Roaming Alone – Safe Travel for Solo Women

This is the first in a series of blogs for women traveling alone.
I used to travel with my sister. It was fun to spend time with her and share experiences and new things together.

Jan and Colleen in Roseau

Cruising

But, since she has the taken ill, I find myself with no one to travel with. I have a husband but he doesn’t like to travel and I am unwilling to stay home. I want to go places, see things, and experience the big world. I have the time now that my children are grown and gone but not the money to do anything I want. I would like to be able to travel and do whatever I want. With a little planning and a little saving it can be done. These chapters will cover some places you might like to go alone, or with a friend you can round up, and are budget friendly for a fixed income.
The first concern, for me, is always the money. Maybe you live on a fixed income, maybe you have other expenses that have to be covered first. But where there is a will, there is a way. Make a plan and work towards saving and paying for it. Like all things in life, when you have to put forth an extra effort it makes the results even that more rewarding. Here are some tips to make traveling less expensive:
1) If it’s a trip out of the country or multiple flights/destinations get a travel agent. I know this is old fashioned with online booking of hotels, airlines, and cruises but a travel agent is invaluable if something unforeseen should happen on your trip. Here are 10 reasons why you should use an agent: Why You Need a Travel Agent. I know from personal experience that my travel agent can manage any problems that come up. Hotel doesn’t have your reservation or cost is different from what you were promised? Flight changes? Dangers? Cool things to do? Not to mention there is someone out there that knows your itinerary and where you are staying and what you plan to do. This is important if you are by yourself or two women alone.
2) Be flexible.
(1) Use a smaller hotel.

Hevea Hotel, St. Maarten

Isn’t This the Cutest Hotel?

They can be just as nice as the big expensive ones and even more fun since they are more personable and customer service is lots of times better because they want you back. Sometimes they come with a little kitchen where you can also save some money on your food bill. Maybe you don’t want to go out to eat. You can just stay in and have a stress-free evening.
(2) Go in the off-season. During the summer months, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and even South America (where it will be winter) are still pleasant―and less crowded.
(3) Pre-pay for what you can. This allows you to cover some costs gradually which is good for the budget. You can stretch the costs of your trip over time and save yourself from using your charge card. I have been able to take several trips without charging a thing because I paid for excursions, drink packages, etc ahead of time.
(4) Book a fixed cost trip. All-inclusive programs that lump meals and activities with the room price keep costs down. Consider one of these: Beaches, Rui ( I have a trip booked to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in month or so, I will write a review when I get back), Starfish Resorts.
(5) Go on a cruise.

Oasis Docked in St. Thomas

Oasis Docked in St. Thomas

My favorite is Royal Caribbean. I am checking into Norwegian because they offer some dream cruises I would love to take although I don’t know how I will ever afford them.
3) Think about driving. Gas prices are way down. There are many attractions within a couple of days of where you live. There are even some in my own county that are very cool. I can make a fun day trip seeing the attractions, eating at a good restaurant, and visiting with locals. Or I can take a couple of days to see some sights in my own state. I will be writing about some of the things you can do in Kansas, believe or not. Every state has something fun and interesting to see or do.
4) Take a guided tour if you are not comfortable driving. This way you get to meet new people and learn new things without the hassle of driving yourself (or maybe you can’t drive so this is a good alternative). You prepay many expenses, and the guide can give you a sense of other costs to help you budget. Find unexpected tours (like cycling in Bali) at intrepidtravel
5) Start with a theme like history, architecture, art, or food. A travel agent can come in very handy here or AAA has some good programs.
Another concern is safety. There are some ways to keep safe when you are traveling alone:
1) Give someone a copy of your itinerary. At least someone back home should have a general idea of where you’ll be and when. Give them your travel agent’s information. That way you can be contacted if something goes wrong or you need to be contacted.
2) Take pictures of all of your documents and store them in the cloud. They can be accessed from any computer. Passport, IDs, ticket numbers, reservations, etc. That way if you lose them AND your computer or phone, you won’t be totally screwed. Also, keep a hard copy of your itinerary with you at all times. It can help in the event of an emergency.
3) Consider travel insurance. Places like World Nomads provide travel insurance to individuals, couples, or families to cover all manner of unexpected costs. For a reasonable fee they will not only cover medical and dental emergencies, but also reimburse you for lost baggage, trip cancellations, or delays, rental car damage, and more.
4) Pack Light. Packing light can actually be a safety tip: Nothing says “rob me” like someone wheeling four large bags along the side of a street. You’ll also be more mobile with a smaller bag in case you need to move quickly.
5) More tips can be found at NomadicMatt.
Please sign up for my newsletter. In future blogs I will be covering some destinations, reviews, plans, and other fun things to do for women our age traveling alone.

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