Travel Tips for the Single Woman Traveler

So, you’ve finally decided to exchange your armchair dreams for the real thing. You have the funds, you know the destination. The only hitch is that if you’re going to make this trip, it must, for various reasons, be on your own. This seems a rather daunting prospect for first time solo travelers, but it needn’t be. With adequate planning, in-depth research, and sensible precautions, solo traveling can be an enjoyable and growing experience. You learn to rely on yourself, and it is always a very pleasant surprise to find that the things once considered ‘beyond my scope’ are, in fact, well within achievable range. Another perk, no less important, is the chance for some much-needed self-indulgence, to reconnect with yourself―the self that had somehow got overlooked in all the daily details of living, working, managing family responsibilities, friends’ expectations, and so on. You also get the chance to interact with different people from different backgrounds and cultures, and some of these meetings may lead to delightful, life-long friendships. Others, although more temporal, may yet stay in mind for having opened up a whole new and different perspective on the world.

Tips When Traveling Alone

Today, there are tour agencies, travel guides, and travel websites that, if not devoted entirely to the solo woman traveler, at least have special itineraries, information, and tips intended for such. If you’re going on your own, here are some common-sense things to remember, gleaned from personal experience and a variety of on-line sources.

Research your destination and the safety thereof, and book hotel rooms in advance. Make sure the hotel is in a good neighborhood.
Check that your travel documents are in order, and keep extra copies handy. Store copies in your e-mail account that can be accessed from anywhere.
Pack light, as you will have to carry it all yourself. Keep money in a secure and hidden waist-pouch.
Dress conservatively―some cultures require this and, whether you think this fair or not, be mindful of local customs―you’re going on a visit not on a make-over mission―so, as they say, in Rome, don’t be a smart Greek. You will also prevent a lot of unwanted attention and harassment.
If you have a penchant for expensive jewelry, squash this penchant for the trip duration. Forgo even expensive-looking jewelry. The kind of petty thief I’m inferring here is a petty thief because he’s not smart to begin with―and he’s not likely to be able to tell the difference between the real thing and the fake. I’ve heard of cases where, having discovered it was fake later, the man actually returned and hit the person he had robbed―for having cheated him!
Wear sensible shoes. Not just for running away from Robin Hood, but also because it will be kinder to your feet if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.
Carry a whistle with you. It’s great for drawing attention to yourself―whether the situation warrants it or not.
Keep someone regularly informed about your whereabouts, and also keep a mobile phone with you, along with the phone numbers of local police-stations, hospitals, railway and bus services, your embassy, etc.
Don’t travel alone at night. No point in being unnecessarily brave.
Try to sit next to another woman while traveling on public transport, and, if asking for directions, ask a woman or a man with children.
Trust your intuition about people, but it’s wiser not to tell strangers you’re alone or divulge travel plans or personal information. If you feel uneasy about somebody, don’t stick around to test your intuition. Even if it seems rude, better safe than sorry.
Think twice too, before asking a total stranger to take your photo―they could very well run away with your precious camera. Never take food/drinks from strangers―it might be drugged. And even if it’s not, there’s the remote possibility of ending up with the Delhi-belly or Montezuma’s Curse.

Now, take a pinch of salt and don’t become paranoid. While it is always a good idea to remain vigilant, you will realize as you travel that the world is really a far better and friendlier place than is generally assumed. There are plenty of good folk out there that will reach out to you in friendship, transcending the barriers of nationality and race. People who have nothing themselves will joyously offer you something―a part of their life as you pass along their way. It is enough to restore anybody’s faith in humanity.

Best Car Rental Tips

Today, people are increasingly going for car rental services. Whether they need to go for a vacation or have to travel from one destination to another, they choose car rental services.

Hiring a car is both easy and convenient method to commute. You can get a range of cars to choose from. You can get small cars like Indica to luxury cars like SUVs and sedans. However, you should take care of few things before approaching the car rental companies. These are:

Make Proper Search Before Renting: The very first thing that you need to do is search for various car rental companies available in the market. One option would be looking out for the local vendors working in your neighborhood, and the other option is to search online. Searching for a car rental service online is a good option as it saves time and energy, and even you can avail special discounts reserved for online customers. Online browsing gives a choice of comparing rates of different car rental companies; however, you need to take care of various factors like car size, location, hours of operation and more.

Make Advance Bookings: Hiring a car in advance is a very good idea. It is advised that you should try to make a reservation at least a month before your journey, because it becomes difficult to get an appropriate car at the last moment. Furthermore, during peak season, you end up paying more while compromising on size, vehicle choice or more, when you make a reservation at the last moment. As an icing, there are many car rental companies that offer special discounts to people making prior reservations.

Review the Rental Company and Driver’s rating: When you are traveling with a hired car and a driver, it is mandatory that the driver is well behaved and trustworthy. Therefore, it becomes very important to take care of the driver’s review and rating before making a reservation. You can also go through the testimonials and never hesitate to talk to the previous customers.

Get the Car Checked: if you are going out on a distant place through the car, make sure that the car you are hiring is in good condition. There are many online car rental companies that provide the complete detail of the last service done on the car. Even you can ask to check the car before renting it. Also check the accessories of the car like wipers, radio, brakes, seatbelts etc. It is also advised to check the insure coverage of the rental car. Many car rental services have limited car insurance, so if you are going for a longer time period, ask them to get the vehicle covered.

Payment and Fuel Utilization Methods: it is one of the important features that you need to take care while hiring a car rental service. There are two important ways to go about it. You can either take the vehicle as it is and refuel it before returning it to the company or you can pay for the fuel in advance. The second option is convenient and cost effective if you will be able to consume the entire tank. However, if you are travelling for the smaller distance, you should choose the first option.

It is very important that you choose a car that suits you needs and falls within your budget. Taking care of the above mentioned points, you can get a good rental car deal and can enjoy your trip.

Travel Tips for People with Food Allergies

Traveling to different places, especially when you are allergic to some food items, is really a difficult task. People who are aware of their allergic conditions, should take extra care when they are on tours. Managing to eat what is available, and that too within your restricted diet, becomes a real challenge at times. Keeping a few things in mind may come to your rescue at this point.

Tips for Travelers with Food Allergies

Food allergies can be life-threatening at times. This fact calls for extra precaution, as the necessary medication might not be readily available in an unknown land, and you might end up in a hospital, instead of attending that important meeting, or enjoying a vacation with your family. Following are some tips, which, if followed religiously, can keep many difficult situations at bay.

✔ Research About Your Destination
If you have planned your destination, it is better to research about each and every detail of the place, and the route you are going to take. If you have planned for a road trip, then find out what all places you will cross, and what are the hotels/motels that can accommodate your needs and requirements. Make prior bookings, which will reduce last-minute rush. Ask for an allergy-free accommodation at the destination as well.

✔ Make Bookings According to Your Requirements
Inform the hotel about your allergies and medical condition, prior to making any reservations. Try to get a hotel or suite which can provide you with a kitchen. Look for facilities like fridge and microwave, so that you and your family can cook your own food and store it. This will reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to a great extent. If you are traveling on a cruise or taking a flight, inquire about the food before departure.

✔ Plan for a Safe Plane Ride
There are many flights that allow you to carry homemade food, as long as you do not carry any liquid. Inquire about it with the airline, and take their permission to carry food with you. Many airlines provide gluten-free food and can even give you a special meal according to your requirement. So, ask about their services while booking the ticket. If you have a very serious allergy, then it is better to settle everything beforehand.

✔ Pack Your Medications
Carry all your prescribed allergy medicines, and take them on time. This will reduce the risk of getting an attack, and will also save you in case of one. Always carry your doctor’s prescription, as it will help you procure medicines in case of an emergency. Meet your doctor before leaving for the trip, and get his guidelines. Pack your medications and your doctor’s prescription letter in your ‘carry on’ while boarding the plane.

✔ Hand Wipes and Sanitizers are a Must
It is very important to maintain hygiene. Hand wipes can be used for cleaning tables and chairs, cutlery, crockery, etc., as it will ensure that your surroundings are clean. Wash your hands with soap and water, and if unavailable, use sanitizers, as alcohol kills most of the germs. Make it a habit to maintain hygiene, as much as possible, at all times.

✔ Know What Your Allergy is Called in the Local Language
It is very important to know what your allergy is called in the local language of the area that you are planning to visit. You can easily get an allergy translation card, which will help you to figure out what to eat. If it still doesn’t work, limit yourself to the food you are sure about.

✔ Learn the Use of First Aid
You should know everything about your allergy, and what first aid you should take in case of an attack. Carry all the necessary things which you may need at the time of an emergency. Many people require medicinal shots; therefore, inform the people traveling with you about your medical condition. Get the local emergency number so that they can be contact immediately for medical assistance.

Best Travel Advice For A Safe Trip On A Budget

11 am at the office and I’m already dreaming up a safe trip on a budget somewhere in Capri Island. The electric blue sea is calling out to me and who can ignore a call like that? Here I come Capri, I exclaim. Although my online bank statement announces that it’s best to forget all about Capri but I stay determined. After all, internet’s always bombarding us with nifty international trip hack to make the most out of a trip with as little money as possible. I’m sure I can hussle my way through too but then I pause. What about safety? Nobody wants to be dead in Italy at the hands of a serial killer just to save some bucks.

If you’re also planning a safe trip on a budget, here are a few ways to stay alive:

The ticket is where it all starts:

It’s almost always cheaper to buy from a travel website than directly from the airline. Travel websites gives you options for transport and accommodations in your destination and their blogs contain a plethora of information regarding safe traveling and other handy tips about specific places and regions of the world.

Best place for currency exchange:

If you don’t have local currency at arrival, it’s most likely to become victim of a scam money exchange scheme. Use your debit card where you can and avoid ATMs. In many places of world, ATMs are a frequent crime scene.

Is a five star international hotel worth it?

Accommodations weigh the most on the purse so travelers often look for alternatives. Hostels and B&Bs are a great way to save money, meet fellow travelers and get first hand local experience. However, it is very important to choose a reliable place. In the world of smartphones and WiFi, it’s easier to look up reviews online even on the go. Don’t enter a facility or a house without knowledge of its operations and residents.

Moving around:

Taxis and rental cars can be expensive so look up your destination’s public transport system. If it’s fast, safe and extensive then go for it. Walking during the day is the best way to soak up local culture but once the sun sets, don’t walk. If you have to, stay in busy areas, avoid dark alleys and follow a group of people.

How much partying is too much partying?

Going to parties in a foreign country is a fantastic way to meet locals but this requires you to stay cautious the most. Say no to drugs and never leave your drink unattended. If you get drunk, you’re very susceptible to getting mugged, or worse sick. An uninsured visit to the hospital is undoubtedly throwing money down the drain.