There was a time when a woman would never consider traveling alone. Security issues were too scary. Women who embarked on even “close to home” excursions were accompanied by family member, husbands or a female companion. Safety was always the priority.
Not so anymore. Things have changed drastically in the last ten to fifteen years. Today, not only do women of all ages move about the planet, but information abounds for planning a trip. Getting help is just a keystroke away. There are groups, organizations, and hospitality companies that serve the female traveler with newsworthy suggestions and amenities.
Seasoned travelers are more than willing to share the joys and disasters of their own experiences, and they would encourage you to read their comments, blogs and testimonies. To get a real feel for a place, you need to understand the local customs, and engage with the people. Handling everyday situations usually requires that you just ask someone. This includes how things work, local transportation, good shopping spots and directions to places of interest.
The Purpose of the Trip
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there a place you’re always dreamed of? Do you seek a spiritual pilgrimage? How about a connection with your ancestry, a leisure/study venture, or have the urge to climb a mountain? The truth is, you can go for any reason or no reason at all.
Women do travel completely alone. A little fear and anxiety is usually gone when they realize the local people are friends. At the same time, single women often join a group of other women with a shared purpose. Maintaining independence is the idea. You can stay together, or venture off by yourself for a while. It frequently happens that people sight-seeing together may not share the same interests.
Let’s say your purpose is to enjoy the sights and also take a class. You will probably be part of a small group of people with similar interests. Friendships have formed from these kinds of trips, though the participants may be from different countries with vastly different backgrounds. Road Scholar ( the new Elderhostel) has many offerings that may be for a day or two or a week or more, for both adventure and learning. You can also spend a week at Oxford, pursuing a short study of one of several topics.
Before you buy a ticket or pack your bag, research the area you’ll be visiting. Buy a couple of books, surf the internet and talk to someone who’s been there, if possible. Some surprises aren’t all ooh aah. Find out about health concerns, food preferences, money exchange and safety concerns. These should always be on a traveler’s list – for men and women.
The time of year you choose to go may be critical to the success of your vacation. Weather is just one of several considerations. In some locations, the very best offerings for a vacation occur during one season of the year. If there’s something in particular you don’t want to miss, prioritize this. Fall foliage, the whales swimming south in spring, music or art festivals, and local fairs have a time constraint, and booking in advance may be essential to your ultimate enjoyment.
Modes of Transportation
Getting there from here has some options. Car, train, ship, airplane and walking are the usual choices, but it may come down to money matters before you make that final decision. It depends on where you’re going and what kind of trip this is. If you have your heart set on a trip overseas that will require meals and a place to stay, it could be costly. Add a plane ticket and the budget may be stretched to bulging.
Group travel doesn’t eliminate any of the expenses, but it does offer discounts. A tour company booking a dozen people in a hotel will get better room rates, and you may get breakfast with that. This may – or may not – be the same for the transportation. Do your homework and find a good match for your money situation. Hostels offer reasonable comfort and security. AirBnB has a variety of options, including some private apartments you can rent by the night for reasonable prices. You get what you pay for, of course, but if you can forego some extra amenities, it’s available.
Single supplements are worth talking about, because it’s a growing trend for hotels to offer accommodations at a “singles” price. Once, the single traveler paid the same price as a couple for a room. However, with the increase of persons traveling alone, it’s good business for the hotel to make this gesture. If it’s not posted, ask.
Speaking of Money…
The very subject of women and money is huge. Earning, saving, investing, spending and worrying if you will have enough is a constant in some of our lives, especially seniors. Two of the best ideas for funding your travel urge is to
- Figure the expenses down to the last cent (close as you can).
- Look carefully for “affordable” trips or excursions and see if they offer scholarships.
Once you start to travel and meet peple, you will gather a treasure chest full of ideas for future plans and vacations. Start a savings account just for travel, eliminate a few other expenses if you can, and keep a journal of suggestions and ideas. Have a great time.
Last Minute Tips
Traveling with a group gives you an experienced guide, who not only knows about the location, but also clues you into the do’s and don’t’s. They also help when there’s a more serious problem, like illness or accident.
River cruises are popular, and may offer the option to stay ashore a few days to do more sight-seeing. You can catch up with the group by train or car somewhere downstream.
Consider booking car service to the hotel instead of taking a taxi. The difference in price is usually worth it.
There are a million other tips you’ll pick up as you travel and, by all means, check out these websites.
Google your own keywords and Happy Traveling.
A beautiful day.
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