FLYERTALK an Internet forum for discussion of airline frequent-flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs and other issues related to air travel.

LONELY PLANET FORUM  is a site full of amazing tips and tricks to get around the trickiest travel problems. Visas, routes, advice, it has everything.

WIKIVOYAGE is a site where travelers and others can share travel information freely and openly.

FODORS TRAVEL FORUM This isn't the place to look for travel tips or any 'how to' unless they're destination-related. The Trip Report section is good for narratives posted by bona fide travelers.

Where to Go:  This is highly  personal. People want to travel for  different reasons, perhaps to  experience the great outdoors or                       maybe just relax and do nothing. For me, I’ve always wanted to see how the other side lives, so to speak. I have always been curious and find that travel widens my perspective and helps me understand the world. And as I am on an excursion of discovery, my trips involve a lot more moving about than staying put and relaxing. In essence, I am not a beach person and find it difficult to sit still while other people might refer to soaking in the sun as heavenly.


Planning   l   Getting There   I  Accommodations  I  Travel Insurance  I  Airports  I  Virtual Private Networks  I  What to Pack  I  Travel Apps   l   Forums

A boomer, a gypsy in spirit, I have always been bound by the constraints of reality but now I am unencumbered by a structured schedule and I’m free to be me.

I’ve traveled solo in the past but there is a large chunk of the world I haven’t been to. And I have quite a ways to go.

visa requirements currency converter travel alerts airline seat maps weather

Finally! The decision is made. You are going on a trip. For some, it could be the trip of a lifetime.  For others, it could be a chance to get away from it all.  Nevertheless, the journey is on. For me, every trip is an adventure, a chance to get out of my comfort zone, a time for discovery. I will be sharing my experiences along the way, including the bad and the ugly, because on occasion not everything smells of roses. And sometimes, it is the unexpected twists and turns that make for memorable reflections.

Planning the Trip

When to Go:  Climate plays an important factor in  my planning. This is a balancing act because I try to avoid the high season as prices go up especially for accommodations but at the same time get to experience events without the hassle of crowds and increment weather.


Accommodations

Booking.com:  very clear about the rooms offered, including size in sq. feet or meters and included amenities and other cost. I used this site a lot in my recent trip to Latin America.

Agoda: hotel discount booking especially good for hotels or guesthouses in Asia.

HostelWorld:  largest booking site for hostels and B&Bs worldwide.

AirBNB:  connects homeowners who rent out homes or apartments.

HostelBookers: booking website of 10,000 budget places to stay around the globe.

HomeStay: offers a worldwide list of accommodations with a local family.

GoWithOh: European site that has apartments in major cities across Europe.

All the Rooms: An aggregator that gives all the information in a single place, their goal is to have every single room available listed on their site.

SOLO TRAVEL
Accommodation Guide (2018)

Man in Seat 61:  has the most comprehensive information on routes, times and prices for train travel worldwide.

Rail Europe: a single-stop source of train travel in Europe.

TrainTraveling.com: provides information, advice and tips on rail travel and rail deals world wide.

2Go.Asia: user friendly online booking site for buses trains and ferries in Southeast Asia

Rome2Rio shows you all the various modes (and combinations) of transportation (including flights) that will get you there, along with price and time estimates.

Trains

Buses

Busabout:  Hop on/hop off bus in Europe and, added in 2015, in Asia.

Busbud: provides bus schedules in 89 countries and a good way to book bus tickets worldwide.


Virtual Private Networks

I am dependent on my laptop for finding accommodations and booking activities and travel to my next destination. However, information is usually displayed in the language of the country I am in. I also like to watch TV shows or movies/videos which can only be accessed from within the U.S.  In addition, using public wi-fi leaves you vulnerable to hackers. The solution to these problems is the Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs work by encrypting browser data and diverting it through one of their servers in another part of the world. They hide on-line activities from prying eyes. (See Everything You Need to Know About VPNs for Travel)

VPN Providers

Astrill protects privacy and browsing activity. Switch freely to your choice of multiple global VPN server locations.

Private Internet Access (PIA) protects privacy with a VPN tunnel.

Hotspot Shield uses advanced encryption technology to secure browsing session, detect and block malware, and even bypass geo-restriction.


Countries Where VPNs are Illegal

United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Some countries like China will allow the use of approved VPN services.




Airports

Airport Guides by Region:  Airport reviews - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Airport Lounges::  more about airport lounge access for economy class travelers.

Airport Hotels:  Guide to hotels closest to the airport.

Airport Layover Sightseeing: Ideas for long layovers.

What to Pack

Getting There

Finding Cheap Flights

General guidelines on How to Find Cheap Flights

The Flight Deal:  Check for mistake fares: when there is a computer glitz.

Budget Airlines: Use Wikipedia - enter airport you want to fly from, i.e., Split Airport  Find airport you want to fly to; go airline website and check fares.

Momondo: Great search engine that seems to find flights from thousands of airlines and travel sites that offer good deals

Google Flights:  A great search engine in more ways than one. See Goats on the Road review on the many uses of this site.

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How to Use Google Flights
& Momondo

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Matrix Airfare Search: Tickets cannot be purchased directly from the site but information can be used when booking through a travel agent or airline.

Google Flights Explore: Allows search from the U.S. for a whole region; i.e., instead of searching NY to London, do NY to Europe.

SecretFlying:  Similar to The Flight Deal and is a good source of mistake fares.

FlyerTalk: world's largest community of Frequent Flyer enthusiasts. The website is a forum where people discuss all things related to flying, including mistake fares. There is a forum dedicated to flight deals called the mileage run forum.

Skyscanner:  searches a lot of different air-lines including budget carriers.

Wherefor: searches for where you can go based on your budget

Roundtheworldflights: great site for designing your own round the world flights

Round the World Flights
HANDBOOK



Dealing with
Murphy’s Law:


How Long to Stay:  The duration of my past trips have more or less been predetermined but future forays will be go with the flow.  I have a rough estimate how long to stay  but flexible on the time I will actually stick around depending on how events unfold and my budget.


© 2019


Travel Insurance

Don’t leave home without it

I never gave insurance a thought in my past travels but the times, they are a changing. Everyone should carry some kind of health or property insurance on the road because sometimes things don’t go as planned. Coverage may or may not include insurance against four major types of losses: medical, trip/flight cancellation, loss or damage to baggage, and evacuation. (See Travel Medical Insurance Guide by BootsnAll)

Travel Insurance Providers

World Nomads provides travel insurance and travel safety services worldwide and recommended by Lonely Planet.

Insuremytrip compares various travel insurance plans. Note: If you are over 65, definitely use this website as most travel insurance companies don’t serve senior travelers. I used one of the providers listed on the site in my trip to South America.

Amex Travel provides multi trip travel insurance that provides coverage for up to 60 days in each location.

Safety Wing is a new travel insurance company that is excellent for long-term travelers and digital nomads who don't have healthcare in their own country.


Travel Insurance for
Senior Solo Travelers

TIP

When traveling to a popular tourist city like Paris, Rome, etc. run a quick Google search to find a discount card for the city.

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In keeping with changing times, some pointers on Electronics:

How To Safely Pack Electronics in Checked Luggage

We all have different needs and destinations. The rule of thumb, though, is pack light. Traveling with only a hand carried baggage is a recurring advice and for good reason - the freedom it offers and the hassles it removes by being able to stash the bag/pack under the seat or simply walking with it.

There is no need to take too many clothes - laundry is available in most countries - so I will leave this to the individual. In this connection, be sure to have a small mesh laundry bag for underwear and socks. My list will include only what I deem to be essential or helpful in all situations:

Packing Tip: 5 Compact Ways to Fold Clothes for Packing


Travel Apps

Maps.me - download any country, region or city map to your device complete with  landmarks, restaurants, hotels etc to view on the go.

GPSMyCity - presents you over 6000 self-guided walks in 750+ cities around the world, featuring the best of each city, from world famous attractions to hidden gems. There simply is no better way to see a city on foot, at your own pace and at a fraction of the cost you would normally pay for a guided tour.

City Maps 2Go - Offline Maps. Provides pre-downloaded city maps which don't require any Wi-Fi or roaming data once you're at your destination.

TripJournal is perfect for those who want to capture every facet of their trip without carrying around cameras and journals. You can write down notes in a journal section, add video & photos, and can log your locations/tag photos using GPS. You can share your trip with the tap of a button to social media.

Hopper is an app that lets you know when to buy and fly.


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