This is the most often asked question from women travelers – is it safe to travel to India? Well, the answer is ‘Yes’, as long as you travel the right way! So the next question is ‘what is the right way?’. Here are some tips for women travel to India, especially if traveling for the first time:
1. Do your research – India is definitely not a country that you can just pack your bags and land! Women travel to India needs careful planning with proper facts to make the most of your visit and explore this beautiful country in the most comfortable and safest way. India is one country for which this is definitely true – ‘Find what you seek!’ So it all depends on what your interests are – history, culture, beaches, festivals, architecture, palaces, wildlife, backwaters, temples, spirituality, Ayurveda, Yoga, relaxation and so on… Define your purpose of travel and what you expect to achieve out of your visit. If you are a first-time women traveler to India and all you need to do is see the highlights of the country then an ideal choice is to see the Golden Triangle cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. One would need a minimum of 6-7 days. If you have more time in hand, then include Mumbai too. Besides these, one can explore the princely state of Rajasthan with cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Pushkar and Jaisalmer. To explore all the cities of Rajasthan, it would require a minimum of 2 weeks. With another week in hand, one can fly down to south India and visit the beautiful state of Kerala. Kerala is the birthplace of Ayurveda and thus is a must for someone looking for a wellness tour to India. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, then do not miss out on Ranthambhore. The Ranthambhore National Park houses the largest population of Royal Bengal Tigers in the country. For just some beach time relaxation, Goa is your destination! If you would like to see one of the most ancient living civilizations on earth, then include Varanasi to your itinerary.
2. Choosing flights and starting the city of your tour – The capital city of India is New Delhi and most international flights land around midnight, depending on the country you are flying from. Hence, first, check out for flights from your location and see if you can get a flight that arrives during the day time instead of the middle of the night. The international airport in New Delhi is located away from the city centre and is a minimum of 45 minutes to a 1-hour drive, depending on the time of the day you arrive at. If your location does not have a flight arriving at New Delhi during the day, book yourself an airport hotel for the night and step out during day time. If you are arriving around 2-3 am, then you might as well wait inside the airport until 6-7 am till its daylight. Commuting in daylight is often more beneficial as you can understand the places better, look for directions better and even ask directions from people which is not possible during the night time. Mumbai is the commercial capital of the country and one of the safest cities in the country, especially if compared to New Delhi. One can always land in Mumbai, spend a day or two and then fly down to New Delhi or even cities in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Udaipur, etc that have direct flight connectivity from Mumbai.
3. Selecting hotels – Don’t just go by the fancy websites. Look out for reviews and pictures. For women travelers to India, we strongly recommend booking a minimum of 4-star hotels. Do not go for budget or 3-star hotels unless you have a first-hand review or recommendation from someone who has stayed there already. Alternatively, consult a local travel agent whom you can trust and get honest opinions about the actual standards of the hotels rather than what is displayed online.
4. Commuting between cities – There are some cities that are connected by flights whereas some are connected by road. The railways are not a very comfortable, hygienic and safe mode of transport unless you are on a luxury train journey through India. Try to travel during the daytime and avoid highways after dark. There is a certain routing that can be followed for planning the travel in the most optimum manner and it depends on the cities you want to visit and the time you have in hand. Most journeys through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan are comfortably covered by a car booked from New Delhi. However, be prepared for a minimum of 4-5 hours journey between different cities. The drive is scenic and enjoyable unless you have motion sickness. One can observe the countryside while traveling from one city to the other. Moreover traveling with a safe and trustworthy driver is most important for your travel in India.
5. Safety while moving in cities – It is recommended not to step out alone in Delhi after 8 pm. However, Mumbai is safer and known for its nightlife so if you are fond of nightlife, then Mumbai is your place! Smaller places and towns shut down very early in the evening and hence not very safe either. Markets shut down by 9 pm and bigger malls by 10 pm. Pick up dining places closer to your hotel and travel with a reliable car and driver. This is one advantage of traveling with travel companies that their drivers are really trustworthy. Pickpocketing is common and so one needs to be careful about their belongings. Carry limited cash and only copy of your passports. Lock your passport and valuables thoroughly in your room; it is best to carry your own locks.
6. Healthy travel – It is very important to visit in the right season, stay at places which are hygienic and eat at the right places too. No one wants diarrhoea to spoil the fun of the trip! You can not drink tap water under any circumstances. ALWAYS drink bottled water and buy from the right places to ensure it is authentic.
India is a country like no other and women travel to India can be very safe if planned well. We have many women travelers to India who enjoy visiting our beautiful country. Little precautions and planning can help all women travelers enjoy their visit to India and experience the true hospitality, culture, cuisine and vibrant destinations at their best!
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