Trip Coach: May 9, 2006
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan, authors of Safety and Security for Women Who Travel, answered your questions on Travel Safety
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: Very high profile terrorist attacks have occurred over the last few years in Egypt, but overall the country is remarkably safe and the people warm and inviting. Check with the state Department for their latest warnings, but remember, life is a risk . . . ! Best, Sheila and Peter
Cedar Rapids, IA: Is it safe for a woman to travel to Costa Rica alone, or should I go with a tour group?
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: Why take off for an unknown location worrying about whether you should be alone? Why not join a group, test the neighborhoods, and then leave the group for your own jaunts knowing its their to rejoin when and if you wish. Best, Sheila and Peter
Gladwin, MI: In late fall (usually the second week in November) myself and 3 girlfriends like to take a trip to the Carribbean. We want a great beach for relaxation, an all-inclusive hotel and maybe some shopping. We usually go for 4 nights and like to keep it around $1,000 each (The price and # of nights is somewhat flexible). We are from a small town and would love your advice for a safe (and clean) place!! Thank you. -Beth
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: This is really a question for a travel agency or an online travel operator. If you're buying an all-inclusive package at a resort, you're likely in a safe enough neighborhood. Just know that some resorts abut desperate poverty and if you cross into the local town you will considered very rich (and hence perhaps vulnerable). Best, Sheila and Peter
Schenectady, NY: I'm planning a trip to Amsterdam. My main interest is visiting museums so I want to stay right in the heart of the city. However, because I am an older woman traveling alone I want to make sure I'm in a safe neighborhood. Is the price of a hotel usually an indication the type of neighborhood? I'm trying not to spend too much money on this trip. My airfare is free (frequent flyer miles)and I don't spend a lot on food when I travel so if I can keep the hotel cost down while still feeling safe it will be a great trip.
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: Amsterdam is more expensive than Schenectady, for sure! But there are many modest, safe, and clean hotels in the nighborhood directly adjacent to the State Museum. A good alternative is a pension where the bathroom may be down the hall, but the informal atmosphere may result in you meeting some new friends. Best, Sheila and Peter
Greenville, NC:: What are some of the travel clubs or opportunities that focus on singles or unaccompanied women? I will be taking a trip this August without my husband (but with his blessing, smile) and would like to go to Brazil or Italy but am concerned about my safety in traveling alone.
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: Brazil and Italy are great destinations for you. Many books (including ours! -- Safety and Security for Women Who Travel) list such clubs and groups. Bon voyage! Best, Sheila and Peter
Mason City, IA: I had never really considered making the trip to Romania until a distant cousin recently called with an invitation in response to a letter in which I had asked him for some help with some family genealogy. As far as I know, he's one of the last of any living relatives on my maternal grandparents' side. Now that he's mildly chastised me for making other travels but not yet coming to Romania, he's got me seriously thinking about it!
I would plan to depart from Mason City if possible, as we have a Mesaba Airlink to Northwest Airlines/Minneapolis. I would prefer to utilize NWA due to accumulation miles already achieved.
Dates? Most likely early summer of 2007, or perhaps 2008. I would most likely be traveling alone (female, age 52) or perhaps with one additional person. I have previously traveled abroad, to England/Scotland/Ireland with a tour in 1995, and in May of this year I will be traveling with one family member to Sweden via Copenhagen to visit family.
The more I think about Romania, and the possibility of seeing my grandparents' homes before they emigrated in 1921, the more excited I am at the prospect! However, I'm unsure of the safety and ease of traveling alone to an Eastern European country. I appreciate all input! Thank you! Kathy
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: It will be a challenge compared with the tourist-experienced England/Scotland/Ireland landscape, but you will have a terrific time. Not only your cousin, but his neighbors will welcome you, feed you, and offer overnight accommodations. The only real caveat: good luck if you're a vegetarian! Best, Sheila and Peter
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan: We wish you all a bon voyage (and don't forget to pack a copy of Safety and Security for Women Who Travel!) Best, Sheila and Peter