The state of affairs is such in India, it seems the only way a woman traveling solo is safe is by not traveling altogether . India Untravelled has rightly said in an article,” In a country like India where most women struggle with safety in their routine lives, travelling solo might be a incredulous idea.” If you like to know how to be the boss of your own safety, check out this article HERE! (link) The biggest myth is that a woman needs to have someone with her to enjoy a vacation. What people fail to realize is that any girl is capable of enjoying in her own company. Solitude can be bliss. Sometimes, this solitude is seen as a liability that can be taken advantage of. Knock them out of your way with these simple tricks up your sleeve:
Know your way:
Travelling to a place without mapping the area is like jumping off a plane without a parachute. Who does that? Talk to people who have already been there or know the area. If you get no leads , ask for suggestions on social media. You will surely unearth a few valuable information from your circle or you can try travel forums.
2. Decline solo pictures:
When people get to know that you’re from a distant part of India, they stare like you are an exotic animal in a zoo. Moreover, they start asking for a picture with you. This poses a serious safety threat as your picture can be used for million of wrong ways. Posing for a single picture with someone is no less than drawing a bull’s eye on yourself and makes you a target more distinctively. In such a case, it’s always better to politely decline for pictures. If they still insist, make sure they are family people and agree for only 1 group picture.
3. Blend in:
Women feel offended when they’re told how to dress. The biggest issue is when they’re told not to wear short clothes in certain places. But this is not the case here. When you’re away from home, dress in a way that seamlessly blends you in the crowd. If you go to Bangalore, wearing shorts helps you fit in more than stand out. But if the same is worn in Madhya Pradesh, heads will turn towards you and not in a good way because the people there dress conservatively. Inappropriate attire screams out tourist and paves the way for troublemakers. In any part of India, loose fit cotton clothes are the safest bet.
4. Always have a backup:
Who doesn’t like choices? When it comes down to your well-being nothing seems more important than it. Do not keep all your cash in one place. Put them in unusual places that no one would want to steal from you like an empty box of biscuits or inside your socks. Having separate places for money provides you a cushion even if something gets lost or stolen.
5. Update your loved ones:
You might be a solo traveller but you always have people you care about you to look after. One of the most important tips anyone can give you is to keep in touch with your loved ones and send them your itinerary and programmes. Give them any information that might be relevant to ensure your safety if something happens to you. Hotel’s address, phone number, travel agency’s contact, registration number of your cab, place you are about to visit and a picture of all your important documents like passport, tickets, etc should be sent to your loved ones through Dropbox or otherwise.
6. What to do if you’re lost?:
It is very easy to get lost in an unfamiliar especially when you are alone there. Panicking or nervous strolls up and down the streets will chalk you out as an easy prey for the no gooders out there. The first thing is to stay calm and trust your instincts. These intuitions are often right and if you feel something is off, it probably is. DO NOT look at maps outside on the street. Walk in to a local restaurant and ask your doubts at the front desk. Or get to the nearest policeman. If you feel someone is following you, walk alongside a family and smile at them. Families are likely to help a single woman more than anyone else.
7. Carry a tracking device
In India, you do not know when a crisis may strike you especially when you are a women and traveling alone. One wrong turn and your life can spin around from ‘Roman Holiday’ to ‘Taken’. To protect yourself , always carry a GPS tracking device that accurately identifies your location and you can send alerts to closed loved ones during an emergencies. This way you have someone alongside you even when you’re alone.