Traveling Solo As A Female

 

females traveling solo, women traveling solo, travel tips for females


Traveling solo as a female can be invigorating. I’ve traveled solo many times for business and several times on a much needed vacation. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been asked throughout my journeys, “Are you going alone?” “Don’t you have a friend to go with you?” or “You aren’t afraid to travel by yourself, I could never do that.” Lets not forget this one, “Do you get lonely?”

I remember the first time I traveled alone for vacation although I was married.  At the time my daughter was five years old.  So, I decided to head to Los Angeles to visit my sister and her family. It was the first time that my daughter and I had flown. My husband made sure we got on the plane without issues, and the flight to Los Angeles was smooth. The next task was to get our luggage and find my sister.

This too went without incident. I juggled luggage and a 5 year old through a international airport.  We had a great time in Los Angles and the surrounding areas. We made our way back to Washington-Dulles, and it was at that point I was bitten by the travel bug.

I started making my way around the country for my job shortly thereafter. Getting in and out of airports became second nature to me as well as either renting cars and driving in strange cities or hailing taxis to get from point A to B. When you have a job that requires you to travel, your company doesn’t pay for another person to accompany you so you don’t have to go alone. You put on your big girl pants and you conduct business. 

 

               Vacationing in Savannah, GA

I’m no longer married, but I still love to do personal travel. Yes I have friends that I could travel with, but trying to coordinate a week’s vacation with a friend or group of people can be taxing. I’ve been through that experience before, and it was by far worst than anything I’ve encountered while traveling solo.  I made a vow to never go there again.

I’m not one to sit around and wait for another person to get in a position financially to vacation or find the time for a vacation. Most importantly, because a person is alone doesn’t mean they are lonely. There’s a difference.

The people that I have met along the way have been insightful and have impacted my life immensely. On my last trip I met a lady at the airport that I have now become friends with. She called me her angel. I had arrived early at the airport and the United counter had not opened nor did they have a sign posted about their hours.

As a result, I asked if she knew what time the counter opened. She didn’t, but after a small conversation I could clearly see that she was stressed. She was on her way to the states as well; however, she was an inexperienced traveler. We talked and got to know each other and it turns out that she was from South Africa. In fact not far from where I would like to go on safari.

                                                                                  Vacationing In Mexico
It’s funny people see women who travel solo as courageous or brave. Why don’t they see men this way?  Actually I see myself as neither, I’m simply doing what I love to do. As a matter of fact, I believe traveling solo has contributed to making me who I am today. I also believe that every woman should travel solo at least once in their life. Here’s my tips for women traveling alone:

1. It Forces You To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – It requires you to face your fears. I was quite nervous the first time I traveled alone, but I pushed through and marched forward. As a result, I became quite confident in my abilities to reach a destination and enjoy myself. It is definitely a self-esteem boost.

2. It Broadens Your Perspective  – Traveling allows you to see that that there is another part of the world besides the little piece of paradise that you experience daily.  It allows you to interact with  people outside of your circle and allows you to get to know them and a little about their daily life.  I have met wonderful people along my journey, some I have remained in touch with and some I’ve just had a pleasant conversation with. All remain memorable.

3. It Allows You to Experience Different Cultures and Foods – One of the things that I love most is experiencing different cultures and treating myself to local dishes. Eating out by myself the first time was a little uncomfortable.  However, I decided to take my Kindle and catch up on my reading list. I noticed one lady who was traveling solo doodling.

People find a way to occupy themselves. I’m comfortable enjoying my meals alone and not feeling like an outcast. I’ve had people invite me to join them, but I’ve found I like relaxing and eating alone.  I’m really not into small talk or trying to force a conversation.  Getting on line and retrieving emails is a much better way for me to occupy my time.

4. It Teaches You To Think About Your Safety – Safety should be a major concern when traveling solo. It forces you to listen to your intuition and to become aware of your surroundings. I always do my homework before traveling. I educate myself on taxi fares so I will have some idea of what I should be buying. If I will be driving, I make sure I arrive during the day so I can reach my destination before night fall.

I make it a habit of checking my surroundings, and never venture too far my hotel at night. I always park under lights and always keep my doors locked when driving or in my hotel room. They make peep holes for a reason, I use it before opening the door for room service, maintenance etc.

5. You Return Feeling Like You Can Conquer The World – Traveling solo makes you stronger as a person. It enhances your leadership, planning and organizational skills. It allows you to get in touch with what you like and do they things you want to do. You get to plan and set your own schedule and not feel obligated to anyone. It’s freeing and totally invigorating!

We’ve come a long way baby. We have women who are executives in corporations or own their own businesses and they travel constantly. It seems that traveling for business is acceptable, but there’s still a stigma for a woman traveling alone for personal reasons.  Women want to feel invigorated, and they are refusing to be stifled in any matter.  So, please let us assert our independence.

Tips On How To Pack For Vacation

how to pack for vacation

 

Some people think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. I agree, but so is packing for a vacation. Previously, I tried to pack everything that I owned.  For some insane reason, I really thought I needed 2 – 3 outfits per day and 10 pair of shoes.  I remember when I used to carry a garment bag.  Seriously, I had bruises on my shoulders because the bag was so heavy.  You think I would have learned, but no I didn’t pack less.  I purchased new luggage and filled that to capacity too. Foolish right!
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I was foolish.  Furthermore, I had the nerve to look at people at the airport and wonder how they traveled with so little.  Now I realize that they were probably looking at me and wondering why I was dragging around my closet.
Want to know what turned me around?  When I traveled for business.  I usually drove myself to the airport for business trips.  Additionally, I was on per diem when I traveled.  As a result, my company would not pay for daily parking.  So, I was forced to park in the satellite parking lot.  When you park in satellite parking, you have to take a shuttle to the terminal to catch your flight.  I soon realized that the world isn’t full of gentlemen who jump up to assist you.  No sir, I was on my own getting everything in the car, out the car, on the shuttle, off the shuttle through the airport and back into my car.
I realized that it was unnecessary for me to take so much.  I had to learn how to pack for vacation and business trips like a pro.  Have you noticed that we’re the cause of the majority of our own problems? The light bulb finally came on and I accepted that I didn’t need half of what I packed. I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m glad I arrived.
Here’s a few of my packing tips and tricks on how to pack for vacation:
1.  Make a list with 4 columns –  One column is for what I have to take like medicines, phone charger, tickets, address for the hotel/resort and confirmation numbers. Another column is for things that I would like to take like my laptop, Kindle, camera, additional batteries etc. The third column is for activities that I have planned and the fourth column is for clothing, shoes and accessories based on what I have planned. I check out sights that I would like to see prior to my trip so I can plan accordingly.
2.  Assess your luggage – Most airlines will allow 2 bags on the plane, so I will have my tote with my laptop and another carry on. The tip here is to place your small purse into your tote.  I use a cross body bag. It holds the essentials: money, hairbrush, keys, lipstick, a credit card, drivers licence and money.  I pack a larger bag in my suitcase.  If you’re checking your bag, remember the weight limit so you don’t incur additional expense.
 
3. Decide on a color theme – I lay everything that I want to take based on the activities on my list. I cut everything down to half and place the excess back into my closet and drawers.  Mixing and matching pieces has become second nature for me.  Using the same shoes, but different accessories will give you the change you need with your outfits.  For example, I take a black skirt that I can wear with 2 different blouses.  I just use different accessories.
I also pack sundresses that I can wear casually or dress up with a necklace, scarf, and cute sandals or pumps. They’re light and don’t take up much space. Leggings are great too. You can wear them under a casual dress or skirt from the above group, pair with a shirt or wear with a tee to lounge around in for the day. Throw in a few pair of shorts and tees. You can pair these with sandals.

4. Pack toiletries in zip lock bags –  Pack body wash, hand wipes, toothbrushes, shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen, tanning lotion etc. in gallon zip lock bags. Take extra bags with you too. I always have one handy for my wet loofah after showering the  morning on my return trip. It’s never dry enough to just toss in the luggage.  Additionally, zip lock bags are great for your lotions and wipes on the beach or by the pool.

5.  Shoes –  I take a pair of black pumps to wear if I want to dress up, a pair of walking shoes for sight seeing, and a few pair of sandals or two that will go with my final selection of clothing.

6. Neutral hat  – When I’m heading to the beach or a tropical location, I always take a neutral hat that’s made specifically for travel. I can pack it and not worry about it losing its shape or getting damaged. Make sure that it will give you UV protection that you will need as well.

7. Pack neutral custom jewelry  –  Learning how to pack for vacation includes zip lock bags.  Using zip lock bags to pack my custom jewelry allows me to see what I have.  I place the zip lock bag in a cosmetic bag for extra protection. With the exception of my rings, I do not take my gold jewelry with me.  I also don’t remove my rings when I’m traveling.

8. Take 2 swimsuits and a plastic tote – How to pack for vacation includes a tote, which I place the tote on the bottom of my suitcase.  I use the plastic tote as my beach bag. I’ve been carrying the same plastic tote for years. It can withstand the sand and I can wash it off to repack on the return trip.

9.  Pack a wrap or blanket  – I always pack a wrap or light weight blanket in my carry on.  I don’t like to be cold on my flights, so I just fold it and place it back in the bag after I land.

10.  Roll your clothes –  Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It give you more room and less wrinkles. Rolling your items in tissue paper keeps down the wrinkles too.  If you don’t want to deal with tissue paper.  Get a travel spray bottle, and fill it with Downy Wrinkle Releaser.  This stuff is great.

11. Buy sturdy luggage  –  Purchase or use luggage that can endure your flight.  Make sure your address and cell phone number are on your luggage tag.  I also tie a piece of red ribbon on the handle of my luggage. The ribbon helps me to identify it on the carousal.

I hope these tips on how to pack for vacation will help you pack more efficiently too. They certainly have helped me to keep it simple when I travel now.

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