Travelling to India is an amazing experience and people considering a trip to India should not be put off by their gender. It is more than possible for women to travel to India without any hassle or problems. I've learnt SO much during my times in India (6 and counting!) and would love to share what I've learnt with fellow female travellers :)
1. Dressing Appropriately.
- I can not stress enough how important it is to dress modestly when travelling India. The best way I can explain it is that in England, you would never go to the supermarket in a bikini top and mini skirt, right? Well its the same here, just their values are a bit more conservative. The way you and I see a girl in the supermarket scantily clad, is the same way they see a woman in India showing some cleavage or thigh. You have to understand this difference and only then can you appreciate how important it is to dress modestly. It is a sign of respect to Indian culture and its people.
There are other advantage to dressing modestly though; less mosquito bites (less skin on show to bite!) and much less sun burn and skin damage.
If you ignore this custom and decide to wear more daring clothes, then you bring onto yourself constant staring, flirting and disapproving looks. Trust me, I've been there, done that and learnt the hard way!
A general rule to go by is: shoulder and arms are ok to show, completely okay, but never show ANY cleavage. So if you wear a vest showing your arms and shoulders, that's fine, just make sure the vest covers your entire breast area. As for legs, it's best to cover them, but if you want to wear shorts or a skirt that's okay too - as long as it/they go down to your knee. No thighs or boobs basically!
2. How to Deal with Flirting.
- The concept of girlfriends/boyfriends is pretty much unheard of in the rural areas of India and so is a woman over 22 being single. I found that the best way to handle annoying flirty men is to simply tell them that your married. Marriage is something they do understand well and they will back off. If necessary, tell them your husband is in toilet and will be coming back any moment. If all else fails, just ignore the guy, he'll get bored... eventually!
- On trains, always book the AC coach. On this coach, you are unlikely to experience staring or flirting, as much more high class/educated people use this coach to travel. Also, when your buying your ticket, be aware that there is a separate waiting line for woman (works to our advantage, its much quicker!) and there's a separate waiting room too.
4. A few other Tips to Remember.
- Avoid walking around in the dark along (but that goes for any country, not just India!)
- Don't carry too much luggage, or you will be surrounded by people trying to help you out.
- Try to look confident, like you know what your doing and where your going. If you look lost, your more open to thieves etc.
- Try not to be over-friendly when talking to men, there are different rules here and they can get the wrong impression. Don't make any physical contact with them either.
I hope my tips have helped you out, and don't be scared by them. India is a wonderful place to go to and I hope you have a great time!
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