Coming to the safest places on Earth, your trip will guarantee to be relatively stress-free. But if your destination is not on the list, it’s a different story. India is a destination to have soulful and unforgettable moments. But is it safe to travel to India, given the recent turbulences and events?
The media may have portrayed the nation in a negative light, but the truth may be somewhat different on the ground of travel. Scroll down to find out the answer to one of the most asked questions about Indian tourism. Plus, we also provide some tips and tricks will that will make your travel easier.
Is It Safe To Travel To India Right Now: The Definitive Answer
India is the seventh-largest country in the world and an emerging power. Photo by Drobot Dean - stock.adobe.com
Is It Safe To Travel To India? Yes. It is generally safe to plan a trip to the largest country in the South Asia Region. However, due to its enormous size and population, there are regions with increased risks that you should stay away from. It’s a safe bet to remain vigilant at all times.
Covid-19 Restrictions And Rules For Travelling To India
According to the UK government’s Foreign travel advice, submitting vaccination information on the online “Air Suvidha” portal is no longer mandatory before or upon arrival.
The U.S. Embassy and consulates in India advised travellers to India to carry a copy of their vaccination certificates. If unvaccinated, you should bring an RT PCR Covid-19 Negative Test Report issued within 72 hours of departure. U.K. residents travelling to India must also apply for a tourist visa.
There are differences in protocols laid out by state governments for inter-state travel. Therefore, read the guidelines issued by the state/city you are of your destination.
Note: The Covid-19 Spread cases in the nation have gone down significantly. But no travel is risk-free of the pandemic. We recommend checking out the U.K. government’s Travel abroad guideline section for more information.
Last update: November 2022.
Safety tips for India Travellers: Do’s and Don’ts
It is understandable how people have negative preconceptions about how safe is it to travel to India. But with the right preparation and caution, you will come back surprised and have a different view of this beautiful country.
Do Your Homework
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Plan accordingly, and a fantastic trip will be yours. Photo by DN6 - stock.adobe.com
Planning gives you a thoughtful insight into the country you are going to and how you want to shape your experience with the itinerary. Furthermore, you can spend time familiarising yourself with the resources about the place, such as travel advice, visa application, etc.
Travelling to India is different from travelling to Greece or Thailand. With all the rich historical past, customs, and traditions, it can be overwhelming at times. So it’s best to learn as much as possible about Indian society while you can.
Taking travel insurance is recommended. It helps when you have to pay medical costs or items get stolen or damaged. To minimize risks, check for places that you need to avoid.
Tips: India is one of the most affordable travel destinations in the world. However, cash is king here. Credit or debit cards are accepted, but only in some places. Carrying some cash can be a lifesaver, especially in rural areas where ATM machines are almost unavailable.
Purchase A SIM Card
Get a SIM card immediately. It is a reliable way to stay up-to-date with the latest information and be in contact with emergency numbers. It’s not easy looking for public Wi-fi, and you don’t want to be unable to reach the hotel or your friends while getting lost in the middle of nowhere.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Upon arriving in India, you may notice that revealing clothing is almost nowhere to be seen. So always steer clear of such outfits. Plus, dressing modestly also helps you avoid the unwanted attention of scammers, thieves and robbers.
Traditional clothes such as Kurtas or Churidars are good choices. Out of respect for the locals, packing loose-fitting pieces is also recommended. This is especially true if you want to visit temples and religious sites.
Respect Local Culture And Religions
Respect the people and their way of life. In turn, they will welcome you with open arms. Photo by Drobot Dean - stock.adobe.com
It’s important to show appreciation instead of critical or disrespectful behaviour toward Indian culture and customs. The nation is home to more than 1.3 billion people, where various religions, ethnicities, and languages meet. And that’s what makes it so special.
Learning about what’s accepted and inappropriate can make or break your experience in this nation. Here are some pointers:
- Take off your shoes before going indoors
- Avoid pointing with your feet or fingers
- Avoid touching things and food with your left hand
- Avoid kissing and embracing in public
- Be cautious when accepting rides or offers from strangers
- Take photos of people and objects only after they allow it
- Learn to say “no” to offers from shady people
- Wash your hands before and after eating.
Watch Out For Scams
Where there are tourists, scams are bound to follow. The country is notorious for tourist scams, and it is a serious problem here. Dishonest people will try to get as much money from your pocket as possible.
One of the most common tricks is the taxi or rickshaw scam. The driver may try to lead you to a fake tourist office, where you will be offered tours or private car services at a “bargain” price.
You should research the prices, laws and common scam tricks carefully. Booking everything in advance is also good practice.
Watch What You Eat And Drink
Street food is a part of the Indian experience. But you should pack some over-the-counter medicines just in case. Image by ashish choudhary from Pixabay.
Eating and drinking are other factors determining whether is it safe to travel to India right now. Tap water is not potable in this country. So you should purchase bottled water. For extra protection, consider taking a portable water filter for your journey.
Avoiding meat, in general, is also a good idea, as it can cause digestive, urinary and other disorders. Good thing the non-meat dishes in India are delightful and diverse. You will be spoilt for choices with various next-level veggie Indian foods that everyone finds hard to resist.
Tips: One good resource is the CDC Yellow book, published by the US government. It provides international travel health information and guidelines.
Avoid Areas Of Political Or Civil Unrest
Getting stuck at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong crowd can be a nightmare. Check beforehand to see where are the safest and most tourist-friendly neighbourhoods, or you risk having a terrible memory.
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against going to regions that border Pakistan due to terrorism, violence and anti-India activities happening in these places. Check the U.K. government’s India local travel guide for more information.
Travel With The Locals
Don’t let the bad folks leave a bad impression on you; not every person is the same. There are friendly people willing to lend a helping hand at all times. Some Indians are one of the kindest people on Earth. If you really want to set foot in places with high crime rates or slums, make sure you travel with them.
More Advice for Women To Stay Safe
Solo travelling is possible in India if you know where to go and what to do. Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash
Now you know is it safe to travel to India right now. Let’s get to another frequently asked question: is the country safe for women travellers? As women's treatment in India is not the best, this is a justified concern.
Travelling to India is not the same as other destinations. It is not unsafe, but not very secure either. It is not where you can make last-minute decisions without bookings anything in advance and go right away without worry anything.
Crimes towards women, such as sexual assaults, are rare but not unheard of. However, everything can be avoided with some common sense practices. Generally, women can sightsee the country harm-free with high caution and thorough preparation.
Don’t Go Out At Night
Avoiding going anywhere at night may sound obvious, but never a bad practice. You should never go into dark alleys or dimly lit areas. Arrivals or departures at late hours are not recommended.
There may be a few exceptions, but most places are not safe for both men and women to travel when it’s dark. Even if you are a solo female traveller, always travel in a group if possible. Or at least going somewhere where there are many women. Even the local girls don’t travel alone.
Avoid Contact With Strangers, Especially Men
Not just women but foreigners get stared at a lot. It would be best if you learned to deal with this extra attention. Be careful to not give the wrong signals, as Indian men may take it as a flirting gesture. If you are making friendly conversations with males, try not to make them think you are travelling alone, even if you are.
Physical contact between people of the opposite sex is frowned upon. So avoiding touching men is appropriate, even if for a handshake. Instead, you can greet people in a traditional way: namaste - resting palms together and bowing slightly.
Learn To Say “No”
Be confident, and don’t accept requests or drinks from strangers. Photo by Petro - stock.adobe.com
How you carry yourself is another factor. People, not just men, tend to prey on those that seem vulnerable. Sometimes, politeness just doesn’t work. When you feel uncomfortable, learn to say no loudly and walk away immediately. It’s okay to be rude, rather than to land yourself in trouble.
Take Extra Care In Booking and Getting Around
Everything can be chaotic, overwhelming, confusing, and tiring at times. You could avoid all of that by booking a reputable accommodation or having someone reliable pick you up.
Personal space on public transportation like local trains is not a thing in India. So keep your belongings close at all times. Packing light also helps a ton, especially when you have to deal with crazy traffics and transportation delays (
Another essential tip is to let someone know your plans. No matter how experienced as a traveller you are, letting someone at home know where you will be is always important. A large part of how safe is it to travel to India is decided by you, remember that.
Tips: Consider using rented cars or female-only taxi services like Women With Wheels.
Be Cautious - Not Fear Or Paranoid
The trip won't be fun if you are always on edge. Exchanging stories with the locals is a fun part of travelling. The important thing is to use your common senses and stay alert to your surroundings.
There are millions of strategies that allow you to engage in the country and stay safe at the same time. Travelling is rewarding, don’t let others take that away from you.
Safest Itinerary In India To Explore Without Any Fear
There are destinations to enjoy your carefree vacations in India. Photo by Roop Dey - stock.adobe.com
Not all places are the same, and that’s true for India. In terms of safety, some destinations are a better choice than others. Some of them are even safe for solo female travellers!
Generally, places far from larger cities like New Delhi are considered safe. These are the regions that are considered free from major dangers (although petty crimes like pickpocketing still happen), in no particular order:
- Navi Mumbai
Note: In case you have doubts about this matter, be sure to research carefully before laying out a vacation plan.
Being a spiritual destination, Rishikesh is safe to travel to. It is the solo travellers’ paradise. Many people come here for the trekker routes and to wash their worries away. You may meet many solo girl adventurers who come here to practice yoga and meditation.
Few places in India come close to Bangalore when it comes to safety. Dubbed the “Silicon Valley of India”, it’s reasonable why this place is often mentioned as a shining example of how safe is it to travel to India. The crime rate is on the lower side thanks to the number of people migrating here to work in IT companies.
Despite being a major city, Pune remains one of the safest places in India. Reports by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) state that the city has a low crime rate and is safe for students and working women.
This major city in south India is almost always counted on the list of safe places in India to travel. It is one of the best places to live for the locals, so it’s safe to assume that tourists can have a stress-free time here.
The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is known as the city of joy. Wanderlusts can spend quality time at this place exploring all the historical sites relatively hassle-free. In fact, it topped the list of safest cities reported by NCRB for two consecutive years.
Aside from being a major economic hub, Surat is famous for being one of the cleanest cities in India. It is the first place equipped with a CCTV surveillance network in the nation. Thanks to the efficient police system, the crime index is low.
Don’t confuse this Navi Mumbai for Mumbai, another place with a similar name. The former is considered to be much more secure than the latter. Armed robbery or kidnapping is a rare occurrence.
Is It Safe To Travel To India: Be Open To Possibilities
You can have the time of your life in India! Photo by structuresxx - stock.adobe.com
Is it safe to travel to India? We believe you have a general idea on this matter. But don’t let the negative aspects stop you from exploring this amazing country and its diverse culture. Travelling to India is different. We have to learn to accept it and be open. People are different from each other, wherever you are.