How To Do Solo Female Travel In India Like A BOSS!

How To Do Solo Female Travel In India Like A BOSS!

The thought of travelling India alone can seem scary at first. I’ve been living and travelling all over the country for four years now, and the funny thing is, it doesn’t ever get easier. Of the 36 countries I’ve travelled to, India is by far the most challenging.

But it can also be the most rewarding. Now you’ve probably heard people say you’ll either love or hate India, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The key to happy travels in India, is preparation. It’s not one of those countries where you can just “wing it”; you’ll end up anxious, stressed and quite possibly in danger. Sadly this is particularly true for solo female travel in India. To help make things a little easier, I’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about travelling to India alone.

Is It Safe For A Woman To Travel Alone In India?

Solo female traveller sitting cross-legged on a boat in India? @thetravellinglight

This is probably the biggest concern for solo female travellers in India. There’s no simple answer to this question, but in a nutshell: India CAN be a safe destination. As with anywhere else, you can be unlucky or in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that could also happen in your hometown, or in a “safe” destination in Western Europe. Taking luck out of the equation, there’s lots you can do to help yourself stay safe. As I said above, this isn’t the kind of place where you can just wing it. Even if you prefer to be spontaneous, you’ll need to have some plans or “rules” that you stick to no matter what.

Hippie in Heels travelling India alone? @hippieinheelsblog

Top Safety Tips For Solo Female Travellers In India

  • Don’t get stupidly drunk. Seriously, if you only take away one piece of advice from this blog post, this should be it.
  • When you go out, always take a fully charged mobile phone with you, so that if you end up in a difficult situation you can call someone you trust for help. An extra battery pack is also an excellent investment to ensure you’ll never be left without a phone.
  • Take the number and address of your hostel with you. If you’re in a dodgy situation or get lost, they can often arrange for a trusted local driver to pick you up, which is much safer than just jumping into a passing taxi.
  • Arrange to be picked up from the station/airport in advance. Again, your hostel might be able to help with this.
  • Generally it’s best to travel during the day instead of at night, especially on trains and buses.
  • Get into the habit of regular calls with family or friends at a pre-arranged time.
  • As with any sort of travel, you’ll need to trust your gut feeling.
  • Make sure you’re in a public place when interacting with strangers, that includes Tinder dates (at least initially!)
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scams in India are nearly unavoidable, but saying no to “help” strangers offer when you didn’t ask for it, is the best way to prevent scams.
  • Stay in a hostel so you can make friends with other travellers, and have someone to go on adventures with.

Nothing is without risk, but with a bit of common sense and preparation India can be as safe as any other destination for a solo female traveller.

Travelling India alone (c) mytravelsecret? @mytravelsecret

Best Places To Visit In India For Solo Female Travellers

The biggest tip I can give is to choose only a few cities. The more you are in transit, the more stress you have. India’s a huge, and getting around is generally slower than in countries with more developed road and public transport networks. Try to travel slow and stay in each place a longer time. Don’t try to cover it all. Here are a few of the best places for

Kerala & Varkala

Best places to visit in India for solo female travellers - Kerala & Varkala? @thetravellinglight 

They refer to Kerala as ‘India Lite’ meaning, it’s a bit less intense than the rest of India and far less intense than the North. So it’s a nice area to explore as a solo female traveller, especially if it’s your first time in India. One of Kerala’s best spots is the beach side town of Varkala, where you’ll find loads of other travellers to hang out with. It’s a bit of a yoga hub, and really safe and friendly. Part of Varkala’s charm is the fact that it’s quite small, and most travellers tend to gather in quite a small area near the beach, so small it’s very walkable and you won’t have to get too many Rickshaws alone. I didn’t have to find transportation if I went out at night, I could just walk everywhere.

– Recommended by The Travelling Light


Mumbai is a must visit city for many reasons, not least because most international flights arrive and depart from here. There’s so much to do in Mumbai, and like India’s other big cities, Mumbai can be great for a solo female traveler because of the international vibe and lively hostel scene. One of the best places to visit in Mumbai is Colaba, it’s where the cool kids are. You should also try to travel on the Mumbai Slow Local train during rush hour. THAT is an experience you’ll never ever forget! And of course you can visit the famous Taj Hotel areas and the Gateway of India.

– Recommended by Hippie In Heels


Best places to visit in India for solo female travellers - Rishikesh? @ourbroketravels

This is one of the most spiritual cities in India and if you’re looking for a chilled time after New Delhi, you should definitely head North to Rishikesh. Expect sunsets over the River Ganga, air so clean you can taste it, hot cups of chai on your hostel rooftop and SO MUCH yoga. For more reasons to visit, read our guide to Rishikesh.

– Recommended by Our Broke Travels


solo female travel india Hampi (c) charlie_karin? @charlie_karin

Hampi was once the capital of the Greatest Hindu Empire and what remains of it is beyond breath taking. Hundreds of ancient ruins and crumbling temples do the area nestled between beautiful green palms and the infamous boulders. Despite being a World Heritage Site, Hampi is a small town. It’s is a welcome relief after the craziness of the larger cities and it’s really easy to meet other travellers to explore the area with. My favourite part about Hampi is the sunset: after a short hike you will have a spectacular view of the old capital illuminated in all shades of orange, yellow and gold.

New Delhi

Best places to travel India alone as a solo female traveller - New Delhi
? @thetravellinglight 

Just like Mumbai, you’ll almost certainly end up spending some time in New Delhi during your trip, especially if you plan to visit the nearby Taj Mahal (in Agra). In general I find it more difficult to travel than Mumbai, but if you stay in Connaught Place and meet other travelers you’ll be fine. Best places to visit in New Delhi: The Red Fort, Humyan’s Tomb, and India Gate. Club together with other travellers at your hostel and hire a rickshaw driver for the day so you can see the city’s main sights in one go. Be sure to negotiate the rate before you set off, and pay at the end of the day.

– Recommended by Hippie In Heels


Best places to travel India alone as a solo female traveller - Varanasi (c) madsjlilli? @madsjlilli

Varanasi is a place like no other. A place I need not return and a place I will never forget. It’s loud, colourful, overflowing and beautiful. It’s like walking into magic. Never has the term ‘holy city’ been more true. Amidst the chaos there is the calm, out on a boat at dawn in the middle of the river Ganges you will experience pure serenity.

– Recommended by Madison J Lilli Coupland

More Advice For Women Travelling India Alone

So you’ve decided you want to backpack India solo. Congratulations on the best travel decision you’ll ever make! But now you need to think about all the practical stuff that will ensure your trip is a success: what to wear, when to visit and how to stay safe. To help you out, I’ve tried to cover off some of the most common questions.

What to wear when traveling to India

What to wear when travelling India alone as a woman (c) the travelling light? @thetravellinglight 

India is very conservative in some areas and this is definitely one of the aspects that requires research and preparation beforehand. Harem pants are an India wardrobe essential, and you can pick up some gorgeous ones really cheaply at markets in places like Goa and Kerala. They’re baggy and will suit most situations. They’re also easy to wash and will dry quickly so you’ll save loads of space in your backpack. The second essential item of clothing for India is a shawl; these are particularly useful to have handy in case you stumble across a temple you want to go into, as you’ll need to fully cover up.

You’ll also want to wear a t shirt that does not scoop too low; cleavage is not advisable. Maxi skirts are great, as are culottes and long dresses.  In the cities, girls wear skinny jeans. In Goa, anything goes! You should simply use common sense when deciding what to wear in India: look around you at what other people are doing, and if in doubt ask the staff and fellow travellers at your hostel.

What not to do in India

Don’t break the law! This one might seem obvious, but it bears repeating. In some areas you’ll likely see Sadhu’s or holy men smoking hashish, but as a foreigner, the easygoing “look the other way” rules do not apply to you and you should not take drugs here as they are illegal. Many travellers don’t realise that even alcohol is illegal in some Northern areas, such as Rajasthan, so always err on the side of caution and ask if you’re unsure.

When to travel to India

Ideally you’ll want to visit India between October and March to avoid the very hot times and the monsoon. They can both be a little uncomfortable, especially if you’re used to a more mild climate. However, if you’re on a really tight budget, visiting off season can be a great option to help you save money. The added benefit of backpacking India off season is that you’ll be able to explore the iconic sights such as the Taj Mahal without the insane crowds.

5 Reasons Why You Should Backpack India Solo In 2017

Group of women learning to surf while travelling alone in India? @hippieinheelsblog

1. It’s Never Been Easier For Women To Travel India Alone

India is changing at a crazy pace. Four years ago when I came to India alone, hostels were not a thing yet. And it was much harder to travel here solo, particularly for women. Now, you’ll find SO many popular hostels making it easy to meet other travellers and make your travels in India so much easier.

2. The People Will Change Your Perspective

The people in India are crazy, funny and incredibly friendly. If you’re looking for an eye-opening cultural experience, head to the Northeast of the country, which is a bit more off the beaten track. Here you’ll be able to meet some of the local tribes and learn about their fascinating culture. I recommend Ziro Valley, where you can meet the local Apatani tribe who worship the moon.

 3. The Food Is Unreal

In the North, it’s rich and creamy and in the South it’s fresher and light, often with coconut oil. The seafood at the coast is amazing and you must try the Kingfish Rava fry. It’s safe to say the food in India is on a whole other level: you’ll never experience tastes quite like these.

4. You will never, ever get bored in India

The Himalayan Mountains, the beaches of Goa, the sweeping rice fields of Kerala, the chaos of Mumbai, the wide open deserts of Rajasthan… There is SO much variety in India that you could spend a lifetime exploring all its secrets. If you’re looking to pack a lot into your trip without too much time spent on planes, India is a fantastic destination.

5. India Will Take Your Style To The Next Level

Ladies, bring less than you think for your trip, because you’ll need the space in your backpack. The shopping here is amazing and you’ll end up with a whole new wardrobe for next to nothing. Gorgeous prints, handmade accessories and exquisite fabrics. Even if you don’t want to haggle, the prices will still seem insanely cheap.

Got a question or some advice about travelling alone in India as a woman? Tell us about it in the comments below ?’

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About The Author

Amy Dutton

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24 Responses to “How To Do Solo Female Travel In India Like A BOSS!”

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for posting. I am planning on going to India this summer and I have been hesitant as a solo traveler. Can you please post the names of the hostels that you stayed at?
    Thank you!!

  2. ‘Lovely post.

    I’ve personally travelled to India solo, and even though it was challenging, it is possible with the tips above. I spent 30 days there and met a Swiss girl along the way, so we travelled together for a fortnight (two weeks). Which was great as we also travelled by train. Another story. Another tale to tell…!

    p.s. A great resource is a person on the ground who has lived in India, and is still in India at the moment – Rachel from @hippieinheelsblog

  3. Devika Rosamund Reply

    I travelled overland to India and all around it as a woman of 22 years old, forty years ago in 1976 and found it very easy! I always felt safe in India and local people were so helpful to me everywhere. I wore a long skirt and sari top everywhere and travelled around on the trains. There are people everywhere in India which made me feel safe.
    I still come to India alone every year since then, and travel around. alone. I feel safer here than in London. There are always other westerners travelling around India and everything is written in English as well as Hindi. My advice to new travellers is to avoid most cities. There are much nicer parts of India to see, including Goa, Agra, Dharamsala, Pune is the best city I have been to , and if you like meditation, and yoga and dancing and music, I recommend the Osho International Meditation Resort where people from all over the world as well as India, go to meditate.. It is like a new age health club. I visit it every year and love it there.

    • Jenny Brown Reply

      I whole heartedly agree! I travelled solo in 2006.Used a little forethought like deciding an itinerary and booking all trains in advance aswell as all hostels. Okay so it bypasses spontaneity but with 8 weeks and an itinerary running the whole coast and Amritsar to Darjeeing I found I met lots of different people and saw what I wanted to see! Add to this a fairly serious physicaĺ disability….. I have never felt safer or more welcome in a country (and I’ve covered much of the globe)

    • you have inspired me. I am 58 and want to do some travellng solo for the first time. To visit india would be a dream come true. I know I will have to do
      lots of research, but hearing from someone who has done it is such a boost. thankyou

  4. I have travelled overland to india North and South.. I loved it! But ist is not easy 😉 But…Taj Mahal is in Agra not in Delhi! 😉

  5. I love this thank you. I am prepping to go next feb 2019 and am glad to see your recommendations are all
    Things I have already followed or planned to. Hoping to meet others in the hostels so I can travel as I’m not currently sold on the solo travel around just day trips unless
    I can find others 🙂

  6. Hey Brittany,
    I’m also travelling India in feb/March 2019! I’m keen to travel and explore places with someone! Where are you heading to? 😊😊

  7. Hey Lindsay, I’m going in Feb. Let’s do some joint adventures. Let’s see if we’ll be in the same place at the same time?

  8. Ill been back to India almost every year seens 1998.Never any “problems”. India is intens in all ways, but thats one of the reason I keep comming back. This time I go North in the beginning of Martch. Would like to go downhill-skiing and tracking/see the blooming in Himalaya. Also I loog for a quiet place in the North to stay for some time for yoga/meditation ( Hatha). Does anybody have place to recomend for meditation. I WANT to be “kind” to my soul and body, so Im looking for some place that are not so strikt on food and so on 😊.

  9. Birgit Lautner Reply

    Hey Britani Lindsay Lila and all traveller sisters.
    I will go from Mumbay to Goa at 6. February 2019.
    I will stay there for a week and then go back to germany .
    Hopefully i find someone to travel this short part.

  10. Hello ladies, I would love to travel to India with other sisters as I think it’s more fun. Please let me know if anyone is interested in traveling. I have never been to India before but I am an Indian living in Canada.

    • Hi All,

      I am a 31 year old solo female traveller and will be travelling to India on 22nd Oct 2019 (landing in New Delhi) if anyone wants a travel buddy I would love some company 🙂
      I am from Ireland and have never been to India before.
      This is my email address if you want to get in touch 🙂

  11. Hello ANDELAIN, I’m VaLandia – i too am travelling to India 21st Oct 2019. I’m from US and have been there to volunteer a few years ago. I’m definitely looking for a travel buddy.. my email is:

  12. Addie Mulholland Reply

    Hi All
    I’m going to be a solo traveller hoping to leave UK sometime in November 2019, also looking to connect with other sisters travelling alone, I will be flying to Jaipur then travel to Pushka for a month doing a village project. My email address
    Andrea.Mulhollandaddie@hotmail drop me a line if interested in connecting.
    Safe journey to all. Xx

  13. Kimberly Lamarre Reply

    Hi everyone! It’s nice to see a page that is dedicated to solo female travelers. I remember when I use to quietly think to myself that I will travel alone and one day when I said it out loud I was told not to. I would love to buddy up with someone to travel to India late next year 2020 cause all my friends are busy with family/ life.

  14. Akansha Tripathi Reply

    Hey there I’m from India and it really felt so good reading this post and all these comments on this post. Being an Indian I’m really overwhelmed with this n uh all will really have a great experience visiting India . There is saying in our India ” Atithi devo bhava” Or guests are like god to us ya all are most welcome ☺☺☺☺

    • I am also traveling alone to Rishikesh in February from San Francisco. What day are you traveling and from where?

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