India – the land of wonder and miracles has a dark side to it, or does it? People who travel regularly in India may not agree with you. It is not safe to be anywhere in the world if you are not careful. And with all the negative press that India has been receiving over the years there is little doubt as to why people has been painting India as an unsafe destination.
You are not safe anywhere if you don’t look after yourself. So here are top 10 tips that would ensure your safety when you are travelling in India, solo or with family.
While Travelling Along an a Train or Bus
Exercise great caution when you are travelling solo on the train or bus at night. If yours is a night journey, then ensure your luggage is all fastened with a bike chain. In the 2nd and 1st class compartments you will be considerably safer, but if you are in a sleeper compartment, you have every chance of losing your bags because people are in and out all night long and the doors are not locked.
Whether you are travelling solo or with your family and children, it would be good to remain on full alert. Do not take sleeping pills or pain killers and get knocked out cold. Similarly, always book in advance, so you will be pretty much on your own and not dependable on anyone.
Be Prepared for the Noise and the Pollution
Indian cities were not always planned and built, hence you will find them far more polluted than anywhere else in the world. On your first visit to India, you will be shocked at the amount of noise and sound pollution that you get to inhale everyday. Take precautions and wear face masks when you are travelling in the cities.
Even when you are travelling towards the villages, make sure you have those masks with you. Even if there are roads, you will still have to travel through dusty trails that would cook up a storm. Just don’t get your respiratory system clogged.
Some Deals are Just too Good to be True, Steer Clear from them
In India, there is no dearth for deals and these are all configured in such a manner that anyone would be tempted by them. When you are out sightseeing, it would be better to buy from Government shops or licensed dealers to avoid fraudulent scams. If you are shopping with your credit card, then be careful with that and be aware of card scams.
When you are Buying Bottled Water
Diseases through bottled water are the biggest threat of travelling in India. Even when you buy bottled water from shops, you have no guarantee that it has gone through all the mandated purification and filtration processes. And it is not possible to go without water or bring water from your own home. You can combat the water problem with water purifiers.
For example, SteriPEN is a portable water purifier and is designed specifically for travel purposes. Purifiers like this gives you the freedom to drink water from any restaurant or shop as they harnesses the power of ultraviolet to make water safe enough to drink.
India is a conservative country, and skin showing is not very acceptable, especially when you are vacationing in the village areas. Tight fitting clothing are also frowned upon, especially when it is women.
Don’t Carry Your Important Papers with You When You are Travelling
It would be advisable not to carry your passport and other relevant documents unless absolutely necessary. Photocopies of travel documents would be the best substitute. In case you happen to get robbed while travelling, at least you will have the originals.
Ensure You Don’t Reach Your Destination Late at Night
It would be advisable to reach your destination before nighttime. This applies whether you are travelling solo or with family. The hassle of getting a transport to your hotel is too much when you reach in the night. If there is no other option, then make sure you are not alone, or arrange it with the hotel so they send you transport. Avoid landing at unfamiliar places in the middle of the night.
While Traveling in the Bus
If you are a solo female traveling in a bus, it would be advisable to sit with a female traveler. You can get the bus conductor to swap your seats because inappropriate touching can be a problem. So keep your peace of mind intact by staying on the safe side. Follow this when you are travelling in a bus or a train for an overnight journey.
Avoid Street Food
One of the major attractions of India is street gastronomy. But they cannot always be hygienic. If you don’t have a strong digestive system, it would be best to avoid street food, how much ever tasty, colorful or even appetizing they may seem.
Be Aware of the Surroundings
Pickpockets are rampant in crowded shopping centers, bus stations and railway stations. If someone taps you from behind and you turn your head, that’s the only time they need to snatch your luggage. So be careful when you are traveling solo. Even when you are with your partner or with your kids, teach them to be aware of their surroundings as well.
While this does seem like a long list, travelling in India is not something to be afraid of at all. Most of the time, the vendors, the rickshaw people and the others just want to make a little money out of you. They don’t intend to harm anyone physically. When you make connections with the local people, you will know that they are all filled with love and kindness. When you lookout for yourself, you will not be in any danger.
All said and done, travel in India is not for everyone. Sometimes, you will have to forgo comfort for practicality and experience. Sometimes you need to go through adventures that you were not prepared for. Even so, people who have visited India always come back for more.
Sunu Phililp is the Inbound Marketing and Creative Head for Paradise Holidays, Cochin – a Kerala based tour operator. She loves reading, exploring new places and trying out new cuisines!