Go girl! Travel the world

Here's a safety guide for all the solo women travellers...

Always inform friends and family where you are travelling.

The last few years have witnessed a significant increase in Indian travellers, particularly women. Travel is definitely a hobby that women have taken to with great enthusiasm; financial independence, connectivity, accessibility and technology have opened up the world to women.

Sadly, an increase in brutal crimes against women across the country is going to have a huge impact on this new-found travel freedom. As a traveller, I am very concerned about incidents of violence against women. It will be a sad day when the fear of crimes against women will stop many of us from going out exploring and travelling the world.

As a traveller and a mountaineer, I have been travelling for many years, mostly alone. Be it the buses in UP or rickshaws in Mumbai or the jeeps in Uttarakhand, I have travelled in some of the most remote areas across the country. The three things that always make me feel safe are confidence, awareness and preparedness.

Confidence

Be confident about yourself, mentally and physically.

Learn the basics of self-defense, which will make you more physically confident/aware.

Do not disclose information about your travel to unknown people.

Avoid any eye contact or interaction with strangers, particularly men.

Do not let anyone get too friendly.

Awareness

Be aware of your surroundings, nothing happens all of a sudden.

Have complete information about the destination you are travelling to.

Do not share food/cigarettes with any stranger during the journey.

Be aware of your luggage and do not stack all the money in a single place.

Try not to be alone in any vehicle, be it a bus, jeep or train.

Travel in public transport or in a recognised transport facility.

Avoid unscheduled night travel unless necessary.

Take upper berths or book a berth in a women’s compartment if you are travelling by train.

Choose a reputed/recognised/authorised travel agency/tour guide, get references.

Preparedness

Always inform friends and family where you are travelling.

Carry your ID card and emergency contact details.

Carry a whistle either around your neck or clip it where you can access it easily.

Have your phone at quick access with emergency/police control room numbers on speed dial.

The objective is travelling: so dress for travel. Wear comfortable clothes.

Wear skin tights or a swimsuit underneath your dress.

Travel light, ensure you have your backpack/trolley bag packed properly.

Do not wear expensive jewellery or display valuables like laptop/phone/GPS/camera/cash, etc.

Download safety apps on your smartphone, preferably ones that don’t need Internet.

Go, travel the world, girl; do not wait for all the signals to turn green to embark on your special journey! The world is your oyster.

(The author is co-founder & director, Basecamp Adventures)

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Go girl! Travel the world

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