Many a times the first question that is asked about solo women travel in India is, “is it even possible?” If you go by my limited experience the answer is yes but with caution. I never really intended to travel solo and my first solo trips were for work abroad rather than in India. And I could quite happily negotiate my way in an alien land and come back safely.
My first solo India traveling experiences were because I sometimes got invited by hotels to write about them. I clearly remember my very first one and how concerned my family was about my solo travel by car to Nainital. Being the first time even I was not convinced and I asked my hosts if I could bring a guest along and they were very gracious and agreed. My younger nephew and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay! I have come a long way since then. Since then I have done many invitations solo and never faced any problems. I guess such trips are safer also because if you are invited people on the property know and treat you accordingly.
But off late I have also traveled solo and organized everything on my own. These are more adventurous trips! For example I waked in to a hotel in Mussoorie and checked in on my own. I usually like rooms which can be locked from inside and cannot be opened by a master key. This room didn’t had anything like this. Just the normal door lock which can be turned by a master key! I was way too tired and I stayed there. When I told the person at the reception he said the hotel was almost full if that gives you a better feeling! And it did.
After we adopted our daughter I quickly realized that if I wanted to trek I needed to find group options or some safe areas for solo trekking. I did a group trek last year but I wanted to find out solo options too. Nepal emerged as one option as many women trek solo there and I was one of them. Apart from fellow Indians no one expressed any surprise that I was trekking solo.
Some of the things that I do when traveling solo-
- I don’t talk much, my body language doesn’t invite conversation from strangers! I know it is not much fun but then I am anyway not very talkative and I can enjoy my own company.
- As I have lived all my life in India I understand what is going around me and I understand the language most of the time.
- If I can I will travel during the day rather than at nights.
- Where ever I can I will take a flight rather than a night train. But this is very recent.
- I have usually asked for recommendations for travel agents when I am doing things solo. For example for my Everest Base Camp Trek I asked for recommendations and went with it.
- I go to what are considered to be safe destinations
- I prefer public transport to private transport.
- I will not go to isolated places all alone.
- I will avoid being out very late in the night.
- I will use my common sense and stay out from whatever doesn’t feel right.
But having said all this I have been lucky and never faced any serious hassle traveling alone!
Do you travel solo? What precautions do you take?