Yesterday’s gang rape of a tourist in Manali, Himachal Pradesh is an unfortunate incidence. We sympathize with her and hope that the police would appropriately punish the culprits. To avoid the life-shattering experiences, we would like to share the following safety tips with solo travelers:
No lift from strangers
Do not hitch a lift from a stranger, especially from men. However, this does not mean that all men are bad and criminals. At the same time, you cannot ignore two universal truths either:
- All communities have some black sheep.
- It is difficult to identify these black sheep by just looking at them, because looks and sweet talk are generally deceptive.
No lift from truckers
Never take a lift in cargo trucks, as the trucks do not have any people except the drivers and cleaners. Many truck drivers do not have a good reputation.
No cab sharing with strange men
Never share a cab, taxi or private vehicle with strange men. While negotiating the fare, make sure that the driver agrees not to pick up passengers on the way.
Safety first, then comfort
Forget about comfort and privacy. Board a public bus if a safe and suitable cab or taxi is unavailable, or you have doubts about intentions of the cab driver.
Public buses ply in most of the popular tourist spots in the Himalayas. However, never board an empty bus.
Pay extra attention while planning a foreign trip and avoid traveling during the period when locals prefer to stay at home and public places are almost empty, for example in the late evening and night.
SMS taxi info to your family and friends
Put your mobile phone to good use. After hiring the cab, SMS the vehicle number, driver name, and origin and destination of the journey to your family and friends. If journey is long, give frequent updates about the distance covered and mid-way destinations to your people.