Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Emma Hackwood


Tips for Female Travellers in India


After returning from her Golden Triangle Tour with G Adventures, Heather shares with us her fears travelling to India as a young woman, and what she learned from the entire experience. From what to pack, to proper etiquette, she shares her tips for females travelling to India in the future:

I will openly admit that I was terrified of going to India. I signed up to go on a trip with G Adventures, and until a week before I left hadn’t REALLY thought about the actuality of it all. Once I started packing, I started getting really nervous.  Why was I nervous? I had no idea what to expect and everyone around me was telling me all these terrible scary things about India. The biggest part of my fear had to do with being a white, blonde, North American women in a country where people like me do no exist naturally. I lived in the Middle East when I was younger so there was a little familiarity with “sticking out” in a crowd because of my skin tone and hair colour.

So I faced my fear, and I went to India.  Not only did I go to India, but I had a good time in India!  I saw some of the most amazing sights I’ve seen in all my travels, and I am so proud of myself for facing the fear. If you are thinking about going to India, might I offer some suggestions on packing, etiquette, and other helpful hints so you can leave feeling great about the trip.

1) Packing is the most important step to getting to India (besides getting your visa of course).  My MUST-HAVE pieces of clothing on my trip were two long flowy light fabric skirts, and three pashmina scarfs.  My tactic was to cover up as much as I could.  Is it a rule that you have to be covered head to toe? No, not at all. But if you do not cover up, just be aware that you will be stared at by everyone.  So to avoid this, I wore long skirts and scarves.pash

I would usually wear a light tank top under my scarf so when it was appropriate I could remove my scarf to get some relief from the heat. It is VERY hot in India, so make sure the fabrics you choose to wear are breathable. No polyesters or synthetic fibres. I would also highly recommend wearing hats. Not only does a hat provide some shade from the hot hot sun, but also camouflages the true colour of your hair. A hat or even your pashmina can also be of good service when visiting certain temples and holy buildings where they require you to cover your head.

2) Another part of getting through India, and enjoying yourself, is understanding that you WILL be stared at. The people of India are not used to seeing North American women very often. They will stare, take photos, point at you, follow you, pop their kids in your arms, and more. We are not used to this practice unless we are doing something ridiculous like wearing a chicken costume to work on any other day besides halloween. The people are not malicious, or ill willed; they are just not used to seeing people like us.


If I noticed people staring at me, I would smile and wave. If I noticed them taking photos of me, I would pose for the photo. If I ever felt unsafe I would notify my guide Abhi, and he would acknowledge the situation and do anything necessary to help me feel safer. At the end of the day, I tried to embrace their curiosity and culture as much as possible.

3) Always remember to be a smart traveller; on your toes at all times.  Don’t walk through markets on your own.  Try not to be on your own very often; have a buddy with you to ensure your safety.

4) My last recommendation, go on a guided tour! My tour was amazing, but it was made amazing by the incredible guide that we had.  G Adventures employes local guides who know the language and the culture.  There is no better way to be navigated through a country than with a local.


Our guide Abhi negotiated tuk tuk rates for us, translated anything we needed to communicate, and all in all, took care of us. As a women, knowing that I was travelling with a local man, who if I needed something, was no more then 10 feet away was very reassuring.

Final Things To Remember:

-Long skirts

-Pashmina scarfs



-A tour with a local guide

Remember these key things, and India will be as magical as I found it to be.

For more information about G Adventures or travelling to India, contact one of our Travel Consultants at 1-866-502-4605 or find your closest store.

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About the Author

Emma Hackwood

a freelance copywriter, amateur glider pilot and full-time adventure seeker, has travelled extensively in pursuit of her lifelong dream of simply seeing it all. Up to over 50 countries, she lists American Samoa and the seldom visited Marquesas Islands as her current favourite destinations, with a wandering eye on Guam and Tonga to complete her Pacific escapades.

9 Responses to Tips for Female Travellers in India

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  2. Milan Sengupta says:

    I am very intrigued by this travellers monologue about travelling in India.I am not sure what areas she visited,but obviously very backward areas.Where people stare at her.Secondly I recommend she makes more trips to rid herself of all fears.India is very rich country in terms of cultural heritage and that it takes great pride in accepting people from all cultural background.People are quite free they are poor but do not suffer stress,not allergic to anything and last but not the least will not stare or point at you.Tourism as an industry is thriving and people have seen a vast majority of people from all cultural background,race religion and colour.Not sure about what she was trying to get at.Maybe she did not get noticed as much as she wanted.

    • Alicia says:

      Hi Milan,Thanks for your feedback.Although Heather was a little afraid going into the trip, India truly welcomed her with open arms and she highly recommends other Canadians experience this beautiful country for themselves which is why she offers tips on packing etc.
      “Not only did I go to India, but I had a good time in India! I saw some of the most amazing sights I’ve seen in all my travels, and I am so proud of myself for facing the fear. If you are thinking about going to India, might I offer some suggestions on packing, etiquette, and other helpful hints so you can leave feeling great about the trip.”
      Cheers and Happy Travels!

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  4. Bentley Bev says:

    It’s been a number of years since I travelled to India, however I agree that it is a place filled with excitement!! Only in the remote areas did people star at me, certainly not in the large cities, e.g. Deli or Bangalore!! The Taj is worth the whole trip and of course the very gracious people of India. I too recommend India to all travellers, seasoned or not.

  5. myname says:

    Umm this assumes that there are no North American women of Indian origin who travel to India! Think about what you write and who you write for…you’re writing for white women in general, not North American women. 

    • Alicia says:

      Hi there,
      Thanks for your feedback. This blog was meant to not only offer tips (ie-what to pack) but was a piece written about Heather’s personal experience as well. Although she did mention she experienced being stared out, the key take-aways are what to pack, and considering a tour with a local tour guide which is applicable to all female travellers.

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  7. Monts says:

    This woman is retarded or a redneck or both

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