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Travel Solo But Not Alone

Evelyn Hannon

Traveling solo is my job. As the editor of Journeywoman Online, I get to wander the world-- sort of an advance guard for other traveling women--reporting on the "female- friendliness" of hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, shops, spas and special tours.

Being alone, I can go when and where I want to. My experiences are never diluted. I get the full impact of both the problems as well as the pleasures-- a perfect situation for anyone who thrives on potent travel adventures.

Yet, for me, traveling solo doesn't mean being alone. Meeting new people along the way has got to be one of the ultimate joys of the journey. So while I relish my single status, I always work hard at making connections on route. Over the years, I've devised some interesting tricks of the traveling trade.



Seek out connections even before you leave home. Chat with women who've traveled before you. Make note of their tips, advice and contacts. Some of your best adventures will begin that way.
Avoid large, impersonal hotels. Opt for a more friendly bed and breakfast experience. Don't like eating alone? Pack a couple of your favorite casserole recipes and offer to cook dinner for your hosts.
Or become a member of an organization that fosters the exchange of homestays. Women Welcome Women, promoting visits between females in over 60 countries, is a perfect example and a practical way of getting to meet the locals. Write to: Women Welcome Women, 88 Easton Street, High Wycombe, Bucks HP11 1LT United Kingdom.
Website: http://www.womenwelcomewomen.org.uk
Join a walking tour of the city. It's a lively introduction to your new surroundings and you're bound to meet other solo travelers that way. Take the initiative, introduce yourself. Chances are you'll end up doing some sightseeing together.
Find a female-friendly restaurant you like and keep going back. Once the staff gets to know you, they'll look forward to chatting with you, time and time again. Some of my best shopping tips came from a waitress in Munich and for three days in San Francisco my waiter became a dedicated jogging partner.
Check the newspapers for singles' activities. A recent Journeywoman discovery -- The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston hosts a program called 'MFA Fridays.' This once-a-month gathering features refreshments, live music and galleries open for viewing. It draws crowds of up to 1,000 people. Tickets are available at the door for $10.00 Website: http://www.mfa.org
If you have a special interest, pursue it at your destination. In Paris, Chef Sue Young offers half- day French cooking classes. At noon, tables are set, wine is poured and the women that cook together, dine together. The food is superb and so is the conversation. Contact: Tel/fax: 45 44 86 51.
Visit the local university. Academic bulletin boards are a tremendous source of cultural happenings. Program content is eclectic and the participants generally very welcoming.
Finally, when language is a difficulty, invite a student out to dinner. She picks the restaurant. You both enjoy the local cuisine. She gets the chance to practice her English. You pay the bill. And both of you benefit from the exchange.

 

More solo travel motivation...

If you need further motivation to try solo travel, here are a few more links you might like to follow...

 

Keeping yourself safe and happy...


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