India's capital of New Delhi is regarded as a must-see for travellers to the country. But after the brutal gang rape on Dec. 16 that killed Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old Indian woman, New Delhi has faced mounting pressure from locals across the nation to change the country's societal attitude towards women.
Pandey's death also brought international attention to New Delhi's reputation as India's "rape capital," prompting some to question how safe India is for female travellers.
In light of this, HuffPost Canada Travel reached out to three travel experts familiar with travelling in India. In the video above, you'll hear the personal experience and advice from Rudayna Bahubeshi, a freelance writer who studied and travelled solo in India; Marybeth Bond, the author behind travel books like Gutsy Women, and Mariellen Ward, the writer behind the award-winning blog on India, breathedreamgo.com.
As Ward told viewers, attitudes towards women vary, depending on whether you live in India or are just visiting.
"There's a big difference between being a women living in India and a foreign traveller, travelling in India. It's two completely different worlds. [Foreign travellers are] not subject to the social structures Indian women are. We have a lot more freedom and some say we get a lot more respect," said Ward.
For Bahubeshi, Pandey's death followed an "unfortunate history of horrific attacks" against women in India. She's been the target of unwanted attention from men while travelling, but not just in India.
"I was violated on a Delhi train but honestly, these things happen all over the world — that's not to trivialize them, they're awful, but it's happened to me in Italy too." Bahubeshi also adds that with common sense and precaution, female travellers in India can feel safe.
Such precautions include spending money when it's needed, says Bond.
"I think India is a tough destination. You need to do a little preparation, you need to read what it's like to be a woman, be prepared and at times, be ready to spend that extra money and taxi instead of [taking] a public bus," said Bond.
For more advice from Bond, Bahubeshi and Ward, you can watch the entire chat in the video above.
What kind of precautions do you take when travelling? Feel free to share in the comments below or tweet your answer to @HPCaTravel.
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