India is a special, one-of-a-kind destination; no matter where you’ve been, nothing can prepare you for the experiences that await you in this fascinating country.
Unfortunately, because of a growing reputation for scams, the infamous Delhi belly, pollution, and rising cases of sexual harassment against women, many people wonder if traveling to India is safe and thus worthwhile. Let us investigate! Using common sense, as you would in any foreign country, will help you stay as safe as possible during your trip to India. Here are a few details to keep in mind.
Protests & Demonstrations Should Be Avoided.
Avoid large gatherings for demonstrations or protests, just as you would anywhere else; always heed local press advice.
Take Taxis Late At Night.
Taking a taxi after dark is the safest option. Check that it is a licensed cab — though even this does not always ensure safety. For female solo travelers, the best advice is to avoid unnecessary journeys after dark whenever possible. Transportation services such as Uber are available and are generally regarded as safe. In general, be skeptical of unsolicited offers of assistance and always agree on a price before accepting any kind of service; this way, you will be able to avoid the most common tricks that tourists fall for.
Female Travelers’ Safety
Several high-profile rapes have made international headlines in recent years. While there is no need to be paranoid, sexual harassment of women in India is a problem, ranging from catcalls to groping to more serious assaults, and female travelers should exercise caution at all times. Never accept rides from strangers, avoid unnecessary journeys after dark, and avoid traveling alone in unfamiliar areas. Female solo travelers should be especially cautious.
Muggings and Pickpocketing
In India, petty theft can be a problem. The best advice is to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying valuables such as wallets and phones in places where thieves can easily access them. Muggings are less common, but they do happen. Avoid traveling alone in unfamiliar or isolated areas, especially at night, and avoid flaunting valuables such as expensive watches. Never fight back if you are attacked. Hand over everything without resisting, as this may escalate the situation. If you are mugged, contact the police immediate
Floods from heavy rainfall during the monsoon season (generally June to October) are the most common natural disasters in India, as are cyclones and tropical storms (particularly on the east coast from September to December; the Bay of Bengal is also affected from April to June). Pay attention to weather forecasts and follow local authorities if you are traveling during the monsoon or storm season. The Himalayan region is also prone to earthquakes, which can result in landslides and avalanches.
Terrorist activity is considered high-risk in India. Although some regions are more vulnerable (for example, Jammu and Kashmir), any location can be attacked, and places that attract foreign tourists have been targeted in the past. Maintain constant vigilance, pay attention to media reports, and avoid areas with a high risk of attack.
Vaccinations and Health
Meningitis, typhoid, and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended, as are tetanus and polio vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations are recommended; they do not provide complete immunization but give you more time to get to a clinic for additional injections if you are bitten. Because dogs, monkeys, and other animals are carriers of the disease, it is best to avoid them.
Because the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito is endemic throughout most of India, anti-malaria tablets are required. Because tablets are not 100% effective — and mosquitos can also carry the equally dangerous dengue fever — you should also avoid being bitten. Apply mosquito repellent and cover your skin, especially in the evening when Anopheles mosquitos feed. NBSleeping under mosquito nets is advised.
Almost everyone who visits India gets an upset stomach, but as long as you are cautious, you should be able to avoid anything more serious. Always drink bottled water (check the seal when you buy it) and avoid eating street food that has clearly been sitting for an extended period of time.
Because India is such a large country, generalizing about the weather is difficult. The arrival of the monsoon, which begins in the southwest around May and moves north and east during the following months, is the main annual climatic event. It usually clears by September, though it lasts longer in the south.
Temperatures in some areas can become unbearable before the rains arrive. This means that the best time to visit many places is after the monsoon but before the punishing heat of summer arrives — for much of the country, this is from November to March.
Tipping is common in India, and giving a few rupees to waiters, porters, and others is expected and will make things run more smoothly. Baksheesh is a concept related to tipping. Baksheesh is derived from traditional alms-giving but is now more akin to bribe-fishing. For example, someone may request baksheesh to unlock a gate that has only been locked for this purpose. This is inconvenient, but in general, the amounts required are small.
Traveling in India: Basic Idea
The rail system in India is the backbone of transportation; it is extensive and generally efficient; traveling by train is an essential part of any trip to India. There are various classes ranging from luxurious to very basic. The cheapest “unreserved” carriages can become overcrowded and should be avoided.
If you’re traveling overnight, especially in lower-class carriages, make sure you secure your belongings and don’t leave any valuables in your bags. Although a chain and padlock may be useful for attaching your bag while you sleep, a determined thief may still slash your luggage with a knife.
If you plan to visit India, try to stay current on the situation in the areas you intend to visit. Many national governments have travel information on their websites; the UK government has an email service that sends out security and other updates. Even non-UK citizens will find this to be an excellent travel resource. Other governments offer comparable services.