It’s fairly common for my clients to inquire about safety in India. Whether in travel guides or on the news, there is often a bold headline warning women about the dangers of traversing the country - staring, groping, assualt, and even rape. As both a woman and travel professional, I feel it is important to have an open dialogue about such a relevant topic and dispel any myths.
Sodha Travel is pleased to be one of the only US-based travel companies that specializes in India AND has a department that caters to women-only travel. Over the years, we have been delighted to prepare custom itineraries for solo females and women's groups. This includes our popular women-only Colors of India tour that includes a private Rajasthani cooking class and mehndi (henna) session. (Our 2014 dates will be added soon.)
In the past few months, three incidents of rape and attempted rape in India have made international headlines and have unfortunately branded India as an unsafe destination for tourists. As appalling as the recent incidents have been, they are a gross misrepresentation of what most visitors experience - a very safe and friendly environment. India is a complex country with almost 1.3 billion people and even the most seasoned traveler can find the country to be a difficult place to navigate and integrate. This is why Sodha Travel partners with a destination management company with over 50 years of experience providing travelers with safe and enriching travel experiences.
Did you know that Sodha Travel has a department that caters to female travelers? Gender specific services include women guides and escorts (when available) and specialized activities, including mehndi sessions, culinary classes and spa services. Some of our female travelers have also selected a personalized shopping excursion and tailor-made traditional clothing, while others have requested visits to special needs organizations. As a woman who has traveled to India many times in various capacities – professionally, leisurely, alone, with friends and with family – I found my experiences very rewarding. For more information and recommendations, check out my recent article on Travelhoppers - Tips for Female Travelers to India.
Many travelers are aware that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is considered the busiest travel day of the year. However, this year there is the strong possibility of an even longer delay at airports. Several groups have announced plans to encourage travelers on Nov. 24 to opt-out of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) full body scanner machines and opt-in for TSA's enhanced pat-downs. As a result, security check-point delays may occur at some airports.
In May, Sodha Travel started planning a customized tour for Jack Haggin and his wife, Ella. Like many worldwide travelers, Jack first referred to the internet and guide books when planning a 3-week trip from Delhi - Rajasthan. However, he started to become overwhelmed at the options and contacted us for assistance. Jack had already booked certain accommodations and day tours online, and we stepped in to coordinate the additional services.
Some of our Sodha Travelers have been inquiring about the safety in Nepal. Political violence has occurred sporadically throughout the country in the past, including protests, demonstrations, and localized vandalism. Currently, we have not canceled any tours that include Nepal and we will continue to process reservations for upcoming tours. However, we do not recommend hiking alone, particularly in Pokhara, Chitwan, and the Northern trails. Our team in Kathmandu continues to monitor the situation and we will notify you of any changes. More travel information and a detailed synopsis of the political disturbance can be found on the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory.