Travel guidebooks for women are a growing genre and new titles appear nearly monthly.
Traditional guidebooks are more detailed, and that's why most women can usually be seen toting one. But we can also have something extra: a guidebook written just for us.
The sights won't change, but they will tell us how to approach a destination from a woman's travel perspective.
We worry about cultural etiquette, making contact, the safest destinations for women, dangerous places, not being seen as rude, solo dining, dealing with street beggars, avoiding unwanted male attention, appropriate women's travel clothing, or just plain safe travel.
As women, our travel concerns are different and that's why travel guidebooks for women are so well-received and sell out quickly.
I've been using many of these myself so I thought I would share my own assessment with you as I work my way through this amazing collection!
100 Places Every Woman Should Go
by Stephanie Elizondo Griest (2007)
Don't trust what I say - but do trust the experts: this book won the 2007 Gold Award for Best Travel Book of the Year from the prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards, which is run by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. Is it justified? In my opinion, absolutely!
100 Places is built like a menu - you pick and choose what you want. Adventure? Then get a job in Antarctica (women now can), build your self-confidence by learning to abseil and canyoneer in Spain or New Zealand, or stay with local families - and help their women earn money - in the Amazon rainforest.
Adventure not your thing? Then sample places linked to women's history (Joan of Arc in Rouen, France or the witches of Salem in Massachusetts), purification and beautification (why not get a bikini wax in Brazil?), indulgence (famed chocolate sites, anyone?), womanly affirmation, struggle and renewal, inspiration and enlightenment, just-go-there places... you get the picture - all 100 of them.
What makes this book especially pleasing, in addition to its originality, is Stephanie's snappy yet intelligent writing, her new twists to old places, web resources, and inspirational approach - just for us.
My assessment: a terrific read, presented in bite sizes. You don't have to take this one with you when you travel - but you DO have to use it to plan your journey. This is a keeper.
If you've ever traveled to India you'll understand how overwhelming it can be. And if you haven't, its outsize reputation may be a worry.
What Beth sets out to do is to allay those fears - not by telling you where to go and what to do but by taking the mystery (thought not the mystique) out of Indian travel for women.
"Travel has become easier and friendlier," she says, but "the country is still enough of a challenge to make it interesting." Still, she warns the country is so huge and diverse you can't experience it all in one trip.
While the book has plenty of practical advice about travel to India that could apply to both men and women, Beth outdoes herself with her many travel tips and short quotes from dozens of women who share their own travel experiences.
While India has magnificent beaches, they come with "a bit too much unwanted attention from young males." Particularly helpful is an entire chapter on culture shock, which deals with clothes, sanitation, prostitution and Holy Cows.
Some more Hot Tips include how to carry your money, how to bargain, which train class to use, finding accommodations in places of worship, how to avoid eating with your left hand, how to avoid unclean water, or what to do with your rubbish.
My assessment: a resounding thumbs up for any woman heading to India for the first time. This book will help dispel your apprehensions and guarantee a smooth landing.
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