I'd been on the road for more than half a year and I was stuck in Uganda - I'd hurt my leg, there was no transport out of town, and I was feeling wretched.
I was alone, and feeling sorry for myself.
Eventually a bus came, I made my way to a doctor, and my spirits lifted - but I could have avoided all this if I'd simply taken the advice I now give everyone: get travel health insurance, let someone know where you're going, and get yourself to a backpacker hostel or a guest house where you'll find other foreigners if you need to.
This is how I wrote the book: in cafes and restaurants and airport lounges...
Instead, I spent days on my own trying to figure things out after they went wrong.
In the more than three years I traveled across Africa and Asia on my own, I learned how to cope. In those days - pre Internet - I looked for reliable information about women's solo travel before I left. I found... very little.
This book will take you by the hand and show you how to:
And learn how to travel as safely, serenely and as easily as possible.
Over time I did find good women's travel books and they inspired me. But few were practical, hands on, take-me-by-the-hand books, with checklists and references and clear, concise suggestions.
Thousands of women take a career break later in life or even a life break, and want to see the world.
As you emailed me with questions, I understood what information you were looking for and decided to sharpen my pencil and pull it all together for you. The result is my e-book, naturally called Women on the Road.
I wrote it for the mature traveler, but younger readers tell me it's a gold mine for them too. Have a look at the table of contents below and you'll see what I mean.
✓ Welcome ladies! Are you ready to explore the world?
✓ Are you meant for solo travel?
✓ Will this break the bank?
✓ Getting ripped off: how do you avoid travel scams?
✓ Taking care of your little fortune
✓ Safety, or how to avoid getting pinched on the bum
✓ Choosing destinations that work for you
✓ Where to go, when
✓ Travel packing: take it or leave it?
✓ How to get around cheaply, easily, safely
✓ Why stay in a hostel when you can stay in a chateau?
✓ You really are what you eat
✓ Staying healthy and fit: it’s more than just luck
✓ Insuring your health: always have a Plan B
✓ Wellbeing and being well
✓ Shop till you drop – or until you can’t carry any more!
✓ The tricky thing about begging, starving children
✓ Want to lend a hand? You too can volunteer
✓ No worries: keeping in touch with friends and family
✓ Loneliness is temporary: this too shall pass
✓ What happens next: will you feel 20 again?
✓ The heroine returns: if you’ve been gone for a while
✓ Women’s travel resources
✓ Travel checklists
✓ Suggested itineraries
✓ Other women on the road
As a long-time proponent of solo travel, I was thrilled to discover Leyla Giray’s first book, aptly titled Women on the Road. Travelling solo is a wonderful, life-enriching experience, but as Leyla points out it can be very daunting and doing so as a woman‚ especially alone‚ can sometimes complicate matters even further. This book is therefore an essential guide for any woman who has ever dreamed of travelling but been too afraid to take the proverbial leap into the unknown. It encourages women of all ages by offering advice gained from years of first-hand, on-the-road solo travel experience on everything from how to travel safely and independently to what to pack and where to stay. This book not only makes solo travel more accessible, it empowers women with the tools to make their solo travel dreams take flight.
Author, Offbeat South Africa and Lonely Planet’s Athens City Guide
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Travel - especially solo travel, when you’re 50+ - can be a scary prospect if you haven’t done it before. But it doesn’t have to be! Women on the Road will help you plan your trip; from generating ideas of where to go and providing preplanning checklists, right through to tips on reintegrating after you return, and everything in between.
-Nora Dunn, TheProfessionalHobo.com
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A title alone couldn’t convince me that all the essential wisdom needed for women in my age group to travel solo would be contained in this book, but within a few minutes of starting Leyla Giray’s Women On The Road, I knew I had found the real thing. Besides being an extraordinarily experienced traveler, Giray is one of us, and has a true understanding of the travel realities unique to women in this age demographic. Far more than a lightweight overview, Giray addresses in detail the kind of things any of us planning solo travel for any amount of time either is already concerned about or should be, while always reminding that travel can be incredibly rewarding and should be fun. This book will be a important standby on my Kindle, and will no doubt be referred to often during both the planning stages and while on the road. Whether you are already experienced solo traveler or in the early dreaming stage, you need this book!
-Margo Millure, TravelBelles.com
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If you’ve been considering to hit the road on your own for the first time, but been putting it off because you are too much of a wuss, then you could do worse than reading Women on the Road. I was lucky enough to be forced to go on a big solo trip 18 years ago, otherwise I don’t think I’d ever have found the courage to do it. Unless of course, I had been lucky enough to stumble on a book like this. Leyla provides the inspiration, the information, and the kick in the butt you need to make it happen, so just do it!
-Birgit Bradtke, Author of Destination: Kimberley
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If this book had been published six years ago when I finally took the leap to travel solo around the world, it surely would have been the one to push me over that tipping point to just do it! It’s like an encyclopedic resource of everything imaginable that you need to know to travel solo. Dispelling myths, extolling truths, and sharing real life experiences, Leyla brings us a great manual chock full of tips, advice, and nuggets of information. Women On The Road: the essential guide for 50+ solo travel, is THE guide that you will thank for sending you on your way into the amazing world!
-Lisa Lubin, LLWorldTour.com
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While writing a book on travelling with children, it often crossed my mind to write on the subject of travelling alone. Well, there’s no need, for Leyla has done it, and done it so well. Her background as a journalist shines through, and the research is impeccable. If I were asked to talk a friend through the pitfalls and opportunities, I would reference this book immediately and without hesitation. It really is great.
-Fawzia Rasheed, Author of Travel with Kids (Rough Guides)
And please - write to me, post on Facebook or Twitter, and don't be afraid to ask questions. I always reply! ≈Leyla