6 Great Tips for Women Traveling to India
This weeks Travel Community News comes to you from Beth Whitman of the famed Wanderlust and Lipstick Blog.
India can be a challenging country in which to travel for anyone. Foreign women, more so than men, tend to garner more attention from Indians so it can be even more overwhelming. The Indian women will want to touch your skin, make polite conversation to understand more about your culture and tell you all about their country. Many Indian men may not be so altruistic and may be more interested in a sexual liaison. In either case, keeping the following tips in mind will help create a safer and far more enriching experience for women travelers.
1) Dress conservatively. Despite the fact that Bollywood stars wear skimpy, skin-bearing, shimmering clothes, India is a socially conservative country. Local women, who usually dress in saris or salwar kameez outfits, generally donâ€™t bare their shoulders or knees. And neither should a foreign woman unless itâ€™s in a very touristy area where the locals are used to seeing more Westernized clothes. Even a woman in a tank top in a rural area can be considered a prostitute simply for baring her shoulders.
2) Donâ€™t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Itâ€™s not uncommon for a woman to be groped, rubbed, followed or have a man come on to her. Itâ€™s usually not in any forceful manner. However, itâ€™s so important to make yourself clear in telling him that his behavior is not OK. We often feel like we have to be nice, particularly when we are traveling abroad. But all bets are off when someone violates your space. Just say NO!
3) Carry a cable lock and small locks for your bagsâ€™ zippers. These come in really handy, particularly on overnight train rides. Simply locking your backpack or luggage to your berth will thwart any would-be thief. And keeping the zippers locked together will prevent someone from opening your bag in order to quickly snatch its contents.
4) Stay healthy. I know. Iâ€™m making it sound simple. But one of the keys to staying safe and having the time of your life in India is to simply stay as healthy as possible during your journey. Eat well-cooked food, drink purified/bottled/boiled water, and keep your immunizations updated.
5) Make friends with local women. Join a homestay program such as Servas, Couchsurfing or Globalfreeloaders and connect with Indian women before you leave. Having a safety net of contacts before you even arrive will put you at ease and give some depth to your experiences. And, if you find yourself in need of help or a place to stay, youâ€™ll have someone to connect with.
6) Take time outs when needed. India is everything all at once and sometimes it can be overwhelming to be exposed to so many people and so much poverty. When youâ€™re feeling like your senses are on overload, find a place in which to retreat. This could be: poolside at your hotel; watching a movie in your hotel room; indulging in a one hour massage; or spending the afternoon at the restaurant of an upscale hotel. Treating yourself to some downtime will allow you to feel refreshed and ready to face the frantic yet fascinating street life of India.
Beth Whitman has logged hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe as a contemporary Wanderer: combining her love for travel with volunteer work, adventure trips, travel writing and business. Beth’s fantastic blog Wanderlust and Lipstick focuses on creating travel guides for women.
If you are in the travel blogging industry and would like to submit a guest post to us for review, please send an email to kristy dot foss at hotelclub dot com.