I yesterday gave some travelling advice for western women on what they should not do when alone in India. I would like to continue and end my list today with a few very important points.
4. Don’t flirt
Yes, incredible as it may sound but this needs to be said. You may think that it is unnecessary, when women are anyway already worried about unwanted male attention, to warn them not to encourage them but it happens all the time. And you know what? It even happens without the woman consciously doing so.
Take care of your words, your tone and your body language. Is it clear that you are not flirting, even considering the different culture? Don’t call a man with whom you are talking ‘honey’ or ‘sweety’, something we have experienced with American guests here a lot. In India, such terms of endearment are not part of every day’s language with other people in the surrounding! It would be something that you say to a person who is close to you!
Also, avoid touching the other one. It is normal in many countries to casually put your hand on the other person’s arm or shoulder. In India, this is not the case and body contact in between men and women happens so rarely that a man may think you are interested when you do that.
5. Don’t make Friends with random Men on the Street
I know that with this point there will be some people telling me that I am alienating people and tell them not to be open, something that I actually recommended before. There is a difference however about with whom you are open and with whom you decide to connect. Yes, you should be open, you should enjoy your time and have talk with people, as it will widen your horizon. But don’t choose to do so with just anybody on the road.
Really, when you don’t know anything about a man, when he has no connection to the place you are staying at or for example another Indian friend, I would recommend not telling him everything about yourself and not meeting him alone while nobody else knows where you are. You really don’t know who he is, what intentions he has and why he is interacting with you. Yes, he could be just a normal, curious guy who would like to have a western friend. But you don’t know. Connect with women or with men who are in some way already connected to people you know and thus stay on the safe side.
6. Don’t go alone if you are unsure
If, after all of this, you are still not sure whether you should really go on your own and travel around in this foreign country alone, don’t do it. No, I am not saying not to come to India! Don’t go alone. Convince a friend to come along or take a tour, as we are offering them. Go with an organized group or take an individual guide. When you have someone by your side who knows the country and culture, you will not only be safe, you will also get a deeper insight and more authentic experiences than you could ever get while traveling on your own.
The main thing is: you can come to India without feeling insecure if you are a bit prepared. If you feel like, ask us to organize a tour for you because it will be less worries and you can still just experience this country. If this is your wish and has maybe been your dream for years, why not make it come true?