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Woman: Walking Through Gate (Photo: Thinkstock/Jupiterimages)

Solo travel can be exhilarating, freeing, and helpful in learning new things about yourself. But solo travelers, especially females, can also be more vulnerable while alone on the road. We spoke to some solo women travel experts who shared their top mistakes to avoid when traveling alone. 

Arriving in a New Location After Dark. Taking a flight that gets in at 3:00 a.m. may be cheaper, but do you really want to arrive in an unfamiliar city for the first time when the streets are dark and empty? Janice Waugh, Solo Traveler, says, "Arriving in daylight makes it easier to find your accommodation and gives you time to change it if you find that it is unsuitable."

Dressing Inappropriately. Choose your outfits wisely, and try to err on the side of conservatism. Research your destination and find out if it's taboo to have uncovered shoulders, etc., and dress appropriately. Not only will you be showing respect for other cultures, but you'll be drawing less attention to yourself by blending in.

Not Having a Backup Plan. Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman, says, "It's very important [for me] to have a good backup plan if I am robbed or if I lose my credit cards. Here is one of my best tricks. Save your empty vitamin pill bottles; generally you can't see through these. Roll up five twenty dollar bills, put them into the bottle and add some old loose pills. If you shake this bottle it still sounds like a pill bottle and nobody would consider looking into it for money. You can leave this bottle in your backpack, your hotel room or in your cosmetic case. The contents remain safe and ready for you should you need it." Also, be sure to scan a copy of your passport and other important documents and email them to yourself. This way you'll have access to your information in case it's stolen....read more»

Credit Card: Man Holding a Range of Cards (Photo: iStockphoto/Andresr)

J.D. Powers last week released results of its 2012 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, based on responses from more than 13,726 credit card customers.

The report ranks customer satisfaction in six areas: credit card terms, rewards, benefits, billing and payment, customer interaction, and problem resolution....read more»

Woman: Excited at Laptop (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Enter Hilton's 25 Million Point Giveaway sweepstakes by September 18 for a chance to win one of 25 grand prizes of one million Hilton HHonors points each. There are also six instant-win prizes up for grabs during each day of the sweepstakes, ranging from cookies to smaller lots of HHonors points to free nights at Hilton family hotels.

To enter, visit the HHonors Facebook page, or the Facebook page of any Hilton family hotel, and "like" the page. Then click on the "25 Million Point Giveaway" link and enter your HHonors credentials....read more»

Luggage: Sunhat, Camera, Passports (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

I'm packing my bag (a carry-on) and preparing to head off to New Zealand for two weeks. The challenge: I'll be arriving on the first day of spring and traveling to many different regions (including a beach and a glacier), so I've been advised to pack for "every season." I have a short connecting time and a change of airline on my international flight, plus a domestic flight from New Zealand's North Island to their South Island, so it makes the most sense to do carry-on only. How am I going to do it? By following these tips for packing everything I need into just a carry-on.

Maximize Your Bag. I didn't realize just how small my normal carry-on bag is until I bought one that comes close to the maximum carry-on dimensions for U.S. airlines. Consult your airline's website for dimensions, and you may be able to get a bigger bag than you thought. I'll be taking this expandable Briggs & Riley suitcase, which fits both Air New Zealand's and United's carry-on allowances.

Personal Item. Forget wasting my personal item allowance with a tiny purse. I'll bring a larger tote bag that I can stash under the seat, but will still give me extra storage space. This will come in handy for keeping all of the things I'll need on hand during the flight within arms' reach as well. It's also a good idea to separate essential, irreplaceable items, like money and passport, into the personal item, just in case the plane is full and you're forced to gate-check your main carry-on.

Zip-Lock Bags. Getting everything for a big trip into one suitcase means that it will be jam-packed. Rather than having my suitcase explode all over the hotel room every time I open it, I like to keep everything separated in zip-lock bags or packing cubes. One bag will hold socks, one bag will hold a few t-shirts, etc. The clear bags make it easy for me to find things, will help keep everything wrinkle free, can save space (if you compress all the air out), and makes it easy for the TSA to root through my belongings if they have to do a hand-search. It can also be handy to pack an entire outfit, from top to underwear, in each bag, so you just have to grab one bag in the morning and you can be dressed in a snap. Another great tip is to put a dryer sheet in each bag to keep clothes smelling fresh. Same goes for small items like chargers and medicines—keeping them in bags makes them much easier to find. I use small sandwich-sized bags as well as the larger gallon-sized variety, and keep them in my suitcase between trips for reuse. I also pack empty bags for dirty laundry....read more»

Beach: Wind-Swept Palm Tree - Black and White (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Airlines grounded hundreds of flights departing from Florida because of Tropical Storm Isaac yesterday. More cancellations and delays are expected today.

We've seen conflicting reports on the total number of canceled flights coming out of Florida. But according to the Associated Press, 589 flights departing from Miami and Fort Lauderdale were canceled, in addition to more flights from other South Florida airports. More than 600 flights have been canceled overall....read more»

Child on airplane

According to a new travel blog posting, the father of an 11-year-old boy, traveling on an unaccompanied minor program, claimed that a flight attendant removed $200 in "emergency" cash from the boy's wallet. The flight attendant denies the theft, and an investigation is ongoing. This report raises two issues: ...read more»

Airport: Stressed Man Checking In

The story of the family of five that was hit by horrendous fees from Ryanair—€60 (about $74) per passenger, totaling €300—went viral in the general press and online. The €60 fee is for printing out your boarding pass at the airport, rather than printing it out in advance. There's no question as to whether Ryanair notifies its passengers of that fee on its website; it does. But there's also no question that a fee of €60 to print a pass out of a machine amounts to extortion. As usual, because it has the fine print on its side, Ryanair hasn't budged on either the travelers' complaints or the subsequent public outcry. ...read more»

Woman: Waiting, Sitting on Red Suitcase (Photo: Shutterstock/SFC)

Learn how to find excellent first-aid remedies at grocery stores abroad and find out which travel advice should never, ever be followed. It's all in our weekly roundup of interesting and new travel stories on the Web!

Fight Illness Abroad at the Grocery Store

Here we are, recommending more tips from The New York Times. We just can’t resist. This advice is gold. (Unlike the guidance offered in the last story in our round-up.) If you're sick on the road, says The Times, hit the local grocery store. There, you can find natural home remedies for everything from stomach bug to bug bites. The Times also offers one very surprising first-aid use for pepper: Sprinkle it on your bleeding cut to slow blood flow. We're serious. ...read more»

Travel brochures (Photo: IndexOpen)

If it's a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car-rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly....read more»

Photo: IndexOpen

In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has levied "civil penalties" of $60,000 to $70,000 each on three airlines for failure to comply with requirements about displaying accurate fare information on their websites. According to FAA, Egyptair, Royal Air Maroc, and Royal Jordanian Airlines failed to disclose required information about baggage fees. ...read more»

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