Female Travellers Guide to India
India is such a vast and enormous country, it can be hard to distinguish what to expect. As a female traveller, some people may say ‘oh it’s not safe’ or have skewed misconceptions. However, we have put together (with the help of some wonderful GoWonderers this Female Travellers Guide to India covering female safety, culture and female necessities (contraception etc) to help with those scary thoughts and bad impressions!
Firstly, is it safe?
Whilst many people and travellers say India is an unsafe country, this can be said for anywhere in the world that people have been on the receiving end of a horrible incident. With safety comes common sense, this is a major factor whilst travelling India, use your instinct, if something doesn’t seem or look right, don’t do it! Trust your gut instinct and if possible, get information from a local. Another tip for travelling in India is to be wary, many people will approach you as a female traveller and ask if you would like help or what you are doing, whilst the majority of people are perhaps genuinely trying to help you, you cannot be sure and again, use your common sense! The best place to source information is from a local or from within your hotel/hostel/accommodation you are staying in because these people are more likely to give you correct information and lead you in the correct direction. Finally, as hard as it may be for us (especially us Brits), be blunt! I was told by a local that ‘no thank you’ could be seen as a potential yes. People in the street will ask you to buy their goods, come to their shop or take a picture etc and if you don’t want to, always say no clearly and keep walking. It may be hard and you will feel harsh but if you do not, you will continue to be harassed to do as they ask and you will feel more obliged to purchase what they have etc. All in all, in India the main thing relating to female safety is to use common sense!
The culture in India may be very different to that in your home country, also within different areas in India cultural differences can occur. It is important to respect their traditions and ways of living whilst travelling in India. If you are unsure of whether something is considered ‘normal’ in their culture, the best person to ask would be a local or your hotel/hostel/accommodation as mentioned before. Also, with regards to being a female it’s important to understand that although we think something is good to wear and we are comfortable in it, local Indians may not and in turn this will attract more unwanted attention. Therefore, it’s suggested that covering knees and shoulders at all times is a must and this will ensure that you are not over exposed and thus, not creating unwanted attention. Also, it’s important to take your shoes off in temples and worship as otherwise you are deemed to be disrespectful. As with travelling anywhere, it’s crucial to respect cultural differences and learn from them rather than be frightened by them.
With regards to availability and possibility of using female hygiene products and contraception, our Wonderers had some great tips! These are as follows:
‘The hygiene products and contraceptives are easy to get hold of by any near pharmacy or they are also available in near beauty products stores. They are easily available on online. But the main problem here is awareness about them. Not everyone has a clear access and knowledge about hygiene products and that’s really important for your health.’ Neha Kumari – @dailydosesofbeauty2
‘Contraceptives- condoms easy to get at a pharmacy, I suspect anything else is difficult. Pads/ tampons at most supermarkets, find more in my blog!’
‘I was recently in south India, Kerala, volunteering in Women Empowerment. The pads and feminine products were at stores but the issue I found is the conversations aren’t happening around girls getting their periods and what all the options are and medical explanations. Hope this helps!’
‘Greetings from India. You get both easily in local shops – mainly pharmacies and supermarkets.’
When you visit a new country, there will always be comforts of home that you will miss. It is important to do your research to make sure you are prepared for the adjustments you need to make and what you need to bring. It is also important to keep an open mind. Travelling will challenge you, but it is worth it. This comprehensive female traveller guide to India will help you begin your planning for your adventure to this fabulous country.
That’s all from us, do you have any tips? Anything else you want to add to the Female Traveller Guide to India? Leave it in the comments below!