travel

Safe Solo Travel to London

May 12, 2016
Roosevelt & Churchill

Today, on my second day in London, I reread my 14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel, which I posted last September. I am surprised by how many items on the list I did instinctively as I prepared for this trip. Seven years later, solo travel comes naturally. Find a friend with similar interests and budget OR join a nonprofit organization with a strong travel program …

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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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Finding Community in New Places

September 24, 2015

Colonial Williamsburg was a familiar name, because my cousin married a girl from the area, and his parents moved here from New Orleans after they retired. My parents visited on several occasions, and I heard all their glowing reports. We planned at least two trips but never made it. Then, in 1997, we decided to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary here. It was Christmastime, when …

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14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel

September 15, 2015

Since travel played such a large role in my journey from grief to joy as a new widow, I have blogged almost weekly on the subject in the five months since I created my website. I listed what I had learned from the past six years of travel, and I had few readers when I got started. I am concluding this series with a revision …

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Travel Tip #14. Sign Up for Global Entry

September 8, 2015

Travel Tip #14. Sign up for Global Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. If you are like me, just the possibility of missing a flight because of long lines at the airport is stressful. Some of my older single friends have quit traveling because “travel is just no fun any …

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Travel Tip #12. Check Credit Cards & ID

September 1, 2015

Travel Tip #12. Check the expiration dates on your credit cards, debit cards and passport. Copy the numbers in case of loss. We have all had those scares while traveling, when we lost or misplaced our credit cards or identification. More than once I have had to retrieve a card or ID that I accidentally left behind when I paid for something. When I’m out …

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Travel Tip #11. Invest in a Cross-Body Purse

August 18, 2015

Travel Tip #11. Invest in a cross-body purse for travel, sightseeing and shopping to free your hands and discourage purse-snatchers. In March 2010, on my first trip as a widow, I flew to Paris for a few days, where I stayed alone at Lev’s and my favorite hotel before taking the trains to Maastricht, the Netherlands, to join friends at The European Fine Arts Fair. At Sunday afternoon …

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Special Travel Tip: Research Hotel Conditions

August 13, 2015

Earlier in the summer I blogged about the importance of hotel quality, location and amenities: Spend more on hotels and transportation if necessary to assure your safety and comfort. It costs less for one to travel than for two. Determine hotel in-room amenities in advance. If there is no in-room safe, leave valuables at home. This is not the first time that real life has …

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Tip #10. Travel With Emergency Info

August 4, 2015

Keep emergency contact and medical information in your billfold or purse. In January 2014 a friend and I boarded a small luxury ship for a cruise from Auckland, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia. The trip started off well; but near Dunedin, close to the bottom of South Island, we awakened to stormy weather. We set out across the dock to a vintage sightseeing train. Crew offered no …

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The Demise of the Family Road Trip

July 30, 2015

A recent Wall Street Journal headline recalled “Vacation-Planning Before Google Maps,” with great Throwback Thursday memories of the traditional American family road trip. But more than the AAA TripTic has vanished. The family road trip is largely vanishing, as well. Living history museums—even the biggest and best like Colonial Williamsburg—are suffering in attendance. Families seem to prefer the Disney World interpretation to the real thing. …

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