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The Great Affair’s Guide to: Traveling alone as a woman in India.

Posted on Dec 17, 2013

“Time spent in India has a extraordinary effect on one. It acts as a barrier that makes the rest of the world seem unreal.”

― Tahir Shah

Sometimes, when it’s late at night and the house is still and silent, I try to pinpoint it – the moment I fell in love with India.

It happened fast, without me having any say in the matter, and once I was hooked, I knew there was no going back. When I think about it now, it might’ve happened on the second day of the Rickshaw Run, as my friend Citlalli and I joined two other teams to begin our 2,000-mile journey across the country.

The first few hours of the day found us driving through the emerald rice paddies of Assam, one of seven states tucked away in the far northeast corner of India. Citlalli was at the wheel for most of the morning, and I passed the time by leaning out the back of our rickshaw, snapping blurry photos of water buffalos and men on bicycles, ponds of purple water hyacinth and a woman holding a pink umbrella as she planted new rice seedlings. When we crossed the Brahmaputra, which feeds into the largest river delta on earth, I felt a true sense of my place in this world, a tiny drop in a vast sea.

For lunch, we pulled over at a roadside dhaba, a kind of rest stop for long-distance truck drivers. It had a roof of tin and thatch, and was set back from the highway in a shady grove of trees. The eight of us in our convoy gathered around a plastic table, ate dahl and white rice with chapatis, and sipped steaming chai from clear plastic cups. Mark paid for the meal before any of us could chip in. I tried to hand him money, but he refused to accept it and only showed me the handwritten receipt. Our lunch for eight had cost $5.

And it was afterwards, as I stretched out on one of the dhaba’s rope beds and joined the truckers in their afternoon reverie beneath the trees, that I knew I was done for. I’d neglected to follow their example by taking off my sandals and setting them neatly by the foot of my bed, but still the feeling of contentment and aliveness that washed over me was unforgettable.

It was the beauty, the simplicity, the absolute enormity of it all. It was finding myself at home among 1.2 billion people, even as every corner of my comfort zone was being tugged at and torn open.

I knew I would not leave this place the same.

Brahmaputra River in India

The stunning Brahmaputra.

Driving in Assam

Being passed on the road in Assam.

Dhaba restaurant in India

Lunch break at our first dhaba.

Rope beds at a dhaba

Truck drivers on their rope beds…

Rope beds in India

…and me following their lead. Bliss.

India had never been on my travel radar. Japan and Mongolia, Easter Island and Patagonia – those were the places I spent my time dreaming about and scheming up plans to get there.

But the universe thought otherwise. At a travel blogging conference in Manchester in 2011, I dropped my business card into three hats for three different trips you could win, and was shocked to hear my name called when the third winner was drawn. I had just won a place on the Adventurists’ Rickshaw Run.

After our three-wheeled adventure came to an end, I stayed on in India for three more months, and then returned in August of 2012 for another six months – at times working, volunteering, and traveling, covering the country from the snow-capped hills of Dharamsala to the shores of Cape Kanyakumari. Although I occasionally traveled with others – such as on the Rickshaw Run and on project visits with an NGO called Jeevika Trust – I mostly traveled by myself.

I now frequently get emails from other women wanting to do the same, but who are understandably concerned about the risks involved. I’ve written about the “why” of my love for India, and about the incredible kindness I experienced there. I’ve also given more practical advice in this guest post for Nomadic Matt, where I pulled together insights from fellow female travelers and shared tips for staying safe in India.

My vision for this guide is to finally bring it all together – to take the scary prospect of traveling to India alone for the first time and break it down into manageable steps. As much as I’d like to cover everything, I’ve tried to give a range of tangible tips to help you feel less daunted. And if there is something I haven’t addressed here that you’re still wondering about, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected]

India travel guide for solo female travelers

Table of contents

Go when you feel ready to go
Before you leave
What to pack, wear, and read
Arrival
Accommodation
Long-distance transportation
How to avoid getting sick
How to avoid getting ripped-off
How to avoid getting hurt
To tour or not to tour
Get involved
Readers’ tips
Three golden rules

Go when you feel ready to go.

There’s such a thing as a healthy amount of fear – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been at least a little apprehensive before traveling to India – and then there’s fear that might be trying to tell you something. If you don’t feel you’re ready for India, if you’ve never spent time in a developing country or traveled alone by yourself before, it might not be the right time. That time will come, and when it does, you’ll know it.

I told a white lie above in that I actually had considered going to India once before. I’d even booked a flight to Mumbai. But something didn’t feel right. This was in 2009 and I’d only ever traveled around Europe and New Zealand. So I ate the cost of the flight and went to Thailand instead, where I had family friends who could help me navigate my way through Asia for the first time.

I’m now extremely grateful that I waited to go to India. I’m not sure that the traveler I was in 2009 would have loved it as much as I did two years later. I believe the fear we feel before going there is a good thing, that it means we respect India, but I also think we have to trust our gut and go when the time is right.

Before you leave

The stress of preparing for India can sometimes begin to eclipse your excitement, so to keep that ‘ole anticipation-fear ratio in its proper balance, here are some essential things to take care of before setting out:

  • Visa – Give yourself plenty of time to apply for one before your trip. Many countries outsource their Indian visa processing to a third-party company, so you’ll need to find out where to submit your application. To help many readers here get started, US citizens’ visas are processed by BLS International, UK visas by VFS Global, and Australian visas by a different branch of VFS Global.
  • Vaccinations – Consult your doctor, or better yet, schedule a visit with a travel and tropical medicine clinic that can advise you on all things vaccinations and immunizations. I got the bare minimum – Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and diphtheria, tetanus, and polio rolled into one. It’s also recommended to get immunized against things such as rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, etc., but as these can be very costly, it comes down to a personal decision if you want to take the risk or not.
  • Malaria pills – The first step is to decide if you even want to take them – many travelers are quite divided on this subject. It depends on where you’re going in India, as well as what time of year (i.e. monsoon season). Also, keep an eye on current disease outbreaks. For instance, one of my good friends on the Rickshaw Run, Nambi, took malaria pills because at the time there was an outbreak of cerebral malaria in Assam, the most severe form of the disease.
  • Probiotics – A rather effective preventative measure for warding off Delhi belly is to take probiotic supplements. The higher the count of probiotics per capsule, the more effective they’ll be (this option I bought from Boots pharmacy in the UK has 10 million per capsule). You’ll usually start taking them a week before you leave, and continue taking them for two weeks after you arrive.
Indian visa

Indian visa…yes, you’ll need one!

What to pack, wear, and read

Clothing:

Dress modestly, ladies! Leave your shoulder-baring tank tops and shorts at home – unless you’re heading to Goa, and even then, be discrete. India is a conservative country, so I always tried to respect that by not dressing inappropriately. My go-to outfits were a knee-length dress with leggings or an ankle-length skirt with a t-shirt, but other female friends that came to visit me brought jeans or khaki pants and did just fine.

Once in India, I also bought traditional Indian attire to wear such as kurtas and shalwar kameez suits. A kurta is a long cotton tunic worn with either leggings or loose trousers, and a good place to pick up contemporary takes on classic pieces is a store called Fabindia (there are branches all across the country).

Indian attire

On an NGO project visit in the Chandaka Forest of Orissa.

Gear:

It’s easy to go a little crazy when packing for India, especially given everything that’s available these days. Did you know they make a bottle now that purifies water via built-in UV technology? Here’s the thing, though: you don’t really need it. Safe drinking water is available all over India – usually for 15 rupees for a 2-liter bottle – it’s just important to make sure the seal around the bottle cap isn’t broken. If it is, point it out to the person you bought it from and they’ll exchange it for a new one.

Three things I do recommend packing are probiotics, sunscreen, and DEET insect repellent (the higher the percentage, the better – yay, chemicals!). Most everything else you can get in India. I was constantly amazed not only by what I could get right over the counter – paracetamol, antiseptic liquid, iodine ointment, bandages, packets of Metrogyl/Metronidazole tablets to deal with Delhi belly infections – but also by how inexpensive it was. Look for the red square crosses over a chemist’s shop and they should be able to help you.

Books:

I’m not normally a big guidebook person, but I didn’t think twice about buying the Lonely Planet guide to India. Even though that thing is the size and weight of a brick (literally), I took it with me everywhere on my first three-month trip. Another brick-size essential for all first-time travelers to India is Shantaram. Whereas Lonely Planet gave me the how’s and where’s, Gregory David Roberts’ quintessential novel about love and life in Mumbai was key in helping me understand the heartbeat of India. And finally, for more excellent literary suggestions, check out Jodi Ettenberg’s pre-trip reading list on Legal Nomads.

Books about India

Essential reading for any traveler to India.

Arrival

On a flight from Delhi to Bangkok last year, I met a woman from Argentina who was traveling in Asia for three months. She had originally planned to spend two of those months in India and a month in Thailand, but after just two weeks, she’d decided to head to Thailand earlier than expected. India had been too chaotic, too crowded, she told me. When I asked where she had visited, she said Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur – three tourist hotspots in northern India otherwise known as the Golden Triangle.

My heart sank. I wanted to encourage her to give India a second chance, to go back and explore its corners where the chaos is actually replaced by a certain sense of calm, but it was too late. Now, ever since meeting the Argentinian woman, my biggest piece of advice upon arriving in India is to start your time away from the big cities. Go to the backwaters of Kerala, the Thar Desert outside Jaisalmer, or the Himalayan foothills of Dharamsala. Go to old hill stations like Ooty and Darjeeling or to quiet Colomb Bay in Goa, where I lived in a house by the beach for just $314 a month.

Tea pickers in Darjeeling

Tea pickers in Darjeeling.

Kerala backwaters

On the backwaters of Kerala.

Thar Desert in Jaisalmer

Desert silence outside Jaisalmer.

Rhododendron trees in India

Rhododendron trees over Dharamsala.

IMG_5207-2

Another favorite quiet spot = the mangrove forests of Pichavaram, Tamil Nadu.

And then keep going. A good friend of mine, Indian travel writer and blogger Shivya Nath, runs a travel company called India Untravelled. Her mission? To get you off the beaten path in rural India. The homestays and villages Shivya has discovered are nothing short of magical. I know the next time I’m in India, I’ll absolutely be checking out this coffee plantation in the hilly forests of the Western Ghats, where it’s possible to stay in bamboo cottages on stilts. That is my idea of heaven.

Your time away from places such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc., will give you a chance to find your feet in India and slowly work your way up to the big cities – to acclimate to the crowds, the smells, the trash. And if you’ll permit me to get a little philosophical here, I think putting off big sights such as the Taj Mahal for later on in your trip helps them take on more meaning anyways. Once you’ve found your own version of India and discovered what the country means to you and you alone, it’s nice to then join the masses and pay homage to a truly magnificent structure.

My second biggest piece of advice for when you arrive is to book your first night’s accommodation ahead of time. Even if you leave the rest of your trip wide open, know where you’re going when your plane lands, as a lot of international flights arrive at odd hours of the night. The same goes for arriving by train or bus in a new city in India – touts will be out in full force, waiting to prey on those with no plan. Head straight to the pre-paid taxi counter typically found outside train stations and airports (it’s definitely at both Delhi and Mumbai’s airports) – fares are fixed and you’ll be given a receipt with the license plate number of the taxi on it, which you won’t hand to the driver until you’ve reached your destination.

A word about touts: These are the guys who tell you about the hotel their brother’s uncle’s cousin owns. If they hear the name of your guesthouse, they’ll tell you it’s full or that it closed last year. They’ll promise to find you a cheaper room. Even rickshaw or taxi drivers do this, offering to take you to a better place than the one you’ve booked so they can get a commission. Insist on where you want to go and don’t start to second-guess yourself.

Tata Photon PlusFinally, if you’re planning to be in India for a while and will need to be online a lot during your trip, I highly recommend getting a wifi dongle from Tata Photon+ (and no, they’re not paying me to say that). It’s a little device the size of a flashdrive, and is bought from and easily topped up at phone shops across the country (just look for the brown Tata Photon sign as pictured to the left). Having the dongle meant I didn’t have to worry if a guesthouse had wifi – because in most cases, the basic ones don’t – and as most internet cafes have dated computers, it means you can keep working on your own laptop. The only place I ever had connectivity problems was in the hill town of Ooty; otherwise it worked like a charm.

Chocolate Log Cafe in Dharamsala

Coffee, chocolate cake, and internet…the perfect writing afternoon in Dharamsala.

Accommodation

The Lonely Planet guide I recommended above served me very well in finding basic, clean accommodation throughout India, so I’m only going to highlight three places to stay here – two in Delhi and Mumbai as they’re both massive and often tough nuts to crack, and one in Jaisalmer as it’s my favorite guesthouse in India ever and I can’t not tell you about it. I’ve stayed at each of these places three times, so know they come truly recommended. For other interesting places to say, I’m going to repeat myself and encourage you again to check out the offbeat homestays available with India Untravelled.

Delhi:

Hotel Downtown – 4583 Main Bazaar, Paharganj; +91 11 4154 1529

The Paharganj neighborhood is like the backpackers’ ghetto of Delhi – its Main Bazaar road is lined with low-budget hotels and restaurants, as well as souvenir shops selling one pair of Ali Baba harem pants after another. But what I do like about the area is that it’s literally right across the street from the main New Delhi railway station, meaning if your train gets in late, a cheap bed for the night is only a five-minute walk away.

Where I’ve always stayed in Paharganj is a place called Hotel Downtown. It’s located down a side street on the left side of Main Bazaar Road; keep your eyes peeled slightly upwards for their sign, or ask around for the nearby Everest Café. Starting at 350 rupees a night ($5.50), their rooms are basic and quite uninspiring, and hot water is brought up in a bucket for a shower (unless it’s warm outside and a standard cold shower is preferable), but I’ve always felt safe there – in Delhi, this counts for a lot.

Mumbai: 

Salvation Army Red Shield House – 30 Merewether Road, Colaba; +91 2284 1824

I’m a creature of habit, so as with Delhi, this is where I’ve stayed every time I passed through Mumbai. Colaba is at the very end of the peninsula on which Mumbai is situated, and although it’s also where tourists congregate in the city, the colonial architecture and Old Bombay vibe make it worthwhile. There aren’t many budget options for accommodation in this area, which is why I love staying at the Salvation Army.

They offer a range of basic rooms – from 10-bed dorms to double rooms with A/C – but I always go with a dorm bed for 250 rupees/night ($5). This includes the use of a locker, filtered water machine to refill your bottle with, and free breakfast, which is usually toast, butter, banana, hardboiled egg, and chai. For all that plus a killer location (it’s directly catty-corner to the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace hotel), it’s hard to beat the price. They also have a curfew of 12am after which the front doors are locked, so again, I was always grateful for the feeling of security here.

Jaisalmer:

Shahi Palace Hotel – near SBBJ Bank, Shiv Road; +91-2992-255 920

As you could perhaps tell from my descriptions of both places in Delhi and Mumbai, atmosphere isn’t generally high on my list when it comes to choosing a guesthouse. My priority is on places that are clean, safe, and cheap, but sometimes it’s nice to stay somewhere that’s just downright pretty for a change. The Shahi Palace Hotel – whose sister guesthouse Star Haveli is just a few doors down – is exactly this, and as rooms start at 750 rupees a night ($12), your budget will still love you.

The rooms have beautifully embroidered bedcovers and wall hangings, window seats, and sandstone walls – although I’m fairly certain it’s is only a dozen or so years old, the place feels as though it’s been there since the time of the maharajas. But what keeps me coming back to this guesthouse is its rooftop. Jaisalmer is home to the one of the oldest still-inhabited forts in the world, and there is nothing quite like eating breakfast with a view of the fort’s golden walls rising up in front of you.

Shahi Palace Hotel in Jaisalmer

My favorite digs in Jaisalmer…

Shahi Palace Hotel in Jaisalmer

…and the epic view from its roof.

Long-distance transportation

Three words, my friends: Take the train. I have clocked over 300 hours on Indian trains, and am fairly certain that one of my favorite places on earth is the sleeper class. As I once wrote here, the trains in India are a world of their own – a chance to not only interact with locals but watch the country change a thousand times as you pass through it. Here’s what you need to know about booking a ticket:

  • The simplest website for booking tickets is Cleartrip.com.
  • Tickets are available for purchase up to two months in advance. Don’t put off booking a ticket, as trains fill up incredibly fast.
  • If a particular route is sold out, try and get a last-minute ticket through the Tatkal scheme. At 10am on the day prior to the day you want to travel on, a certain number of seats are opened up (from what I can tell, this number varies from journey to journey). You have a better chance of getting a Tatkal ticket by going in person to the nearest railway station’s reservation office. Otherwise, Cleartrip is closed from 8am-12noon every day. Tatkal tickets are sometimes still available when Cleartrip opens up at noon, but if you absolutely need to leave the next day, it’s best not to take your chances.

And now a bit about the five different classes of accommodation available:

  • Second class is sitting or standing room only and does not require a reserved ticket; trust me, you will not want to take this class on a long-distance trip.
  • Sleeper class has three berths (or beds) on each side of a compartment and two berths on the wall of the aisle, so theoretically eight people should travel in each compartment. It does not have A/C and is cooled by fans and open windows (which are barred). During the day, the middle berths are folded down so that the lower berths become bench seats for everyone. For this reason, I always booked an upper berth, so that I could keep my bags out of the way. No bedding is provided, so it might be wise to bring a travel sleep sack or shawl for sleeping (especially during the winter).
  • The three different A/C classes all have windows that cannot be opened, and you are also given pillows, blankets, and sheets. The layout of AC 3-tier is practically identical to the sleeper class in that it has three berths on each wall and two on the side of the aisle. AC 2-tier has two berths on each wall and AC 1-tier (which isn’t always available on some trains) has the same, but with lockable doors.

I prefer the openness of the sleeper class – not only of the windows, but of the passengers themselves. Within minutes, everyone is making friends, sharing their food, and looking out for each other’s children. There’s a fun sense of camaraderie, and in my own experience, I never felt any less safe in the sleeper class. The conductors and armed train guards still pass through on a regular basis. The A/C classes are quieter and people tend to keep to themselves.

No matter which class I’m traveling in, I always secured my backpack to my berth with a bicycle lock. Although I never had any problem with security, I figured it couldn’t hurt. I also made sure to carry toilet paper with me, as bathrooms are of the same quality in every class. I could keep going, but India travel expert Sharell Cook has written this fantastic list of what to expect on long-distance train journeys in India, so please check it out if you still want to know more.

Rail travel in India

Rail travel in India is always an adventure.

Sleeper class in India

You’ll do a lot of napping on the trains.

Trains in India

Making friends on the Brahmaputra Mail to Guwahati.

Young boys in India

Two more darling new friends on the Pischam Express to Delhi: Yashu and Yavi.

A note about people sharing their food: Indian families often bring their own home-cooked meals with them on the train, and many that I met insisted on sharing their food with me. Although some people highly discourage accepting it as there have been a few cases of the food being drugged and belongings being stolen, I never had a problem. For me, what it comes down to is trust. I usually accepted food after I’d gotten to know the family, chatted with them for a while, and got a sense of whether or not I could trust them. (To read more about this, here’s an interesting thread on the India Mike forum).

Indian trains

Two kind sisters sharing their dinner on the train to Delhi.

Other types of transport: There are long-distance buses, but I don’t recommend them – only because of comfort and price. Tickets tend to be more expensive than sleeper class tickets, and I find it much more difficult to sleep on an overnight bus than on a train berth. If you do need to look into bus tickets, though, do a search for the official State Transport Corporation website for the particular state you’re looking to travel in. Every state has one (as an example, here’s the site for the Tamil Nadu STC). And if you’re short on time and need to fly internally, I recommend two low-cost carriers, IndiGo Airlines and SpiceJet.

How to avoid…


Getting sick: 

A common way to avoid Delhi belly is to stay away from thin-skinned fruits and raw vegetables (such as the tomato and cucumber garnish that accompanies many meals) as well as meat – the food in India is already swirling with so many flavors I guarantee you won’t miss it. Also, don’t feel like you can’t eat street food; just be sure that it’s served hot and that there aren’t hordes of flies buzzing around. Choose restaurants and shops that seem busy and have a good turnover; an empty restaurant might mean food has been sitting out for a while.

Earlier I mentioned taking probiotics before you start your trip. A way to keep up the probiotic intake once you’re in India is to take advantage of all the kurd that’s available – kurd being yogurt that’s often served as a side dish and is also made into delicious cold drinks called lassi. I’m not sure there’s anything more delightful than drinking a sweet lassi from a little clay pot – India’s version of a disposable paper cup.

A final suggestion here is, especially after you’ve first arrived and even more especially if you’ve just arrived in Delhi, brush your teeth with bottled water.

But, when the worst-case scenario does happen – which it inevitably will – don’t panic. I’ve had Delhi belly six times, and each time, my lovely Indian friend Nambi, a doctor in the UK, got a frantic text from me. Nambi’s advice was always the same: get lots of rest, drink lots of water, and try to keep eating. I would sleep all day, make sure my room was well-stocked with toilet paper, and subsist on a diet of Maaza mango juice, Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh lemon juice, salty crackers, and yogurt with sugar.

Once, after two bouts of Delhi belly close to each other, I ended up going to a small neighborhood clinic where a doctor gave me electrolytes and carbohydrates through an IV. If you get to a point where you feel like you need to seek medical help, ask at your guesthouse for recommendations or consult the local chemist.

India street food

Some of my favorite street eats in the Orissan capital of Bhubaneswar.

Street food in India

What to look for when eating street food = you want it hot and freshly cooked.


Getting ripped off:

Just like you will most likely experience the joys of Delhi belly at least once during your stay, another reality is that you are going to get ripped off. But here are a few tips to hopefully keep that to a minimum:

1. In terms of shopping, haggling is definitely expected in a market environment (unless they’ve got a ‘fixed price’ sign posted). Once a vendor told me the price, I usually started negotiating at half that. The point of equilibrium is when you reach a price you’re both happy with. You’ll also have a better chance at getting a lower price if you buy more than one item from the same vendor. They like to move stock as much as you like to score awesome stuff for friends back home.

2. Something else to be aware of are touts who want to con you into shockingly expensive travel packages. While trying to book a train ticket to Agra, my friend Erin and I were lured into an office that claimed to be associated with the government-owned Indian Railways. They proceeded to tell us tickets were all sold out for the next day, but offered to book us a private car that cost ten times that of a train ticket. How kind of them, right? If something seems more expensive than it should be, it probably is.

3. The last bit of advice I have for this section is in regards to negotiating the price for an auto-rickshaw journey. Every rickshaw has a meter in it; however, only once in nine months did a rickshaw driver ever agree to use it. Instead, you’ll need to agree on the fare before you go. Delhi Tourism has a helpful guide to figuring out how much your fare should cost when taking an auto.

What I’d often do before leaving my apartment or guesthouse was look up my destination on Google Maps. For instance, if a place were 12 kilometers away, that would mean my fare should be around 110 rupees. I never expected a driver to consent to that price – rather, it was more just to know how much I would be overpaying. If the driver refused to go below, say, 130, I would be okay that. If someone insisted on 180 or 200, I’d know better and find another driver. In Delhi, there are some 75,000 autos zipping around – you will find another driver.

And don’t be afraid to bust out a little Hindi. I’d greet a driver and then ask how much by saying, “Kitanā?” (pronounced kitna). The ruse that I spoke much Hindi didn’t last long, but I tried to show I was at least making some effort and this generally helped me get a better price.

One last thing to keep in mind: During my first trip to Fort Cochin in Kerala, I stopped for tea one morning at a chai stall popular with local auto drivers. I asked them if business was good; they replied that it was okay but a little slow, leaving them with no “tea money.” When I asked about this, they explained it as a few extra rupees here and there to pay for their chai. This stuck with me throughout the rest of my time in India. It’s all too easy to get caught up in an economy where haggling and negotiating are allowed, especially with auto drivers. But if I found myself arguing over 10 rupees, I’d stop and realize that maybe this was just his tea money for the day.

Auto-rickshaw in India

The fearless Indian auto-rickshaw.


Getting hurt:

And by hurt I mean, how do you stay safe as a woman traveling alone in India? The topic couldn’t be hotter right now – and is especially relevant as yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of a brutal and deadly gang rape in Delhi last December. On the mind of every female traveler in India is how not to get groped, stalked, stared at, and worse. It’s easy to rattle off quick rules – don’t be out at night, especially alone; don’t talk to men you don’t know; don’t use auto-rickshaws or buses after dark. But the difficult part is that there’s no formula for safety. There’s no guarantee bad things won’t happen.

In my opinion, every female traveler – no matter where she is in the world – must strike a fine balance between staying on her guard against potential threats and keeping her heart open to positive encounters and experiences. Knowing when to do one or the other requires a tremendous amount of discernment. Be wise, stay alert in new situations, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home.

Learn what normal looks like, and when something deviates from that, avoid it. Transportation in India is often crowded – if a bus is eerily empty, don’t board it. If you find yourself in an empty train carriage (as I once did at the end of a line), move to a different carriage where other people are.

All that being said, I never felt threatened in India. I have blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, and although I always made sure to dress appropriately, I never covered my hair or wore sunglasses as a means of detracting attention. In fact, I would often make a point of not wearing sunglasses – I think our eyes are an important conduit for connection, especially when we don’t share a language with someone. You are going to attract attention no matter your hair color or clothing, but it’s usually from a place of innocent curiosity – they’re often just as curious about you as you are of them.

Families at the Taj Mahal

My friend Erin and I loved meeting families from all across India at the Taj Mahal.

To tour or not to tour

All that having been said, it could be that you’re still not sold on the idea of exploring India on your own. While I myself am not a big fan of tours, my first experience of India was still within a group context doing the Rickshaw Run, and I can testify that there is certainly comfort in numbers.

A good place to start is with travel company G Adventures. My friend Jodi from Legal Nomads recently went on their two-week “Land of the Maharajas” tour of Rajasthan and posted a brilliant round up of her highlights. If you’re in India for a more extended period of time, doing a short tour at the beginning of your trip might give you a chance to acclimate and gain courage to go out on your own afterwards.

You could also sign up for daytrips or shorter group activities that will enable you to connect with other travelers. I once did a bazaar walk and haveli visit in Old Delhi and enjoyed getting to know the Australian couple also on the tour that afternoon.

Friends at the Taj Mahal

Rickshaw Runners at the Taj.

Get involved

As much as I talk about the wonders of the Rickshaw Run, the experience I’m most grateful for in India is the time I spent volunteering with an NGO called Jeevika Trust (“jeevika” being the Hindi word for livelihood). Although they’re based in the UK, they support five grassroots organizations in India, all focused on building rural prosperity through village livelihood projects such as beekeeping, candle making, and crab cultivation, as well as addressing important issues such as women’s empowerment and education.

Devoting part of your time in India to volunteering is a brilliant way to connect with the country on a deeper level. Think about your skills and interests, and look into small organizations that might benefit from what you have to offer. As a writer and photographer, I was able to help Jeevika’s parter NGOs document their work in words and pictures and prepare case studies for future fundraising appeals. Lasting change is difficult to realize in a country as large as India, but I tried to contribute my time and skills in a few concrete, tangible ways.

The important thing is to ensure that an NGO has a positive reputation and that its funds are being put to good use (what I’m saying between the lines here is make sure they’re not corrupt – for more on this issue, read this 2011 article in the Indian Express). A few other NGOs that were recommended to me are Barefoot College, Seva Mandir, and Aravali. I also came across this this of ten inexpensive volunteer opportunities across India that seem reputable, as well as another list of five organizations in Kolkata specifically helping victims of trafficking.

A different idea for getting involved is to spend some time in Auroville, a rather unique city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu that’s a kind of social experiment in human unity. It was founded in 1968 by Sri Aurobindo and a French woman known as The Mother, and is now home to a diverse community representing fifty nationalities. It’s a great place to meet other travelers and there are all sorts of eco-friendly enterprises to volunteer with, including a 100% organic farm and a reforestation project. Shivya Nath (whom I mentioned earlier) recently wrote a fantastic guide to visiting Auroville, breaking down everything you need to know before you go.

Indian NGOs

At a stakeholder workshop in Auroville with Jeevika and its five Indian partner NGOs.

Readers’ tips

I did a call-out on The Great Affair’s Facebook page for tips from people who have been to India themselves. Thanks to everyone who sent one in! 

Shivya from The Shooting Star: “Talk to the locals, especially women, as much as you can. Not only is it a great way to see the place through a local lens, but also the women can share tips on places you should definitely avoid and stay safe in general.”

Jasmine: “With the security on the subways, don’t have valuables in your handbag, as you have to put it through the x-ray machine and go through a different area to be body scanned…Money, wallet, and cards were safe in my bra only!”

Haley from Border Lass: “I can say that I have never seen or experienced negative discrimination or felt threatened in India based on the fact that I am a (white) female. You have to remember that the population of India is 1.27 billion people which is more than the population of Europe (733 million) and the USA (316 million) combined. There are also cases of rape in every European country and in every US state every year. So please don’t let the media put anyone off visiting this weird but wonderful, charming but challenging country.”

Dhananjay: “India is a very big country with whole different cultures in it. We have different languages, different colors, different clothes, different foods, different festivals even different gods in one country…If you travel the whole of India, you will feel like you’ve travelled too many different countries.”

Angela from Far & Wise: “One of my favorite tips about solo travel as a woman is to stick close to other women, especially older women, when you’re feeling insecure. Grandmas are not afraid to tell some *kid* what to do or where to go!”

Woman in India

Look for other women when you’re feeling insecure.

Three final golden rules

1. Embrace the chaos.

Another way of saying this is, go with the flow. India has a flow all its own, and as maddening as it can be at the time, ironically it’s what I always end up missing the most. After leaving this March, I went to Singapore and Japan, two countries that couldn’t be more opposite from India. As I was reprimanded for drinking water on Singapore’s metro and given disapproving looks when I failed to join a queue in the Kyoto train station, I found myself homesick for India, where anything goes and everything flows.

Elephants in India

You will miss this. I promise.

2. Don’t get angry.

I can’t claim credit for this one: Mr. Matt, chief [dis]organizer of the Rickshaw Run, often says this to teams before they set out, and I think it’s massively important to keep in mind. Things go wrong in India – a lot. Trains break down, rickshaw drivers won’t know where your destination is, bank managers can’t process your money transfer. I’m ashamed to say I lost my temper many times in India, but after I’d huffed and puffed for a while, I would try to regain a sense of humor about the situation. Anger never helps.

Detours in India

Breathe deep and take the detours as they come.

3. Trust your gut.

Pretty much everything I’ve written here, particularly about staying safe, can be boiled down to these three words. Gut, intuition, that little voice inside you saying someone shouldn’t be trusted – whatever you want to call it, we all have a way of taking stock of a situation or person and sensing whether they’re good or bad. I believe strongly in the power of time spent in India – it is a crash course in compassion, patience, and humility – and what it asks of you in return is heightened awareness and adjusted expectations.

Traveling in India, especially as a woman, may not be easy, but it is a true adventure. You will not leave this place the same.

Single woman traveling alone in India

Sometimes your gut says you just gotta jump.

Tourism in India

P.S. A little pre-trip inspiration for you…

To help assuage the panic of packing and preparing for your first trip to India, I thought I would create the following wallpaper to place on your desktop; as a reminder that your upcoming trip is absolutely worth taking. Feel free to click on the image below, download it, and get your desktop as stoked as you are about the wonders that await you in India.

Women traveling in India

My new favorite quote.

Please let me know if there’s anything I can still help with! Leave a comment here or send me an email at [email protected]

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  • Kirsten

    Love!! What great information. I am so pumped up for my upcoming travels to India in 2014!

    • Thanks so much, Kirsten! I definitely had you in mind as I was putting this together 🙂 Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with, and feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like more specific recommendations for Delhi – Hauz Khas Village is a particular favorite spot of mine! It has a fun artsy vibe to it and tons of cool restaurants and cafes. When do you head there next year?

  • What a wonderful guide to such a wonderful country! I really hope it will encourage others to visit India, and embrace all the wonder and chaos of this special place. Great job, Candace x

    • Thank you, Hannah! That truly means a lot coming from you, as you’ve spent so much time in India and share my love for the country. I can’t wait for our Colomb Bay reunion one day 🙂 x

  • Great guide, Candace!

    • Thanks, Alana! Hope all is well in Chiang Mai – will you be spending the holidays there or heading elsewhere? Have a wonderful Christmas 🙂

  • Soham

    Hey Candace,

    Soham here. Two informations I would like to correct out here is the information about train booking. First of all, now the Rail Ministry has reverted back to the old 2 months advance booking from the 3 months. Secondly, one cannot book Tatkal tickets on Cleartrip as the train booking on Cleartrip remains closed from 8 am to 12 pm. This is again as per the Rail Ministry regulations. But, as usual, a brilliant writeup. Keep going.

    • Hello Soham! Thanks so much for reading and pointing out those two things about train bookings…I sadly know the longer I’m away from India, the more things are bound to change, so I really appreciate your help in keeping this guide as accurate as possible 🙂 And I do indeed remember now that Cleartrip is closed during the morning – I also remember having some luck finding Tatkal tickets at noon, but I know going in person to the station at 10am definitely gives you a better shot. Thanks again, and please let me know if you catch anything else!

  • Although India is definitely not on our radar for this trip, I can’t say it won’t ever be. It sounds like an interesting country and so many people I love and admire (like you!) are so keen on it, it definitely piques my interest. This is a fabulous and practical wrap up–thanks for putting it together. I’m sure I’ll be recommending it many times in the future!

    • Thanks, Carmel! As I wrote here, I’m really glad I’d been traveling for a little while before I went to India for the first time. All of your epic overnight missions across Southeast Asia are the perfect preparation for the fun and frustration of India 😉 Can’t *wait* to hear what you think of Vietnam!

  • Kim

    I love this and I love India. Candace, you’ve put together a great guide to get women inspired to travel to my favorite country. Good job!

    • Thank you, my friend! I’m so grateful that we not only share a love for India, but that we even got to share a few adventures there together 🙂

  • Hey Candace,

    I won’t be travelling as a single lady but will be leaving for India in 2 weeks. Lots of great info in this post. Thanks and I hope all is well.

    • Thanks, Andrew! It’s awesome to hear from you here. I’m seriously excited about your upcoming adventure to Kashmir – know I’ll be following along on your blog and can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Not only is this full of great advice (which I echo having traveled solo in India twice,) but it makes me want to shout “Somebody gets me! Somebody GETS India!”

    I feel like I am constantly having to defend and rationalize my assertion that India is my favorite country to travel in. Instead, I’m just going to send them over to this post. 🙂

    Three pieces I just have to chime in on: the trains (and the sharing of food), wearing local garb, and volunteering. I believe these are all easily overlooked by travelers to India, but have been by far the most memorable for me. I’m happy to see it is the same for someone else.

    I also must add: it was most difficult for me to find budget accommodation in Mumbai. Shoutout to the Traveller’s Inn in Fort. Lastly, I’ve spent eight weeks in India — always prepared to get Delhi Belly…never have. It was one of my biggest hesitations about going. My tip is…go veg!

    Thank you for writing such a lovely and helpful post on my (still!) favorite country. I’m bookmarking it for life!

    • Anne! I can’t thank you enough for your comment. It is *always* fantastic to connect with another Indophile, and I’m so glad to hear you had such a positive experience in India – and without any Delhi belly?? Seriously well done 🙂 Thank you as well for including your own suggestion for Mumbai accommodation – it’s great to have another option to add to the list!

    • Diana Hutchison

      I understand what you are saying Anne, I always end up defending India from people that make not nice comments about Indian people. I have visited three times and am planning another trip. I have met so many lovely people, friends of friends and who have invited me to stay in their homes. We NZ’s have so much to learn from these wonderful people. My tip to add regarding Delhi belly, I used hand sanitizer before eating and regularly during the day. Candace I think you have written a great informative piece on travelling and being safe in India.

      • I know exactly what you mean, Diana – I feel the same way about India as I do about family, in that I might sometimes complain about my frustrations, but the minute someone else says anything negative about India, I rush to defend her 🙂 It’s great to hear you’ve had such a positive experience there, though, and are already planning your next trip back! Where are you planning to visit this time? Thank you as well for your tip on using hand sanitizer…I’m sorry to have missed that point!

  • Great post Candace! Excellent advice all around but we especially appreciated that which applied to getting your first night hotel booked. We did book a room, but did NOT go to the pre-paid taxi booth and ended up being well and truly scammed! Just reading your post and looking over the pictures had me ache to be back there! I read a quote recently that said “Leaving India is like going from colored tv back to black and white” and that could not be more true!

    • Thank you, Rhonda! And thanks as well for sharing a bit about your own experience in India – although I’m so sorry to hear you guys got scammed on your first night there! Funnily enough, the quote you shared is *exactly* what my Indian friend Nambi told me before I returned to the UK…he warned me to be ready for the change, and that life there will seem much less exciting and colorful after India 🙂 He was right!

      • haha..well, great minds think alike 🙂 Have a very Merry Christmas

  • Gerald Englebretsen

    What can I say?

    You and Hannah writing as bloggers inspired me to go to Goa whereupon I too fell in love with everything you have mentioned.
    Strangely the advice you give about finding ‘safety’ in Grandma’s also applies to guys of any age … as you say they can swiftly detect distress and can direct a quick verbal to uncouple a persistent trader or tout.

    In a sense you have captured everything which LP and others should in one short tome.
    Thanks.

    • Thanks so much for your insightful comment, Gerald! I’m still so grateful that you had such a fantastic time in Goa, and I’m glad to hear some of the advice I’ve shared here applies to other travelers besides women on their own. And yes, it’d be great if Lonely Planet could create a book with only the essential info in it – their current version is great but rather unwieldy 🙂

  • Wow, what a great post!!! Lots and lots of usefull info; what a fantastic job you did!

    Love the pics.

    And I truly admire you. You are so much more adventurous and daring then I am.
    My backpacking basic budget days are long behind me and I would rather not have to travel like that anymore;-).

    As I said once before in another comment I left a while ago, I never fell in love with India. It was way too overwhelming for me. Nevertheless I have the most unsual and beautiful images as a memory. And I sometimes indeed miss the vibrant colors and the constant amazement.

    • Thanks so much for your comment and for your honesty, Anja! India is absolutely an overwhelming place, and although I often write about my love for the country, there were some days when I struggled to feel it. But I love what you said about the colors and constant amazement – that’s a beautiful way of putting it 🙂 Thanks for reading and joining the conversation!

  • While I have no plans to tackle India as a solo female traveler, I still read this incredibly thorough guide with great interest. Some things you said confirmed suspicions/beliefs I had already formed on my own (fear is a gift so listen to it, don’t start in the big cities), but I learned a lot of other helpful things and it certainly helped inspire me and abate some of my own fears about traveling to the subcontinent. While we were in Nepal we came thisclose to making India our next stop, but something kept telling us it wasn’t the right time (and it probably didn’t help that we would have started in Delhi!). I know that time will come, however, and when I do, I know I’ll be better equipped for it having read this! Thanks, Candace!

    • Thanks so much for reading this, Steph! And although it’s aimed at women traveling solo, I definitely hope there are points here that all kinds of travelers can take away and apply to their own experiences in India. It’s interesting to hear that you guys were so close to visiting it after your time in Nepal, but yes, I have a feeling that when you do decide to go, it will be the perfect time for it! Can’t wait to see when that is 🙂

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  • Wonderful post Candace, you have so captured the magic and beauty of India perfectly.
    Nothing quiet prepares you for how you will feel when you first arrive in India in the same way nothing prepares you for how it will feel when you leave. It is among my favourite places in the world. Your post has done this beautiful country and it’s amazing people great justice- Namaste my friend, Siobhain x x

    • Thanks so much, Siobhain! Somehow it had slipped my mind that you’d spent time in India, and now I’m so disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to chat more about it in Dublin. I love what you said, though, about how nothing can prepare you for when you leave – that’s a beautiful point, and so true! Both times I left India, it was a huge adjustment – getting used to the silence and space again was almost jarring. But I know that whenever I get a chance to return, so much of it will be the same. Like a good friendship, we can always pick right up where we left off there 🙂 Sending lots of love your way this Christmas! xx

  • Well done, Candace, very comprehensive! I’ve been writing and blogging about my travels in India for more than 8 years, and I really can’t think of anything substantial to add to this. But just a few points of difference that someone might benefit from:

    1. I always recommend that people NOT stay in Pahar Ganj. As a longtime Delhi-ite, I just don’t think it shows the city at its best or most “authentic.” I recommend people stay at guest houses in central or south Delhi, in a “real” neighbourhood.

    2. I am not a fan of The White Tiger nor Shantaram! But I do recommend loads of books about India on my site Breathedreamgo, such as Freedom at Midnight and Empire of the Soul.

    3. I think Kerala is a great place for first timers to India. It’s one of my favourite states. Very gentle, and yet also much more authentically Indian than Goa, which is very touristy. I know you mentioned Kerala, but just wanted to underline it.

    4. Yoga ashrams are a great place for solo females to stay. I don’t believe you mentioned any, other than Auroville, but there are lots that are suitable for westerners such as the Sivananda Ashrams and almost the entire town of Rishikesh.

    I’ve been travelling alone in India alone over the past 8 years with very few problems, and I share my stories and advice on Breathedreamgo.com if any of your readers want to check it out. Cheers!

    Mariellen

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Mariellen, it’s wonderful to have your voice included here! I really appreciated the insights you added, and have a feeling other readers here will as well 🙂 It’s especially interesting to hear about yoga ashrams – while that isn’t something I ever into in India, I know yoga is a big draw for many other female travelers there, so that’s great to keep in mind!

  • Wow! Very informative post. We just ended our 3 month trip in India, traveling from the Himalayas to the Kerala backwaters. It was exciting, but often VERY frustrating. Lots of bloggers write about the romantic side of India, we found India punctuated by romance, but by no means the full story. Glad you enjoyed your trip, but I completely understand people who find India overwhelming.

    • Thanks so much for reading and sharing about your own time in India, Cliff! I’m right there with you in that it’s incredibly frustrating and overwhelming at times…in my limited experience of traveling these last few years, it has definitely been the most challenging place for me to travel. I’m really glad you and Natalie had a chance to explore it, though, and I’m especially glad you made it to Kerala’s backwaters – I hope they provided you some respite from the chaos and crowds elsewhere 🙂 I look forward to reading more of the full story on your site!

  • Vivek Abhichandani

    Fantastic article.. Some really great advice not just for foreigners but actually even for Indians like me who havent traveled the length and breadth of the country.
    This was a reminder to me what my country can offer to people around the world… hoping to be more adventurous in choosing my next destination in India and doing a road trip/train ride. Thanks.

    Best wishes for your future travels.

    • Thanks so much, Vivek! It’s wonderful to hear that this has inspired you to explore India little more…your country truly does have so much to offer, and I’m so grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend there. I look forward to hearing where 2014 takes you!

  • Kalpesh

    What a wonderful read. Truly an article with real tips that really works. And yes jeans tshirt is very common , sleeveless and lased tank tops too, just avoid short skirts and cleavage revealing dresses.
    I really feel heart when people take Delhi rape media coverage as bad thing. The huge media coverage happened because people get very angry how can a girl can raped on the road in the city ? That outrage actually was for support for victim and other countries take it as opportunity to make stereotype for indian male mentality. Same thing happened to school teacher in UK by fourteen year old boy but that didn’t create much outrage in uk. It is just people responded very loudly which I think was much needed.
    I hope you enjoyed india. If need help just ask for it people will always do over the board to try to help.

    • Kalpesh

      HI ! Candice happy holidays !!!
      This post will help a lot not just to non-Indians but to Indians too. I wanted to add something to my above comment and there is no edit option so i am crashing here again, sorry if that annoys you.
      Situational awareness is key for any country we travel so cell phone with GPS and google maps helps a lot, it’s very easy. I rely highly on this tools when outside my home state in India. The number to call the police is 100. That might not work from cell phones in every state, so prefix area code if it’s necessary (it is called STD code in India and cell phones are called mobile)that would be like for Delhi (011 area code ) so number would be “011100”. Every administration is different in every state so this is not guaranteed but this is info. And yes sharing the food thing, it is very common practice in India but if this makes people little comfortable it is OK to say NO or make sure they eat first and you are eating the same thing. But at the end as you said gut, the inner voice is the key.

      Merry Christmas ! Have a good time.

      • Thanks so much for your comment and for your own suggestions on how to stay safe in India, Kalpesh – they are much appreciated! Especially the phone numbers for the police – those are definitely important to have on hand. It’s great to hear from you, and I wish you all the best for the new year!

  • Harjeet Kaur

    Whoa! Candace!

    Great job and a huge pat on your back from an Indian woman frustrated with all the negative imagery of India in the media.

    India was never the land of flying elephants and snakes.India has a soul and you have captured it so well.

    Am sure your article would be a great guide to other foreign travelers in India.

    I also love travelling by train in India but prefer to take the AC sleepers as they are much less crowded and I am a bit claustrophobic!

    When I travel in India and have to carry any valuables, I sew up a zip pocket into the inside layer of my shirt or trousers where I know it will be safe!

    Thank you for this amazing positiveness in your post Candace.

    And I would love to welcome you to India once again.I live in the south so do gimme a holler if you are around and I would love to host you.

  • Gail Rao

    Very good article about India. I married my Mumbai husband and have been to Mumbai three times. Mid 2014 I will be settling in Mumbai. India is simply amazing. It shocks, amazes and grabs hold of you. I was there in June and cried about returning back to Canada to settle things out here. I miss my hubby and I miss India! I tried cooking the Indian food here and sure not the same! I live in a pretty small southern Ontario town. After India I find it so BORING. Bland. I have traveled some in my life and no other country has touched like India did and has. Indeed one leaves India differently then how they came. I have a client who travels for work to train all over the world. Her fav country hands down is India.
    I also married the most amazing, gentle, spiritual, loyal, funny and affectionate Indian husband. The cross cultural marriage is fun! We want to travel some. However I want to see all of India. India has……EVERYTHING.

  • Anica

    Thank you so much Candace for such a wonderful and detailed and truthful description of travelling through India. I still haven’t been there, but I am planning to next year. I sincerely hope so that I will experience some of these positive experiences and manage to avoid the unpleasant ones.
    Thank you as always for sharing.
    Best,
    Anica

    • It’s fantastic to hear you’re planning to travel to India next year, Anica! I hope this guide will help give you an idea of what your experience there might be like, and if there’s ever anything else I can help with, please don’t hesitate to let me know 🙂 Thank you again for reading and saying hello – it’s always wonderful to hear from you!

  • Awesome article! Gives me a pretty nice picture of what I can expect when I visit India one day, thank you so much

    • Thanks for reading this, Nathan! India is a fascinating place, so I’m really glad to hear you plan to visit there one day 🙂

  • Fantastic post – so comprehensive. India’s not on the top of my list at the moment, but when I do get there I’ll be coming back to this post for information 🙂

    • Excellent! I’m really glad to hear that, Rebecca 🙂

  • Thank you so much for writing this post! Although India is not on my travel scope for 2014, it has definitely been on my list of places to go for a while. My family has always expressed concern when I broach the topic of travel to India, but its nice to have at least one woman’s experiences to look to for advice as a solo traveler.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Kristen, even if India isn’t immediately on your travel radar 🙂 When you do decide to visit, another female traveler I would recommend checking out is Mariellen Ward, whose blog is Breathe Dream Go (http://breathedreamgo.com) – she’s spent lots of time in India and has tons of useful posts on her blog about traveling there as a woman!

  • Hey Candace, I can’t praise you and your article enough. Anyone who’s travelling to India for the first time, this blog should be a made mandatory read. I just hope and pray that female travellers to India find it easier, safer and more enjoyable. Peace.

    • Thanks so much, Gopal! That means a great deal, and I definitely hope the same for other female travelers…India is a challenging place to travel alone, but so worth it 🙂

  • Michelle

    Brilliant post!! Thank you for all this information.

    One thing I did notice though was about encouraging the use of single use plastic bottles. Plastics are a huge problem all over the world and personally I´d rather not leave a string of plastic behind me in India to blight their beautiful country. With the advice of well traveled friends I´m looking to purchase a UV filter. It´s not cheap! Plastics are cheap, but at what costs…. Personally I´d rather pay more than add to India´s plastic pollution problem. I hope you can check them out for your next adventure!

    • So glad you found the post helpful, Michelle! And thanks very much for your insights on UV filters vs. plastic bottles – I’ll definitely keep that in mind for the next time I’m in India. Best of luck planning your trip 🙂

  • Great overview and advice! I’d like to echo Cleartrip.

    Signing up for Cleartrip may be annoying but once it’s settled it makes booking trains a breeze! Saves us the headache of going to train stations every time we want a ticket and/or paying fees to a travel agent.

    • I’m so glad to hear Cleartrip has worked well for you guys – once I found out about it, I never booked another ticket in person again 🙂 How are things going in India so far? I hope all is well!

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  • Manu Sood

    India is a very vast country.There are many places where one can travel.This blog has some great and useful information. India is a great travel destination that is growing in popularity.

    Shimla Manali Tours

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