Book Review: The Art of Solo Travel: A Girls’ Guide

By Sheryl Kayne

Looking for a book to soothe your single travel status? Here’s a book that every single girl needs to read: The Art of Solo Travel: A Girls’ Guide, by Stephanie Lee, published by Indie Travel Media Ltd, 2010.

As you’d expect from the title, Lee is a traveler herself and she used her solo travels, not only to write a book, but also to figure out a lot of particulars about hitting the road on her own. She was at that very well known mid-30s spot with a job and responsibilities and decided to challenge herself and pack it all in, but not actually in her suitcase, and venture out to 20 countries on her own (not all on one trip).

She’s visited Japan, Taiwan, Egypt, The Emirates, USA, Southeast Asia and Western Europe. The only continent she hasn’t hit is South America.

“I live Australia,” says Lee, “but I’ve yet to visit the Northern Territory or other countries closer to home like New Zealand and Fiji. My current goal is to hit 50 countries before I die, which is pretty achievable.”

It was interesting to read that when she left for her trip, she thought she was unhappy living in Sydney; however, she soon discovered that she missed living there very much. Although Lee continues traveling the world, Sydney is her home-base to return to.

The book is full of tips: how to save money on airline tickets and accommodations, along with guidelines for evaluating and using hostels. As she quickly found out, hostels tend to be frequented by a very young crowd. Lee preferred to couch surf, connecting with people everywhere she went, and making lifelong friends. If a couch wasn’t available, she’d stay in a budget-priced hotel.

Pretty much every detail of traveling on your own is talked about from taking care of your health, the issues of eating alone, how to deal with attention you don’t want, and planning what to do next. The most important service Lee provides is the inspiration and support to take the step to get up and go. Most people hesitate, particularly in the current economy, to give up a day job and a secure way of life for extensive traveling. I actually see two groups of female travelers – those who are willing to jump into long term travel, or people more like me, who often travel alone; however, the trips are planned around work and family obligations.

I’ve taken a week off by myself, sometimes a summer, and in one case, I took six months off. I’m proud of myself that I found a way to go to where I choose and to meet personal goals and dreams, but it’s not necessarily for unlimited amounts of time. Yet I still have the opportunity to learn a great deal about myself on my own, to learn to depend upon my own sense of judgment, and to do exactly what I want when I want.

The Art of Solo Travel is very user friendly with titles that will grab your attention:

  • Why travel alone? Quit your life (and get a new one).
  • Preparing to go: Backpack or suitcase? Travel more, spend less, along with a detailed financial planner on how to travel for a full year for under $15,000.

“It began as a personal challenge to prove to myself that I could travel as long as I did alone,” says Lee. “From the very beginning I fell in love with it, I had a great time doing anything I wanted and going anywhere I wanted. I could stay as long as I liked, or leave immediately when I got bored. I also made more friends than I ever had.

The Art of Solo Travel is sold as a digital PDF download and you will be emailed a download link as soon as you purchase. An interesting sidebar to the E-book is that signing up to the publisher’s email list includes free upgrades to the material for life.

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Sheryl Kayne has two new travel books out in the stores and available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble: VOLUNTEER VACATIONS ACROSS AMERICA and IMMERSION TRAVEL USA. Drop her a note to Sheryl@immersiontraveler.com if you’d like autographed stickers for your books!

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