India is a land full of contrasts. Chaos and quiet, wealth and poverty, corruption and honesty. Always apply the same general safety rules when here as you would in any other foreign country – don’t walk alone at night, don’t flash valuables around and be alert at all times. Below are some additional things to be aware of whilst here.
Jabs – be sensible and cover yourself. To find out about which vaccinations are recommended before travelling to India, CLICK HERE.
Taxis – if you haven’t pre-arranged transport to your accommodation upon arrival into cities such as Delhi, do not leave the airport and hire a taxi outside. Inside the terminals, you will see PRE PAID TAXI signs where you are given a pre paid voucher to your destination. Once the driver has taken you to where you are going, hand the voucher to him. Police at the airport have the information of all journeys that taxi drivers take via paper trail, no money switches hands and there is no bartering for fares.
Accommodation – pre book this ahead of time so you don’t have to wander around the streets with all of your belongings and make sure the door to your room has a working lock.
Unwanted attention – as a foreigner, and especially as a woman (more on this below), you will be stared at and on occasion be approached by strangers. Although some locals are genuinely fascinated, harmless and friendly, appease them if you wish, but stay on your guard at all times.
Beggars – in India they are persistent and some will even grab at you or your clothing. The poverty in India can be confronting and distressing, particularly the children. Please keep this in mind – if you give anything to these beggars you are contributing to the problem, by lining the pockets of their ‘bosses’. Children are mistreated and exploited by ‘ring leaders’ and forced to beg on the streets. Ignoring their pleas altogether may sound harsh, though it’s the best way to deal with this.
Road Safety – overcrowded streets crammed with cars, trucks, buses, carts, cows (yes, cows) and people. It would be a very a bad idea to think you could even attempt to drive yourself around India, so when walking across busy streets, look both ways, then look again, and keep looking while you cross!
Pickpocketing – people that have grown up in India are not used to personal space. Don’t be offended if locals get to close, or lean on you when on public transport. These overcrowded city spaces are a haven for pickpocketing, so be alert at all times.
Water – always buy bottled water and do not drink from any tap. Make sure the seals on the bottles are always intact when you buy them. It is not uncommon for some stall-holder’s on the street to refill used bottles, so try to buy it from reputable stores. When buying soft drinks like Coke or Pepsi, cans are better for the same reason.
If you are a woman – you need to be more cautious and it is advisable not to travel alone in India. If you are alone, stay off the streets after dark, don’t encourage attention from males, or wear skimpy, see through clothing. If you do receive taunting from men, avert your eyes down and away which will let them know you are not interested. Indian women don’t normally drink alcohol in public, so be very cautious if an Indian male offers you one and never accept it. Carry your charged phone with you everywhere and in the case of an emergency, dial 100,101,102 or 108.