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Traveling alone as a woman, I want to be brave and fearless, to travel by myself like my male friends do, but I have that voice inside my head telling me it’s unsafe for a woman to go anywhere alone. Thoughts?
Dear Woman Warrior/Worrier,
The reason you have that voice inside your head is that sometimes, unfortunately, it IS unsafe for a woman in certain places. The good news is that, for the most part, a lot of the world is very safe for women, and you should feel confident going out bravely alone.
I found several books online about solo female travel. One that especially interested me was “A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the World.” This is a collection of short stories and has great reviews. There are some other inspiring books out there, too.
Click here to check out “A Woman Alone” on Amazon, and click here to see a general search of female solo travel information, which includes guides, inspiration, and tips and tricks.
Good luck! Remember how you feel when you are out and about around your own town, and take that confidence along with you!
I would love some help: how do you deal with jet leg/time change for a short trip across the country. For example, traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States it is a three hour time difference. Any tips for adjusting quickly so I don’t miss the sunrise every morning?
Dear Sunrise Sarah,
I have a couple of ideas that might help you! First, I recommend going to bed on time, no matter what! If it is 9pm on the East Coast, for example, and 6pm your time, that might be difficult, but going to bed at 9pm East Coast time will still give you about 8.5-9 hours of sleep, depending on what time you want to get up for the sunrise. That will help immensely, as even though you might feel a little odd from going to bed so early, you’ll be refreshed the next morning and ready to go. If you need help falling asleep, take melatonin for a natural sleep aid. If that doesn’t work for you, there are some natural herbs like Valerian Root that you can try, or drink a classic, Sleepy Time tea. (Consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.)
If, however, you have an overnight flight, you’re in the best position possible! Sleep on the flight. I know that is easier said than done for some people, but figure out whatever method works for you and do it!
Overall, the more you can rapidly adjust your sleep schedule to the new time, which is best achieved by making sure that you are very well-rested, will make jet lag minimal, especially on short flights across the US. You’ll be able to pop up and catch the beautiful sunrise in no time!
Good luck and enjoy the morning!
I love to travel, but I’m always worried that when I go to a city I’m not getting the real experience, just the touristy one. I feel like this is inauthentic and maybe not good for the people who live there and that I’m only benefitting big companies. Do you have any ideas about how to have a more local experience when traveling?
Dear Local Flavor,
There are a few things that strike me here. First, for myself, while I don’t want to be causing harm to the local people and/or environment by visiting a place, I am initially visiting a city to see those main tourist attractions. Of course, ideally on my visit, I will get a sense of local life, but the first things on my to-do list are to see the main sites. So don’t beat yourself up too badly for being a tourist. You ARE a tourist when you’re visiting another town.
Setting that aside, the best way to get a local experience is to get away from the other tourists. Find an AirBnB that is in a neighborhood far away from any major sites (or perhaps in a smaller town that has no major sites). Go to the local restaurants in those areas and engage with the people visiting. Ask people for directions. Take a class from a local artesian, like a class on local cuisine or traditional artwork. If you’re staying for quite some time, consider getting a part-time job (assuming the law allows you to) and get to know your customers and go workers. There are a myriad of ways to interact! Think about your own life and ways that you meet people, and replicate that where you are visiting.
With that being said, don’t forget to let yourself be a tourist, too. Find out the places that are important to the locals and visit those. Go to the major sites. There’s no reason to refuse to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre when you’re in Paris, and you may never get another opportunity in your life to go back. So strike the balance that works best for you, and enjoy exploring without the guilt!
My boyfriend and I have really different travel tastes. Ever since he’s been planning a trip for us, he’s driving me crazy. We are going to go to Miami, but he is planning out every minute of our time with a super intense itinerary. I just want to sit on the water in South Beach and do as little as I can. This is our first trip together and it is becoming clear we have completely different travel styles. What can we do?
Every Minute Micromanaged
Dear Every Minute Micromanaged,
A lot of people have completely conflicting ways of traveling, and it appears that you and your boyfriend are two of those people. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to mitigate the problems before they start.
- Tell him. Make it very clear that you won’t spend your vacation running around more than you’d like to, rent a beach chair, and let him spend his time going around while you relax. Don’t let him guilt you into doing something you don’t want, but make sure you communicate ahead of time. If you don’t make this clear, then you’re not being fair to him or yourself and are setting the trip up for contentious and unpleasant memories.
- Work together. Go through the itinerary together when you are both in a good mood and talk about what your priorities are. Keep this neutral and fun. Laugh with him (but not at him!) and focus on positive things, like restaurants you both want to visit. After all, a trip to the beach still requires leaving the beach occasionally, so make those times together pleasant for you both and something you both are looking forward to.
- Compromise some! It may be that he feels relaxing around on a trip is a waste of time. Pick two or three things that you’d like to see on the trip and tell him you are happy to go do those for a part of the trip. Meeting him halfway should help you both have a more enjoyable trip! If you need to, set aside one or more days as beach days. You may find that having uninterrupted time to do what you’d like will make you feel more prepared to do things that he likes.
Good luck on your trip!