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Solo travelling- Do's and Don’ts

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

Basics Of Solo Women Travelling into Nature

Right off the bat let’s just say the whole thing is about common sense, patience and safety.

Travelling solo into the natural ecosystem in India is no joking matter for women. However, it’s not that it can’t be done. A little self-reliance goes a long way in the natural environment. Going to Resorts is a different kinda travel that is more suitable for you if you want to avoid risk, but if you are an adventurer then your heart lies elsewhere.

Just Imagine… Deep into the green woods on a trail less traveled while the butterflies chase your footsteps… while the delightful birds and the merry brook set the ambiance in the stillness of Nature. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and release.

If your heart skips a beat while the scene flashed behind your closed eyelids … then yes, you must read ahead.

A solo woman traveler into nature needs to know a few life skills. Here are the top 3 life skills a solo woman traveler needs to know.

#1) Know your Besty, your car:

Driving is a must skill set but knowing about the basics of your vehicle is just as important. Your vehicle is your first line of safety on open roads and its wheels and engine are your best friends.

Keep that engine oiled and tuned at all times. Make sure all the spark plugs are firing correctly. Change the oil regularly. Your headlights should be bright and shiny.

“YOU” Check the oil and coolant levels before you even unlock the car door prior to traveling.

Ignoring the wheels on your car can be life threatening on the open roads. Your travel vehicle must have a high ground clearance for off road driving situations as you get closer to Nature. Check your tyre pressure and rotate them every so often. Keep an eye out for those brake pads darlings, you want to be able to stop at some point lol.

Keep your spare in mint condition. Get a hydraulic portable jack and do a monthly drill on how to change a tyre. This is a must life skill while traveling, ladies.

The highways and rural areas of India are not very well lit. If your trye blows out during night driving … trust me, you don’t want to be out there stranded for any longer than you have to. It’s not that help won’t arrive... it’s just that it may not arrive in time. So if you don’t know how to change a tyre then Solo traveling is not for you. Practice and learn this life skill.

#2 Swimming: Nature is absolutely wonderful but the waterbodies can be deadly to a non-swimmer.

The monsoons in India are mesmerizing! The vistas absolutely stunning. Clear fresh water flows everywhere in nature and taking a dip in these cool flowing waters is simply irresistible. However, if you don’t know how to swim, things can turn ugly really quick. The currents can change within a heartbeat and sweep you away. A swimmers chances of survival are best against such elements, but a non-swimmers chances are zero unless a direct intervention of the almighty lol. Even a calm waterbody can hide uneven terrain causing a fatality.

Rule of thumb is never entering a waterbody in nature unless you have seen it in all seasons or are accompanied by a local guide, preferably local women guides.

#3) Tribal & Rural Women: Once you leave the paved road behind in your journey you need a guide into the wilderness. Stop at the last village you see and talk to the local women. Go bearing gifts of food and with their help get a basic layout of what lies ahead. Ask them what is their favorite spot to chill in nature, what is their favorite waterbody, where do their children go.

Forget your status and everything about your accomplishments, while in Nature these rural women are your teachers. Engage 3 or 4 women as your guides into nature. They also provide companionship and safety. They will show you a different viewpoint. Learning to communicate with these women is a life skill for travelling solo.

#4) Self Defense: Self-defense is not just about combat training. It’s all about your confidence and authority. It’s about looking a tiger in the eye and staring him down. It’s also about developing conflict resolutions skills. Never feeling like a prey in Nature but rather a predator of the Alpha species is also an essential part of what self-defense is all about. Remember that kitchen knife in your backpack is not just for food preparations. Mental preparation of the worst case scenario is an essential part of solo women travelling. Of course, its common sense to know basic lathi kathi moves and hand to hand combat moves if it ever gets down to it. Survival Attitude tempered with conflict resolution and basic combat moves is a must life skill for the solo woman traveler.

#5) Packing skills:

Now for women this is a tough one lol, especially in countries rich in bio diversity. So what’s in the backpack depends on the season but three things are a must … a lighter and a kitchen knife and toilet paper.

Summer Season: Sunglasses, sunblock lotion and a hat (not a cap) is absolutely a must. Hydration is a must so carry water and sachets of vitamin drinks. A pair of loose light colored clothing. A tent in the car with basic camping tools can be your back up plan or the main event. One hand towel to wet and place on the back of your neck in order to avoid overheating during treks. A first aid kit should contain the basics plus antihistamine pills approved by your doctor in case of allergies. A cushion pillow and light covers for sleeping can be stored in your car for occasional use. Personal hygiene kit should contain sample size products to keep things light back there and toilet tissue lol. Trash bags are a must. Leave no footprint behind.

Winter Season: Mostly same as above but pack layered clothing that can be worn one upon the other as the night temperature dips. Socks are a must along with a beanie to cover the head and ears. Do throw a barbecue set in the car for starry nights.

A few this and that items like identification, travel documents, credit cards, cash, maps, camera phone, battery backups, portable solar lights, flashlight, high protein snack bars, fresh fruit with high vit C and water content, safety pins, bio degradable organic sanitary pads and a small kitchen kit should have you set. More items can be added specific to the travel environment. Your pacling skills are one of the top five skill sets as a solo woman traveler.

Its been a tough few years of confinement and whole families in small spaces, but the skies are opening and the time to travel and explore and breathe is here. Family and friends are wonderful, God bless them but sometimes it just needs to be me, my car and the early morning sunshine on my face and the wind at my back. However, being armed with basics of solo travelling the journey can be a lot safer and happier.

- Sunetra Palav

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