Though guidebooks abound, they rarely address the solo female traveler. Plenty of blogs exist to help empower her, but now there's a series of books, Go! Girl Guides, that puts comprehensive help in a tidy package.
Started by Kelly Lewis, a University of Arizona journalism grad with a wanderlust for places that might intimidate solo tourists, Go! Girl sees the release of two books -- Go! Girl Mexico and Argentina -- at the end of the month. The inaugural Go! Girl Thailand came out in September 2011.
"Women are traveling more than ever," Lewis says, adding that she sees a real dearth in publications addressing the female on her own. "We get emails constantly: 'Where should I go? What should I know?'"
Written in a conversational, blog-inflenced style -- Lewis began travel writing with her blog, travelbugjuice.com -- the books put safety at the forefront. This is the first section of the books, empowering travelers (boys on the go can find plenty of useful advise here too) with first-hand knowledge about common scams, public transportation tips and other information to help with street smarts.
Another section that's particularly helpful for the solo adventurer concerns volunteer opportunities; What better way to get a sense of a culture than by rolling up your sleeves and helping? The guide focuses on a number of free and low-cost opportunities: Help with sea turtles in Mexico, teach English in Argentina, and on.
The organized books, peppered with colorful photography, include sections on food, with translations for common items, how to say "I'm a vegetarian," etc.; health, including required vaccinations and locations of women's clinics; and notes on culture and customs. From there, the countries are broken down by city and region, including where to stay, things to do and see (with recommendations) and general tips.
Publishing these latest guides just has Lewis ready to do more -- she envisions Go! Girl tours someday -- with India, Costa Rica and Belize on the short list.
Hard copies of Go! Girl Mexico and Argentina, Lewis says, will be available at the end of the month for $24.99 at gogirlguides.com. E-verions will be available for purchase as well.