Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Don't Miss the Desires of Your Heart: Tips for Traveling Solo

Many women travel alone successfully. Especially those who have lost their husbands, are retired, or like me can’t pry their hubbies away from the home front. Other ladies are terrified just thinking about traveling solo and so miss the desires of their hearts. Wherever you are on this spectrum, one of the following five tips is sure to grease the wheels on your travel buggy:

1. Hook up with Others

If you are unsure of traveling by yourself, book a group adventure with companies such as Road Scholar, formerly known as Elder Hostel. Promoting lifelong learning, their trips to faraway lands -- or around your region -- offer chances to meet others of similar interests. As I told my parents when I headed off solo to Spain for the first time, “Don’t worry. I’ll be with my friends – I just haven’t met them yet.”
Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash

2. How to keep your Money Safe While Traveling Solo

Keep your money safe. I am always surprised when well-traveled girlfriends return from trips and announce that ALL their money and credit cards were stolen. Then they begin the saga of how difficult it was to replace passports, get cash and reissue credit cards. This won’t happen to you with a system I call “redundant security controls.”

Divide your credit cards and cash into three piles. To the first pile, add a copy of your passport and stash it inside a cotton money belt. As your least accessible stash, it’s the place for larger bills and your backup credit card. Put the second pile into a passport-sized wallet that hangs around your neck and goes in your handbag as a wallet when you don’t want to look so geeky.

I find that the neck wallet works well in airports, train stations and ferry ports when I need both hands for baggage but also need access to travel docs at a moment’s notice. The second stash is most accessible, so keep only one-day’s supply of small bills and your passport here. The third pile goes into an envelope with driver’s license and second copy of my passport. I hide the envelope inside my carry-on bag (not my handbag) in a zippered compartment.

When checked into hotel rooms or cruise ship cabins, leave the waist wallet locked in the safe. Then if someone grabs your handbag, the perp gets only one-third of your loot. If they make off with the pile that includes your passport, you have copies to take to the Embassy.

3. Don't Leave Home Without - Making Copies of - It

Before leaving home, make two copies of both sides of each credit card. Credit cards have the “Lost or Stolen” phone number right on them, so if any card is stolen, you can access that information along with credit card numbers from your copies. I kept the copies hidden in separate bags on my trip to Kerala, India.

4. Single Travelers Share Experiences on Escorted Tours

Lisa Cappabianca, of Cappabianca Travel in Erie, PA, recommended escorted tours for single travelers going overseas. “You get to share your experiences with other people. …cruises are a good fit for singles because they are safe and activities are planned.” I loved my experience with Hedonistic Hiking Gourmet Hiking Holidays. I traveled solo to Nice, France, but met up with a group of Aussies that soon became fast friends while we hiked over the Alps into Italy. Read more about that adventure here.

5. Luggage Tag Saavy

When on tours or cruises where your address changes daily, put your itinerary in your luggage tags. That way, if luggage is lost, the airline can deliver it to the appropriate address. I learned this one when my luggage followed me around the Mediterranean during a 12-day cruise. Without the itinerary, my bags didn’t catch up with me until day seven.

So girls, get started today by filling out that passport application and making your bucket list.

Reprinted from Her Times magazine, Erie, PA.

Stacey “Vagabonding Lulu” Wittig is an Arizona travel writer who loves solo globetrotting and boomer travel. Read more about her adventures here or at Facebook

Disclaimer: Vagabonding Lulu was a guest of Hedonistic Hiking gourmet hiking holidays, yet all opinions are her own.

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