This is a guest post from Rachel Jones from Hippie in Heels. Hippie in Heels has quickly become the go-to website for all things India related since Rachel has been living there for nearly two years. She left nursing to follow her dreams of living abroad after falling in love in Goa, and has since become a Thai masseuse. Other than writing about India, Rachel shares packing tips and advice on the other 24 countries she’s been to. Hippie in Heels is all about staying glamorous without spending a fortune to do so: where to get the best massages, great salons and spas, and of course the hottest clubs from Europe to Asia and Africa.
India just arguably had the biggest election in world history, yet international media still focuses on one major problem in India: unfair treatment of women. It’s true that women do not have the same freedoms and rights all over India like you would hope, and the only good thing coming from the media is that people are taking the time to help.
I’ve been living in India a year and half and always assure people that I am safe and India is not as bad as the media says. There are cautions you have to take and I give safety tips for solo female travel in India; but, all in all, the big cities have bad areas that you should avoid… just like anywhere else in the world. I would advise you stay away from very rural areas unless you’ve been in India long enough to understand the culture.
These guys, like most in India, were so kind!
Women don’t stand up for themselves as much as we are used to hearing at home. My number one advice to women traveling alone is HAVE A VOICE. If a man is rude to you, cuts you in line, pushes you, or yells at you for no reason, you can and should stand up for yourself. In my extensive experience, men are taken aback and usually go away. Most times, you won’t even have to worry about it!
Indians are kind, generous, and love meeting travelers. Of course, there are some jaded that will try to scam you, but no worse than the Thai islands! India is my new home and after some time here, I have gotten a feel of how Indians think. They are completely mis-portrayed in the news. Please don’t let stereotypes and fear keep you from visiting the gorgeous subcontinent!
I want to introduce a few topics about India that will help you get started planning your trip.
Plan your Itinerary.
If you take a six month trip to India, which is the maximum tourist visa allowance, you have the freedom to go with the flow. The best thing about India is the variety of landscapes: the Great Himalayas, the sprawling Thar Desert, the inland jungles of Karnataka and Kerala, and the Tropical beaches of Goa. You have peaceful hippie areas that the Beatles chilled at and big cities that inspire famous artist. The colorful sights, turbans, saris, smells of curry, and cows in the road will keep you excited for each stop. If you want an itinerary to help you along, here is the itinerary I used in India my first time here two years ago.
How to Dress.
Men, you have it easy: shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and button ups. You are all good! If you want to trek you’ll need to pack extra Indian essentials for the mountains and even for the trains. Girls, you don’t have it as easy. You have to make sure each outfit is suitable to being in front of men. Nothing too tight on your butt, hide that cleavage, cover your legs, and in some areas you need to cover your head and keep that leather purse at home. I have outfit advice for fashionable girls coming to India and the do’s and don’ts for how to dress in India. It’s all about the maxi skirt!
When to Travel to India.
you can only see this place, the Valley of the Flowers, one month of the year!
This is probably the MOST important part of planning your trip to India. Tourist season is October to April. This is “winter” and temperatures are almost perfect. Off-season travel can be extremely rewarding too as prices for hotels drop at least 50%. Each of the areas of India I mentioned above have a few months that are perfect for them. For example, in the Mountains during peak tourist season, you’ll freeze. You want to go here in summer (which is monsoon in Goa!). Make sure to know when to go to each region in India before you trip so you don’t end up stranded in an area where all the hotels are closed.
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