Book Review: “Solo Traveler’s Handbook” by Janice Waugh

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Solo Traveler's HandbookA few years after her husband tragically died, Janice Waugh decided it was time again to start travelling. Since then she has set up the successful Solo Traveler website, conducted speaking engagements and now put her advice down in a book.

This is a short book that can be read in a couple of hours. As well as containing lots of useful hints and tips for travelling alone it is punctuated with anecdotes from her travels. The book rather cleverly compares the advantages of travelling alone with those of travelling as part of group (rather than listing the disadvantages of solo travel).

The Solo Traveler’s Handbook contains advice on saving and planning your trip, packing light, what types of accommodation to go for, what to wear and where to eat. Much of the advice is centered on maximizing your opportunity of meeting interesting individuals at the same time as keeping yourself safe. Indeed there’s a large element written on personal safety throughout the text, but it’s not specifically aimed at the female traveler. This is a book that both male and female solo traveler should find useful.

Even as an experienced solo traveler myself, I still found plenty of food for thought amongst her advice. I’m probably not as outward going as Janice Long and found the section on starting conversations with strangers particularly thought provoking.

As I read I mentally crossed off my list of do’s and don’ts when traveling alone. Just as I was getting to the end thinking I’d got one she hadn’t, it appeared – ‘to help you blend in, carry you belongings in a bag from a local convenience store’.

The hints and tips are interspersed and supported by anecdotes from the author’s personal travel experience in Europe, North America and elsewhere. Those experiences are very people-centered, detailing the individuals she has met. It’s not pretending to be a book detailing travel destinations or describing the history or culture. Neither is it a book that will make you laugh. It’s a functional book not a travelogue.

I read the e-book version. The main text was perfect though the text below the photographs, and what appeared to be footnotes, was too small to read on my Kindle.

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by Ted Richards

Ted Richards has a love for the outdoors. He walked the entire 3500 mile coastline of England and Wales over 20 years after which he started two new challenges: to climb the 442 mountains of England and Wales and also to visit all 52 European capital cities in search of a pint of Guinness.

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