You have been planning that Goa trip with your friends since your graduation from school, but every time there's some reason with one of the friend in the group. Even if you try to convince them to travel to Udaipur, suddenly the plan is not hip enough for them anymore. An amazing world awaits for you outside your house, and to explore it, is not just the discovery of a new city but it is also the discovery of yourself. But what can you do when you cannot convince your friends to tag along with you? Ride solo, girl.
Don't think of what your aunt will say to you mother, or the amount of times you might have to verify your itinerary with your dad. It's not that you will become the first solo woman traveller. Because surprisingly, many of them are out there already, living the dream and conquering the world. Undoubtedly, travelling alone in a country like India, which is so diverse that you find a new accent every 100 Kms, is an education you get about the culture and also yourself. But to face the actual scene, it's not that easy for any woman to travel alone in this country. Too many conventions and stereotypes to handle! Still it is not impossible. Though the word is out there that it is completely unsafe, it is not. By keeping these points in mind, you can have the experience of a solo excursion of your lifetime. Here are our tips for you.
Research and plan.
Chart out everything! When will your flight reach? Who will pick you up? Which of the hotels in hyderabad is your host? Which are the places you want to visit and what should you know about them? You should know the answer to everything. Planning out everything and knowing about them is just a good practice for everyone, which will help you in minimizing your costs, and optimizing your time.
Make local friends.
It is a big world, but social media has shrunk the bridges. Get in touch with a local person to know more about the quirks and secrets of the city. Imagine you going to Gurgaon for the first time, still they can help you in hotel booking in gurgaon. They can be a common friend, a relative or you can even get in touch with a blogger or someone known. Everyone loves to present their city as a muse and you'll find some great insights from them.
Avoid public transport at odd times.
In most of the cities, it is advisable to take a secure conveyance at nights rather than a public transport. The deserted rides are a sweet spot for muggers to target you. You can always take a cab to reach anywhere. But while riding in a cab too, make sure you follow your location and let someone know the plate number of your vehicle. If any eerie feeling, talk on the phone saying in how much time you will meet the person, even if no one's waiting. Just a precaution.
Learn to say no.
Having a drink at a bar, and a guy asks you out. You can go and have a wonderful dinner if the guy is cute(Obviously). But if he is an unwanted attention, politely decline. It is okay to say no to someone without feeling guilty, whether for a tag along for a ride or an early morning yoga session. Who does yoga on a vacation anyway?
Keep someone aware of your whereabouts.
Give a copy of your itinerary to your friend, your parents etc. So if shit goes down and you have no network reception in your cellphone, they know which hotel to call on which day. You can call them on frequent periods to share your happiness and what you enjoyed. It is nice to have someone to share your joy, right?
Backup your documents.
It is a must-do for everyone as you never know which document you require and when. From tickets, to passport, to your ID proof, keep soft copies of each of them in your email or your cloud storage, so that you can access them in any computer from anywhere.
Keep a secret stash of your money.
Never keep all of your money altogether at one place. Keep some in pocket, some in your hat, some in your socks, and do keep an emergency stash. The best place would be a secret invisible pocket, or better, your sanitary pad packets. No one will look there.
Be aware of your luggage.
Whether in train/bus with all your luggage or just waiting outside a restaurant with just a purse in your hand. Be aware of your stuff. Keep an eye on people around if you feel they are observing you for quite sometime. And if someone tries to snatch your purse, just beat the shit out of them!
Talk to lots of people.
To know the people, is to know the city. Talk to the people who come across your way and ask them really, REALLY important things like the best hotels in south delhi to eat at, the place you can go to dance or the nearest waterfall. The locals know it the best. And every person will have a new story to share and a new chapter in your book to add.
If you feel uncomfortable, say it.
The whole point of going on a vacation is to enjoy your time to the fullest, and feel the best of you. So at any instance if you feel uncomfortable, just say it. Your room service is not good, tell the manager. You don't want your Rickshaw driver's "friend" to jump in the auto and ride with you, tell him to get off or you'll leave. It is just that you need to ensure what will make your holiday the best it can be.
Don't hesitate to go the police.
It will be an incredible tour throughout as it is just you, as your own companion, in a journey where you are exploring a new place with some amazing food and spectacular scenery. But everyone needs help, one time or another. It can be as small as you unable to figure out which bus you need to take next, or as big as the boy who has been eve-teasing you at the bus stop. Go to the police nearby, and ask their help. They will be happy to help, and that too the fullest of their capacity.
A woman travelling alone in India, or any other place for that matter, is still something considered to be unconventional. There are people who do not accept it and also think of it as an opportunity to take liberty in their actions. It is not right, and definitely not acceptable. The above points might sound like it is a guide for women on how to stay safe in an unsafe environment, but these are just a few tips on how you can make your trip better. Because for every eve-teaser, we have a mob of sensible Indians.
So pack your bags, book your tickets and leave for the trip of your life.