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Nov 28 2012

Book Review: Women On The Road

At last, I’ve had time to sit down and send time reviewing Leyla Giray’s book, ‘Women on the Road’.  It was such a pleasure to do so because the subject matter ‘women and travel’ interests me and the book is so well written.  I thought it would be useful to give you a good idea of what is in the book.  It’s always difficult when you can’t flick through the pages of a book to see if it’s what you really want.  Unfortunately, you can’t flick through this book but I have done my best to give you as much information as I can, without rewriting the book.  At the end of this review,  you will know if it is the book for you.

So, what is it actually about? 

It’s a very practical book aimed at helping women who want to travel to do just that… travel.  As I mentioned in the book launch post, it’s aimed at the baby boomer generation but, to be honest, the information is useful to women of all ages.  This book really is a must for women who want to travel independently for the first-time, whether it is solo or with a travel partner, because it covers pretty much everything you would need to know.  Some of the sections are really thorough and there are numerous links to useful websites.

 What does it cover?

Solo travel

This is an issue for so many women.  It certainly was for me when I was thinking about travelling independently for the first time on my own.

Finances

There are lots of great money-saving ideas before, during and after your trip.  There are things I hadn’t thought about when I was planning to travel so this section will really help you to budget properly at each stage of your trip, which is really important.

Scams

Sadly, there are some scams out there.  I haven’t come across all of those outlined in the book but it’s best to know about them so you don’t get caught out.

Safety

This is of key importance and includes your money and yourself.  Again, there is some really useful information on keeping yourself safe that I hadn’t thought about when I went travelling on my own for the first time.

Where do you want to go on your travels and when should you go?

Obviously you want to have some idea of where you are going to go and knowing when to travel to these places so you have the weather you want and it can help with your budget.  On travel forums, I frequently see people asking for suggestions on where is the best place to go for a particular month.  This chapter offers some really useful suggestions on where to go for every month of the year.  This is something you will be able to refer back to time and again.

Packing

Yes, what on earth should you take with you and what should you leave behind?  Believe it or not, I still struggle with this because I always want to take more than I can.  My mantra when packing is, ‘if in doubt, leave it out’.  There’s some useful tips about what to consider when you are packing and to think about the place you are travelling to in terms of the weather and blending in.  The suitcase versus backpack dilemma is covered in this section.  Which will you choose?

Transport

There are so many options available that are mentioned here with some useful website links, including my favourite one: The Man in Seat 61.

Accommodation

Again, there are so many options for accommodation.  I have tried lots of these.  Which ones will you try?

Food

Eating healthily, eating alone and tips on things to avoid so you don’t get ill.  It’s definitely worth spending time reading this section.

Staying fit and healthy

Travel insurance is discussed in detail here and there are links to websites that provide travel insurance.

Wellbeing

She kicks off this section with adventure sports.  I certainly did a fair bit of that on my way around the world but don’t worry if that doesn’t ‘float your boat’, as it were, because it moves on to treating yourself with a spa or beauty treatment.  I made full use of the different types of massage and beauty treatments on offer in probably every country I visited in Asia.  Well, why not make the most of it.  It’s supposed to be fun so, go on, treat yourself!

Shopping

This is an interesting section because it covers the ethical and legal aspects of buying things such as what to buy and what to avoid.  There are great tips on haggling to get the best bargain.  When it’s not part of your culture, this can be a difficult one but read this section and it will really help you.

Begging

This is a real issue that you will come across and one that I always struggle with.  This section gives some useful information and advice.

Volunteering

I wish I had this information before I volunteered in a foreign country.  My first experience wasn’t a positive one unfortunately.  If you are interested in volunteering when you travel, read this section.

Keeping in touch

Keeping in touch with your family and friends is important when you are away, especially at the start.  Well, that’s what I found.  As time passes, it gets easier and easier to keep in touch.  This section mentions some of the many ways you can do this while you are travelling.

Loneliness

This can be an issue so it’s important to think about it and how you might deal with it.  This section gives ideas on what you can do.

Travel partners

If you decide you really do not want to go it alone, you will want a travel partner.  This section covers how to find a travel partner and also talks about group travel.  If you are intending to do this, read this section.

The benefits of travelling

There are many benefits to travelling.  This section highlights some of them.  It had a big impact on me.

What happens when you return home

This might seem like a strange topic but it can be a real issue.  It was for me.  I found returning home more difficult than I thought it would be.  It isn’t the same for everyone but I would recommend you re-read this section before you return home.

Travel resources

This covers inspirational, cultural, themed, educational and health travel ideas, volunteering resources and organisations, travel discounts and how to get them for airlines, hotels and sightseeing.  You won’t be short of a travel idea once you’ve read this section.

Travel checklists

This section includes questions to ask if you are considering volunteering and a planning checklist for long-term travel that goes from one year ahead to the day your travel begins.  This will make sure you are fully prepared and have done everything you need to before you leave.

Packing list

This is the bare minimum packing list and includes a first-aid kit.  These are checklists that you can print out and tick off each item as you pack it to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Suggested itineraries

This is probably my favourite section.  It gives some really good ideas for itineraries from one week to a month or longer.  You can even do your very own ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ itinerary in 4-6 weeks.  Who knows, maybe you’ll met the love of your life (if you’re single and open to meeting someone, of course).

Recommended travel websites

The book ends with a series of interviews that Leyla did with 14 women who share their stories of travelling independently.  Sometimes it helps to read about other people who have done what you want to do.

Should you buy it?

Well, only you can make that decision but I would definitely recommend it to any woman who is thinking of travelling independently for the first time.  There is a wealth of useful information in it and, because it’s in all sorts of e-formats, you can take it with you without adding lots of extra weight or padding to your backpack or suitcase, whichever you decide to take with you.  It is most definitely worth the $12.99 price tag because it has more information in it than three books I read before I went.  This really will help you to prepare for your journey.

 Please let me know if this review was helpful by leaving a comment below and, if this is the book for you, click on the image below and you will be redirected to an online independent travel bookseller.

Women on the Road: the essential guide for baby-boomer travel

Please note: I will receive a commission if you buy this product.

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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  1. When Is Travelling Solo Not Travelling Solo? - Independent Travel Help

    […] For more information about independent travel, which includes travelling solo, check out my review of the book ‘Women on the Road’. […]

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