We have officially come to the 10 day countdown! I can’t believe it’s almost time to board the plane. There are a million things left to do. One of the most important things I do before a trip is to take a ” virtual walk” around the town that I’m about to visit. Using an online map, like Google Maps, that allows you to get a 360 street view is  so helpful. This is a GREAT way to get oriented and feel more comfortable in a new place. For women traveling abroad this is especially important. Checking out what is around your hotel and taking a virtual walk to any places you’ll visit in a town, can give you tons of information ahead of time. For example, imagine you book a hotel through a site like Trip Advisor or hotels.com, and it lists the hotel as 3 stars. You arrive at the hotel later in the day and discover that it has a dry pool, it looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 60’s, and it looks really scary in general. You end up sleeping in your clothes because the sheets are nasty. Sadly, this might have been avoided by just “looking” at the hotel on the map ahead of time. By the way, this actually happened to someone I know. Orienting yourself before you arrive can also help you save money. When you tell the cab driver the destination, but he goes in the opposite direction to get a bigger fare, you will be able to ‘oh so sweetly’ tell him he is going the wrong way. Of course, a very important reason for checking out the surrounding area is getting to see what stores and restaurants are nearby. Today, while I was taking a virtual walk around Conwy, North Wales,  I found this lovely little tea shop on the same road as my hotel. There is also a Hospice ReSale store right next to where we’ll be staying!! I’ll tell you later about those little gems.  I love ReSale stores in the UK!  The most important reason for ‘looking around’ before you arrive has to do with safety. Women need to be more careful and aware of where they are walking, especially at night. According to self-defense instructors, if you are unsure of your surroundings it will be obvious to any bad guys. Having a mental map in your head will give you the confidence you need when touring around.

Enjoy the journey,