Travel is ingrained in my DNA. My mother was a woman who traveled across the world with ease. Whether she was exploring France on a European vacation, hanging with the locals in Guadalajara, Mexico, cruising through the Caribbean or sneaking off to Vegas. I still have the postcard she sent me from her Hawaiian vacation when I was a kid. Even as a divorced, single mother she still set aside time and money to prioritize travel. Sometimes she had kids in tow or her girlfriends, but she was also not afraid to travel alone. My mothers ability to globetrott with confidence is one of the many reasons she was and will always be my shero.
|Me and Mom - San Antonio, TX in the early 1980's|
I believe every woman should experience taking a solo trip. You don’t necessarily need to embark upon an “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure or go “Wild” like Cheryl Strayed but taking the opportunity to explore and discover on your own is a brave and bold move that could lead to an empowering experience of a lifetime.
Traveling alone can be a scary thought for many, here are four travel tips that will ease any fears and help make your solo travel experience safe, enjoyable and fulfilling.
1. Identify Your Ideal Destination
Decide if you want to lay around a beach, relax at a spa, shop all day, or tap into some history and culture. If you’ve been stressed lately a relaxing beach vacation may be what you need to unwind. Foreign destinations are always ideal if you are looking to explore history and discover a new culture. Don’t mull over the destination too long, just choose!
2. Do Your Research
Pre plan an itinerary. There are plenty of online resources available to help you figure out where to dine, shop, entertain and sight-see. You can even walk into a nearby travel agency to chat with the experts about your upcoming plans. Professional travel agents will not make you feel obligated to book your trip with them but if you do decide to book with them they can help to customize a trip specific to your travel goals.
|2006 - My first solo trip to San Francisco, California|
3. Be Friendly
Even though you are on the trip to enjoy being with yourself, making connections while there can make the trip more interesting. Don’t be afraid to casually chat with the hotel bartender or smile at other tourists you see while out and about. Maybe you can link up with another group of people to go to dinner or a local tour so you don’t feel so alone, if that is an issue for you. I find that when people are on vacation they are much more open to meeting new people and making fast friends.
4. Be Safe
Always be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you pick a travel destination that is known to be safe and recommended for tourist travel. Even when you are at a safe resort, precautions should still be taken:
- When you check in at the hotel, ask for two keys and let them know someone else will be joining you later.
- Avoid venturing outside of your hotel late at night, if you do, have a cab called ahead of time so you aren’t spotted walking down the streets alone.
- Don’t leave the hotel with your passport, keep it locked in the hotel room safe.
Last week I attended the 11th Annual Chicago and Travel Adventure Show, the largest travel show in the Midwest. When I attended the event for the first time in 2014 with friends, I had such a wonderful time that I knew I would make this a “go to” event every year! (Check out last years recap here) My good friend, travel blogger and Paris tour expert Paige of Paris by Paige traveled from Milwaukee to attend the expo and we made it a fun Girls Weekend!
|The view from my apartment before heading out to the expo with Paige.|
This years lineup of speakers included authors and experts Cheryl Strayed and Pauline Frommer, and everyones favorite travel TV host, Samantha Brown returned for another year! We had a chance to check out Samantha Brown and a workshop on Travel Technology featuring Hotel Tonight App in the Savvy Traveler Theater!
Luckily I was taking notes along the way so check out these #travelsmart tips to help you become a more savvy and chic traveler and be inspired to travel more:
John Golicz - CEO, Travel & Adventure Show - Savvy Traveler Tips
When you arrive at a hotel always ASK for an upgrade. The main objective of the hospitality industry is to make you feel welcome. Ask what your upgrade options are and you just may receive.
For the best deal book flights at least 60 days in advance.
Thanks to Uber car services the need for rental cars is no longer needed. Check the Uber site in advance to make sure they service your location.
Now is the perfect time to plan travel to Europe. The Euro is now equal to the dollar and airfare is down 10%
|John Golicz and Calvin Hohener of Hotel Tonight|
Samantha Brown, Travel Channel TV Host - Travel Inspiration
Family vacations gave us our first taste of travel. The family vacation creates strong memories and become building blocks that sustains family in tough times. It allows kids to see their parents act like kids.
Travel inspiration comes from the movies. Just Google “Best Travel Movies for Inspiration” and get inspired to plan your next trip.
Schedule an international day trip “staycation”: Watch a travel inspired movie, visit a museum, dine or order in your favorite ethnic food, have a glass of Italian wine. Create your own escape!
Use Pinterest to create travel boards that will inspire you.
While the internet has allowed us to take travel planning in our own hands, travel agents are still perfect for helping to plan trips specific to your lifestyle and needs. They can be an advocate for you in your complex travel plans.
Top apps help to make travel easier:
- Flight Aware
- Google Translate
- Airfare Watchdog
- Travel Channel
Hope you enjoyed these #travelsmart tips and are busy making your 2015 travel plans!