Wanderlust and Lipstick: Going Alone


Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Skinny on  Women Traveling Solo

By Beth Whitman

Wanderlust and Lipstick is an interesting travel guide for women traveling solo. The author writes an informative guideline from women's hygiene to staying safe to packing to maintaining good health. In Chapter 9: Staying Healthy on the Road, she gives you information on avoiding illness and being prepared.


Once you arrive at your destination, set your watch to the local time and conduct yourself accordingly. If it’s the middle of the night at your destination, sleep and get rest. Set your alarm for the morning so that you can get on track with the local time. Use natural sleep aids such as eyeshades, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to help you sleep.

The secret is to not take the nap. “It’s the nap that will do you in,” says Stefany, a landscaper who loves the outdoors. “I took a nap when I arrived in New Zealand, and I was a wreck for three days. Usually, I try to take really boring books so I get sleepy on the plane. I wouldn’t take Harry Potter or something that would enthrall me.”


It’s tempting to drink less-healthy liquids such as soda or juice, as they can often be less expensive than water. However, nothing beats H2O, and if you can refill a water bottle, you’ll ultimately save some bucks and be kinder to the environment by not buying additional bottles that you discard throughout your trip.

Take your own water bottle from home or, once you’ve arrived, buy water in a bottle that you can reuse. Fill up your bottle from the water cooler in your hotel lobby or in the gym of your hotel, rather than from tap.

If you’re unsure about the quality of water at your hotel, check your guidebook or ask other travelers or the hotel’s staff whether the water in the country you’re visiting is safe to drink. If it’s not, use iodine tablets that purify the water by destroying viruses and bacteria, or come prepared with a small water-filtration system. Both can be purchased at your local camping store or online.

When tap water is iffy, don’t swallow it when showering or bathing, and use bottled water to brush your teeth. Be vigilant.

With bottled water, make sure the cap is secure and intact, ensuring that it’s not a bottle that has just been refilled from the tap. You might also question where pitchers of “fresh” water actually come from when served at a hotel or restaurant. It upset Leslie, who is an experienced traveler, to watch a ritual where she was staying. “I once saw the maid at my hotel in Merida, Mexico, filling the water pitcher in my room from a faucet in the courtyard and then placing fresh linen on top!”

You may not want to give up your morning orange juice, but be aware that when purchasing fruit juices from street vendors, the fruit may be fresh and clean, but the utensils they’re using to cut the fruit may not be. And if a street vendor supplies you with a straw, make sure it’s new. Oftentimes, they are reused. Yuck.

HOT TIP- Don’t share water bottles, utensils or anything else you’d put in your mouth with anyone else but your closest traveling companion.


While you’re traveling, try new foods, but don’t eat more calories than you would at home. Sample a couple of appetizers rather than a full meal or eat five or six snacks throughout the day, rather than three large meals. What could be more fun than picking out fresh items from an open market, food stall or bakery as you survey a new city?

Grocery Stores can be an experience unto themselves whether in another region of your own country or abroad. They can also be a source of healthy and light snacks. The food will be fresh, you can control your portion sizes, and you’ll probably save a dollar or two.

Based on her experience, Elyse says, “eat your big meal at lunch when you’re more comfortable by yourself and grab something small for dinner.” This advice serves multiple purposes. Lunch-sized portions are cheaper than dinner, it gives you a good chunk of the day to work off the calories and you’ll feel less self-conscious eating lunch by yourself.

Cruises pose a particular challenge because of the large quantities of “free” food available around the clock. While difficult, it’s not impossible to eat healthily and lightly. Consider going vegetarian to inhibit yourself from eating large portions of steak and chicken. Or begin every meal with a green salad so you’ll fill up on that, rather than on a loaf of bread. In addition, regularly visit the on-board gym, swim, dance, walk at every opportunity.

In café’s flatware is often kept at a central location, and chopsticks are often found on the table— both places where customers freely breathe, sneeze and wheeze. If you’re eating at a restaurant where the utensils are kept in a public place for all to paw through, give them a quick wash-down with an alcohol wipe and a clean napkin prior to eating.

Relax Your Diet

If you have any special dietary requirements (vegetarian or vegan, for instance) you may have to allow for some flexibility. You risk offending your hosts if you arrive in a tiny village where they have slaughtered their weekly chicken in your honor. I should know. I’ve done it myself.

I must have appeared like a freak in an indigenous Vietnamese Montegnard community when I turned down both their chicken meal and homemade wine so I could stick to my self-imposed eating habits. I regret it now, and today would be honored if I had the chance to experience it all over.


If you have an exercise routine at home, stick to it as much as possible. If your accommodation doesn’t have a gym, you can stretch, practice yoga, do push-ups and sit-ups, or go for a jog. Athletic-Minded Traveler lists health-conscious restaurants, workout locations and jogging routes for North American cities.

When booking a room for business travel, I always make sure my hotel has a gym or workout area. My business trips are generally short, and I don’t have time for the long walks that I take at home.  A Stairmaster or treadmill allows me to spend a solid 30 or 45 minutes on a good aerobic exercise.

Take as many opportunities as possible to walk when you sightsee or are heading out to eat. These small jaunts add up and can really help keep off the pounds.

Beth Whitman.

To read more, check out Beth Whitman’s book, Wanderlust and Lipstick: the Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo.

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