Taking a road trip can be one of the best ways to enhance your holiday experience, but when it comes to women travelers in India, there are some things to keep in mind always.
1. Learn to change tires
First, and foremost, you must, MUST, know how to change a tire in case of a flat. It is an unbelievably common occurrence on Indian roads and flapping your arms needlessly and hemming and hawing doesn’t help at all. It’s a fairly simple thing, changing a tire, figure it out before you hit the road.
2. Chart out the route you’re going to take beforehand
Google Maps is great. Usually. But it has an annoying habit of giving out unrealistic, Utopian information that is completely out of touch with reality. Remember to add a couple hours to the estimated travel time. Google doesn’t account for villagers ambling across eight-lane highways, village children learning how to ride bikes as cars whiz by, the occasional political protest march that needs must unfold on highways for some reason.
3. Carry lots of music
The radio will bail on you twenty minutes outside any city and then what do you do?!! As fun as driving can be, it gets boring, fast, without a background score.
4. Make sure your car has phone chargers/adaptors and such
. You do not want to be phoneless in the middle of the Chamba Valley, for instance. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Help will not arrive. Creeps most definitely will.
5. Carry a couple spare tires
Especially, if your car runs on tubeless ones. Highway ‘puncherwaalas’, they’re not big on technology, really, and don’t quite believe in ridiculous things like tubeless tires and the like.
6. Wear sensible shoes. Always
And sensible clothes. Remember, you might need to change tires and plunging necklines and/or low rise jeans are a nightmare in such situations.
7. Never roll down the window more than an inch or so
Just enough to ask for directions, not enough to let a hand sneak its way in. Keep a baseball bat/tire iron handy. Just in case.
8. Know important helpline numbers
Remember to save on-road service/roadside assistance center numbers. They come in handy.
9. Prioritize privacy
People (read: men) take one look inside your car and want to race you or fuck with you just because they feel like it. Tinted windows, or something of the sort, are a godsend if you’re driving alone or with girlfriends.
10. Never stop and take on a hitch-hiker
It sounds horribly misanthropic, I know, but there are just too many nutters out there.