As the title promises, Wanderlust and Lipstickis a pretty definitive guide to travelling alone as a woman. The 19 sections of the book cover everything you might need to know: why to travel, how to choose a destination, and how to make it all work out well.
The book starts out promisingly — there’s a mention of my home country, New Zealand, on page two — and continues in a light, easy-to-read style. It’s well-formatted: the information is presented clearly and cleanly, and there are lots of useful personal stories throughout the book, both in the main text and as diary-like inserts.
However, the advice is sound and well thought-out. The author advises against going into debt to travel, and provides a worksheet so reluctant travellers can process their dreams and put it all down on paper. The advice is up-to-date, with useful websites listed and there’s even an explanation on podcasting — no mention of the Indie Travel Podcast, though!
Some things in the book go against my personal experience as a traveller — I wouldn’t use the author’s advice on budgeting or exchanging money, for example. And the information on hostelling was possibly correct ten years ago, but is now scanty and misleading, focussing on HI hostels and glossing over the new breed of hostels which are frequented by a wide variety of travellers and sometimes feature female-only dorms. Hopefully this omission will be corrected in the new edition, which has recently been released.
I’d recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who wants inspiration and solid information about travel. It’s especially useful for women who want to travel but need some encouragement, or who don’t feel they have the skills they need to travel alone. It’s also a good resource for any new traveller, to dip into before the trip or to use as an on-the-road resource.
Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Soloby Beth Whitman is published by Globe Trekker Press, this edition 2007. It was supplied for review and is available to buy from Amazon.com.