Being a girl who loves to travel, it’s really difficult for me to convince myself for solo travel. This is because India has earned a reputation for not being safe enough, especially for solo women travellers. More than often you might be asked to be accompanied by either your friends or siblings. However solo travelling gives a sense of independence and empowerment like no other experience. And by keeping these few precautions in mind one can be assured of safety while backpacking across India. So instead of ditching your travel plans, it’s high time we start packing.
1.Research about the Culture
Once you’ve decided your destination, the most important thing you need to do is research. Being in a diverse country like ours, where every state has its own language and culture, it’s always better to have an idea regarding the culture, language and traditions followed there. This will also give you an idea about what kind of clothes to carry as well. Try to carry Indian clothing, preferably, with scarfs, and keep yourself covered.
2. Tours and Travel Agencies
If this is your first trip and if you’re not able to decide your itinerary, then an easy way to is to get in touch with a tour and travel agency. However, make sure it is a reputed one. You can grab the last minute deals and get yourself a good discount as well. If not, then move on to the next point.
3. Deciding your Hotel
If you’re not planning to go with a travel agency the next step it to decide which hotel you are planning to stay in. If you are travelling on a budget, then it’s better to check the location of your hotel. If it is in a safe neighbourhood and has good customer reviews.
Take extra efforts to check whether the locks on the room doors are in proper working conditions and if the door and windows can be latched from the inside.
4. Make Reservations
While booking the tickets, make sure you try and avoid booking the flights that reach your destination at ungodly hours. Make an advance booking of a recommended tour guide to ensure safety. Make prior reservations of your hotel to avoid hunting for places when you reach your destination.
5. Travel light, Travel Smart
It’s always better to travel light. That way you don’t have to worry much about your bags and you can travel freely. First and foremost, pack important documents like tickets, aadhar card, passport, foreign exchange, etc safely. Keep multiple copies of your travel documents handy. Pack your essentials. It’s easy and organised to make a list of all the essentials you might be needing. Sanitary napkins, sunblock, tissues, sanitizer, moisturiser and just a few things that make up the list.
Don’t forget to carry pepper spray in your bag to ensure more safety at your end.
6. Prevention is Better than Cure
Another thing to be kept in mind while travelling solo is to keep first aid handy. Don’t forget to carry a first-aid kit. If you have any allergies or require special medication, pack that as well. Prevention is always better than cure.
7. Inform your Folks and keep them Updated
It’s always safe to keep your family and friends updated about your whereabouts. Keep them updated about your itinerary. Inform them about your stay, mode of transportation, etc. In case of any untoward incident they should know your co-ordinates.
8. Keep your Phone Handy
Even though we rarely keep our phones out of sight nowadays, but you need to take extra care of your phone while backpacking. In case you find yourself in an unwanted circumstance, then safety will just be a phone call away.
Now that you’ve taken these precautions, it’s time for you to begin your journey.
Heena Mangani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV