women in India are travelling solo, going further than ever before. Independent and financially empowered, Indian women eager to see the world make up a fast-growing community. This is in spite of the fact that women have traditionally been discouraged from travelling alone due to cultural norms and concerns about safety.
Today, countless Indian women are not merely dreaming of epic trips. They are out there, climbing mountains, running marathons, motorbiking through countries and embracing far-flung cultures while recording their adventures online and inspiring many others to follow suit.
Indian women already make up a significant portion of India’s domestic travel. According to a report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, more than half of all single member over-night domestic trips made in India between 2014 and 2015 were by female travelers.
Thinlas Chorol started Ladakh’s first all-women travel company.
A survey conducted by TripAdvisor India found that the number of women travelling alone in India and abroad is on the rise – 41% women travelled alone in 2014 as compared to 37% the previous year. Among those surveyed, 47% said they travel alone for a sense of freedom, 39% travel for the challenge and 28% travel alone as their family or friends do not have the time or resource to travel with them
With increased connectivity, families have reportedly become more acceptable of women travelling alone and feel reassured that staying in touch won’t be a concern.
It helps that Indian women might well be among the most confident travellers in the world, as mentioned in a report on millennial travellers by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Another report by the Singapore Tourism Board highlighted the peculiarities among Indian women travellers. They prefer spending on flight and food over accommodation, prefer travel agents for customised packages and not surprisingly, love to travel to the locations of iconic Bollywood movies.
Whether it’s a staple beach-town location or unexplored terrains, Indian women are going far and wide. And taking note of this change is a number of travel agencies and online groups which have emerged in recent times offering help and advice for the country’s growing pool of solo women travellers.
Facebook is full of great support groups for women only who just want to connect with other solo female travellers in India or ask advice in general.
Goa: Women Travellers, Facts, Fun and Friends
Goa is a popular travel destination and this online group encourages women to travel to the beach state on their own. It’s run by Vivien Baptiste and Pam Frewin who are dedicated to making the forum helpful, informative and fun.
Female Traveler/Trekker in India
This is a closed Facebook group extending help and support to solo female travellers interested in trekking through the Indian Himalayas. The group was set up by experienced mountaineer Dev Himalayan Nomadian of Himalaya Treks.
Solo women travellers who want to buddy up with each other during their travels can check out the many travel agencies and initiatives that cater exclusively to women.
Women on Wanderlust
A New Delhi-based travel agency, WoW is among the pioneers of women-only travel groups in India. Today, it offers nearly 100 tours each year, both domestic and international. Sumitra Senapaty founded the company in 2005 and says on the company’s website;
“I have been travelling like a nomad, through the years and finally, when the time was right, I decided to put my energy and my passion together and start a club that would allow other women to experience the sheer thrill and magic of travel.”
Soul Purpose Travel
Based in Gurugram, Haryana, Soul Purpose Travel focuses on experiential travel. The travellers explore lesser-known destinations, on trips that focus on building bonds with local communities. The group was set up by Vidya Deshpande, a writer, traveller, adventurer and marathon runner. She says. on the company’s website, “Travel to me is all about soaking in all aspects of a place from its people & culture to its food and landscape.”
The Wander Girls
A travel agency based in Mumbai, they offer pre-organised trips and also help individual women customise their own solo travel plans. TWG is a fun and safe way for women travellers to meet, connect and bond with each other over a shared passion to discover and see more of the world.