India as a destination for Female Solo Travel? Why not?
A glance at the Google Trends Search for the term “Female Solo Travel” leaves no doubt: the interest in this way of traveling has steadily increased over the last years. Most women who are about to travel solo are familiar with the doubts this decision brings along: ranging from the widespread fear of feeling lonely on the journey, not only characteristic of female travelers, to the concern about their safety. However, there are so many reasons for overcoming these doubts and embarking on the journey – and in the end, only very few regret it. The same could be said for a trip to India, a destination many women do not dare to travel alone to. And yet India’s fascinating nature and diverse culture is very tempting. Here are a few tips for women (and men) who are about to set off alone – to unforgettable experiences in India.
Some good reasons for solo travel
As early as 2014, a booking.com survey revealed that more than half of American women take solo journeys. The advantages of solo travel are obvious, making it attractive for women and men alike: solo travelers can act more independently and freely and spontaneously decide what they want to do next. At the same time, they are more open to meet other people and eager to make new friends due to the special travel situation. Above all, after having overcome their doubts and due to all the positive experiences, many solo travelers develop a completely new self-confidence, learning a lot about themselves – and start to see the world with different, more open and confident eyes.
There is a general rule for solo travelers that applies to couples, groups, or families alike: the more they know about a country and its culture, the better. This way, it is easier to counteract unpleasant situations and false hopes. When traveling to India, they should be cautious and yet open-minded, because even if it is not always possible to avoid the impolite staring of some, it would be a pity not to approach the friendly and helpful majority with an open mind. There is another basic rule for more safety, which everyone knows from their home countries: finding out which places are known for high crime rates, for example by reading travel guides, and avoiding them. Moreover, it is advisable not to arrive at a new destination at night. For women, the issue of clothing is especially important: in a rather conservative country such as India, shoulders and legs should be fully covered. The easiest way to adapt to the culture is wearing Indian clothes – at the same time, this is a way of showing respect for the local culture.
The right attitude
Another important factor for a pleasant and safe trip is the traveler’s attitude. A negative attitude towards the environment lets people feel tense and insecure – which is not a good precondition for on one hand enjoying the trip and meet people with an open mind and on the other hand a self-conscious approach and a clear communication. As with any trip, it is helpful to learn a few words in the local language. This makes it easier to make new contacts, learn more about the people and their culture – and if necessary, to cut off an unpleasant conversation. In general, travelers should monitor themselves and others closely and pay attention to body language even more than usual. Gestures that are absolutely normal at home, for example touching someone’s arm during a conversation, can easily signal more interest than intended, in a conservative country such as India. The basic rule is to keep a physical distance and at the same time an open mind – this way, most misunderstandings can be eliminated from the start.
India from its calm side
The region of Kerala in the Southwest of India is particularly suitable for those who travel (solo) to India for the first time. Kerala is one of the Indian provinces with most highly developed social systems: the crime rate is low, the literacy rate is over 90 % and although social life is mainly determined by men like in most Indian states, the position of women is very good. And there is a lot to discover for travelers. Kerala is best known for its backwaters, a large network of water routes, lakes and lagoons – there are so many natural wonders to see that solo travelers won’t suffer a dull minute. The team of Coconut Lagoon Resort is aware of this issue and happy to give advice and assistance, whether travelers need tips for excursions, help with transport or have general questions.
Explore local culture
The CGH Earth hotels encourage female travelers to engage in conversations with the locals and to respect their traditions. At the same time, they provide plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the locals and their daily life: Spice Village reflects the lifestyle of a tribal village in Thekkady and due to cooking courses and its own garden, guests can discover the secrets of Indian cuisine. Marari Beach, located directly by the sea, is not only inspired by the architecture of the fishing villages surrounding it, but also works closely with their residents, thus supporting the preservation of traditional craftsmanship and lifestyle. Visiting these villages, guests very easily come in contact with their inhabitants, who are known to be particularly open and hospitable. So, Kerala might be the right place for women traveling solo to India for the first time or looking for a quiet but no less fascinating destination.