India Travel Tips For Solo Female Travelers

7 Tips Solo Female Travelers Going To India

So, you want to go to India and need tips for solo female travelers? I don’t blame you! It’s an absolutely stunning country- diverse landscape, vibrant culture, and the food. Don’t get me started on the food. Ugh, I’m ready to teleport back there now, k? Thanks. 

Let me guess, if you’re reading this post you’re a solo female traveler who’s interested in going to India, but you’re feeling a little nervous. Probably because you’ve heard one too many horror stories and warnings from friends and family. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who has a girlfriend with a bad India experience it seems like. 

And, look, I am in no way shape or form discounting or disbelieving those stories. Mostly because I’m well aware that women experience scary things all the time, in every country across the entire globe. Period. 

What I will say is that I’ve been to India four times now, and two out of four times I was traveling alone for at least 4 – 6 weeks. And I never had any negative experiences. This doesn’t make me an expert, by any means. But I do think I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that kept me safe. 

This post will outline my top 9 tips for solo female travelers going to India in an effort to support you on your next adventure. If anything, I hope this post inspires you to go to India, rather than letting the nerves get the most of you. Because, like I said in the very beginning, this is a country that you won’t want to skip. 

India Travel Tips For Solo Female Travelers

Before we get into the tips, some of you might be wondering why this post even needs to be made at all. As we’ve already established, bad things happen in all countries- so why highlight India specifically. 

Well, India- like many other countries- the gender equality gap is wide in India. While women’s rights have certainly improved massively in the last decade, there’s still a long way to go. Traditional gender roles according to religion (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christianatiy are prevalent in India) can result in discrimination and inequality. 

Mostly, the tourist women’s safety is due to a lack of cultural understanding. If you’re a Western woman, like me, then you might interact with a man at the check-out counter differently at home than you would in India. Being aware of some key cultural differences is the best way to ensure that you stay safe, un-offensive, and blend in a little more than you stand out.

7 Tips Solo Female Travelers Going To India

What To Wear In India

There’s a big debate within feminism about female travelers who conform their dress to that of the culture where they’re visiting, versus expressing themselves through whatever clothes feel good to them, regardless of their surroundings. I am very much in the camp of dressing according to the culture of the country you’re in. Not because I think women who show their shoulders “deserve” to be attacked, but because I’ve found that blending in is the best tactic in any country. And, trust me, if your skin or color is drastically different from the people around you- it’s going to be hard to blend in no matter what. 

Dressing according to the culture you’re visiting helps to take the edge off of your foreignness. I also believe it’s a sign of respect to the people of the place you’re in. Rather than coming in and asserting your own beliefs or opinions, you come in with humility and grace to change. 

When arriving in India make sure you’re already wearing loose fitting, and fully covered clothing.

This means instead of walking around in yoga leggings- you wear loose pants or a skirt. Rather than sporting a crop top, spaghetti strap- you wear a full length tee, instead. You don’t have to go over the top, and wear saris. Just dress modestly, by covering your legs and shoulders. Highly suggest getting a sarong to help you coverup with ease.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all areas of India. Goa, for instance, is pretty much a free for all. Girls walk around in bikinis there. Places like Dharamshala and Rishikesh which have an influx of modern yoga are used to women in yoga leggings. Whereas more conservative areas in the North, or even major cities like Delhi- will likely be less forgiving. 

yoga pose

Eye Contact

Okay, this might sound strange, but seriously just be aware of your eye contact and smiling with strange men. Strange as in, they’re strangers. You don’t know them. 

This one is at the top of the list, because it’s a mistake I’ve seen happen too many times to count. As Western women (as well as other cultures, I’m sure), it’s pretty normal that if you happen to make eye contact with another passenger on public transport, a tuk tuk, or even major tourist destinations- you hold their gaze and smile in acknowledgment of their presence. We do this as an expression of politeness, rather than ignoring that person, and acting like they don’t exist. 

I hate to say this, but you have to ignore them and act like they don’t exist when you’re in India. Ugh, I actually hate this. I hate feeling rude, but again- I’ve seen this happen before my eyes with other female tourists, which is why I don’t take any chances. 

Essentially, holding eye contact and smiling is more of an invitation than an acknowledgment. Most of the time, I’m sure these men are totally harmless, and just stoked to come up and chat with a pretty girl. However, there can be ulterior motives. I’ve known people who have been followed after, or pickpocketed. 

The point is that we want to create a more hardened energy around us, rather than an opening inviting one. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude. It doesn’t mean you can’t smile and thank someone who’s just helped you with something, it just means you’re trying to stay as closed off as possible. Kind of like you’re giving strong, “don’t fuck with me” vibes. 

Public Displays of Affection

It sort of goes without saying, public displays of affection are also something that will get you unwanted attention, as well. If you’re a solo female traveler, then you might not have anyone to do these public displays of affection with. However, I’m sure there’s plenty of women reading this post who might be traveling with their partner or friends, rather than alone. 

That means forget the hand holding, hugs, and definitely the kissing. Generally speaking, anything that can be perceived as intimate or sexual should be an indoor activity only.

Wedding Ring

I have never personally done the whole fake wedding ring thing, but this was something that was recommended to me before my first trip to India. While I didn’t have a ring on my finger, there were times where I straight up lied, saying that my husband was waiting for me in the room- or something of that nature. 

The truth is that saying you have a husband gives you more power in India. Knowing that you “belong” to a man, makes you feel accounted for in some way. Just to be clear, this isn’t only an India thing. Even here in the States, there are many times I feel people discount my marriage simply because I’m married to a woman, instead of a man. 

During your time in India, you might just feel a man’s advances come in stronger than you would here in the States- because it’s more socially acceptable. Indian men are friendly! And they’re incredibly curious. The social norms and boundaries vary so much from country to country, which is where inevitable culture shock can come into play. The good news is that their persistence can easily be dissuaded with the old wedding ring trick. 

India travel tips

Research Before

I don’t care who you are, and where you’re going- always research before you go anywhere! Yes, even a touristy area like the Taj Mahal. This will give you a deeper understanding of the culture and region when you visit India, and your research will likely help to keep you safer in some way. 

As far as India goes, it is an incredibly diverse country. And it’s huge! Unless you’re going for an extended period of time, and planning on flying a lot- I would start by sticking to one or two regions that feel like the best fit first time visitors. Generally speaking, many areas down south tend to be a bit more laid back. Whereas, up north can be a bit more conservative. 

Do your own research, and choose your areas according to what you actually want to see and do while you’re in India. Then, hone in those regions to better understand the predominant religion and culture. This will help you when it comes to dressing, as well as other cultural expectations around opposite sex interactions. 

The best way to research is getting a guidebook (link to india lonely planet in my storefront), because you can carry this around with you even when you don’t have wifi for reading blogs. If you prefer to be constantly connected, make sure to get a local sim card upon arrival.

Bottled Water

Okay, okay, so this tip doesn’t have anything to do with being a solo female traveler. Because, let’s be real, drinking the tap water in India can take anyone down. However, the reason it’s especially relevant to those of you traveling alone, is that you don’t want to get so sick you end up in the hospital or clinic. Trust me, I’ve been to Indian hospitals several times. But those are entirely other stories.

Obviously there’s only so much you can do you when it comes to prevention of getting sick in general, and you don’t want to be so hyper vigilant that it stresses you out, and dampens your trip. So, all I’ll say here is try to avoid the tap water. 

Stick to bottled water when you’re brushing your teeth, ask about where the ice cubes comes from, and wash your own fruit with bottled water rather than from the sink. 

Online Safety

Online safety is something we should practice whenever we’re traveling. And even at home, btw! But let’s start with online safety in India, since that’s the focus of this post. 

How can you be safer online while you’re in India? Don’t tag yourself in real time in specific locations. Or, better yet, don’t tag specific locations at all. You can always more generally geotag “India” as opposed to the region or town. If you’re an influencer of sorts, or if you just want to share recs for your friends and family, let them know you’ll share them in a blog post with exact cafe and hotel names once you leave. 

I haven’t been back to India in a few years thanks to the whole Covid era, plus a drastic change of my life’s circumstances. BUT, when I used to go, it was always sort of a joke amongst female travelers how many Indian men would start following you, or friend requesting you on Facebook (yes, this was as far back as FB days). Honestly, sometimes hundreds of requests a day. And this was because I didn’t have the same internet smarts that I have now, where I was sharing everything in real time, tagging specifics, so on and so forth. 

Again, most of these men are probably harmless. But sometimes it creates a little too much openness around you. Less inviting energy, remember. 

Book Hotels

The fact of the matter is, hotels are going to be safer than hostels or homestays. They just are. Even if you’re a backpacker on a budget- trust me, I know that life well- India is pretty dang inexpensive, so it’s not like booking hotels instead of hostels is going to break the bank. 

If you just can’t get enough of that hostel environment, then only book private rooms. Even with all-women shared dorms, weird things are known to happen. You’re better off booking private rooms, or at a hotel. Whatever you choose, read reviews before. Or, look at solo female travelers blogs and Instagrams to get ideas of specific places they’d recommend. 


The last thing I’ll say is this: walk around with confidence. Remember, you have that “don’t fuck with me” energy exuding from you. This makes a difference, I swear. If you seem nervous, this creates a level of vulnerability. And vulnerability opens you up to someone invading your space in some manner. 

Remember how I told you to research beforehand? This will help with confidence, too! Think about it, it’s a lot easier to walk around with confidence if you actually sort of know where you’re going. You’ve already looked at the map, you have an idea of where your hotel is in relation to the cafe you’re trying to get to. 

Of course you don’t need to memorize every single street in order to be confident. But having an idea of what the place looks like by seeing photos before, having an understanding of how long it’ll take to get from point a to point b- all of these things help you to stand up a little taller, and seem less penetrable. 

What Is the Best Time To Visit India?

As with all travel tips for first time travelers, make sure to do more research than reading just one blog. Also, remember to always get travel insurance before you leave for your trip. This can save you should you get sick, lose bags, or anything gets stolen during your time in India. 

Remember, India is a large country! So, there’s going to be better times for visiting some parts of India, that might be horrible for other areas. This means, the first thing you need to do is hone in on which parts of the country you’re interested in visiting. 

Generally speaking, the best time to go to India is between October and March. Monsoon season is June through September, which can come with brutal heat, humidity, and a lot of rain. 

You’re going to have the best time, I just know it. 

Can’t wait to hear all about it!



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