The Art of Solo Travel, A Review

by Gray Cargill on June 11, 2010

ArtofSoloTravel

I’d like to think that those of you who have been reading my blog for some time have picked up some useful information about what it’s like to travel solo.  One area, though, where I know I have not been able to help you is in regards to long-term (round-the-world) solo travel–because my trips never last that long.  That’s where  The Art of Solo Travel: A Girls’ Guide comes in.

The Art of Solo Travel: A Girls’ Guide was written by Stephanie Lee and produced by Indie Travel Media Ltd. Stephanie Lee is a writer for the Indie Travel Podcast and Brave New Traveler.  She’s a long-term traveler who has been to 30 countries (20 of them solo), and enjoyed her experience so much she decided to write a book to inspire others to travel solo, too. This e-book has been available since June 1.  I’m a little slow reviewing it because I wanted to read it in its entirety and mull it over a bit before deciding whether or not I would recommend it to my readers.  Even though I’m friendly with the folks at Indie Travel Media (who gave me a review copy of the e-book at no cost), I’m not the kind of person who would promote something unless I believe in it.  Especially when that something costs money.  Well, I’m happy to say now that I can give this book a thumbs-up.

The book itself is extremely well-organized.  The first section starts exactly where it should, with the question of “Why travel alone?” It provides some inspirational reasons for people who need to be convinced that solo travel really is right for them. (If you’re already convinced, feel free to skim it.) Once you get past the “Why” section, Stephanie covers all the other topics you would hope she would, including:.

  • The realities of what you leave behind in order to go on that round-the-world trip;
  • Suggestions of places you can travel to, with some tips about what it’s like to be a solo female traveler in those places;
  • How to prepare for your trip (including a packing checklist and advice about what gear you’ll need, as well as other practical things you’ll need to do, like obtain vaccinations);
  • How to budget for your trip (including ways to save money now);
  • Transportation options;
  • General advice about eating cheaply (but healthy);
  • Loneliness and meeting people;
  • How to make couchsurfing work for you (which is what she did); and
  • Safety. (This section could have been longer, in my opinion, since it is often the biggest psychological stumbling block for would-be solo travelers.)

My favorite part of the book was the financial section.  Too much of the advice I see online about round-the-world travel is very vague about what everything costs.  Stephanie is not vague at all.  She lists her itinerary and exactly how much she spent on her trip, and in what categories.  She traveled to countries that are notoriously expensive, and yet still, over the course of a year, spent only about a quarter of my annual salary. That is the kind of specific detail that I’m looking for when I engage in travel research.

Let’s be real here:  Much the information in this book can be found on the Internet if you take the time to look for it, but you’ll spend many hours doing so, and you probably won’t find it all in one place.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time researching something online, only to later realize it would have been less frustrating and more cost-effective (based on what I earn per hour) to have purchased a guide on the subject.   How much is your time worth to you? This book provides all the information you need to know to get started as a long-term solo traveler, and it does it in one compact format that you can download immediately.  At the price of $12.95 (US), it’s a good value–but not for everyone.

While this book is perfect for the inexperienced traveler who is interested in long-term solo travel, this book is not for:

  • Those who only travel for a week or two at a time;
  • People who prefer to travel with tour groups and have their trips planned for them by someone else;
  • Experienced long-term travelers, solo or otherwise.

Even though this is called “A Girls’ Guide,” I can’t help but think there are some men out there who could benefit from this book, too. In fact, I feel so strongly that this book has value to newbie solo travelers that I’m placing links on my site so my readers can purchase the book through me if interested.  There are many e-book affiliate programs out there, and this is the first one I have joined, because I do believe it’s a product that can be of value to my readers who are new to long-term solo travel. Maybe my blog hasn’t yet convinced you that you, too, can travel solo; or maybe I haven’t  given you all the tools you need to do so, because I’m not a long-term traveler and that’s what your dream is.  If this book can fill that gap for you, how can I not promote it?

So if you’ve been on the fence about long-term solo travel, yearning to give it a try, but not sure where to start, what are you waiting for?  Go buy the book and start planning your first solo travel adventure.

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