School is out and graduations have come and gone! For me, my family’s last high school graduation. A huge milestone for more than the graduate this time. This is the summer I finally become an empty nester. An even emptier nester due to my impending divorce and teenagers who don’t want to travel with me as we do not have a family anymore (at least that’s the way they see it).
So now I am facing a future of traveling solo. I was feeling apprehensive and little blue until I searched online and discovered a whole world of women traveling alone and blogging about their adventures. I guess I am in the right place at the right time for once in my life. Since I am very new at this I decided to reach out to a few women travelers and ask for their help in finding out more about traveling solo and informational travel websites for solo travel.
Sisters Patti and Matilda are The Travel Sisters. They have loved to travel for as long as they can remember and when they were old enough to travel on their own they did. They have great tips for traveling by using mileage and other travel hacking methods.
Lucy of On The Luce is UK based. She balances work and travel on a budget. Her passion started with family holidays, then in her 20’s she quit her job for a 16 month around the world backpacking adventure through India, Southeast Asia and Australia. http://www.ontheluce.com
They both had great advice for first-time solo travelers and number one on all of their lists: research before you go.
There are so many great travel bloggers out there sharing their personal experiences. It’s a great way to learn more about a destination and ask friends about which places they loved and what tips they may have. Plan ahead by finding out when things are closed so you don’t lose valuable travel time.
The most important items for traveling are a good pair of shoes, a long scarf, smartphone, ID and a toothbrush. Purchase trip and medical insurance to protect yourself from losing any deposits you may have paid for ahead of time and costly healthcare should you need it. Take your time, don’t try to see everything. Be open minded, enjoy the culture, the people and the customs and make sure you know the proper dress for the area you are heading to. If you do choose to travel with a group, smaller groups allow you to see more. Pack light, only taking things that you really need and finally just go!
Lucy’s advice: take a camera and a Kindle for reading. Remember to lock up your valuables, don’t overindulge in alcohol and avoid deserted back streets (but don’t obsess). She likes small tour operators like Explore, Exodus or the Imaginative Traveler and Thelma and Louise to meet potential travelers. Her favorite travel blogs: Alex in Wanderland and Legal Nomads. For trip planning; The Man in Seat 61 for train travel, Sky Scanner for flight search and AirBnB for quirky accommodations. XE app for currency conversion and Accuweather for the forecast.
Some helpful phone apps: Siri, Airline apps, Trip Advisor, Snapseed (good app for editing photos on your smartphone), OnTheFly (search for flights) and TripIt (shows all your trip details in one place). My warning about apps is they do use a lot of data so before you leave check with your carrier to get the best travel plan available.
Women traveling alone out of the country should enroll in the Dept. of State’s S.T.E.P program and let friends or family know where you are going and who you are traveling with. https://step.state.gov/step/. With the current long TSA lines at airports, it’s a good idea to sign up for TSA Precheck, Global Entry works for travel inside and outside the US.
If you don’t want to travel alone there are lots of groups for women travelers. Do a little research and find a group that shares your interests. From volunteering to hiking, there is a group for you. Here are just of few of the many sites that are out there: www.thewomenstravelgroup.com, www.wanderlustandlipstick.com, www.adventurewomen.com , www.women-traveling.com www.gutsytraveler.com, www.journeywoman.com
So unleash your inner travel goddess! Pack your bags (or backpack), get out there, explore near or far and I hope we run into each other on the road!