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Global Guide to Divorce
Jack Jack the Cat

Tips For The Solo Woman Traveller

Maybe you had a travel partner and lost them through divorce or death. People move away or develop health issues. What do you do when the travel bug bites you? Stay home? No way! Plenty of solo travellers told me they enjoy taking ocean or river cruises. They select ones with a specific dinner time and open seating. They have a blast interacting with others at large tables. They enjoy the group shore excursions and mingling at the activities onboard.

Safety in numbers

Before you go wandering around, inquire at the hotel front desk if there are any risky areas. They have pointed out on a map where to walk and the areas to avoid.  In Nairobi another tour member asked the hotel staff where the ATM was located. The desk clerk said “Across the street at the grocery store.” He insisted upon escorting us there and even waited while we made a few purchases inside. He made sure we got back to the hotel without being robbed. Accept help and advice.

Wait until a group of people leave your hotel and go out with them. This discourages a thief from following you. People on their own have recommended finding a program where you take a walk with a local. They show the sights for a nominal cost or a tip. These informative walks can be booked ahead of time online or ask about it when you arrive at your hotel.

Safety in hotel rooms

Avoid a late-night break in when you are snoozing. There are special locks to put on the door from the inside to prevent an intruder from entering. This keeps a person out even if they pick a lock. Other travellers attach a string of bells to the hotel room door. They give a jingle warning when the door opens.

Consider a tour group

You get to places easily with pre-arrangements. You have companions, particularly when exploring more remote ruins, etc.  Tours do give down time to do activities on your own or with another member in your group. I have hiked glaciers, tramped around in the bush looking for lions and walked through jungles which I would not have attempted on my own. When a stop on the Kenyan tour became dangerous, it was instantly changed to another place. The tour guides are kept informed of the latest updates.

Tour groups are not just about sightseeing. They can be very active – climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to a relaxing retreat in India. They have special interest ones, photography, cooking, motorcycling and more.  There are tour companies for solo travellers. Some wave the single supplement or match you up with a roommate.

New Travel Companions

My travel partners were my mum and two sons. She died and they flew the nest. I got an email from a river cruise company I had sailed with previously for an incredible price to fill a few cabins at the last minute. I called immediately, but the single supplement was a whopping 85%.  Wow! I decided not to go.

I had a coffee already scheduled with a friend an hour later and poured out my disappointment. She said “When is it? I’ll go.” We booked the cruise in Germany from the coffee shop table. We took three more together. Point is – talk up the cruise holiday with friends. You may find a new travel buddy.

That friend has now decided not to go abroad for the next few years. I was telling another one how much I missed these river cruises. She said “Do you want to go to Holland on one?” Her husband does not like to travel and we got a great deal. I had never thought to ask her since she is married. Looking forward to our cruise next summer.


Stay vigilant

There are ways to ensure you are safe and are returning with all of your possessions.  The big one is to stay alert to your surroundings. It is easy to consume extra alcohol when trying the local specialty concoctions. We let our guard down, lose a few inhibitions. We make new friends, and not everyone is what they seem to be.

It is easy to get distracted. When you have a bag on the floor, put the straps around your legs. Make sure handbag, rucksack, whatever, is attached to you in some way. A thief is quick to grab something from behind or underneath a chair.  In Honk Kong I kept a tight grip on my bags. When I got to my hotel room, I was missing one. How could that be possible?  I retraced where I had been and on the side entrance of the hotel on a step, was a piece of hot pink plastic. That was from my missing bag. The thief cut the handle with a razor. I was lucky to have only lost that one. I had made an abrupt turn to go up the stairs and there was not time to slash more of them.

Other tips

Dress like the locals. Women in minis with spaghetti straps in conservative countries can get unwanted attention. They may seem like any easy pick up for sex. If one is wearing jeans, sports shoes and baggy t-shirt while the other women are stylish, this screams tourist. You do not want to get mugged.

I take a carry-on suitcase and a tote bag. I wash out my clothes in a hotel or cabin sink. I take older undies and socks and toss them out to lighten my load. I do not carry a handbag, and instead wear a travel pouch with a strap across my chest, anchored by a safety pin. A small cloth bag has my book, sunscreen etc. in it.

The point is to have fun on holidays, but not be paranoid about looking for danger lurking around the corner. Listen to your gut instinct. If something or somebody does not seem right, then walk away. It is more important to leave a potentially dubious situation than to worry about hurting someone’s feelings.

Author Wendi Schuller has travelled to around seventy countries. She is a moving on coach who especially helps people getting back into dating after a break up or divorce

She is a hypnotherapist, nurse and Neuro -Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner. She is a speaker whose goal is to inspire people to move on in their lives. She helps people transform their dating goals into reality.  She is passionate about international travel and helping wildlife thrive in their environments.  She wrote The Global Guide To Divorce and the children’s book series Jack Jack The Cat.