Travelling is an activity that most of us enjoy, and India is home to some of the best destinations and most incredible sights and attractions. Ranging from urban sightseeing to spiritual pilgrimages to nature and outdoor adventure, there is no limit to what the country has to offer.
Five-star hotels, restaurants, delectable street food, temples, forests, mountain ranges, and caves are popular attractions that can be found all across the country.
In part due to its affordability, train travel is probably the most popular option to traverse the subcontinent. While it is very common to travel in groups whether with friends or family, there are many who may also be travelling alone.
If you are a female travelling solo, it would be in your best interests to follow certain measures to ensure that your journey is safe and hassle-free. Let’s have a look at some of these essential safety tips and recommendations for solo female travellers in India.
With trains being the most popular mode of cross-country travel, it is important that you remember to book your tickets well in advance. This will free you from any last-minute rush of having to buy Tatkal tickets which may cost significantly more.
And on the day of your travel, ensure that you arrive at the station well on time to avoid appearing lost or confused. You will also have time to make thorough enquiries at the enquiry counter in case you are not sure of the correct platform. This is a good way to avoid being hassled by touts or con artists.
Another good idea is to hire a porter to carry your luggage at the station. Besides, relieving you of the burden of having to lug around a heavy load, porters also usually know the correct platforms of each train. This way you can reach and board your train in the shortest time thereby avoiding any possible hassles on the platform.
Get Acquainted With The Coach Attendant
Once you have gotten settled into your seat a good next step is to immediately acquaint yourself with the coach attendant. This way you will know immediately who you can approach in case of any emergency or complaint.
The duties of the coach attendants include attending to even minor electrical issues. They also ensure that all passengers have received their food. Usually, your bedding and linen will usually be placed at your seat by the time you board the train. However, in case this has not been done, knowing who the attendant is is helpful for this as well.
Coach attendants are also in charge of looking into the security of the coaches, especially at night. This additionally, gives you the assurance that there will be someone to approach even in the middle of the night for any issues or emergencies.
Make Friends On The Train
In addition to helping avoid boredom on the journey, making friends on the train is also a good safety precaution as it benefits strength in numbers. Families and other women travellers are a good option for solo female travellers to mingle with.
However, it is important to also be wary of who you mingle with on the train. Solo female travellers would be well advised to avoid conversing too much or socializing with male strangers travelling alone. While not all men are necessarily a threat, this could very well lead to a lot of unsolicited attention throughout the journey.
If you come across people who make you uncomfortable, a good way to avoid them is to stick to one-word replies. You can also engross yourself in a book or put on headphones. And if the unwanted attention gets too much or out of hand you can always approach fellow passengers especially families, or the coach attendant as mentioned before.
Stay Connected with the Latest Technology
Staying savvy with the latest technology gives you peace of mind and enables you to stay up to date about the train's journey. This is especially beneficial while travelling on Indian trains since the stations are not announced on the trains as is done in many other countries. Nowadays most smartphones can accommodate apps like Trainman which offers features like Offline Running Status, through which you can check the accurate location of your train.
Additionally, in case of any emergency, you can contact friends or family and alert them. Such emergencies can range from accidents, and medical emergencies to running into unsavoury characters.
And they can take place while you are on the train or on the way to the train or the accommodation at your destination. In many instances, there may not be anyone around in your immediate vicinity who may be able to come to your aid.
And this is where staying connected comes very much in handy. Be sure to keep your mobile phone charged at all times. And while there are charging points on the trains, it is a good idea to carry along a power bank. There are times when some of the charging points may not be working. This can easily result in high demand for those charging points that are fully functional.
Pre Arrange Station Pick-ups
It would be well advised for women travellers to hail a ride to their hotels from the station after dark. It is very common in India for trains to arrive at their destinations in the middle of the night or early morning before sunrise.
In such cases, the best idea is to pre-organise a pickup with the hotel you plan to stay at. Some hotels provide pickup service for free while others might charge a small fee. Be sure to note down the hotel number along with your driver's details. Call the driver to make sure you have the right number and arrange a meeting spot in advance.
Another good option is to check the arrival time of your train while booking and try to book a train that is scheduled to arrive in the daytime. This is an essential advantage of planning in advance as discussed earlier.
Solo train travel in India can be quite an interesting and exciting experience for female travellers. However, there are many factors to be taken into consideration before setting out on your journey. Careful planning with due consideration to all of the measures above is guaranteed to ensure you have a most memorable experience in the trains of India as a solo female traveller.