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Her India -- An Expert’s Ten Travel Rules


Asha Rao, an Indian woman living in Short Hills, USA, has travelled extensively in India and knows this part of the world very well. A business professor teaching cross-cultural management at Rutgers, Asha has sent along her suggestions for women to follow when travelling in India. She writes...

Do your research

Especially for women, India is not like any other country you’ve ever visited. If you have an Indian neighbour talk to her about how western women are perceived. Chat with friends who’ve travelled to that part of the world. And read, read, read everything you can lay your hands on -- both fiction and non fiction.

Common sense

Use it! Would you jog in NY’s Central Park at 4:00 a.m.? If not, then don’t visit public beaches alone (or with another woman) at dawn. Most Indian women who swim at beaches tend to do so at private ones, where they don’t have thousands of strangers gawking at them.

Don’t travel too cheaply

If you want to be safe and comfortable, stay in decent hotels. All the five star hotels offer superb service, and they are relatively cheap with the exchange rate. If not, consider the middle of the road hotels that middle-class Indian women stay in. They are clean, safe and healthy.


After you have had the pleasure of travelling by bus in the cities, try the alternative of hiring a car and driver. You can do this through your hotel and, by North American standards, it is not very expensive. A good driver will not only get you where you need to go safely but he can also caution you against going to places where you can get into trouble. P.S. An air-conditioned car is more expensive but in India, the extra “cool” is worth every penny.

Find an Indian friend

India’s population just hit 1 billion, it shouldn’t be too hard. Indian women have a strong sense of sisterhood, and are usually friendly. In the cities, many speak English, and will be happy to tell you where to go, and where not to. Check out South Asian websites and South Asian Women’s websites before you plan your trip.

Ask for boiled or sealed bottled water from your hotel

Best way to stay healthy is to travel with your own safe bottle of water.

Travel with somebody else

Male or female. In India, a woman alone is considered “fair game.”


In most cities you can wear western clothing -- pants, shorts, skirts. I do, and so do many Indian women. But, you have to use common sense. If you are travelling by car, with a group, you can dress as you wish. Alone, you are better off wearing a salwar kameez, which feels cool, goes anywhere, and looks great on women of any size!

Being groped

Unfortunately, it happens. Indian women have well developed antenna for gropers and follow multiple strategies. Avoidance -- wait for a less crowded bus, take cars/autorickshaws. Posture -- stick your elbows out at a slight angle while walking in a crowd., carry a bulky bag. Clothing -- wear salwars; footwear with a slight heel will help you accidently kick away legs that get too close!

It’s a great country -- enjoy your trip!

Her India weather watch...

Sunny faceA savvy Journeywoman always does her weather research before choosing where to go, when. In India there are generally three main seasons. You can expect...

  • Cool winter from October to February; hot summer from March to June; and the rainy monsoon season from July to September.

  • Temperatures normally do not go below 4C (40F) in January and will reach uncomfortable temperatures as high as 45C (113F) during the summer (even in the northern areas).

  • The southern region is generally the warmest in any season.

(Source: Raise Your Cultural IQ, Louisa Nedkov)

Interested in reading more about India from a woman’s point of view? Click here.





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