Last updated on March 1st, 2023
Featured image: Get ready for travel in 2023 with these tips from JourneyWoman readers | Photo by leggybirdphotos on Envato
Our Top Travel Tips for January 2023
Curated by Marion Broverman, Facebook Group Moderator
This month we have an overabundance of travel tips for women from reads around the world, culled from emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group. We rely on first-hand tips from you — our readers — if you have one to share please do so!
1. I purchased a couple of travel scarves last year and love them. They have a hidden pocket which holds a passport, money and or phone. So good when wandering around markets and crowded places. One of my best travel purchases! – Janna S.
2. I have carried a sink stopper for years. I have even used it in a house guest situation. – Jane C.
3. For packing cubes, it all depends on what kind you have. Some are indeed heavy and rather rigid. But there are others that are featherweight and don’t have rigid sides. I’ve had my Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes for a good decade. They conform to whatever space I put them in. Colour-coded so I know what is where. And, unlike ziplock bags, they breathe. – Kitty P.
4. I never wear a backpack. It targets you as a tourist, huge red flag. I was once grabbed and held down by my backpack straps. The unfortunate thug had no idea I was raised by a soldier and able to react fast and defend myself. My size 13 boot knocked his jaw sideways. I dress as women dress at my destination. I never wear western athleisure or chunky sneakers or backpack or baseball hat or anything which red flags me as a tourist. – Jeanne F.
5. Go a couple of blocks away from the main tourist track to find good, well-priced cafes and restaurants not targeted at tourists but where locals eat. – Emily P.
Be mindful of the clothes and accessories you pack, as pickpocketers often target flashy tourists. Read our tips to avoid pickpocketing here.
6. Might sound silly but figure out using a taxi & Uber before you head out on your travels. I’ve rarely used a taxi at home so have no concept of what’s expensive or not. So when travellers say grab a cab I draw a blank and am afraid I’ll get ripped off. I had a life lesson on the road in Bordeaux, France, at about 1:00 am (the plane was 3 hrs late). The plan was to walk to my hotel (5 min). I tried. Walking in the dark in a foreign country at 24 was no big deal, at 64, it’s a big deal. I’ve now learned to use Uber & taxis at home. – Elizabeth B.
7. Learn to take public transportation at home too. Even learning how to read a timetable & buy a ticket in your own first language in your own village/town/city will be educational and useful if you plan to do it elsewhere. Each city system is different of course, but spending a day out on your own in another suburb or town where you live, and managing public transport is good practice. I currently live in my third country and see a lot of tourists becoming quite stressed about how to manage transportation. So many North Americans live in their cars and have no clue how to navigate without one. – Debra K.
Plan your travel beforehand with OMIO!
8. Sew pockets into the interior waistband of your pants- one on each side – just big enough for passport /id on one side & cash/credit cards on the other. – Mary Jo L.
9. I find I can save money by taking one-way flights using two different airlines. They always seem to charge more on the return for return flights. – Johanna C.
10. I wear weather-appropriate vests. I sew pockets into both sides. They hold passports, cash, credit card, and my iPhone. I zip it at least halfway up. I also sew pockets inside shorts/slacks. Works for me. And I wear a police whistle on a lanyard. I make sure it’s visible. – Fran C.
11. Many old Italian and Sicilian towns and cities have old cobblestone or uneven lanes and roads and streets, make sure you wear good nonslip walking shoes! – Marion Broverman
12. Even if you are not an “adventure” traveler, outdoor/sports outfitters are your best friend for clothing and gear. REI, Dick’s, Eddie Bauer, 32 Degrees, Juno Active, etc. – Marti S.
13. With Google Maps and local apps, it’s become so easy to navigate a city and figure out its transit system. I love getting around the way locals do, and it’s so economical. – Nat Hagn
14. I like using the app Rome 2 Rio for planning trips to and from my location. – Doreen S. OMIO works in a similar way.
15. Heading to London, UK? Is going to afternoon tea on your “must-do” list? Many popular spots for afternoon tea have an exorbitantly high price tag (e.g. upwards of £75 per person at The Savoy, Claridges and Fortnum & Mason). For more reasonably priced experiences, head to Groupon (co.uk) and there you’ll find numerous offers for lower-priced afternoon tea. Last spring, I had a lovely time at Corus Hotel Hyde Park, seated in their atrium with Kensington Gardens right across the street. I could choose from a menu of teas and was presented with a three-tiered tray of warm scones with clotted cream and jam, some small tarts and squares, and a selection of finger sandwiches. Service was thoughtful and friendly. All of this came to less than £15 with a Groupon purchased in advance.- Carolyn W.
Figure out your transport before you travel
16. When in Mexico, always ask how much it is before getting in a taxi or any transport. Beware of the “gringo tax”! – Jordan M.
Consider booking a transfer in advance to know exactly how much you will pay.
17. I found that my knee arthritis played up if I had to sit directly under a bus air conditioner. I learned to carry a pashmina to put across my legs, even on the warmest days. – Margaret B.
18. Carry-on baggage only (find our top-recommended ones here)! And remember, if you don’t wear the scarf back home, you probably won’t wear it in England either! – Patricia H.
19. Travel nickers totally changed how secure I felt travelling alone. They are nickers with a front zipped pocket. I keep my passport, 500 dollars, my credit card and my front door key in the pocket. I can get safe or home in any situation. Buy them online here. – Anna W.
20. For the smoothest airport experiences and best seats etc, get to the airport early enough to be among the first to check in, before the check-in attendants have been beat up and down by ornery customers. Even flying economy, I have gotten the best seats possible often with only an empty seat next to me, or no surcharge for extra baggage, bump up to priority etc. – Fetchin G.
21. Bring a nightlight for your hotel room. Bring a flashlight for walking at night on unfamiliar ground. – Lynn V.
22. Always bring a small battery-powered or rechargeable fan that can sit on your nightstand or be held in your hand. You can use it to cool off a stuffy hotel room often windows don’t open and AC is minimal, to make yourself comfortable after a hike or as a white noise machine in a loud hotel. – Emilie F.
Read More: Best Safety Products for Solo Women
23. Buy men’s pants. The pockets are deeper so less pick-able. Stick on Velcro tabs to close pockets. Cannot be opened silently. – Helen P.
24. Just two weeks ago I took my first solo trip, at 76, to NYC! I’d been there before, but never alone. I was nervous but had a fabulous time. Saw Music Man. Walked around and enjoyed the city. I recommend the Edison Hotel on 47th and Broadway. Busy lobby with excellent security. Checked room cards before allowing access to elevators. Cards are needed to get to your floor. Clean room. Friendly, helpful people. The hotel restaurant, Friedman’s, had many gluten-free options and wait staff that sang show tunes. Walking distance to theatres. Great place. I encourage everyone to try it. It’s very freeing. -Phyliss P.
Traveling with a carry-on only is always preferred — if only all airlines had the same standards!
25. I originally saw this nano technology patch on Innovation Nation about a year ago. I bought it and have suggested it to friends who also bought it and had success. I should add that it has limited success with sciatica. I tweaked my back recently picking up a backpack. I applied the patch and recovered. Gokailo.com the website has many videos. Get on the email list for a discount. It weighs nothing and save you buying and discarding other patches. – Margaret C.
26. I am loving bar shampoo as it does the job, is easy to pack, keeps clear of liquids so you can take it with you when you have hand luggage only, and good for the planet. My favorite brand is the New Zealand based Ethique! – Laura S.
27. A few years ago, I had a strong urge to visit the Bahamas, the outer islands of Exuma to be exact, but I only had mid-July available for the trip. Everyone said, “Don’t go in July, it is off-season and there may be rain and storms”. Research told me the best time to visit the Bahamas is from mid-December to mid-April, the country’s peak season. The islands fall within the hurricane belt, so hurricanes may be a factor between June 1 and Nov. 30 (the Atlantic hurricane season). I went anyway, encouraged by the idea of a direct flight from Toronto (where I was also visiting) to Georgetown (Exuma International Airport). My stay was lovely, and it only rained once in four days. The small family resort where I stayed was quiet, and I had no problem booking a day tour to see the swimming pigs (a must-do!) and getting a spot in local restaurants. – Diana E.
28. Make sure to put your name and address both inside and outside your luggage. So much luggage has been either delayed or not arrived at your destination. Canada CATSA scan luggage and they would search luggage if they find suspicious items in luggage, so make sure to put that name inside. If you don’t want to put your address, you can put a trusted friend’s info instead. Hope this is helpful. – Lyn P.
29. I had the pleasure of staying at the Granville Hotel in Waterford, Ireland. Loved everything about it—friendly staff, the rooms, the dining room with beautiful tapestries, and great food, including Irish Whiskey added to the oatmeal. Loved it. – Judy R.
30. I arrived at a park only to find all the benches were occupied. I now carry a baby change pad (29″x19″) small flannel giraffes on one side & waterproof plastic on the reverse side. Folds up flat into my backpack & great for damp grass. – Margaret R.
We need your travel tips! Please send any travel tips here.
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