Thursday, 6 February 2014

Solo Travel In India – How To Choose Your Destination

Solo travel is slowly becoming a rage in India. Both men and women want to travel solo. Some people are more spontaneous and simply dive in without much help or advice, while some like to be more cautious about choosing their ‘solo travel’ destinations. One of my earlier posts, 5 Best Solo Travel Destinations In India is a guide for the ‘first time’ solo travellers. After you have made your debut as a solo traveller, you get confident enough to travel anywhere on your own. So, break the ice with an easy destination – somewhere near, more familiar and touristy. Nevertheless, it’s all up to an individual. If you want to try an offbeat destination the very first time, go ahead!

I have been asked quite a few times to suggest solo travel destinations in India. So this post is all about solo travel – from choosing a right destination to preparing for the trip.

Solo Travel - Which destination to choose?

Presume ‘no city’ is safe or unsafe

Safety issue, especially for women, is the first thing that needs to be figured while contemplating a solo travel. True, your safety is your priority. You should not jeopardize your life for anything in the world. There are destinations in India that are hailed as safe and then there are those that are considered unsafe. But I beg to differ. After travelling all on my own in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and also to Matheran, I have realized that no city is ‘unsafe’ as long as you are careful and don’t do anything foolish. Likewise, no city is completely ‘safe’, which means you need to be cautious no matter what.

Udaipur - My first solo travel destination

Make a spontaneous choice

Picking a destination for a solo trip should not be difficult once you are determined to travel alone. If you don’t have any inhibitions, doubts, fears or myths in your mind, go ahead and plan your trip to any destination of your choice. When I decided to go on my first solo trip, I chose Udaipur pretty spontaneously. I didn’t choose it because it was safer than any other destination; I chose it because I was intrigued about it. I was sure about what I was doing. It was like I had to take that solo trip.

Rajasthan - Solo desert safari
  
Avoid a non-touristy destination on the first solo trip

It’s better to travel to a popular, more convenient and buzzing-with-tourists kind of a destination for your first solo trip. I am not saying that you should totally overrule the idea of making your solo trip debut with an offbeat place, but it is far easier to manage everything alone at a busy place. For instance, if you don’t like the hotel that you booked, you can immediately check out and look for another one, because there are lots of options in a touristy place.

Research deeply for an offbeat destination

If you are hell-bent on going solo with an offbeat destination, research and plan way ahead. India is full of unexplored places – villages of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Northeast regions and various islands and interiors down south. The options are immense, but you need to plan wisely. Read travel blogs that specialize in offbeat places -  The Shooting Star is one of them, jot down things like accommodation options, ways to commute within the city and find out a bit about the local life – the idea is to be as prepared as possible.

Dandeli - An offbeat choice for a solo trip

Figure out your purpose of solo travel

Before you settle on a destination, be sure why you want to go solo. Everybody has different reasons for doing things. You can choose your destination according to your present circumstances. If you need a break for personal reflection, a quiet hill station like Kasauli or Chail would be apt. On the other hand, if you are looking to experience new things on your own, pick a destination like Sikkim, Ladakh or even Kathmandu. Sometimes people want to travel solo just out of curiosity - to discover what it feels like travelling alone or to experience a destination independently, in which case, they should travel spontaneously.

Chail - A place for quiet time and personal reflection

Be more careful about ‘people’ than a destination

A destination will not harm you in any way, but people may. So be very careful about whom you associate with on your travels. If you are suspicious about your hotel manager, travel agent, chauffeur, guide or anybody else, stop right there and choose another path. Even if you lose money, it’s okay. Don’t let anybody deceive you. Well, the question is how to make out who’s right and who’s not? The basic thing is to follow your instinct – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Another thing is to see if someone is professional or not. People who abide by the business ethics will treat you right.

Kasauli - A calm and less crowded place

Read a lot about your destination

Just be open to travelling to any destination with good research and awareness. Don’t just read about the destination, but read about the hotel as well – customer reviews, its exact location, etc. It’s advisable for solo travellers to always book accommodation in advance and keep in touch with the hotel manager. Just be sure about the basic things – accommodation, local transport and transfers.

India is a wonderful country for solo travel. There are many destinations – popular and offbeat. There are lots of resources to plan your solo travel – travel websites, blogs and tourism boards.


Have you travelled solo in India or anywhere else? How was your experience?

41 comments:

  1. '...no city is ‘unsafe’ as long as you are careful and don’t do anything foolish...' -- totally agree with you! Europe also has countries and/or cities that people disregard because they have (mainly) been involved in war and their image is somewhat distorted by the media. And I'm talking here about Bosnia, Albania, or Kosovo. Three of my favourite destinations, which are and feel in fact safer than many of the Western European metropolises. I bet the same applies for India, its regions vs. other Asian countries. I just hope to get there someday, it's one of my dreams! :)

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    1. I hope you travel to India someday, Petra. :) I agree with you that it's more about the image that a destination forms in people's minds. I think solo travel is great as long as it's planned carefully. Thanks.

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  2. I have to say, that I have always preferred solo travel, as I find it offers greater flexibility to change travel plans etc. In terms of safety, it is normally the situations that one places themselves in rather than the place that can make a difference.

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    1. True! Most of the times it's our own carelessness that lead us into trouble, and that could be in our native city too. Thanks for stopping by, Dave. :)

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  3. Interesting informative article!!! thanks for sharing your experience..

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    1. Thanks Swati :) I'm glad you found it useful.

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  4. Well written Renuka and I agree with you. No city is unsafe as long as you take the necessary precautions . Loved your picture against the sunset in Rajasthan :) beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Pallavi :) Solo travel is more than just the 'safety' syndrome.

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  5. Nice write-up and insights into solo travelling.

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    1. Thanks Niranjan :) Glad you enjoyed it.

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  6. Impressed with ur sense of choice of places. I am suprised to not find auroville on your list.

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    1. Well, the post is about 'how to choose' rather than 'what to choose'. Besides, I have not been to Auroville, so can't comment about it. :) Thanks.

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  7. Good thought process and nice compilation.

    Which is your favorite place down south?

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    1. Thanks Shrinidhi :) I recently discovered Dandeli, which I loved! Kerala is my favorite. I am looking forward for another trip soon. :)

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  8. Great tips, thank you :) A lot of people get caught up in where's safe and where's not, but you're completely right, it depends a lot more on what you do than on the place you are visiting!

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    1. Exactly! Thanks Catherine for stopping by. :) Solo travel is great as long as it is well planned.

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  9. Quite informative post... I recently published an article on the secret of solo female travel in India & I agree that a well planned solo trip can be a blessing in disguise where you can have all the time to yourself to explore and discover... Keep the magic going... :-)

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    1. Thanks Travel Genes for stopping by and dropping a comment. :) Yeah, solo travel is indeed a blessing in disguise. You think there's nobody with you, but that's when you can do your own thing!

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  10. Great Piece and quiet engaging as always!!

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    1. Thanks Anjum! I hope you travel solo someday!

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    2. Your blog is awesome incredibly gorgeous! India is truly a magical country and I am glad it’s mine. Tour India was really a great experience for me.

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  11. I like these tips, like you say; it's not the places that are safe or unsafe but the people you surround yourself with and the situation you put yourself in! I traveled alone in India for 2 days (from Udaipur to Delhi via Agra) and it was pretty horrible. It would stop me from doing it again though... Next time I'll be more prepared as to what to expect!

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    1. Thanks Sarah, for stopping by. :) That's true. Some experiences are not good if we are not well prepared and end up meeting wrong people. But I guess, any experience could be good or bad, irrespective of whether you are alone or with somebody.

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  12. Hey Renuka, I love travelling... whatever little travelling I have done has been with my family and recently with my friends... Even when I am with group.. I usually enjoy the alone time I get on the trip.. Have never traveled alone but the idea has been popping on to my head from quite a few days and have been searching for blogs/advisory related to alone travelling for a Girl in India.. that's when I bumped onto your blog... Its nice to know that Girls in India have started travelling alone... yours have been first Indian Girl's blog which I have come across.. All of your articles are useful.. I am hoping that soon I will also join the brigade and share my experience :-) ...

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    1. Great to have you on my blog, Divya. :) I hope you travel solo soon and write about it too. Do get in touch if you need any help.

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  13. I always prefer solo travel because it is best instead of a crowd. In self travel we can enjoy lots of things freely that we don’t have in gathering. As well as through this we feel free to go precisely where we want, which we want, and how we want—behold, the power of one! However I have to choose Goa to enjoy the great weather in coming weekend.

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    1. Yeah, Goa can be a good option for solo travel. Actually, any destination is good for solo travel as long as you research about it and prepare yourself about the idea of traveling solo.

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  14. Traveling alone is not as easy as it sounds.I think you must watch very closely to the India travel market.These tips are very useful specially for the foreign visitors who want to make vacations in India.



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  15. Your tips for solo travel are useful. For solo travel, the online help is very useful to reach destination. Someone who don’t have spontaneous thought can get guidance from the travels.

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  16. Renuka! You have shared very nice and useful points with us. I especially like the no city is safe or unsafe and Be more careful about the people than a destination. I think they are the major points of solo travel. We shouldn’t presume anything bad for any place because we can’t find out it’s good or bad till we have our own experience. According to me everyone has its own experience. Sometime maybe I will like and think safe about one place and maybe you did not like because some other reasons. The second one that we shouldn’t believe in the people because all are not so kind, generous and faithful some have their own ideology to keep themselves happy. They always cheat others and grab their all precious stuff. This kind of incidence happen to me during volcano tours honolulu. The other passenger takes away my all money and purse. It was very sorrowful and bad experience for me.

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  17. have you come acrossed questions like why u travel alone???? why dont u like to stay in a place??? what do u respond to them as m really fed up telling my parents its ok to travel alone suggest me a reply so that i can convence them from a inspiring traveller like u ji!!!!!!!

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  18. your post is inspiring a lot ji cos until today before reading your post i have considered its better to stay out of trouble but deep inside i wanted to travel alone!!!

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    1. Hey Arya! Just tell your parents you want to travel alone and set out confidently. Make sure you research your destination deeply and plan ahead.

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  19. Hey Renuka.. Yours is a nice and informative blog!! I am planning a solo trip to Jaipur and Udaipur next month and your tips are really helpful.

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  20. Voyaging alone is not as simple as it sounds.I think you should observe nearly to the India travel market.These tips are extremely valuable extraordinarily for the outside guests who need to make get-aways in India.
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  21. So insightful! Going solo to China and Thailand throughout August...Been reading blogs to ease my fears and this was definitely helpful. Thank you :)

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  22. What do you think of GOA as a first time solo travel place ?

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    1. Yeah, it is a great option for solo travel, but yes, research and plan well.

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  23. Solo traveling could be the best decision in anybody's life if everything goes right in the journey. Fear is the main thing that keeps most of us to not to jump in this trend. However, it's inevitable and we can't deny it to resist us. But a strong determination is sufficient to skip this and move further. As you have written no place is unsafe and no place is completely safe either, rightly said. There is nothing to do with the place, what makes a place described as unsafe is the local people there. So it's highly recommended to do a thorough research about your place first. Anyways, thanks for this informative blog.
    Tips For Traveling Safely

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  24. thankyou ... it was very useful, well now i am confident to be a travel photographer.. i am in 12th now and my parents are worried about me as they are very protective, they believe me as crazy which i actually am about my dreams. thanks once again for my confusion hope i am gonna work with you one day ...

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