India is a country that is raw, versatile, and incredible. It’s a mix of everything you’d want to see in a country– rich history, preserved culture and tradition, beautiful architecture and breathtaking landscapes. We’ve been there and honestly, I think that the city could be chaotic (as any other city) but the wonderful thing about India is that amidst the chaos, we found serenity.
I know you’ve been reading crazy things about this country like dead bodies can be found on streets, dead bodies floating on rivers, men touching women’s buttocks in public transportations, men shouting lewd remarks, thieves, and robbers looking for their next victim and taxis taking you to dark alleys. I think some things we see on the internet are a little exaggerated but this can really happen if you’re unlucky. I’m not here to try to scare you or anything because I’ve been to India and I love it! We’ve had a very good time there and I didn’t experience any eve-teasing.
What I’m here for is to tell you that there are several things you have to consider when planning your trip to India– some for safety reasons, of course 🙂
1) What hotel should you get?
Are you a solo traveler? A family with kids? Or a couple? Book a hotel which is suitable for you and/or the people you’re traveling with. Choosing a good hotel is very crucial for your trip to India. Yes, you’ll find a lot of cheap hostels but your primary concern should be the location and the safety of the surrounding area. You wouldn’t really want to go back to your hotel passing thru a dark and creepy alley, right?
Also, always bring a padlock with you. Hostels often have lockers that you can use to store your valuables (especially your passport) as long as you have your own lock. Bring one with a number code so you’ll save yourself the stress of looking for your key or the risk of losing it.
Don’t worry, hotels in India are pretty cheap and there’s plenty of options to choose from so I suggest you take time to read all the verified reviews from past customers.
Check this list of Best Backpacker Hostels in India.
2) To get or not to get a tour package?
Yes, we all love to explore a country following our own itinerary and our own schedule but getting a tour package in India is seriously one thing you should consider.. Not only will it save you from the hassle of getting public transportation, you’ll also meet new friends and not to mention the convenience of just having to sit in the car on full blast A/C without thinking of what you’re going to do next. It is perfect for solo travelers and big groups alike.
I highly recommend India Tour Packages from India Tours— an expert in the industry who have been providing high quality and excellent service for 65 years already. They have multilingual staff who can assist you be it English, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese. What I love most about them is their support for ethical and sustainable tourism. They won’t only take you to places, they’ll let you experience it.
So let’s say you didn’t book a tour package and you have to take public transportation all the time. Don’t worry because there are buses, trams, trains, rickshaw, and taxis around. If you’re taking the train, you’re a female traveler and if you have money, it is advisable that you purchase the tickets in advance and take the high class.
There are also women-only public transportation options for rickshaw (they are pink compared to regular ones which are yellow) and buses but I heard they’re really hard to find so you for solo female travelers, you might want to reconsider #2.
4) Your Travel Buddies
Try to consider if you really want to go solo for this trip. Or perhaps it’s better if you can find someone who’d love to go on a trip with you? Traveling solo in India could be difficult, especially for females. Sure you can go on your own but I’m not encouraging you to go solo here. Well just in case you’re already decided then stay at a backpackers hostel and you might just get some good company who’s doing the same route as you. I promise you’ll feel safer, better, and more comfortable when you have some friends around.
5) Your clothing
India isn’t very traditional and conservative as you think it is. Just so you know, there’s H&M, Forever 21 and Zara in India so I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of what clothes they are selling (and people are buying, of course). Sure you can wear your skinny jeans but make sure to at least try to cover your bum. You can also use your boho pants and maxi skirts/dresses. You can also wear tank tops which shows the shoulders, those with open back and even crop tops! You can also show some cleavage but the thing is, showing more skin means attracting more attention and trust me, you wouldn’t want these guys eyes on you.
Here’s the thing, you should ALWAYS have your scarf with you– some temples require women to cover their heads. It’s a very good tool to protect yourself from the sun and also a tool to protect yourself if you’re getting a lot of unwanted attention.
For guys, luck you because you can just wear khaki shorts/pants and t-shirts. Basically, wear anything you like which is decent. Just make a research before going to temples though because some temples require even men to cover their heads with a scarf so always bring one with you too.
Another thing to consider is the weather, especially when you’re packing for clothes. Disregard everything I said at #5 when you’re coming for the winter (December-February) and bring your winter clothes (duh haha). Summer is from March to May and temperature could rise up to 50 degrees Celsius. Monsoon is the worst time to visit and it usually falls from June-October.
The temperature depends on what place in India you’re going (some could be colder/warmer than the other) so check our bff Google for reference :p
Some Indians do not speak English and there are at least 22 scheduled languages as listed in their constitution so it would be pretty hard for you to communicate especially when you’re going to remote places. If you’re staying in cities you’ll survive with just English. But if you’re going to the North and Western regions, I suggest you study some Hindi phrases. If you speak Hindi, they’re going to get friendly with you and you can get cheaper rates too! 🙂
By the way, it’s not enough that you memorize these Hindi phrases. It is very important that you get the tone right. Hindi is kind of similar to Chinese that if you don’t get the tone right, then it wouldn’t make any sense especially when you’re talking to people from the North and the West.
That’s all my tip for now! Happy and safe travels! ♡