Best Places Solo Travel Can Take You -San Sebastian

San-Sebastian- Carousel

Despite only being in San Sebastian for a short time, on this trip, I have actually visited this beautiful seaside town a few years ago. San Sebastian is located in the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country In Spain, and I think it is one of the Best Places Solo Travel can take you.

San Sebastian is a tourist resort town with beautiful beaches. I arrived there on my recent trip, by train from Barcelona which was a nice ride. It was a refreshing contrast to the busy city of Barcelona.

The other bonus here was that I felt a lot safer than in Barcelona. I was advised by several people in Barcelona to keep my backpack to the front and to watch out for pick pockets. Although I do still advise to be on the alert at all times and to be aware of your surroundings, San Sebastian definitely had a safer feel to it.

On this point you may want to read my earlier blog about keeping yourself safe while traveling, it is Travel Tips For Women Traveling Alone

San Sebastian is located right near the beach and I just happened to be near Zurriola Beach. I took advantage of this and walked out of the town which was quite busy and gearing up for the evening, and I headed for the sea.

The Waterfront

Walking along the waterfront road was a nice evening walk and it seemed to lure me along. I would have liked to get on top of the hill to see the views but it was getting late and I was aware that the daylight was fading. I walked past this very cool building and wondered what it might be.

It looked a bit deserted even though it was prime real estate right on the waterfront. Subsequent research revealed that it is the Gipuzkoa Photographic Society. They are certainly in the right place for inspiration.

This was a pleasant summer’s evening walk and the sea breeze was a welcome change to the hot day that I had been traveling in. Around the point was the marina and the La Concha Beach. Finding myself in part of the Old Town was a nice step back into time. The place was bustling with bars and tapas and an outdoor market.

Even though it was busy it had a great atmosphere with narrow historic street and interesting shops, eating places, and bars. This area evidently has the highest concentration of bars, but it didn’t feel like that as I wandered around the town it

Tapas – Pintxos

Spain is famous for Tapas and San Sebastian is no exception, although they are called, Pintxos, in the Basque

Pintxos San Sebastian
San Sebastian Food

Country, which of course San Sebastian is a part of. The Pintxos were prolifically displayed in all the bars along the way and you could see the displays of them from the doorway of each eating place or bar as you pass by.

This is such a great way to try different foods in a small serving, without waiting for it to be prepared. You can see exactly what you are getting and each portion or Pintxos is not too expensive. it is the ultimate gourmet, fast food with the feel of a buffet. I really enjoyed that way of eating.

On the boardwalk waterfront area is a beautiful antique looking Carousel, merry-go-round. It was created or renovated in 1998 from an earlier version from 1900. It looks very cool and traditional and is a great icon for the town. The Carousel doesn’t just have horses but also, swans, tigers, dolphins, cars, airplanes and giraffes. It is a unique icon.

The Basque Country

San Sebastian is located in what is known as The Basque Country. It is a unique area of Spain that has traditionally

San Sebastian

been isolated and surrounded by mountainous regions. This has in turn created a unique language, and culture which actually flows into the Southern part of France as well, and crosses the Pyrenees Mountains. The language is unlike anything else and dates back to farmers in the region as far back as 6 thousand years. There is a lot that is not known about the language.

In 1939 Francisco Franco became ruler of Spain and the Basque language was outlawed, and was at risk of dying out. This is an interesting fact that is similar to the Welsh language that I mentioned in my blog about Wales.

The language is now permitted to be spoken although only 27% of people in the Basque Country speak the language now. If you are interested in learning more about this, and hearing the Basque language being spoken there is an interesting video on YouTube .

 

Although San Sebastian is best known and most popular for the beautiful beaches, Zurriola Beach, Beach of La Concha and Ondaretta Beach, I am not really a, sit on the beach person. My most recent visit was relatively short so I feel that I need to return and explore a bit further into the area. I would like to visit some museums as I always find that is a great way to get a crash course in the history of an area.

Lesson Learned

The only thing that I might do different is to plan my accommodation a little sooner. Because San Sebastian is one of the most expensive places to stay in Spain, it pays to book sooner rather than later. I made the mistake of booking only a day or so out from when I went, due to my preference of spontaneity in my travels. I was left with the choice of expensive accommodation or a shared Dorm room

I figured that as I wasn’t staying long that it might be OK to stay in the cheaper option, and thought that there might be a bonus of meeting some fellow travelers. Well, I was wrong on that count. The place was the 5th floor of an apartment block in the center of the town. It took me 20 minutes to get into the building and the reception from the host was not friendly nor was it in English. The six dorm type beds were makeshift camping type bunk beds that did not look very sturdy.  The place was overcrowded and had signs up saying, no cooking and no washing. I left and spent the rest of the night in the bus station waiting for my bus to France. I felt way safer there in the early hours of the morning than staying at the dorm room.

Although I had booked this on line it was not the fault of Booking.com. I have used this site for many bookings on my travels and always find good inexpensive accommodation at short notice – apart from this one time.

I recommend Booking.com if you need accommodation for San Sebastian

 

 

 

 

8 Best Places to Go in New York City

New York New York

 

As a solo female traveler you are faced with decisions and issues that men usually don’t think about. As much as I can reassure you that it is safe to travel alone, you still need to put some consideration into choosing your destinations. Not only do the places that you go to, need to suit your personality and your interests, you do need to consider your safety. Here are some suggestions with my pick of the finds for the 8 Best Places to go to in New York City.

I recently spent several days in the city and I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much, because generally I am not a city person. I stayed at an Air BnB in Jersey City, which was quite a lot cheaper and the Public transport or even the Uber services were very good. The savings that I made on the cheaper accommodation outweighed the transport costs.

I tend to travel in the ” Follow my nose ” style so usually I book the accommodation as I go. In this case I booked about a week before I arrived but sometimes I choose to book accommodation for the night when I am tired of traveling for the day and book with as little as one hour notice.

I always travel with my laptop so I am able to work as I travel and book accommodation as I go. If this is something that you also want to do then I suggest that you use a VPN which s a Virtual Private Network so you can safely access your information on the net. I use Express VPN and find it is excellent. I feel totally safe from hackers and any spy software. Here is a link to find out more.

Here are my 8 Best Places, that I liked in New York City, but they are not necessarily in order of preference, and in fact if I was asked to choose my favorite, I might have trouble with that.

1. Broadway

You cannot go to New York City without a visit to Broadway. This is not something that I planned to do until I got

there and when I saw the signs and found the Theater District, I realized that was something that I needed to do.

Beautiful Carol King

The musical that I went to was “Beautiful“. It was played at one of the 41 Professional Theaters in the Theater District of New York City.

You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, and show the world all the love in your heart, then people are gonna treat you better, you’re gonna find, yes you will, that you are beautiful….

So many people grew up knowing and loving, Carol King and they resonate with the music and the wonderful lyrics. Watching the show was such an amazing treat and as it finished I was surprised when I realized that I had tears in my eyes, just from the feelings that the show evoked.

There are so many choices of shows to see on Broadway….. so when you are down and troubled, and you need some love and care, just go to Broadway and you’ve got a friend.

If you are interested in this show here is the link to book to see Beautiful

2. Hop on Hop Off Bus

You won’t have to go far to find a ticket for the hop on hop off bus. There are sellers all along the street usually near

Hop on hop off Bus
Hop on Hop Off Bus New York

the bus station. I paid $99 USD for a ticket to last me for 5 days on the bus. This also included a night tour and a ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty.

The tour also allowed for free access to the Museum of the City of New York which was one of the 25 stops that you could get of at. After exploring that particular area you could then hop on the next bus and carry on around the city listening to the very interesting and informative guided tour that was playing on ear buds provided when you got on the bus.

The tours take you to areas of the city include, Downtown, Uptown, Harlem, The Bronx, Central Park, You get a great view from the top of the bus. I was lucky that the weather was nice at the time which made the tour enjoyable.

It is also a great way to meet fellow travelers, which I did. I see that some sites recommend not to take these tours and go on a smaller group tour, but for me and my time frame and budget, I think this was a great way to get an overview of the city.

You can use this link to get your tickets for the New York City Bus Tours

3. Central Park

Most people will be familiar with Central Park after watching various movies that are set in New York City. The movies are wide-ranging and include, Spiderman 3, Vanila Sky, Serendipity, Cruel Intentions, Home Alone 2 and Wall Street.

Squirrel Central Park – New York

When you hop off the bus near Central Park you can go for an iconic ride on the horse drawn carriages through the park. You can wander around the Park and watch walkers, cyclists and skaters as if you are in a movie. Check out the squirrels under the trees. I was watching one for a while. They are pretty used to people and not very skittish at all.

Central Park has the most visitors of any urban park in North America at almost 38 million visitors each year. It must have been a quiet day when I was there because there didn’t seem to be that many people there at all. I walked across the park and saw a wedding, people fishing in the lake and kids watching the turtles and bird life in the turtle lake.

There is also a Castle and the Zoo within the Park, but leave yourself a whole day if you want to see everything there is to see in the park.

4. Statue of Liberty

Taking advantage of the Ferry that takes you to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty is a highlight of the Hop on

Manhatten Bridge New York

Hop Off Tour. If you do not purchase this as part of the bus tour you can get an individual ticket to take the ferry and get a close up look at the Statue of Liberty. The Statue was gifted to the City of New York on the 4th July 1884, by France to represent the alliance between the two during the American Revolution.

The Statue was built in France and then shipped to New York where it was reconstructed after intensive fundraising within the New York City community, to complete the pedestal base to hold the huge commemorative icon.

Between 1892 and 1954 Ellis Island was the inspection station and entrance for more than 12 million immigrants who came with the hope of a better life. She echos the words of the famous poem by Emma Lazarus :

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

5. Museum of the City Of New York

Although there are many choices when it comes to Museums in New York, I can tell you firsthand, about the Museum of the City of New York. This is an easy stop from the Hop on Hop off bus. There is no charge if you present your bus pass as this allows for a complementary entry.

The Museum isn’t huge and can be seen in about 2 – 3 hours. I really liked it because it gave a complete overview of the History of New York, which was very interesting. The explanation of how the City developed over time with so many immigrants coming in makes complete sense when you get the overview of the city from the tour bus.

Neighborhoods like Little Italy, China town, Little Germany, The Bronx, Greenwich Village, Flatiron District, Soho, Korea town, all have their own unique and interesting history.

6. Times Square

Another iconic, must see in New York, New York is Times Square. You can get an over view of the square from the bus tour but to really experience it is to walk through.

It really does feel just like it looks, people everywhere, yellow cabs, billboards and neon lights and huge buildings dwarfing the street. Amazingly you can still see the sunset as the light changes as you look along the streets through the High Rises.

From the area of Times Square you can also access, Madame Tussaud, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, National Geographic Ocean Odyssey, and of course you can Hop on and Hop Off th Bus Tour to join the night tour which is really good.

7. The High Line Walkway

The Vessel – Hudson Yards

This elevated, disused railway line, meanders through the Meatdistrict, and you can follow it at above street level to

be away from traffic. It is a popular walking park and when I visited it with friend and her children it was a fun way to spend a summer’s evening. You can follow along the walkway for quite a distance or step off at various places to explore the city underneath.

We arrived at the Chelsea market in an historic biscuit factory which was very popular for interesting shopping and eating places that you could enjoy healthy, and not so healthy meals and snacks. We started the walkway at the new Hudson Yards Vessel which is an artwork structure and a building all in one.

It is 16 stories high with 2500 steps. You need to reserve your ticket to climb the building as it is very popular, but is also free of charge.

8. Food

The eating and food choices are endless and universal in New York. It just depends on how adventurous you want to

New York eating out
Hard Rock Cafe New York

be. My favorite while I was there was one visit to the Hard Rock Cafe, because the food and service was good and it was an iconic place to go as I had already been to the Hard Rock Cafe in Hawaii and then later in Prague.

The other meal that I really enjoyed was from a Halal food cart in Harlem. I sat on a concrete step eating the most delicious meal from a plastic container, and people watching. This was both entertaining and a little border line as there was an altercation brewing between two street people over a tarpaulin, and who owned it and who moved it. That was interesting, free entertainment and a culture insight which I love to experience.

Other food choices, if you want to be traditional to New York are plenty of pizza places, New York Bagels and of course. New York Cheesecake. Or you can be an international eater and for more traditional food, you can go to Little Italy, Little Germany, China Town, or go to Delmonico, the oldest restaurant in New York. Just be aware that if you are watching your budget then avoid the more touristy areas because you will pay more for less. Actually this is the norm where ever you travel.

To go or not

I think that even if you don’t particularly like big cities you should still consider a visit to New York city. It feels quite familiar because we have all seen some city when we watch TV and movies. There is so much to see and do and a five day stay was just perfect. I got to see heaps of the city and experienced the feel of it, but by the time I left I had had enough of the city.

Breaking it up with visits to the Central Park and the High Line Walkway was a good way to feel that it wasn’t all city. The city attractions can offer a wide variety of activities to suit every taste. Here is a link for discount tours and attractions that you can book if you want something more.

Wandering around at night was not a problem or a safety concern, and in fact the sights were even better in some instances.

 

 

Great Solo Vacation Ideas for Women – Wales

Portmeirion Wales

Wales has always had an appeal to me even though I didn’t know much about it. Of course there is the link to New Zealand with the Rugby, with Wales being one of the countries that has featured over the years playing against New Zealand, both on our home soil and abroad.

Even though I must admit that I am not a rugby fan or even have much of an interest in Rugby, I have felt an affinity with Wales as a comparably small country with an interesting heritage. To me I think that Wales is a great Solo Vacation idea for women, as, it is a safe interesting place with plenty of variation from walks to villages with history to enthrall you, right through to the coastal attractions.

I have found that the Welsh people, that I have met in my travels have been interesting and I love to listen to the accent and language. I have had friends who have been to Wales and after hearing them speak about it and of the beautiful countryside and in particular the motorcycle friendly roads, I quietly put the destination on my bucket list.

I was fortunate enough to recently have the opportunity to go to Wales for a couple of days, and found myself wanting more. I am definitely planning to return to see what I missed the first time around, but, I will share with you, the amazing places that I managed to visit. .

Devils Bridge Hafod Hotel

Although I was driving a rental car, I am always aware of motorcycles that I see on my travels, and as a good keen

Wales travel
Devils Bridge Harford

motorcyclist I always try to take the opportunity to talk with fellow motorcyclists. I met a couple of guys out on their Moto Guzzi’s parked up near the Hafod Hotel near Devils Bridge.

The roads to get there are a fun ride, with sweeping bends and tight turns to test your skills and give you a completely joyful ride. I was longing to be on a bike and get out of the rental car and found myself leaning in the car as I went around the bends.

Devils Bridge in the Pontarfynach Village is an interesting area with a triple level bridge that has been added onto resulting in a three layered construction as each bridge was left in place and not demolished as the additions were built on top of the older structures. The view from the bridge is very cool and looks down into a ravine and then also out across to the countryside.

The Hafod Hotel has recently become quite well-known as the base for the BBC series Hinterland. As I don’t really make time to watch TV I have yet to see the series, but according to the locals it has changed the unique character of the Hotel in that there are now heaps of visitors coming to see the Hotel.

The first thing that I noticed as I entered Wales from England was the beautiful stone houses and the use of Welsh Slate for the roofs. As I traveled further into the country the houses became more unique and delightful.

Even the small coal mining cottages were really lovely and gave the feeling that I could live here. Each village was highlighted with some feature buildings, usually a church and then the houses were a mixture of huge estate houses right down to the tiny cottages that were, and had been inhabited by the workers, who were the lifeblood of the mining industry.

Between the villages and towns there are homely looking estates and country houses that hinted of a story that you could imagine as you traveled through the countryside.

Portmeirion

A visit to Portmeirion is something that you should try to fit into your agenda when you visit Wales. Even though it is a tourist attraction, I didn’t find it too touristy, and it is quite a surreal place to wander around.

Portmeirion Wales
Portmeirion Wales

It is owned by a Charitible Trust now, but was built by Sir Clough Williams Ellis between 1925 to 1975. As you would expect by his name and is confirmed by the audio of him telling the story, Williams Ellis certainly did have a plum in his mouth, if not the whole orchard.

That is not to take away anything from the amazing creation that he has achieved and in fact it would be a boring world without the quirky people that we have creating interesting things and places. His aim was to show how a beautiful site can be developed without damaging or spoiling the surroundings. This is a lesson that we can all take heed of today.

The surrounding 70 acres called Y Gwyllt (No pronounciation provided) support the Grade I and Grade II historic builidngs that are tastefully placed over the hillsides connected by beautifully landscaped grounds and forests. The grounds flow down to the

Portmeirion Wales
Portmeirion looking out to the Estuary

waterfront to showcase the beautiful estuary that borders the front of the complex.

The site may be familiar if you are mature enough to have watched, The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan. Here is a Youtube link if you want to reminisce: It shows the whole village beautifully and gives you the feel of what you can see when you visit.

The Portmeirion Village boast several Hotels and self-catering units, with a town hall, shops cafes and a woodland walk, a woodland train and a coastal walk. Beautiful landscaped grounds connect the buildings and the paths allowing you to wander through the village and explore the whole area.

Aberystwyth

 

You can find Aberystwyth on the West Coast of Wales. It is known as a university and tourist town. It is a nice sized town with a castle and historical Gothic and Victorian buildings. Surrounded by hills there are several walks to high points where you can get some amazing views over the town and out to sea.

This was another place that I would have liked to stay longer and have a real look around. The museum would have, unearthed some great history and given an overview of the town.

The waterfront is bordered by a long row of Victorian holiday homes showing off,an era when Aberyswyth was a popular place for the wealty Victorian gentry to make the town their holiday place of choice, especially after the railway connected the slightly remote town to the rest of the UK, making it easier to access.

On the headlands at the top end of the harbor sits the remains of a castle and some very poignant war memorials. They were silhouetted nicely against the sunset which enhanced the feel of the area, while I was there.

One thing that I really appreciated whilst I was traveling through Wales was the use of the Welsh language in various places. I was told by the locals that the language had started dying out a few decades ago, but had been reintroduced into the schools.

Evidently during the reign of Henry VIII and the English sovereignty in about 1536 the language was banned and then during the 19th century, industrialization, the language was not encouraged and was considered a peasants’ language. That has now been turned around with quite a good percentage of Welsh schools teaching Welsh as a first language.

 

North Wales – Snowdonia

A conversation about Wales is not complete without a mention of the Snowdonia National Park. I managed to get to the bottom edge of the park and the scenery certainly gave a small taste of what you could expect if you ventured furthur into the National Park.

It is the home of some pretty extreme sports and serous outdoor activities, including, hiking, cycling and yacht racing, even though the area is known for rain, snow and sleet in the mountains.

The area that I saw was not unlike some parts of New Zealand and I suppose that because New Zealand is quite diverse in the landscapes that you encounter, that is a common occurrence that I have noticed when I am traveling.

I did visit the Snowdon Railway but due to a lack of time and the cost of the fare I decided that I would not ruin the enjoyment of the ride by rushing it. I did however experience spending time in the rail station and have some traditional scones and cream. It was also a good chance to sit and people watch and listen to a bit more of the Welsh language being spoken.

The rail stations are also a good place to learn a little local history as there is some interesting photos and stories around the walls, and also usualy some of the enthusiastic locals are willing to talk and tell you about the area and the history.

Is It Worth The Visit?

My conclusion of my short trip to Wales is that it was by no means long enough. I did plan to return from my base in the UK for a longer trip but that did not eventuate this time. It is definitely on my bucket list to return for a longer trip and most probably on a motorbike to take advantage of the great roads, and scenery.

I would like to spend more time along the coast and explore the villages and towns that you come across. Each one is unique and it would be great to have more time to wander around the villages and get the feel of the architecture and culture that each village presents to you.

The Castles of Wales are also something I want to check out on my next visit, the famous Cardiff Castle would be on the list as would, Carnarfon Castle and Caerphilly Castle. I would also love to visit the Cardiff Museum which has free entry, and of course would be an excellent way to learn about the interesting and sometimes sad history of the country.

As a solo woman traveler, this would be one of the safer places that you could visit if you are worried about personal safety when traveling solo. Wales is an English speaking country but has the added charm of the Welsh language and the Celtic history which makes it a destination with history and a unique feel about it. Put Wales on your must do list and you won’t regret it.

Great Solo Vacation Ideas For Women – Prague

Prague St Vitus Cathedral

Prague has been a place that I have been longing to visit after hearing from friends and family that it was the favorite destination on their travels. Finally, I have had the chance to visit the amazing city and I spent a few days exploring  and soaking up the atmosphere, culture and the history. It is totally one of the Great Solo Vacation ideas for Women.

I will tell you about the main tourist spots in Prague and also about some other areas that you might like to visit if you are there for a few days. I am sure there will be places that will appeal to you, if you are traveling alone,  you can please yourself and pick the best choices from my list of ideas.

Prague at night

As I mentioned about the other places that I have presented to you, I will assure you that traveling to this city is as safe as any other and you don’t need to be worried about your safety if you are traveling alone, as long as you follow common sense safety tips.

There have been previous warnings about pickpockets but really things like this are a global issue the way people move around the world. Just keep you valuables secure as you move around through the city and public areas.

Transport Options in Prague

You can choose to fly into Prague which is a convenient and cheap option if you are already in Europe. Plan with enough time ahead of you and your flights will be quite affordable. I managed to get a very cheap flight just less than two weeks from when I flew there, so if you want to be spontaneous then keep an eye out because there are bargains to be had.

As it turned out, my flight was canceled after waiting at the airport for an extra hour or two, and then sitting one the plane for another hour. We were shuttled off the plane again and had to find accommodation for the night. Luckily I had someone with me who knew a hotel that

Museum of Public Transport Prague

they had stayed at before and we managed to get booked in just in time before everyone else on the plane tried to book. The sweet spot with this scenario was that I had an extra half day to explore and then the airline had to pay the European Union Flight Cancellation Compensation which can be up to 600 Euros. That might have just paid for my trip.

Apart from the usual taxis and Uber you have the choice of buying a 24hr or 72hr pass which gives you access to the trams and buses to get into the city. These are very cheap and are available from the major Metro Stations and at Tourist Information Centers.

Of course when you get into the central city walking is the only way to go. You are able to have a really good look at all the main attractions and soak up the atmosphere as you go.

The Must Do Attractions in Prague

Here are four of the top attractions that you can do by walking around the center of Prague.

Prague Cathedral
St Vitus Cathedral Prague

The St Vitus Cathedral is a magnificent example of architecture over the centuries, with the first beginnings of the church in 1060 until it was recorded as completed in 1929. It is sited in the grounds of the Prague Castle so your visit can take in the whole complex.

Try to get there earlier in the day because although I was able to wander around the outside of the buildings, it was too late in the day to take advantage of access to the internal areas of both the Castle and the Cathedral. Seeing the photos of what can be viewed from inside and in the towers, I am sorry that I didn’t plan that better, but that just warrants a return visit.

The Prague Astronomical Clock also known as Prague Orloj, is found in the Old Town Square. Time it right and you can see it working on the hour every hour. The four figures on the outside of the clock represent Vanity, Greed, Death ( The Skeleton) and lust and earthly pleasure.

Prague Astronomical Clock
Prague Astronomical Clock

The clock is the oldest clock still operating and is very ornate with depictions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, Sky and was essentially used in medieval astronomy. It is worth being there on the hour to watch the time acknowledged by the clock.

I was intrigued to watch the very historical clock at work with everyone taking photos with their cell phones. It was a moment in time when the vast differences in technology were highlighted.

The other iconic must do and see in Prague is of course the St Charles Bridge, which crosses the Vitava River. You can wander over the bridge to get to the Castle from the town Center. This amazing Gothic bridge was named after Charles IV who started building it in 1357. It was completed in 1402.

Walking over the bridge you will not be able to resist being impressed by the beautifully ornate statues along the walkway. Time it want to keep with tradition then you need to touch the statue of St John of Nepomuk, who was a Czech Martyr Saint who was executed and thrown into the River at some sad time in history. If you want to have good luck and to ensure that you return to Prague then touching this statue is a must.

Other Querky Places to see in Prague.

While I was spending time in Prague I found myself in an historical Cemetery. There were amazing huge crypts placed all through the Cemetery It was so poignant to think that some of the Crypts were bigger than some of the houses that the poor would have had to endure. It

Pieta By Anna Chromy
Pieta By Anna Chromy

was actually almost like wandering through a park because the trees and landscaping was really nice. I was pleased not to be there at night, although I see there are a few Cemetery tours that you can do, if you are interested. It would have been nice to have a guide to fill in some history an they usually tell some interesting stories.

Another place that I really enjoyed was the Prague Museum of Public Transport. This Museum had a wide variety of interesting exhibits, not just vehicles. The main hall of vehicles includes, motorbikes, cars, trains, balloons, and bicycles, all in the one room. It is pretty impressive. Check it out while you are there, or one of the many other interesting Museums. Learning about history can be an insight into today.

Do You Want Food With Your Beer?

Prague is famous for cheap, good beer and food, and it didn’t disappoint on my trip. If beer is your thing, you should be able to find something you like for the right price. The food was a delight and quite varied so it would suit all tastes. The classics, sauerkraut, meats with dumplings, good hearty soups and stews and then lighter options were available. If you are not sure where to go, there are plenty of food guides available. I like to try my luck at places that i see, as I wander around. I always check to see how busy the places are and go to where others are eating, that is always a good guide.

Make sure You Put This One on Your Bucket List

Hopefully I have convinced you that you need to go and spend some time in Prague, if you didn’t already have it on your bucket list. Prague is an amazing city and in hindsight I should have spent more than a few days there. Oh well, no worries, I touched the statue of St John of Nepomuk, so I will be back.

St Charles Bridge Prague-

Great Solo Vacation Ideas for Women – New Orleans

As a woman traveling alone you do need to make a few decisions and plan accordingly. This has been covered in earlier posts such as Solo Travel for Women Over 50 and now I want to share with you some great Solo Vacation ideas for Women.

Solo travel as a female may seem a little daunting but there are so many advantages for you to experience, such as being able to make all the decisions yourself including time frames, destinations and your daily itinerary

You may already have an idea of where you want to go. I have experienced many destinations as a solo traveler so I can personally recommend good safe travel destinations if you are traveling alone. I would like to cover various options for you to consider. Let’s start with my favorite.

New Orleans – NOLA

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

NOLA stands for New Orleans, Louisiana. I think New Orleans is one of the best travel destinations for Solo Travelers, that I have been to. It is such a fun mix of music, culture, history and oh wow the food.

Don’t be put off by the crime statistics that say that New Orleans is the 4th most dangerous city in the USA, and the 32nd most dangerous city in the world. You just need to be aware of your surrounds and don’t allow yourself to become a target. This is general Solo Traveler advice.

The city is still recovering from the effects of Huricane Katrina. You can see a lot of the infrastructure and in particular the roads in some areas are still broken and damaged. The resilience of the people show through with the tourism definitely helping to keep the economy ticking along, and you are rewarded with a real taste of the lifestyle and culture.

New Orleans is such an interesting mix of cultures, African American, Cajun, French, Spanish, and of course Creole, which is the description of a mixed race person from Spanish, french or European descent mixed with African or sometimes Native American.

Mardi Gras – Throw me sumfing Mista

Mardi Gras - A Family Affair
Image by Hannah Alkadi from Pixabay

The New Orleans Mardi Gras is world-famous. You really need to put this on your bucket list. The parades and celebrations are free for all from about a month before the big lead up to Shrove Tuesday. This is the feast, traditionally with pancakes that is the day before Ash Wednesday when the fasting begins for Lent in Western Churches. I don’t know how many people partake in the fasting but there is certainly plenty who join in the festivities and the fun which leads up to it.

Joining in the crowds to watch the parades was one of the highlights of my visit to New Orleans. Standing among the tourists and locals was a great cultural experience. Kids on shoulders, calling out for a string of beads or a trinket for good luck was infectious and got you into the swing of things. People laughing and happy everywhere. I didn’t see any bad behavior and it was really a family event. The parades just went on and on and you felt like everyone in New Orleans was a part of it, either taking part in the parades or standing and dancing in the crowds.

Since the Mardi Gras started in 1819, it has been a favorite for locals and tourists alike. For 130 years it has been tradition for the green gold and purple colored beads and other decorations to adorn the street of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras month.

The Muses, are the 9 Greek Goddesses, from Greek Mythology. During the parade, they specialise in beautifully decorated high-heeled shoes which are well sought after, as a souvenir from the parade. Look out for the North side Skull and Bones Gang. They represent the Threme area of New Orleans, which is adjacent to the French Quarter. The tradition dates back 200 years and is based on African Spirituality. They dance along the street, beating drums and chanting. They threaten that anyone not living right will have to face the “bone man”. I’m not sure how many people take that seriously but it is definitely a lot of fun watching every part of the parade.

If you are lucky enough to catch something thrown in the parade it may include, beads, cups, shoes, hand made purses, doubloons (Spanish Coins), sunglasses, boots, toilet brushes, compact mirrors, flashing skeletons, and decorated coconuts which are actually passed down to the crowd rather than thrown. You don’t want to be hit on your coconut with a coconut.

. The New Orleans Mardi Gras is not just any normal parade, but a unique mix of culture, that goes on for days, celebrating the uniqueness of New Orleans

Did I say food?

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to food in New Orleans. If you think the food is normally a great

Southern Fried Chicken

experience, with endless choices, then you wait until you see what is laid on for the Mardi Gras. Look out for the brightly colored King cakes. They are a mix of purple Gold and Green color. A delicious mix of coffee cake and cinnamon roll with fruit and cream cheese, the king cake also hides a little surprise inside. Whoever finds the plastic baby King in the cake has to go and buy the next cake or throw a party. That is an excellent way to keep the endless celebrations going.

Jambalaya, jambalaya, don’t you just love the sound of it as it rolls off your tongue? It even has its own song. As with other unique New Orleans cuisine it is its own mix of meat vegetables and rice, always including some type of traditional sausage, and shrimp, and of course craw fish.

A Gumbo is a meal and a half, and if you can find your favorite from the 1400 restaurants that New Orleans boasts then you have done well. Gumbo is similar but different to Jambalaya in that the mix of sausage chicken and vegetables is served on top of the rice, whereas the Jambalaya is cooked with the rice in the pot. I am sure there are several other traditional differences and actually who am I to tell you about these traditional dishes. You will need to talk to the locals over a bowl of Gumbo or a plate of Jambalaya and then you will have a meal and a conversation

While you are there, don’t forget to try a PoBoy-(Poor Boy) which is a sandwich with meats, seafood, cheeses and fillings with sauces. Or try the donuts from Cafe Beignet, but only if you want to walk along the street with powdered sugar down your front after you have devoured the donuts.

All of these food options are excellent choices if you are eating alone. If you start a talking with the locals about the food, you will instigate a passionate conversation which may lead to life long friendships. I did.

Where to Stay – The options

New Orleans relies on the Tourist Dollar and therefore the options for Accommodation reflect the choices available

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

for entertainment and eating out. You can stay in high end to Budget Hotels or Air BnB options right down to Hostels or BackPacker accommodation. Booking.com is always a good option that I use

If you want to be nearer to the action then staying in the French Quarter itself is a good choice, but only if you don’t mind the noise going on into the night, as this may be a possibility. If you stay outside but nearby to the French Quarter you can walk to where you want to, but be aware that as the night goes on you might want to take some transport such as Uber or Taxi to get back to your room, just as a safety measure. I found it OK to walk to my accommodation several blocks from the French Quarter but it was well lit and I didn’t encounter any issues, apart from having to step around some sleeping street people whilst I was en route.

As suggested in previous posts, a good option is to walk with another group of tourists just to avoid being seen, on your own.

Add New Orleans to Your Bucket List

Whether you have already thought about New Orleans as a travel destination or the idea is new to you, I really think that it may not be for everyone, but hey how will you know if you don’t try it.

A visit to New Orleans should be something that everyone has a chance to experience. There is so much history and the culture is like no other. We love you NOLA.

 

Doreen by Local Artist

Solo Travel for Women Over 50

A night in Bordeaux

If you want to experience real freedom, the kind where you can dance like no one is watching and sing like no one is

Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain
Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain

listening, then, traveling alone is the way to go. Solo Travel for Women over 50 can be a refreshing treat. Something to look forward to after a lifelong habit of putting everyone else before yourself.

You may have lived your life with people around all the time. Friends, Family, Kids and Grand Kids. You are the center of everyone’s day and things don’t run smoothly without you. Maybe you have been lucky enough to have been taken care of your whole life and not had to think about planning or organizing anything.

Well maybe now is the time that you need to step outside your comfort zone. You know what they say- that is where life begins. At the end of your comfort zone. If you can step past your fears then you are in for a treat.

 

Woman’s Intuition – Follow your instinct

You have a lifetime of experience. You may have raised a family or been involved in a long career, or maybe none of

A Visit to the Taj Mahal. – Priceless

the above. Either way you have more skills than you realize. Sometimes you may not know what to do in a situation. Just stop – Be quiet and think about what is happening. You will know what to do.

This may be true for the planning stage, right the way through to the actual trip and beyond.

When you plan your trip, do some research, find out some locations that resonate with you. There are so many options, and sometimes you may not know what exists. You do not know what you do not know. Search the internet, talk to friends, watch travel documentaries on the TV. Do as much research as you can to give yourself an overview of what your options are. The more you get into it the more you might fine tune what you are looking at and by a process of elimination you will find your sweet spot of where you want to start your travel plans.

Plan Out Some Skeleton Details:

 

So now you should have an idea of where in the world you want to go to. When traveling solo I like spontaneity. You

La Rochelle France

might be the complete opposite and want every detail planned. So how to start? You should have a budget and a time frame. This will determine the outline of your trip. Book the first leg of your travel and the first night’s accommodation so you have peace of mind for that.

If your Budget and time frame is flexible then you can leave a bit more wriggle room for how much planning you want to do. For instance on my last trip, I didn’t book my return flight until about two and a half weeks before I was due to fly home. This allowed for me the to juggle my time and also not pay the absolute top rate for my flight by booking it at the last minute. My trip was pretty much, a, follow your nose type trip and it worked very well because things change as you go along and it allowed for that flexibility to change.

If you want to attend activities such as a concert or an event then you will need to book your travel and accommodation around those dates. Draft all this onto a calendar with the definite dates and activities blocked in. Then you can see where you free time can be and you can decide if you want to plan or not plan that time.

What to take?

No you don’t need the kitchen sink! I have traveled for 3 months with just the size of a carry on bag or medium backpack, and even then I didn’t use everything. If you think carefully about where you are going and what you plan to do, and of course the season that you travel in you can cut your luggage right back to bare basics. Traveling for work is of course different situation where you may need more corporate type clothes, but we can cover that elsewhere.

We are so lucky today to have amazing fabrics that are suitable for layering like Merino, that can cover multiple

Merino Wool Gaiter

seasons and can roll up very small. If you plan your suitcase like a budget wardrobe with mix and match items that can go with each other and layer they can suffice for different temperatures. If you plan to take the right items of clothing they will also be easy to wash and dry whilst traveling and living in hotel rooms.

How many pairs of shoes can you wear at a time? Well for most people it is only one, so think carefully about this. Shoes can be bulky. If you pick your location right you might be lucky enough to avoid any bad weather. You could take a small travel umbrella, or just buy one on the fly when and if you need it. If you plan to take a coat or jacket, make sure it is at least shower proof then just avoid heavy downpours.

If you pick your accommodation right, you may not need a towel. I was caught out only once in a Sydney Backpackers, where they did not provide a towel. It was for one night only so I brought a cheap towel at the airport and used the airport showers to freshen up before the flight. It worked well and I had a nice souvenir towel to give as a gift along the way.

Safety and Security

Don’t overthink this or you might just scare yourself out of taking the trip.

Insurance of course is a no brainer. It would be nice not to give our hard-earned money to another insurance company, but the risk outweighs this concept. The cost of medical care overseas is way outside any budget that you might have. Just a visit to the doctor will cost you $100 – $200 and a 7-day stay in a hospital will be $16,000, I don’t suppose that would include the aspirin.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, it is a good idea to carry all your valuables on you at all times. Things such as A night wandering in Bordeauxpassport, cash, credit cards ATM card, travel tickets and medical information. Keeping a copy of important documents is also a common recommendation. Don’t carry too much cash and maybe keep some separate in another location. How about n you shoe. If you do this, put it right down under your foot because I have lost cash before, that fell out after working it’s way up the inside of my boot.!.

When you are moving around alone, in foreign lands, make sure you don’t get complacent. Be aware of your surroundings and if you need to be prepared to blend in with the locals, or at very least with a group of other tourists. Just tag onto the edge of a group if  the situation requires it and, voila, you are not alone.

Like I said earlier, trust your instinct. If a situation doesn’t feel right then go to plan “B”. If you are wrong, then at least you have peace of mind.

Adventure-Go You Girl

So to quote Nike- Just do it!

If you already love adventure and spontaneity, then you will really enjoy traveling alone.

If you are reserved and cautious and have never traveled alone before, then you definitely have to do it. Life is too short to stay tucked up inside your comfort zone.

Travel Tips for Women Traveling Alone

A night wandering in Bordeaux

After making the decision to travel alone you might now just need a few ideas to start your planning. This may be either for your own piece of mind or to quieten those doubters among your friends and family that are worried about you heading off on your own.

Here area few ideas and travel tips for women traveling alone, that might just help your or someone that you know.

This is by no means everything that you will need to know but a few ideas that will get you thinking about various scenarios might help to start your solo travel experience with more confidence.

Don’t Let Your Fear Ruin Your Trip

To some people the thought of traveling to another country or even somewhere they have not been before can be a daunting thought.

Think about what it is exactly that you are afraid of and think logically through the situation. Is it the fear that you will be lonely? Turn that around into a compelling reason to go outside your comfort zone and meet people. Are you afraid of being a victim of crime? You can put things in place to minimize this. ( More about that later) Are you afraid that you might get lost, or miss a connecting flight? Being organized beforehand will minimize this, and worst scenario it just adds to the adventure.

Remember keep things in context and think what is the worst thing that can happen. Work through that with a solution for the worst possible scenario, then, if it ever happens you are ready to confront it. This will also help if you have to convince any doubters that might be worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.

Remember – Don’t overthink things that might ruin or cancel your trip

Are You Worried About Having to Eat Alone.?

Sometimes this can be a good thing as you can eat what suits you and you don’t have to compromise for a travel companion or partner.

If you really don’t like the thought of sitting in a nice restaurant eating dinner alone while there are tables of people all around, you may prefer to eat alone in your room. Choosing to order room service or takeaways for the evening meal on occasions is not a big deal especially if you have eaten breakfast and lunch while you are out and about.

Another option is to ask to share a table with another solo traveler if you see someone else eating alone. This might work better if it is a buffet type restaurant. What is the worst that might happen when you ask someone to share their table?

Someone might say no. Well no big deal, just think of it as their loss.

Take this opportunity to get more comfortable with your own company. You can people watch or spend

time reading or catch up on your daily travel diary while you have the inspiration of people around you.

Don’t worry about what people are thinking about you, most often most people are wrapped up in their own world anyway.

Think About Your Safety and Security

If you plan aspects of your security before you leave on your trip you can incorporate items that make this easier. Such things as padlocks for your bags, swipe free travel wallets and bags and a bag to carry your valuable on your body. Have a secure day pack or bag that you can carry with you at all times that you can secure your valuables in.

Valuable jewelry should be left at home but your passport, cash and cards should be with you and on you at all times. Don’t’ pack them in checked in luggage or on the luggage bays of the buses or trains. Once they are out of your sight then you have lost control of them.

Keep in touch with someone just to let them know your general whereabouts and just to touch base daily. With technology this is as easy as sending a message or even a photo. I know someone who took photos daily and her parents had the login to google photos so they could see what she was doing each day and to know that she was OK.

Stay aware of your environment and keep an eye on what is happening around you. For example, as I was waiting for a bus to the airport in Barcelona, looking like a tourist, with my trolley bag, i noticed two suspicious looking young men hanging around. They were standing apart but were obviously together as they were making eye contact. As I got onto the bus there was a delay waiting for the person in front to board the bus. One of the guys came right up behind me, but I was aware of him and shielded my bags and got onto the bus before he could do anything. I figured that he could have grabbed my bag if I wasn’t aware of him. .

If you are traveling in a more remote area you might engage a local guide. Not only will this give you a great insight into local information and history, but it will be a safer option that wandering around an unknown city, town or mountain all by yourself.

The World is My Oyster – Where Shall I Go?

There is a whole internet full of suggestions of where is the best place to travel for solo women travelers. A lot of the time the destination can be a personal preference and you may already have a bucket list of places that you want to go to based on your personal interests.

I have many places left on my bucket list but I can definitely suggest some top picks from my own experiences that I would love to share.

If you are in Europe I would strongly suggest a trip to Prague. This is a beautiful City with the most amazing buildings that managed to survive the WW2 bombings that occurred throughout Europe. Wandering around the city is surreal and is almost like a story book at times. There is so much to see that I know that there will be something of interest for everyone. My picks were the Prague Museum of Public Transport and the Prague Castle, and just wandering around the city.

If you like Celtic culture mixed with Medieval Castles and rugged coastlines and National Parks with beautiful lakes and scenery Wales is worth a visit.

New Orleans is the pick if you like to listen to live music and want to try some local cuisine, go on a swamp tour to look for alligators, do a ghost tour of the cemetery or just experience the Mardi Gras. You won’t be disappointed.

This is Character Building Stuff

You will find that traveling solo is character building and will open new opportunities to meeting people and growing you as a person. It will build your confidence and help you to step outside your comfort zone. You can travel without compromise or negotiations and all the decisions can be made by you. You can also be more flexible and change plans as you go along if that suits you as well.

You will be able to take time out from friends and family and then you will appreciate them more when you get back home.

Stress Free Vacation Ideas

We all live busy stressful lives and most of us are too busy to think about taking time out for ourselves. That is why I

Stressed Out

would like to suggest some stress free vacation ideas for you.

Stop and think about this for a moment. If you are always taking care of others and trying to do too much, this is not going to work for very long if you are not taking care of yourself. Well, maybe you need a vacation. What better way to take care of yourself by taking time out. Sometimes though, a vacation can be more stressful and you need a break when you get back.

The Quintessential Tropical Island Escape

Bribie Island

Imagine you are alone on a warm tropical island. All you can hear is the lapping of the gentle waves on the shore You have your latest inspirational book and your favorite drink in a tall glass with tropical fruit and an umbrella on top. You know that if you ring the small bell, then an attendant will appear and serve you anything that you ask for……

For some people this is their supreme idea of a stress free vacation. And for others it sounds the most boring thing that they would have to endure.

When you start to plan your escape from the rat race, you need to think through the scenarios of where you might like to go and what you want to do. It may be nothing, or it may be a busy adventurous vacation. Think about how you feel and tune into that before you decide on the type of Vacation that you want to plan. You won’t appreciate a busy, full on vacation if you really need to have a quiet break away from people.

If you are too busy or don’t want to be bothered planning your trip yourself, there are plenty of options for help with this. You could either use the services of a travel agent to plan the whole trip or arrange some of it yourself by using the extensive on line opportunities that are available nowadays.

What Fits Your Budget?

Obviously, before you start planning your vacation you need to consider your budget. If you have set ideas of where you want to go and money is not an issue then the world is your oyster. You can find reasonably priced flights to Europe, and the longer the lead in time the better the price will be. Some of Europe can be expensive, such as Italy, but then Spain and Portugal and even France, can be a better budget conscience destination.

If beaches and tropical islands are your thing, then Caribbean Islands such as, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica and Barbados can be options. Mexico has popular sites such as, Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Tulum. Or there are Pacific Islands such as Fiji, Rarotonga, Samoa, Tahiti and Vanuatu.

Do a little research and speak to your travel agent, as you may find that even if an airfare is a little more expensive, it may be cheaper to stay and dine out at a destination that requires a longer flight, rather than a closer destination.

Taking Care of You

If you really need a stress free Vacation then think about not even going very far from home. You might be able to find a wellness center near you. It may well be that a few days experiencing therapies, yoga, good food, like-minded company and personal care designed just for you, might be just what you need.

This leads onto the subject of your work and mixing it with your holiday break. If you have a work situation that you cannot just switch off and leave it all behind, then you need to manage it. You don’t want to be carrying on with the same situation but in a different place. If you find that you really cannot get away from it all, then do what you can to just do the bare minimum of work. Try to have a block of time that is allocated just to touch base with your work and contact the most important and strategic people in your network.

This may be first thing in the morning and then it is out of the way for the rest of the day. Of course this depends on the time zone that you happen to be in at the time. If you are aware of, “The miracle morning” by Hal Elrod, then you might be able to fit your work in right after that.

The ideal situation of course is that you leave your work at home. After all you need a Stress Free Vacation

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Did you know that this is where the magic begins, – outside your comfort zone.

Even if you don’t normally like to do any extreme sport, and your idea of excitement is to play an action video game, you might just find you like to do something different and exciting. How about trying bungy jumping in New Zealand, or a safari in South Africa, or an exploration of Madagascar, or how about a stay in a yurt in Mongolia staying with the nomads.

You might like to consider going to a country that the people speak a different language to you and you either have to use sign language or the Google Translate app just to get around. Places like Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, or even off the beaten track in places like India or China. All these options are very budget friendly if you plan it right. I can highly recommend, Prague in the Czech Republic. Read about it in my blog. I spent three days there and it was a mixture of amazing architecture, history, cheap beer ( which my travel companions appreciated) and friendly people. The food was amazing and such great value.

You Deserve This!

You might be able to think up a hundred and one excuses why you can’t take a Vacation. I’m too busy, I can’t afford it, I don’t like being away from home, I have to look after everyone else.(Now you are just being a martyr). Actually I do understand that there are good reasons that you can’t get away but at least think about some of these suggestions and start planning some time for yourself. Remember, if you don’t look after yourself, no one else is going to.

Solo Traveler Holidays

Solo Travel Ideas

The idea of traveling solo may be daunting to many people but it can actually be a great way to achieve stress free travel. The many benefits can far out weigh the extra costs and in fact there are ways to reduce the costs of your Solo Traveler Holiday. You will need to make some compromises to your travel but as long as you take all your options into account, you should be able to plan the best holiday to suit you.

Planning the trip to suit your personality and preferences will be so much easier without having to second guess every decision that you make and have to run it by another person. Do as much or as little planning that you want and if you prefer a more spontaneous holiday you can do this without compromise.

The benefits- No arguments.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain
Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain

When you plan your Solo Traveler Holiday you can focus on exactly what you want to do and where you want to go. You might get invited to stay with old friends or even new friends that you meet along the way and this can be easier to do so if it is only you, rather than a group or even a couple of people.

Travel with an open mind with the outlook that you are going to meet new and interesting people and learn from them and their cultures you will gain far more from your travels. I know from experience that this is easier to strike up a conversation with people that you meet if you are on your own. I find that if you are with someone else you tend to just have a conversation with that person and fail to engage with those around you.

Usually, you are able to assess within a few seconds if a person is going to be comfortable talking to you or not. Some people may look at you like a crazy foreigner and you should read the body language and move on. I have found that most people are very approachable and are happy to engage in conversation. If someone is busy with their work and can’t stand there talking all day, be aware that you need to respect that.

The great thing about talking to locals about their place, whether it is their business, town city, or country, they really love it when you appreciate it and share that excitement with them. It is like they are seeing their space through a new set of eyes, like when you take a child somewhere and it reignites the joy you get from seeing something for the first time.

Options – What to do?

Are you worried about how to plan your trip, then, there are several ways in which you can deal with this. You will be

New York
New York New York

just planning the trip yourself or having it dealt with by a travel agency, or a combination of both. You may be considering booking a cruise, either sea going or river cruise, there are sometimes options to book a single berth cabin as opposed to paying for a full price cabin and carrying the cost yourself. These single berth cabins are usually a lot smaller but realistically you are only using the space to sleep and the rest of the time you are probably out and about.

There are actually many great travel and tour companies that specialize in trips for solo travelers. This can open up a whole world (literally) of opportunities where you can travel with a group of other singles, but be in a group and see things that you wouldn’t normally see., You then have the security and company of the group if you are worried about being on your own for your whole trip.

Watching your Budget

Watching your travel budget, is a good idea so you can travel for a longer time for less money. You may be prepared to compromise on your privacy, therefore you can book a portion of your trip in dormitory and back packer type accommodation. The benefits of this is that you can get to mix and mingle with more people and meet other interesting and like-minded travelers.

Accommodation costs are a big portion of the costs of the overall trip because you are paying for every single night

Prague Streets at Night

that you are away from home. You can’t expect 5 star accommodation every night, if you are on a budget; In fact if you do mix it up with budget accommodation and more luxury accommodation you will have different experiences and some will stand out more than others. I remember a night that I spent in a more up market Hotel, in Mississippi, just as much as I remember spending a night in a bus station in Spain, waiting for an overdue bus. Both experiences have added to my memories.

Possibly you could look for options where you share the accommodation with same sex travelers. This is often the case when you book cruises, you can share a room with another traveler. This can be a bit of a lottery though, as you may find that you meet a new lifelong friend, or it is becomes your holiday from hell.

 

Planning – To suit your personality type

When planning your Solo traveler holiday, the world is your oyster. You don’t have to fit in with anyone else’s

Hard Rock Cafe – Prague

preferences or ideas. Plan exactly what you want to do and where you want to go, and fit into your budget without having to worry if your travel partner can afford this or want to do that.

Maybe you like to have a bit of spontaneity and not have a strict itinerary to follow, then be flexible. I found that just having a few bookings for tours or activities was a better way to go. You can then fill in the time with things that you discover along the way. Have a read of my blog about travel to Prague for a different place to see.

A fun way to learn about a new city or place that you go to is to book onto the hop on hop off bus. You get to see an overview of the city in a short time but also with some interesting historical information along the way. Going for a visit to the local Museum is an excellent way to learn about the place that you are visiting. A lot of the time a museum visit is free or low cost.

Whether you like to plan everything or wing it on the day, make sure you put some thought into your luggage and what you want to carry on your trip. I have seen people struggle day after day carrying huge bags around, loaded up with stuff that they never need on their trip. Even if you are staying at hotels and have a hire car or easy transport, this is definitely something to consider. Getting through airports with great big bags, and even in and out of hotel rooms that may not always have a lift is a major pain. Remember most people won’t know that you are wearing yesterday’s clothes. I always travel with my laptop for working and the best bag that I found for this is this Eddie Bauer Backpack. Not only does it keep the laptop safe and secure it also holds heaps of other items and has separate compartments to hold clothes and shoes.

To Travel Alone ? – Just do it

If you are procrastinating about planning a trip just because you don’t have anyone else to go with, my advice is to grab the opportunity and just go. You must have somewhere or something that is on your bucket list, that you have always wanted to do. Don’t let the fact that you have to do it alone, hold you back. I guarantee that if you follow your gut feeling then it is the right thing for you to do. Remember, be adventurous, the magic is just outside of your comfort zone.

The Magi is Just Outside Your Comfort Zone
Prague at night

About Me.

Hello and welcome to my Go you girl website I am Karen and I live in New Zealand.

Over the last 30 or so years I have been fortunate enough to have experienced travelling to various countries whenever I have had the chance to go.

Because New Zealand is such a long way away from most places in the world we are known for our passion for travelling, and a lot of young Kiwi’s have done the big OE (Overseas Experience) I was lucky enough to spend time with my daughter several years ago when she worked in London which opened up the gateway to Europe.

I managed to get to the Grand Canyon and although it was shielded by for it lifted long enough to have an amazing view of the Canyon.

View of Grand Canyon
View of Grand Canyon

A little about my Travel Experience

During my many years of travel I have been to more than a dozen countries. I  recently had some amazing trips to the USA and Europe and met some wonderful people and have seen some magnificent places. Some of this was by myself and sometimes I was with a friend.

Most of my travel has been not of the intrepid kind, although several years ago I climbed Mount Kinabalu, which was a mission in itself.I have been tramping and looking for elephants, in the Malaysian Jungle and been eaten by leaches. I love travelling without too much of a plan and like to arrange accommodation spontaneously – on the day. Sometimes this is not possible but during a trip through Spain and Portugal a few years ago it made it fun and exciting, and a little like a mystery tour.

As a keen motorcyclist, a lot of my travel incorporates or includes motorcycles. I recently attended a record-breaking Women’s motorcycle ride in Topeka Kansas, USA. Along with 761 other women motorcyclists we broke the USA record for the most women motorcyclists in one place. It was fun to include an interest like this in my travels as it was a great way to meet other like-minded people.

Visiting New Orleans would be one of the highlights and if you get a chance to go there it is a wonderful experience. Try to make it to the Mardi Gras.  You won’t be disappointed.

Church in New Orleans with shadow of Christ
Solo Women Travel New Orleans

How can I help?

I have  recently had a few experiences and made a few mistakes which left me thinking that I could have planned things better.I  had things stolen and lost things due to not being in tune with what I was doing and by being distracted by other people.I have seen other travelers getting stressed with things that happen that could have been planned and dealt with better.  

I have previously been in an occupation that cares for people and helps them deal with problems and issues in their lives. It seems to be a natural transition to carry on and help people with problems, and to give advice to help them on a day to day basis. I seem to have a problem solving mentality and without being a know -it-all I like to help people.

As I go through life, I don’t profess to know it all but I am keen to help people from repeating mistakes that either I have  made or seen other people make. Whilst I have been travelling I have been in situations that could have caused me a lot of stress, but by stopping and thinking about it I realize that, I am OK. I am not bleeding. I am still standing upright. So therefore I am a lot better off than a lot of people and I just work through the issue – like the time the taxi driver drove off with my laptop in the car at the Delhi Airport. That story can wait for another time.

Mount Cook New Zealand through a lead light window
Mount Cook New Zealand

Sometimes we need to state the obvious.

I just wanted to give you some information that might help you to plan things better and to be aware of things that might help you with your travel plans. Sometimes it might be like telling you how to “suck eggs” (but really how many people know how to do that).

It is interesting as you go through life, how many times you know things that you just assume that other people know as well. I noticed this on my last trip. There were things that I didn’t know that I found out, like new technology ideas, and also things that I was able to help and advise other people with.

Even just having access to reminders and ideas to check over before we venture out there on the next trip is useful. I am sure I don’t know it all so hopefully there can be comments and ideas added to this website, that will then benefit everyone.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Karen

Palm trees with sunrise behind
LA Sunrise