Safe Travel in India for Women – 7 Tips

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Image result for Safe Travel in India for WomenTravelling in India alone as a foreign woman is usually not dangerous, as long as you use your commonsense and take precautions. Here are some tips to help you travel safely and keep sexual harassment to a minimum.
Dress appropriately
While it’s OK to wear bikinis and shorts on the beaches of Goa and Kerala you should avoid putting on anything too revealing anywhere else in the country. While Western clothes are quite acceptable in the big cities it is still advisable to dress modestly. Sleeveless is OK in the metros but if you want to avoid unwelcome male attention don’t wear strappy tops, short shorts or anything clinging or see-through. In rural areas the code is much stricter. You should wear short-sleeved tops and long skirts or baggy trousers. Three-quarter length trousers are generally all right.
Singles or pairs
While it is quite possible to go around India as a single woman, it is certainly safer if there are two of you. Attacks against women travellers have happened and it is sensible to be careful. Avoid arriving in a new place alone after dark and don’t walk by yourself along dark streets and deserted beaches.
Take pre-paid taxis
At airports and train stations, pre-paid taxis are safer than taking a taxi from the street, but best of all is to try to join up with other travellers if using a taxi or an auto-rickshaw at night.
Travelling by auto-rickshaw
Warning bells should ring if your rickshaw driver tries to bring their male ‘friend’ along with him. Jump out of the auto and find another driver.
Avoid eye contact with males
Direct or prolonged eye contact with a man in India is frequently seen as provocation. Try to avoid it if you can. Many women travellers advise wearing sunglasses for this reason.
Use the language
Learn some basic Hindi (especially for north India where harassment is more likely). Even if you only have a few phrases and use them, it will confuse potential trouble-makers. They will not know how much of the language you understand and will treat you with more caution. One of the most useful phrases is ‘Chalo’ (pronounced ‘cha’ as in ‘chat’ and ‘lo’ as in ‘low’) which means ‘go away’ if said with force. A less polite form is ‘Jao’ (pronounced ‘jow’ to rhyme with ‘now’). This simply means ‘Go’. Both ‘chalo’ and ‘jao’ should be said with firmness. If the trouble persists don’t be afraid to shout. If need be, you can be much more shrill and voluble in India than you would be at home.
What to do if you are harassed or assaulted
If you take the above precautions, you should not run into trouble. But if you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a sexual assault in India, report it to the officials at once. Be prepared for the fact that the authorities may not take you seriously at first; be persistent and assertive. Make a telephone call to the nearest embassy of your home country as soon as possible (carry their number with you always), and tell the authorities that this is what you are doing. It has a remarkable effect. No official wants to get involved in a case with international implications.

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