Archive for the ‘solo woman traveler’ Category

beauty travel survival kit

January 31, 2008

Next time you visit the wonderful city of Buenos Aires, you might want to bring these items that I found invaluable during my last visit there:

1. ionic travel hair dryer

This is my favorite holiday present of 2007. It is not as expensive as the T3 travel hair dryer and it has that nozzle that is missing from the very very expensive T3. This hair dryer is dual voltage so all you need is an adaptor plug and you’re good to go! Don’t worry if you forgot to bring an adaptor plug. You can easily buy one in Buenos Aires for cheap. I really love this product. Sometimes I don’t even need to flatiron my hair after I use this dryer.

2. 220V flat iron

This device is a great saver for those bad hair days. I find that my hair goes through an ugly phase a few days after I travel while adjusting to new locales. If you know where I can buy a tourmaline dual-voltage flatiron, please let me know. My hairstylist has one but he got it at some fashion trade show somewhere. Luckyy. I searched the internet high and low and couldn’t find a dual-voltage ceramic flatiron. Anyway, I used this particular flatiron in Buenos Aires. It’s not the best, but it worked pretty well.

3. TRESemmé instant heat tamer

If you’re going to be using a hairdryer or a flatiron, I highly suggest you use a heat protecting spray. This product makes my hair smell good and so much more manageable and shiny! I bought this at Jumbo, Buenos Aires’ version of Walmart. This place kinda rocks! Did you know that the mosque right across this store is the largest mosque in South America? Wicked.

4. DHC Cleansing Foam

I brought with me 4 packet samples of this amazing product. It kept my face clean and comfortable after spending humid afternoons and evenings in B.A. A little goes a long way with this product. The samples lasted me throughout my entire 2.5 week trip. I can live without this product in cold climes but would hate to live without this product in humid weathers.

5. pumice stone

If you visit Buenos Aires in the summer, you will want to roam around in your sexy flip flops. To me, wearing flip flops for weeks mean rough bottoms of the feet. So rub those calluses every day while in the shower. Again, if you happen to forget to pack your pumice stone, you can easily buy one at any of the numerous farmacias in the city. And they’re cheap too!

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would you take travel safety tips from a detective?

September 26, 2007

I found this interesting site that had a looong list of tips for women who travel. I found some of the tips pretty obvious, some I don’t agree with, and some a little over the top, but you be the judge. Anyway, here’s a list of my favorites:

CHOOSING A HOTEL

  • Smaller is smarter: you want the staff to be familiar with guests and with you. The smaller the lobby, the more noticeable the loiterers.
  • Aim for a well-trafficked street (neighborhood restaurants and late-night stores mean traffic, corporate offices mean darkness).
  • If you’re still concerned about the area, ask a female employee–not one in reservations–whether she walks around at night. (Call the restaurant, for instance.)
  • A reception and concierge desk near the entrance, and/or the elevators, is more likely to deter non-guest undesirables.
  • There should be privacy for guests checking in: no one should be able to overhear a name, room number, or other personal information.
  • Room numbers should be written on the key envelope, not mentioned aloud or inscribed on the key–this way, anyone finding your key won’t have access to your room.

ROOM RULES

  • The please make up this room sign tells everyone you’re not there. Call housekeeping instead.
  • Conversely, the do not disturb sign can make the room seem occupied (especially handy if you leave expensive items inside).
  • Lock valuables in the front-desk safe.
  • Stand near the elevator buttons with your back to the wall; if threatened, push all the buttons at once with your back.

STREET SMARTS

  • Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel’s concierge or a female employee can mark any dangerous areas on your map.
  • Dress down.
  • Avoid jewelry–even a chain that’s fake gold can be ripped off your neck. Do consider wearing a wedding ring.
  • Be wary when getting off a bus or train, or riding stairs and escalators; that’s when pickpockets tend to strike.
  • Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don’t have to expose a wad of bills.
  • Should a car start to follow you, immediately turn and walk the opposite way.
  • If you must ask for directions, approach families or women with children. To be extra safe, say, “Where is the –? I’m meeting my husband there.”
  • On sidewalks, keep your handbag and other valuables away from the street side (and on escalators, away from the opposite ramp).
  • If attacked, run, fight, and yell as loud as possible.

TRANSPORTATION SAVVY

  • Use covered luggage tags. Instead of your home address, write that of your office.
  • On overnight flights, keep an eye on your valuables.
  • Don’t exit a taxi until you’re sure you’ve arrived at your destination. Pay while still in the car so that you can be sure you’ve gotten the proper change.
  • Stay close to your valuables when passing through airport security.
  • Don’t use an unmarked taxi; if necessary, take public transportation to a city center.
  • On the road, if someone tries to get your attention or your car is bumped, don’t stop until you arrive at a well-lit and busy area.
  • If suspicious about “phony” police, don’t open the window. Instead, hold your license against the glass.

GENERAL ADVICE

  • Don’t just check the weather at your destination; also make a note of when the sun rises and sets.

solo in Guanajuato

September 2, 2007

A lot of women avoid traveling alone, especially abroad. I have done it once in my life and it has been exciting and full of discoveries but it also  got lonely and scary at times. I was in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2005.  I stayed at Posada Santa Fe, which I highly recommend. Guanajuato is a very safe place to travel, especially for the solo woman traveler. If you want to see for yourself what I’m talking about, click here.

Tips for solo women travelers abound on the internet, but here are my favorites from http://www.bravenewtraveler.com:

  1. When traveling alone, you have to be aware of your surroundings and how you are perceived by others.
  2. Know the culture. To prevent harassment and even physical violence, dress for the culture you are visiting. If in doubt take your cues from local women, who set the standard for what attire is acceptable. [ I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia years ago and I can never forget how uncomfortable I felt that one day. It was humid and hot so I was wearing a white tank top (with a strapless bra, mind you) and a pair of convertible pants with the bottom part taken off. I was freaking out because everywhere I went, the locals would look at me and snicker. I don’t know what it was but my best guess was that maybe they thought I was wearing underwear in public. Ever since then, every time I travel to Southeast Asia, I would wear conservative clothes. A loose t-shirt, loose pants or a skirt, and not-too-loud colors. ]
  3. Do not tell strangers your travel plans. Strangers may not be as friendly as they first appear, so keep your travel plans to yourself.
  4. Stick with a group. If you are feeling watched or followed, attach yourself to a family. Start talking to them, sit near them, befriend them. You are harder to isolate when you are part of a group.
  5. Don’t panic. If you are in an unpleasant situation be calm and decisive. For extreme danger don’t hesitate to draw attention to yourself. Embarrassment isn’t as bad as the alternative.