No destination is 100% safe. The same goes for India too. Although the country has strict cultural boundaries, the land is not completely safe. If you are visiting India for vacation, travel in trains is the best way to enjoy the culture of the land. However, is it safe to be on Indian trains? The answer is both yes and no.
There are hundreds of trains running to each destination, every day. You cannot list a group of trains and tag them as safe. It depends on the passengers.
Here are a few tips that will help you travel safer in trains:
- It is better to avoid late night trains and early morning trains if you are travelling alone. It is always better to travel in a group. This rule goes for all elements of tourism and not just train travel.
- If you are travelling in a very congested train, it is better to avoid standing near the doors. Congestion is very common in certain areas like Mumbai, Delhi and others. Moreover, it is important to choose non-busy times for riding the trains. Morning times when office goers flock the train, the train will be congested to the neck. The same goes during evening times. Choose late morning or afternoon trains.
- It is a myth that the train travel is notsafer for women. It is notsafer for all genders if you are not alert.
- When it comes to food, it is better to stick with the caterer of the train or from any branded shops in the platform. Do not go for minor vendors, as quality will be questionable. You will not be able to find any doctors on-board always. So, be safe.
- If possible, carry water bottles as much as possible or buy sealed branded bottles.
- Sanitation is tried to be maintained by the Indian Railways but it is hard to maintain with millions of people riding the train, every day. It is better to carry wet wipes and use diapers for your toddlers.
- When approached by someone you do not know, try to be cautious. We know that accepting sweets from strangers is bad from a very young age. This suits very well in Indian railways. Do not accept any eatable from strangers.
- Do not take any sleeping pills or other medications that will make you drowsy even if you are in an over-night train trip. It is better to be alert during your travel.
- Use a bike chain to tie your luggage together. There are rods in the trains where you can tie up your luggage. You belongings is your responsibility. If lost, there is a minor chance that you would be able to find it back. So, be alert.
- If you want a decent train travel, please dress decently. No matter what type of philosophy you follow, try to avoid attention by wearing dresses that cover you as much as possible.
- If people stare at you, do not freak out. It is very common in India to stare at something that is different. Being a foreigner, you are different to them. If desired, you can choose first class tickets or luxury train tickets to avoid staring or being different, as you will be travelling with many other international tourists.
- Do not fall for any scam like people trying to help you with your belongings while you visit restroom or people offering to buy tickets for lesser rate than the counter value. Many people would like to make a fortune out of your confusion. Stay collected and do not show off that you are riding Indian trains for the first time.
- Always carry your cell phone with you. You cannot find phones in the trains.
Media has played an important role is displaying Indian railways as a spot where bad things always happen. If you are very worried about your safety and you still want to enjoy the train travel, choose famous train that are never empty. Choose first class or second-class tickets over unreserved compartments. Alternatively, you can blindly choose Maharaja Express train. With luxury trains, you can enjoy a different experience as you ride the train.
Are you a solo female planning to travel in Indian Railways? You have separate compartment for women. There are numerous CCTVs installed in the platforms and your safety level is decent. If you are very concerned about your privacy, you can buy first class AC tickets where you can stay in coops. The tickets tend to run out immediately. You can book through travel agents, through online or in person from the counter. Always carry an ID with you, as e-tickets are valid only when an ID is shown.
If you are still confused with whether or not to travel in trains, you should travel and you will enjoy the culture of the land. Be alert and try to stay out of any situations by not attracting attention. Indians are basically very welcoming and you will feel at home. After all, getting new experience is the main motto of being on a vacation.