Your first night in India can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re a woman. There have been countless reports of Western women being scammed, hassled and intimidated when arriving in Delhi or other big cities.
Some rickshaw drivers will pretend to get lost and drive in the wrong direction, deliberately clocking up the fare. Others will say your hotel has burned down or flooded, so you’re stranded.
So what can you do to make this easier on yourself? Here are some tips for solo female travellers arriving in India for the first time:
1. Arrive in daylight
Nothing is scarier than arriving in a new city at night! Pay extra for good flight times and try to arrive in daylight. If this isn’t possible, don’t panic. Just ensure you are fully prepared and read our other tips.
2. Pre-book your hostel
Once you’ve booked accommodation, send an email to your hostel a few days prior to arriving to confirm the booking. It’s also worthwhile asking if they offer airport transfers. If not, ask for advice on getting to the hostel. This will give you peace of mind.
TOP TIP: Take a photo of the name and address so you can show it to a taxi driver or download an off-line map. Things often get lost in translation…
3. Team up with other travellers
Look around for other Westerners on your flight and ask if you can share a taxi with them.
4. Avoid rickshaws
Rickshaw drivers have a bad reputation – especially with female travellers. You are far less likely to get ripped off in a pre-paid taxi purchased inside the airport. Do your research before you arrive.
5. Get local currency
Have some local currency (in small bills if possible) on your person so you can easily pay for tickets. If you need to get cash out, do it inside the airport where you are safer.
6. Do your research
Find out the going rate for a taxi/rickshaw to your hotel. Download a map of exactly where it is and keep checking you’re heading in the right direction.
7. Be assertive
When you walk out of the airport, walk with purpose. Be polite but firm with rickshaw drivers or people hassling you.