This episode topic isn’t my area of expertise. I talk to Lissette, my sister and world traveler, about how she plans trips and about traveling as a BIPOC woman. Pack your bags..this is a fun one.

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Maybe you have been thinking about traveling solo too (once it is safe to do so – this was written in the middle of a pandemic, but one can dream, right?). Female travel has gotten pretty popular over the years. This post and episode will help you plan your next trip whenever and wherever that may be.

In 2019, an estimated 32 million American women traveled alone, according to the Travel Industry Association, and Google searches for “solo female travel” increased by an astounding 131 percent over the year prior. 

Source: AFAR
Lissette, my sister, is back to talk about traveling.

My Sister is an Expert on Traveling & I’m Not

I remember one time I called Lissette. She mentioned she was heading up to Oregon for the week. I asked, “why are you going there?” to which she replied, “because I can’t go to Japan”. Yeah, she usually has a trip coming up or is planning one. That pretty much sums up my sister.

Other than shopping and occasionally having lunch alone, I don’t do things alone. I haven’t gone to the movies or gone out for dinner by myself. As a result, I live vicariously through my sister, the forever traveler.

Solo travel represents not waiting for permission or someone else to live. And, it gives you an opportunity to have experiences that you may not have had with a travel partner.

Ventry, Ireland

One of the ideas we discussed in this episode is how female travel, in our opinion, is empowering. We talked about how when you travel on your own it says something about you. It represents not waiting for permission or someone else to live. And, it gives you an opportunity to have experiences that you may not have had with a travel partner.

Traveling alone as a woman has become more acceptable. It’s not that it wasn’t happening in the past, it just wasn’t being documented. Another reason we like Instagram.

“Travel wasn’t encouraged or acceptable for women, so many who did travel didn’t draw attention to it. “We’ve lost a lot of knowledge about what traveling women did because they didn’t advertise it,” he says. The lack of records led to the assumption that women didn’t travel, but historical findings about women like Egeria prove this wasn’t true.”

Source: Vox

Dime En Español

Hablamos sobre cómo cuando viajas solo dice algo sobre ti. Representa que no estás esperando permiso para vivir. Como resultado, tiene la oportunidad de tener experiencias que quizás no haya tenido con un compañero de viaje.

Havana, Cuba

How to Do Your First Solo Trip

Lissette shared her tips on how to plan your trip. First, learn basic phrases. Lissette emphasized the importance of knowing a bit of the language to function and to also just be polite. Likewise, do your research. Know about where you are going. You can get your info in different ways.

Liverpool, England

Lissette mentioned her favorite sources: books, podcasts, websites, apps and even movies. Here are some of the sources she uses:

Podcasts

There are podcasts that can give you a wealth of information for your trip. Lissette mentioned a podcast from Rick Steves.

Books

Books from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet have worked for Lissette. I remember seeing her with these books before she left on a trip. She suggested getting a previous year if the current year is sold out.

Apps

Additionally, Lissette uses some apps for her trips. She uses the Hopper app for flights and hotels.

Websites

There are few sites that you can check out as part of your trip planning. Lissette also found that Ricksteves.com was a worthwhile site. Likewise, the Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor were sites on her list. Lissette included a site, The Points Guy, that can help with obtaining information on credit card that accumulate miles/points and don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Keep in mind that these are just suggestions to get you started. Make your own decisions on what will work best for you and your financial situation.

City of London Blackfriars

Traveling as a Woman and BIPOC

Lissette mentioned that she always wanted travel. It was never of question of not going due to being a woman. However, she is mindful of where she goes.

Liverpool, England

Planning a Safe Trip

With respect to staying safe, Lissette does some cross-referencing when it comes to deciding where to go. She will check multiple resources for any patterns of reviews. For instance, if she keeps finding reviews that indicate a traveler “didn’t feel safe as a woman”, she won’t select that destination.

Square Louise Michel, Paris, France

Traveling as a BIPOC Woman

Overall, Lissette’s experiences have been positive. She attributed that to the places she selects to visit.

Havana, Cuba

We also talked about other factors that can impact travel – being a woman and Afrolatina. Overall, Lissette’s experiences have been positive. She attributed that to the places she selects to visit. The experiences varied depending on the destination.

Victoria – James Bay, Canada

For example, she was mistaken for being the “help” while living with a host family in Spain. She was also told on one trip to avoid an area as she would be mistaken for being a prostitute. That’s not good. In contrast, Lissette recalled being mistaken for being a local. She is often asked for directions or spoken too in the language of the destination.

When Your Traveling and There’s a Problem

We talked about a couple situations that didn’t go as planned. Lissette shared there was one time when she was snowed in at Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland -When the snow storm hit during Lissette’s trip

Lastly, Lissette suggested to be mindful of scheduling. Try not to pack too many activities into one day. She suggested to book a walking tour. Her final piece of advice – be in a good mood when you head out around town. It makes a difference.

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