Tips for Women Traveling to Mumbai

You may hear a few horror stories from women who traveled through India, even in Mumbai. But the reality is that a little common sense goes a long way.

India isn’t the place to test your luck or to convince yourself you should have the same freedoms as men. Of course you should, but that simply isn’t the reality in that country for now. You might get away with certain choices this time, but there are no promises for the next time around.

Once the warning is out of the way, you can focus on the positive side: Mumbai is truly a magical place. It’s far bigger than New York City and each neighborhood has something unique to offer.

As a female traveler, you will find that Mumbai is one of the safest places you can travel in India, but you’ll still need to keep a few things in mind. Whether you’re going to the city as a volunteer or on a vacation, play it safe so you can make the most of the trip.

1. Travel in a group whenever possible

Not only does this improve your safety, it will also help with stress management. In a group, you may be able to explain to the rickshaw driver where you want to go better than you would alone.

Also, like it or not, it’s better to travel with at least one man in the group.

2. Don’t drink alone and/or far from your hotel

Inhibitions are lowered, you might become an easy-to-spot drunk, and this is simply asking for trouble. There are also local stereotypes about Western women who imbibe, and you don’t want to make yourself appear like a victim in waiting.

3. If you go out at night, take a male companion

It doesn’t matter if you plan to take a taxi straight to the lounge and back to the hotel. Similar to parts of the US, night is the popular time for trouble.

Being out and about in the city, even alone, is relatively safe during the day, but think twice before you risk it at night.

4. Learn some basic Hindi beyond “please” and “thank you”

It’s possible but not particularly likely that a woman may get groped in the streets. A few bad apples can mar a wonderful country’s reputation.

Learn how to stand up for yourself in Hindi (the most common language) and how to tell someone, firmly, “no.” For the most part, basic safety rules apply and it’s better to err on the side of caution.

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