Born and raised in the capital of India, New Delhi, Medha Bhat is a marketer by professional with a passion for travel. She runs a blog called Neo Travellers and is inspiring women in her own country and beyond to travel solo in one of the most controversial solo travel destinations out there, India.
I chatted with Medha to learn about what traveling solo is like in India and what her tips are for safe and happy travel!
Where have you traveled in India?
Geographically, I have travelled to all parts of India, North, South, West and the East. Since India is a big country, I haven’t been to all the places. But to name a few, I have travelled to Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrrapunji (one of the world’s wettest places) in the North East of India, Bangalore, Mysore, Pondicherry, Hyderabad, Goa, Mumbai in the South, Jaipur, Mount Abu, Udaipur in West India and Amritsar, Dharamshala, Nanital, Almora, Agra and Jhansi in the North.
Why India? What keeps you coming back for more?
I am a native of India, so it is easy and cheap for me to travel in India. Also, the diversity of India makes me want to explore the country. You can find all kinds of demography and landscape here. In the north, you’ll find snowcapped mountains, while the central India offers a plateau and rugged landscape. From the wettest place in the world, world’s 7th most beautiful beach (Radhanagar beach in Andamans and Nicobar), arid deserts to the majestic Himalayas and its grassland and meadows, India is a rich and diverse place.
This diversity is also reflected in the eating habits and the people of India. India offers a range of dishes that are found nowhere else in the world. With a variety of herbs and spices available in the country, it is a treat for the palate and a delight to the eyes!
Do you find it difficult to travel solo through India?
As a native and resident of India, I am a little apprehensive about travelling solo in India. As a female, it becomes all the more difficult to travel because some places are a little unsafe. But then, that is true for every city. It just depends on where you are travelling. For instance, I was extremely comfortable travelling solo to Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore since these places are generally safe. Goa is a touristy place, so shops are open till late in the night and you can see people on the streets. Goa is influenced heavily by foreigners so the society there is very liberal and open, hence the safety. Similarly, Bangalore and Mumbai are major cities in India that are pretty safe and has some of the best foods in India.
Some places have a reputation of being notorious. For instance, the states of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, etc. are states where roaming in the night might not be a good idea. It is all about being informed about the places you want to visit and things you want to see.
Another challenge I faced while travelling solo in India is the language. As strange as it may sound, I cannot understand most of the languages spoken in India. So, communication can be a problem and can be challenging at times.
What are some tips you have for other females that may want to travel there but are intimidated by it?
Some of the tips that I keep in mind while travelling solo includes –
- Do a proper research of the places you want to visit. Since language will be a barrier, you should know your way around while you are travelling
- Have a power bank in case your phone battery dies (this is a must in places where power outages are regular like in the mountains)
- Keep emergency contacts (like police and your family’s number) handy
- Always keep some cash in your wallet. There will be places in India where cards do not work or are not accepted.
- Do not trust strangers and try not to be friendly.
- Do not stay out late in the night, especially in places where everything closes early.
- Before coming to India, get vaccinated for flu and other diseases.
- In crowded places, like historical monuments and other touristy places, keep your money in two wallets. In the first wallet, keep less amount of money. This is the wallet which you should use and take out. Keep the rest of your money, including passport in the other wallet. This way your money and important documents will be safe from pick pocketers (this is just a precautionary advice and I follow this to the hilt).
- Do not travel wearing precious jewelry (in case you do).
- Always buy water bottles and keep it handy.
Have you ever experienced any problems traveling solo in India?
I have not faced any problem as such because I follow the tips mentioned above! 🙂
You can read more about Medha and her Indian adventures here.
What are your tips for traveling in India? Share them below in the comments!