Marybeth Bond, editor of Travelers’ Tales: A Woman’s World
(winner of the Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Best Travel Book) has done it again in this indispensable guide now in its 4th edition with travel tips for women on the road. The book also includes twelve stories from the author’s travels.
Gutsy Women, Fourth Edition, for novice as well as experienced travelers, provides a wealth of fresh ideas on how to travel safely, comfortably, within your budget, alone, with your mother or children. Sections of the book address: The Older Adventuress, The First Time Traveler, The Solo Traveler, Women’s Health and Hygiene, Dining on the Road, and Romance, Loneliness, and Unwelcome Advances. The book is packed with funny, instructive and inspiring travel vignettes from the author and from people like yourself who have traveled a little, or extensively.
Gutsy Women explores:
- What are the risks and rewards of women traveling
- How do you deal with the stressful emotions of departure and arrival
- How to stay in touch
- How to stay healthy, with a focus on women’s concerns
- Dealing with dining on the road
- What about romance, loneliness and how to thwart unwelcome advances
- How to keep to a budget
- How to tip and when to bargain
- Tips for the business traveler
- Tips for the first time traveler
- Tips for the solo traveler
- Tips for the older adventuress
- Tips for mother/daughter travel
- Tips for travel with children
- What to take – packing ideas
Gutsy Women is a book to inspire you and prepare you to pack your bags and set out into the world.
YOU ARE A GUTSY WOMAN. Just the fact that you bought a copy of Gutsy Women
or someone thought you’d appreciate it as a gift, means you have the characteristics of a Gutsy Woman. And what is a Gutsy Woman? She is open to adventure; seeks connections with other people in other cultures; has a fearless attitude; puts herself out there in the world; is transformed by travel. The tips and wisdom that fill the pages of this edition of Gutsy Women
will inspire and energize, illuminate and empower. Even if you never knew you were a Gutsy Woman, this book will allow you to discover her within yourself.
Years ago women traveled very differently than they do today. Women used to travel with their families or their husbands, to set destinations on orchestrated tours on land or on cruise ships. But now more and more women are interested in getting off the beaten track and wandering the globe, either on their own or with other women. If your husband isn’t interested in traveling, then I encourage you to find friends that are. . If friends are too busy and you are feeling compelled to travel – then simply plan a journey of your own. You may be very frightened by this idea, but I promise you that if you read Gutsy Women and arm yourself with the wisdom herein, you will have a safe and transformative journey. Your first trip as a Gutsy Woman doesn’t have to be to the other side of the world. It can be a journey close to home – just so you can get your travel feet wet. And if you are a seasoned traveler, I’m sure you too will learn something new and useful in this revised and expanded edition ofGutsy Women.
Over the past two decades I have hiked, cycled, climbed, dived, and kayaked my way through more than seventy countries around the world, from the depths of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I traveled alone around the world for two years at the age of twenty-nine, and in recent years I have traveled with my husband, with my two children, and continue to travel with women’s groups, my girlfriends, my mother, and alone. I travel all over the world speaking to women about their experiences on the road. I’ve shared a lot of useful information and in return have met with incredible women who share their lives, travels, and tips with me. It is my hope that reading Gutsy Women will encourage and empower you in your travels. The information you will find within this new edition speaks to a much broader experience of women travelers. I’ve updated the tips and added many more – making sure to include the most useful information to help you prepare for your trip and ensure you have a safe and adventurous journey.
Women of all ages will appreciate and can easily apply the wisdom encompassed within to their own lives. Whether you are a maiden voyager at age eighteen or eighty or a seasoned world traveler, you will discover that women help and inspire each other while on the road. I hope that my extensive travel experience guides and motivates you in your travels.
Gutsy Women – go forth, and transform yourself and the world.
Someone recently told me we live our lives one of three ways: treadmill, saga, or pilgrimage. Take your pick, she said, for it is a choice you must make every day.
To avoid a saga in my own life and to get off the treadmill, I often feel compelled to hit the road. I create pilgrimages for myself, from an afternoon hike to an overnight trip, to an extended journey anywhere outside my zip code.
Am I frightened to travel? It depends. When I go on an organized tour – never! When I am free-wheeling with my husband – rarely. When I travel alone with my children – sometimes. And when I go solo – always! Then why bother?
Fear and discomfort about traveling diminishes with time and experience. Taking one small risk leads to taking larger risks until you realize you have made leaps of confidence and you are a competent and confident traveler. And more women are taking that first step every day.
In the next few years, women will be over half of all business travelers, compared with only one percent in 1970. Over seventy percent of organized adventure travel clients are women. Women also account for $55 billion in retail sales in purchases or pre-trip equipment. Women are responsible for more than seventy percent of the travel decisions for all types of travel, and are spending more of their discretionary income on travel. Everyone is waking up to women’s buying power and realizing that more and more women of all ages are taking to the road.
After publication of my book, A Woman’s World, I traveled nationwide on a book tour, and avid travelers and would-be travelers asked me hundreds of questions. From college students hitting the road for the first time to mature widows just beginning to spread their wings, women of all ages and levels of experience asked me for advice. Seasoned travelers in the audience shared their tried-and-true tips too.
Men, especially talk-show hosts, focused on the safety issue: “Weren’t you concerned for your safety? Isn’t travel risky? What about rape? What was your worst experience? Where would you recommend women not travel?”
Women more often asked: “How do you handle your money? How do you pack lightly? How do you handle eating alone in a restaurant? Are there countries women traveling alone should avoid? What are your tips for meeting people? How do you arrange visits in local homes and schools? What do you do on bad hair days, when you’ve been in remote areas and unable to bathe? Did you get sick? What’s the best preventive medicine? Is there anywhere you can’t buy tampons? What about condoms?”
Gusty Women is an attempt to answer these questions, to open doors for the novice, or to share advice across generations, among peers. This is a book of travel tips and wisdom but, like my other books, A Woman’s World and A Woman’s Passion for Travel, it is about more than just travel. It is about living, the rewards of risk-taking, feeling, learning, loving, about the strength to be ourselves, to take steps toward making our dreams real.
Women are unique in many ways – in our view of the world, in our approach to life, in our expression of freedom. Relationships are important to us and we make connections quickly and easily. We also have unique concerns and issues. Safety and security are at the top of the list, and we are arming ourselves with the knowledge and skills to avoid and survive dangerous situations. Is travel a risky business? Yes, but all of life is risky. We live in an unsafe country. And yet we have learned to cope and take care of ourselves in this environment. Following these same instincts in foreign countries will protect us.
By age twenty-nine I had already lived and traveled overseas for six years, but my appetite for travel was not satisfied, so I made preparations to take off and travel alone around the world. “You have good sense Marybeth, please use it,” my mother urged me. She also asked that I promise not to take any drugs that would cloud my ability to make wise decisions. My father asked me to promise that I would carry enough money on me at all times to take a taxi, even a few blocks, to avoid dangerous situations after dark. I followed their advice.
Considering how much I have traveled over the past three decades – from Kathmandu to Killarney, from Ecuador to Tanzania – and considering I have often traveled alone and stayed in very modest accommodations, I have had very few threatening experiences. I have asked for help when I needed it; I’ve followed my instincts and the advice of seasoned travelers and have had remarkable adventures.
In the pages that follow you’ll encounter words of wisdom from a multitude of experienced women travelers that will help you on your way, confirm your own instincts, or inspire new ideas about traveling in our world. At the back of the book are resources that will help answer your more specific questions, and a reading list to enhance your preparation.
Many gutsy women are already traveling, are on the road as you read this. And many more need only a word or two of encouragement to step out the door. Remember, you only need three things to have a great trip: your passport, your money, and above all, your sense of humor.
I. The First Step
II. Preparation for Departure and Arrival
III. Safety and Security
IV. Keeping in Touch
V. Health & Hygiene on the Road
VI. The Gutsy Diner
VII. Romance on the Road
VIII. Budget and Money Matters
IX. Bargaining and Tipping
X. Finding Comfort on the Road
XI. The Business Traveler
XII. First-Time Travelers & Gutsy Graduates
XIII. The Solo Traveler
XIV. Women Traveling Together
XV. The Older Adventurer
XVI. Mother-Daughter Travel
XVII. Travel with Children
XVIII. Special Interest/Volunteer Programs
XX. Final Word
XXI. Resources and References
The First Step
Life is like a mask dancing;
to see it well, you do not stand in one place.
BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING IN LIFE, even the most impulsive of us do some preparation. We educate ourselves to prepare for careers, plan strategies for important meetings, make menus for simple or extravagant meals. Preparation helps us reduce fears by giving us knowledge and builds confidence by increasing our comfort with the unknown.Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for traveling overseas is just as important as getting your visas and shots. Give yourself time to work through fears you may have about safety, traveling alone, or fitting into a different culture. To convert your apprehension into excitement, begin your mental preparation weeks or even months prior to departure. Contact women who have gone before you. They will be your role models. You may connect with them by phone, via e-mail, or by reading their stories in travel books.
We discover the world as we physically move around the planet; we discover ourselves on the inner journey that accompanies our travels. The rewards are many: we try on new identities as more independent, self-sufficient women; we explore new behaviors; and we develop a greater awareness of our potential. Remind yourself that the minimal risk of traveling is far outweighed by the rewards.
Do your research as far in advance as possible. Begin at your public library. Search by subject matter or country name through the computer for a listing of all magazine and newspaper articles, historical and political studies, novels, documentaries, and movies.Put travel anthologies on your reading list, including books by and about women and books that focus on the countries you want to visit. The Travelers’ Tales series is a superb place to start.
Seek out people who have traveled or lived in the country you’ll be visiting and ask them lots of questions, especially about good reading material and if they know citizens from there who are living in the U.S.
Contact your local university to see if there are foreign students from the country you will be visiting who would be willing to meet with you.
Get on the Internet and browse through the travel chatrooms and especially the news groups. You may make interesting contacts with people from the country where you plan to travel. Often when you arrive you’ll have a name and phone number of someone to look up.
The local embassy or consulate can provide answers to general questions and will provide reading material upon request.
Consider doing some volunteer work as part of your travels. Getting involved in volunteer organizations offers a great opportunity to deepen your experience and helps you get beneath the surface of a culture.
Learn a few words in the local language-hello, good-bye, please, thank you, beautiful. If you have the time, take a language course.
Get to know a good travel agent. You will never regret it, no matter how adept you become at your own trip planning.
Eat out at a local restaurant that serves authentic food from the country you plan to visit. Chances are that the owners or staff are expatriates, and can provide valuable information.
Plan your trip around a special interest such as art, history, gardening, cooking classes, biking, sailing, etc. Local organizations may be able to provide helpful information about these activities at your destination.
Marybeth Bond has not always been a Gutsy Woman. During summer camp, at the age of ten, she was nicknamed “Misty” because she had a bad case of homesickness. Not one of her counselors would have predicted the bright travel career that lay ahead.
Now a nationally recognized travel expert, speaker, and media personality known as the “Gutsy Traveler,” she is the award-winning author/editor of seven women’s travel books including the national bestseller, A Woman’s World, winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Best Travel Book from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
Marybeth has walked, hiked, climbed, cycled, and kayaked her way through six continents and more than seventy countries. Her travels have taken her from the depths of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, across the Himalayas and the Sahara Desert. She made her first gutsy decision when she left a successful corporate career, put her worldly possessions in storage, and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. While some thought (and told her) she was nuts, she traveled “single and solo” for two years around the world. It was during her travels that she discovered the “gutsy woman” within herself and had the time of her life.
Marybeth continues to criss-cross the globe educating, enlightening, and empowering others to explore it through travel. Whether your idea of a “gutsy traveler” is taking your first plane ride across the Atlantic, navigating the promenades of Paris, or rafting in the Rockies, Marybeth’s travel tips, know-how, and practical advice will guide you along the way.
A highly sought after speaker, Marybeth has addressed numerous consumer groups, corporations, and industry insiders about the amazing benefits of travel. She’s also appeared on more than 250 network and cable media outlets including CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, CNN, NPR to name a few. She was a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she discussed with Oprah how it is through travel that women can refresh, renew, and recharge themselves and be ready to take on the world.
Currently Marybeth is Adventure Editor for TravelGirl Magazine and a travel correspondent for iVillage.com and USAToday.com. Her articles have been published in magazines and newspapers around the country.
Marybeth is a member of National Association of Journal-ists and Authors and the Society of American Travel Writers and was an advisor for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
She now lives in Northern California with her husband (whom she met while trekking in Nepal!), two daughters and the family dog. Please visit her web site at www.gutsy-traveler.com for more news, updates, and travel advice from Marybeth.