Book Review: The Essential Guide for Baby Boomer Travel

by Gray Cargill on November 7, 2012

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Heads up, boomers, there’s a new guide in town. If you’re a baby boomer (anyone born between 1946 and 1964), and you’re faced with the prospect of traveling solo for the first time in your life, this may be the guide for you. The Essential Guide for Baby Boomer Travel was written by Leyla Giray, publisher of the website Women on the Road, and published by Indie Travel Media Ltd.

Leyla is a baby boomer who was 43 when she decide to travel the world. She’s living proof that it’s “never too late” to get started with solo travel! During her travels, “she got lost in a Mozambican minefield, almost drowned off Zanzibar, paddled her way out of a flood in the Philippines, was stampeded by an elephant cow in Nigeria and stranded in a South African wildlife reserve for a week, met with dissidents in Cuba and unwittingly sat on an anaconda in Brazil.” And she fell so in love with travel that she extended her original six-month trip to three years.

Leyla has accumulated a great deal of road-tested experience over the years to share with readers. Her Essential Guide for Baby Boomer Travel is easy-to-read, well-written, and well-organized. While the title says the book is for baby boomers, it’s really for solo female travelers who are also baby boomer travelers. (Sorry, guys.) There is also a heavy emphasis on long-term travel, as opposed to short jaunts, though she does offer suggested itineraries if you only have one or two weeks.

Among the information you’ll find in this 210-page e-book are:

  • the costs of going solo (vs. with others)
  • what travel gear and clothing you should bring on your trip
  • how to save money for an extended trip
  • common travel scams and advice for how to avoid them
  • safety issues for solo female travelers
  • how to choose the destination that’s right for you
  • sample itineraries
  • clothing and dining advice for different cultures
  • how to tackle the fear of solo dining
  • how to stay healthy on the road and what to do if you get sick
  • and much more

It's never too late for Paris....

Much of the advice Leyla offers was familiar to me as an experienced solo traveler and was the same sort of advice I would offer newbies. But even I was able to pick up some cool new tips in here (like leaving your travel flashlight inside one of your shoes by your bed for easy access in case of fire–brilliant!) or that in Thailand, they use a fork to push food onto a spoon and eat from the spoon. I certainly had no idea.

Her section on “when disaster strikes” resonated with me in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy here on the East Coast. I’ve often wondered what I would do if I were in a foreign country during a natural disaster or terrorist attack. If you have, too, Leyla offers some common-sense advice about measures you can take to be as prepared as you can be for such a thing.

I found the resources section of this book particularly useful. Included here are:

  • her list of travel insurers with good reputations
  • sections on spiritual and volunteer travel resources
  • her packing list
  • where to find travel discounts
  • travel planning checklists

....or the archaeological wonders of Pompeii

What I really appreciated about this guide is that Leyla discusses “ethical travel” frequently. Most guides don’t do that, but they should. Travelers who have never visited other cultures before haven’t had exposure to some of the ethical issues that arise. They may not know, for instance, that participating in certain kinds of tourist activities might perpetuate cruelty to animals in that region, or that giving money to begging children only perpetuates the cycle of poverty and exploitation of children.

There is a bonus section at the end of the book that you won’t want to skip: Leyla’s interviews with other solo female baby boomer travelers. I loved this part! I always love hearing people’s stories about how they got started with solo travel and what it’s been like for them, the experiences they’ve had. There are some great stories here that should help allay any fears you may have about traveling solo yourself.

I believe this book offers a great deal of value for the first-time solo female baby boomer traveler, so I’m adding it to my small cadre of travel  books that you can buy right here at SoloFriendly. Just click on the link for The Essential Guide for Baby Boomer Travel, which will take you to a page where you can purchase (for $12.99) and download the e-book. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I get compensated if you purchase the book through my link.)

If you’ve been dreaming about travel your whole life, there’s no time like the present to make it happen.


Virginia Pfeiffer February 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm

This website seems amazing. I am just starting to think about solo travel – kids grown, divorced – and happened upon this. I’m excited!


Gray February 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Glad to hear it, Virginia! The opportunity to travel solo IS very exciting! I often say solo travel is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Welcome aboard the solo travel train. 😉

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