Safety advice for women travellers in India
It is important to recognise the problems women can face when travelling in India and to be aware of what steps can be taken to minimise any risk of danger. While the likelihood of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind so you can have the best possible experience during your time in India.
- If not already included in your tour, arrange for an airport arrival transfer or use pre-paid taxis at airports. Avoid late night arrivals or departures where possible. All our drivers will have a sign with our logos on it (as below) to identify them:
To get around the city, take taxis or rickshaws arranged through your hotel rather than hailing them on the street. Sit in the back seat of transport behind the driver. Some cities have special taxi services with women drivers:
Delhi: Meru Eve Cabs (44224422), Sakha (99991 93004), GCabs (39423942)
Mumbai: Priyadarshini Taxi Services (43333999), Viira Cab (6120 6120)
Chennai: Go for Pink (64581111)
Trivandrum/Kochi: Shetaxi (859 0000 543)
- If taking public transport, avoid travelling alone or at night and ride in the women’s carriages on the Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai metros.
- Ask a male travel companion from your group to accompany you if you need to leave your compartment on overnight trains (i.e. going to the bathroom). Where possible, we will allocate female group members an upper bunk and will not separate female travellers from the rest of the group.
- Take a hotel card with you when going out so you know the address and contact numbers.
- If there is a phone in your room, check that it works. Make sure you know your leader’s room number and how to dial it.
- Lock your door when you are inside your room and do not open it to anyone you don’t know. If hotel staff need access to your room for any reason, request that they do this while you are out, or wait at reception while they attend to any cleaning or repairs. For the protection of both our travellers and staff, our leaders worldwide are not permitted to be alone in a room with a group member.
- Inform your leader and reception immediately if you notice any doors or windows in your room open or broken; do not enter if they are. Likewise, if you notice any hotel staff acting suspiciously or making your feel uncomfortable, go to your leader or one of your group members so you are not alone.
- Avoid discussing where you are staying when out in public or sharing too many details of your travel plans with people you meet.
- Always act confidently. Walk with purpose. Be assertive and don’t be afraid to say no loudly and sharply in any situation where you feel uncomfortable or in danger.
- Shop in areas that are busy, well lit and popular. Avoid going into back rooms of shops where you can’t see the street, including when trying on clothes.
- It is rare to see a local woman talking to men she doesn’t know unless she is with her husband. Strike up conversations with women when travelling to meet locals and be aware that being seen to be too friendly (including ‘conversational’ touching while talking) with local men at tourist sights or hotel staff can easily be misinterpreted.
- Explore during the day. Be back in the hotel by nightfall, or ensure that you are not going to need to travel back alone after dark.
- India is a conservative country. Dress modestly by covering your legs and shoulders and wearing looser fitting clothes. Wear shorts and t-shirt over your swim wear if swimming.
- Indian women rarely drink in public. Only drink in the company of others from your group and don’t accept alcohol from strangers.
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home. Open yourself up to new experiences, but with caution and an awareness of the culture you are in.