, and never had any issues.

I only had male guides and all of them were extremely professional, none of them disrespected me. In fact, no one in India ever disrespected me.

They were all very kind and grateful to have me there. I often say that I was treated like a princess in India and that’s what I really felt.

As in any circumstance when you travel alone, whether in India or anywhere in the world, if you don’t feel like talking to people, you don’t have to.

People come up to you, start talking to you, and if you don’t feel like doing it, say goodbye politely and go on your way.

Avoid staying in very cheap accommodation for safety reasons. In general, these accommodations have poorly educated staff from remote areas of the country who do not understand the fact that a woman is traveling solo, and see this as an opportunity for an abusive behavior.

Understand that it is a different culture than yours, accept that fact, and respect the difference.

Be courteous and kind, because you will get so much back. You will receive so much joy and smiles, you will have the opportunity to meet extraordinary people.

I can’t say enough that Indians are extremely kind, and they will share with you their family, their culture, and even their food.

Before going to India I spoke with a friend, who has been there 7 or 8 times, and told him that I had learned that I was going to travel alone to India.

To which he replied to me: “You’ll be fine, just be smart and don’t do anything stupid. You’ll be fine!”

And that’s the same thing I’m going to tell you: don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine!

And yes, this was my experience, I met in India some of the most generous and kind people I have come across in the world, I was treated like family.

It was funny because one of my guides called me “Sister Angela”.

Logically it was funny for me to be treated like that, because in Western countries we don’t see that, at least not in such a genuine way.

It is inevitable that there is initially that barrier between people that separates us culturally, mostly on our part, since we are educated to be suspicious of “difference” and to be afraid of the unknown.

So the answer to the “golden question”: is it safe to travel in India as a woman?

My answer is: Yes, it is….as long as you don’t do anything that puts you at risk!


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25 thoughts on “Solo Travel INDIA – Is it safe? My experience”

  1. Pingback: India – The Amazing Journey of a Life Time »

  2. I get this question wherever I travel solo and my answer is always as safe as you want it to be. That goes for being at home. But a place like India is definitely a different culture and religion but you advice to respect the culture is number 1 rule…always!

    1. Most of the not-so-good experiences people have while traveling are because of a lack of information before they go. If you inform yourself and don’t make basic mistakes, you reduce the potential for something bad to happen.

  3. I totally agree with everything here. I see a lot of solo females on my travels and they all report that they feel safe if they understand and follow the advice you have given here. Funnily enough in many countries, I get asked the same questions and one man was even surprised that I wasn’t married or had kids…. just a cultural thing. I’m always open to alternative thinking and travel broadens my mind and educates me.

    1. Traveling alone is quite different from going with someone, but it is a liberating experience. You have to be extra careful, however, you learn to be more independent and to take care of yourself without depending on anyone else.

  4. Knowledge is power, and if you know as much as you can before you go about the customs then the level of risk is lessened. For many, it’s a maturity factor. As you said don’t do anything that puts you at risk. And that infers judgement, so as long as you feel comfortable with your level of judgement and don’t take risks it’s safe for a solo female traveller. Thanks for giving confidence to others who might not already have it.

  5. I heard a lot of stories about India from female and male solo travellers and none of them were horrible or scary, just that the culture is so different it can be a shock to the system. Some loved it and others hated it but we all deal with experiences differently. it’s great to hear another positive perspective from a female traveller. How did you travel within the country? I know that traveling by train in India is an adventure in itself but would love to read more insights on that.

    1. Just do a search on youtube, for example, to find testimonials from travelers with bad experiences. Most probably the situations that caused the problems were created by themselves, but anyway… I traveled by all possible types of transport 🙂 the train trips were made in tourist or women’s wagons. There is the possibility to travel in wagons that are exclusively for women. It is the safest option!

  6. It’s like you’ve said, be respectful towards another culture when you travel and you should be fine, too. I would struggle with the interrogations and stares, as I have had very bad experiences with people and have to be cautious and vigilant that I don’t attract any harm. Not sure if I would travel to India solo or if I would chose a tour for a first time visit.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

  7. thedctraveler9b7e4f7d4d

    I was supposed to be there in April 2020 but it obviously got cancelled. I find your perspective refreshing! We often are afraid of what we’re not used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. I’m hopeful that I get to go soon!

  8. Thanks for sharing your insight. Other solo travellers will be happy to know that the more conservative areas of India felt safe to you. It’s important to always be vigilant when in new places, but most places and people are good 🙂

  9. Planning and not taking risks is the main part of being safe as a solo traveler. You have the exact right mindset here and so glad to see it being used to educate and inform and not scare people away from solo travel which is a wonderful experience. Sure, India is a different country than maybe one you’ll have visited before, but that doesn’t make it bad, especially if you’re smart with your choices. I would love to go to India, solo or not, so I appreciate the honest feedback of your experience

    1. The vast majority of the time less good things happen to those who travel solo because of misinformation. It is essential that we are well informed, whether we are traveling to India or anywhere else in the world. India is fascinating!

  10. Loved reading your personal experience with traveling India solo. I’d love to travel to India as well but I know it’d be a solo trip, because no one else would really want to go with me. The more aware you are, informed you are on the country’s culture and people, and not do anything stupid like you’ve mentioned, traveling solo as a women is not as terrible as it seems.

    1. Try to get a local agency to accompany you and guide you through the places you want to visit. I had local guides that were a great help and without them the experience wouldn’t have been so good 🙂

  11. Super common sense advice here. Do nothing dumb. Use good judgment. Everyone seems entitled to having fun, enjoying travels, but even a guy like me could make some bone-headed decisions in a place like India, traveling solo, and would find myself in dire straits. Common sense, folks!


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