Travelling solo sounds like a lonely, dangerous activity, but with some common sense strategies travelling alone can be a great way to relax and have a vacation just for YOU.
For many years I was a road warrior. I traveled for business (often by myself), vacation alone, and many solo road trips. By choice or necessity, travelling solo is a rewarding experience that I highly recommend.
If given a choice, why would I want I want to travel alone?
My top travel safety advice learned from 20+ years of traveling as a solo traveler, couples, and groups. 10 top tips to stay safe both at home and abroad.
I love traveling to new places and exploring new things. Over the last 20+ years, I have learned a thing or two about travel safety as a solo female traveler, in groups, and as a couple.
Many of these lessons were learned the hard way, like the time that my passport and all of my money was stolen or the time that a tampered drink that could have been way worse. A little preparation and caution is worth it for your safety!
Here are my top 10 tips to stay safe while traveling.
Previously, I wrote about a minor weight loss in the early 2000’s and over a decade of maintaining that weight loss and overall active lifestyle. Link to Part 1, in case you missed it.
Here is the nutrition portion of my initial and long-term eating habits.
I quit drinking soda pop in 1990, and completely changed my eating starting in 2002 to drop those pesky 15 pounds or so. Not a massive weight loss, but a comfortable size for me to maintain over the years. I am not super athletic or any kind of fitness model, and I am not any kind of nutrition expert, this is how I stay active & fit.
Initially, I was on a strict 1200-1600 calorie daily diet. My daily calories were based on my height and target weight. I ate low sugar greek style yogurt, eggs, or fruit for breakfast. Salad and/or hearty broth based soup for lunch – I was very lucky to work for a large corporation with an excellent restaurant-style cafeteria serving breakfast & lunch where everything was made fresh with great ingredients. My afternoon snack was a protein bar. After work, I went to the gym for a class, worked out with my friend, rollerblading (Hey, this was 2000 after all!) with my Sister, or went home for a BeachBody DVD workout in my living room. Dinner was usually a protein shake, if I was alone, or a light dinner with lots of veggies.
I am nowhere near that strict now. I occasionally log and track my calories on my FitBit app, but I mostly just wing it. Breakfast is usually a protein bar, but I make up for that by eating healthy egg based breakfasts on the weekend. Lunch is still good soup (Pho and Thai soups are so tasty), salad, or sandwich/salad combo. I still exercise late afternoon/early evening depending on my work schedule. Dinner is rarely a protein shake. The majority of the time my dinner is a main protein with veggies and a bit of starch, like rice, potato, or quinoa. I do not snack before bed. Drive-thru food is just not a part of my life. Sure, I have my annual In-N-Out burger with fries. And there is a gourmet sandwich shop with great soups and salads that I will drive through after a late gym class.
I read and make good choices based on ingredients on the few canned or packaged foods that I buy. No high fructose corn syrup, no corn syrup at all for that matter, no MSG, no chemical sugar substitutes, and zero extra unpronounceable ingredients. We never have chips or cookies in the house. I rarely bake, but when I do everything is made from scratch (using real ingredients like milk, flour, sugar, eggs). I avoid any 3-ingredient “recipes” that consider Oreos or cake mix an ingredient!
Once I surround myself with good healthy food it is difficult to make bad choices. Everything becomes autopilot and portion control is the most important consideration. One guideline is to eat protein portion the size of the palm of your hand, and eat a larger portion of veggies.
Bottom line is to find a nutrition and exercise program that can be your long-term solution. There is no magic pill, or pink shake, that can replace good food and an active lifestyle!
Approaching (or passing) 40 years seems to be the magic number for many women to undergo a massive weight loss, that milestone certainly triggers the attempt if not total success. One of my best friends was able to accomplish this a couple years ago by getting the right medication for a medical condition and proper eating habits. Replacing her entire wardrobe with smaller clothes was both good and expensive, but oh so fun!
In the last year (or so) several more friends have adopted healthy eating and reduced or eliminated processed junk food. One friend received the nick-name nuggets because she actually thought eating Chicken McNuggets was the healthy option before meeting with a nutrition expert. Another good friend needed the structure of exercise appointments and structured workouts for her big loss. She is now half her size from 2 years ago! These friends have joined various gyms and many different fitness programs, but most important, they have decided they want to change. It is exciting to see the before and after photos! I love the commitment and determination.
I work hard and I play hard, then I relax…at the spa.
The spa is a place to relax and unwind. Here are 10 guidelines, helpful tips, and basic etiquette to follow for a more enjoyable experience at the day spa resort.
Arrive early – Arrive at least 15 minutes before your service to check in, find your locker, change into your robe, and have a few minutes to wind down before starting your service. Better still, arrive 30 minutes or more before services and familiarize yourself with the amenities. I usually look at each of the relaxation rooms, use the bathroom, pour myself a drink, and scope out the snacks before I settle in with a book or magazine waiting for my service.
Use the lockers provided. Real day spas/resort spas will provide a locker, robe, and usually sandals. Do not lug a diaper bag sized handbag around with you during your treatments (or class at the gym), you will not need it.
Silence your mobile phone. Most of the time, my phone is in my locker anyway, but if you carry your phone keep it quiet. Part of the quiet phone is not talking on it. If you must make or take a phone call, leave the relaxation areas and head back to the locker area or other appropriate area. Look around and observe, it will be obvious if you are disturbing everyone around you.
Silence – not just your phone, but keep your voice down. I have a naturally loud voice, so I make an extra effort to lower my voice and not disturb everyone around me. The tile floors are great acoustics for sound, just this evening I heard everything several ladies discussed just outside the steam room. I doubt these women planned for everyone to hear their conversation, but we did, loud and clear.
Enter rooms slowly – many relaxation rooms are dark or dimly lit, enter slowly to let your eyes adjust and avoid startling anyone. Some of the relaxation rooms are small and you could run into someone if you barge in.
No photos – okay, I admit I do take photos for this blog. I do not take any photos when people are around. Most of my photos are towards the end of the day, or a slow period when no one else is around. I am referring to avoidance of the group photos and selfies with semi-nude guests in the background. Wearing only a tiny towel, I was recently in a background shot from an idiot teenager taking selfies in the mirror.
There are robe hooks near each sauna, steam room, hot tub, and other areas. Only take towels into the sauna & steam rooms, leave the robes outside. Remember to take the towels out with you when you leave.
Coordinate where to meet after the service – knowing where you are going to meet up after service will make life easier for you and avoid wandering around lost or disturbing others while you are in search mode.
Keep your possessions contained to your area and avoid spreading out to multiple chairs for each person. Most spas will have tables for books, magazines, drinks, and snacks.
Leave someone with your stuff, or take it with you doing your service. Consider staggered start times for private services (such as individual massages) if you want to save a specific area for your group.
There is also a significant amount of cross-over between the spa, gym, and many other places. I have seen many of these behaviors at the spa, gym, and hair/nail salons. Share this with folks that could benefit, in the end it will make spa time a happier time.
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