We live in a time where waiting for a trip to materialise with family has become passé. Instead, be it a boy or a girl, we just like to choose a place of our liking and head straight out of the door. Especially if we’re travelling within the country, all it takes is a few clicks to book accommodation and flight tickets and you’re ready to go with your backpack. But it’s a different ball game for women altogether because chances are they’ll land into trouble for not exercising caution, as opposed to men who don’t need any of that.
So here are few things to keep in mind, dear women traveller, when you’re consumed by wander-lust the next time:
Do your research
Travelling within India is a little different (read: safer) than travelling in say, countries in Europe. That’s mostly because of culture that demands you to be a certain way. For example: wearing skimpy clothes in certain parts of Rajasthan might attract unwarranted attention whereas wearing the same ones in certain parts of Mumbai won’t. So do your research. Carry a pair or two of modest clothes because India has really diverse cultures.
Approach men with caution
Don’t be in denial about your own country. Accept that India is a traditional society in the throes of great change. Refrain from being overly friendly with unknown men; and be very cautious about moving around at night. If you’re going to big metro cities, you still can expect men to understand the signals of flirting, but if you’re in relatively smaller towns and cities, rest assured that they’ll be taken as an open invitation to something much more.
It’s a 50-50 when it comes to being completely safe on your own in India. But what really helps is putting up a hard exterior. Look like someone who can knock the daylight’s out of anybody who tries to harass. Learn a few self-defence techniques and use your voice to scare anybody trying to attack you. simple things like pepper spray too come in handy. To avoid these circumstances avoid travelling to and from station in the middle of the night, secluded ares and a crowded area with working-class men.
Most tours and hotels provide pick-up and drop from airport and railway-station. Avail this facility especially if you’re travelling at an ungodly hour. Also, let your family and close friends know about your whereabouts by sharing taxi details using social media or a picture of the auto-rickshaw driver. Most importantly, while leaving a bar or restaurant at night, book a private taxi to take you to your hotel.
Indian clothes to the rescue
On days when you’re under confident about yourself, switch to modest Indian clothes. Not only are they light and comfortable but also fairly suitable in the climate of the country. Plus, you end up looking more like a local in most places like Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad etc. if you wear a salwar kameez. Keeping a cloth to cover your head and neck is also a good idea as it can be used as a scarf from all the heat and dust on the roads as well as a shawl that you can wrap around your shoulders.