As a visitor to India, you may have your haggling boots on but no matter how good you are at bargaining, you’ll find yourself well matched to say the least. The slightest hint of an accent that is non-desi (desi means ‘Indian local’ loosely), and you’re almost certain to be quoted a price higher than it should be (in cases where prices aren’t printed.) Try to get the best deal according to you, but maybe there’s some wisdom in offering what you think is genuinely fair.
I do believe that sometimes the perceived danger is greater than actual threat of any harm. For women, most of this comes from the brash behaviour of some men, the lack of chivalry that seems reasonable to expect and unwanted attention. Hopefully this is more of an annoyance than a danger.
Dos and Don’ts
Do stay in well-lit and well-populated areas. India certainly does not lack crowds; try to see this as a positive.
Most restaurants and bars shut by 1am, and the streets get quieter after that. Do try to be back at your hotel before then.
If you’re meeting someone, especially in the evenings, drop them a text once you’re en route so they know when to expect you by. If you have cab details, do text those as well.
Don’t get into a confrontation if you can help it.
Don’t respond to attention that you feel is unwelcome. Do walk away to a spot where you feel more comfortable.
Do carry any mechanisms for self-defense that will make you feel more confident.
Do lock your car doors and hotel room and all other such common-sensical things!
Do be respectful; criticizing ourselves is a national hobby but people tend to take it badly when visitors join the bashing bandwagon.
Do have your phone charged and your embassy number handy at all times.