Solo Woman Traveller in India/Kerala




“Is India safe for a woman to travel alone?” This may be the biggest question holding you back from a wonderful trip of a lifetime in Kerala. And the answer is yes, India especially Kerala is safe for a solo woman traveller

A spiritually enriched land that will take you through the mysteries of religions and freshness of nature, India is the place where people across the world flock to when they wish to rediscover or reinvent themselves. Though Kerala is safer than other parts of India, you must be aware of risks expected on the way. Here are some tips that will help you thrive in the land of gods, art and culture, making your trip an enchanting experience

1. Accomodation

Always remember to book your accomodation in advance, at least for a first few days. The jet lag, change in culture, surroundings and unfamiliar language will make it tough for you to scout for a suitable accommodation as soon as you reach here. Once you are adjusted to the new place, you may look for better options 

Kerala was one of the first states in India to introduce the concept of homestays (bed and breakfast in home settings) giving travellers more than a peek of real Kerala. Under the homestay concept, you get to stay with a family who can show you around and also help you to give a better insight to local life and culture. Homestays are always a good and cheap option

Be careful when choosing couchsurf in India with men. You can choose with other expats and females

2. Stares

As a woman traveller, soon after landing here you will observe that some people stare at you. In the beginning this can be highly annoying, but slowly you will get accustomed to it. Dressing conservatively and avoiding eye contact with strangers can help to reduce these stares

3. Dress code

Like other parts of India, Kerala is also conservative and it would be recommended to dress up in a way which does not reveal much, especially if travelling alone.After you land here you can find stores that supply cottonwear. The 3-piece suit (in Hindi, salwar kameez) consists of a long or short tunic worn over fitted or wide-legged pants, topped with a long scarf, called a dupatta. These outfits suit the climate, the need for modesty and will help you fit in, mitigating your status as a moving target for gawkers, touts and beggars

You could also wear jeans paired with kurtis or long tops. India has a great variety of cultures. It will be fun to try out the local ethnic dresses of the places you visit. In beaches or rivers, women can wear swimsuits or covering towels around the body, but bikinis are a no-no

3. Transportation

Unless you seek real adventure, it is not recommended to drive a car. Traffic in India is chaotic compared to Western style of driving. Roads are narrow and traffic rules are not followed strictly. Always try to book your transportation whether via train, bus or taxi in advance. Use the prepaid taxi/auto services when you step out of airports or railway stations. They run on fixed charges and you will be dropped off safely at your destination

Avoid sitting alone while using public transport or waiting rooms. Sit near families, women or children

Most importantly while travelling in autorickshaw or taxi don’t let the driver take his friend travel with you

4Troublemakers

Beware of pickpockets around any tourist spot. The throng of people at tourist spots makes them ideal places for pickpockets to thrive. Make sure that you keep your money safe at all times

You might be approached by hawkers. Objects are usually, but not always, priced more than their worth. It would be good to check prices with more than one hawker before purchasing from one

5. Safety

Be cautious and use your common sense. Always refrain from overfriendly behaviour by unknown men. If you are overfriendly with a someone you meet or travel with, you could be inadvertently giving him the wrong signals

Be confident! If you are confident, you are less likely to attract unwanted attention

It is absolutely important not to eat or drink anything offered by strangers. However, interactions with families are considered to be safer

Though Kerala ranks highest in alcohol consumption, consuming alcohol in public is frowned upon. Even wine or beer are considered as liquor in Kerala, which too is frowned upon in public. However, it can be consumed privately. Women who consume alcohol are socially frowned upon. Hence women entering bars, etc. results in much staring

6Night time

It is not recommended to travel at night when you are alone. Consider to stay indoors after 7:00 pm. If you are travelling in train, choose an upper berth. In long distance bus choose a front seat. Avoid taking auto rickshaw or taxi during night

7Emergency

Even if solo female travellers are not a target of violent attacks always, one must be vigilant throughout. It is advisable to have a mobile phone with you while travelling. The Kerala Police helpline numbers below can be useful. Also it is advisable to carry some trustable numbers from each locality you visit. Thus, you know help is always at hand

Kerala Police Flying Squad Emergency – 100

Women Squad Assist – 1091

Railway Police Assist – +91 98 4620 0100

Highway Police – +91 98 4610 0100