How to Travel Alone

When her plane lost an engine over the Andes, Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, 36, vowed to start tangodiva.com, a website to help solo women travelers. Here, her best secrets. Travel alone and love it!

In the past 10 years, the number of females traveling abroad has increased as much as 200%, especially among solo travelers.

1. NETWORK BEFORE YOU GO
Send an e-mail to all your friends saying, "I'm going to Brazil. Do you have any contacts there?" It works. Before I went there, my ex said he knew a guy who knew a guy, so I e-mailed him. He met me at the Rio airport with a cute little sign and said, "By the way, it's carnival, so all the shops will be closed tomorrow. If you want any new bikinis, we better go shopping right now!" Without him, I'd never have known that.

2. PUT SAFETY FIRST
Check government websites (such as state.gov/travel and cia.gov) to make sure there wasn't a "little bombing" in Cairo two days ago. I once went on a vacation in Fiji . . . while Fiji was in the middle of a military coup. There was lots of tension, and a military guy spat on me when I refused to dance with him.

3. BE PICKY

Our biggest commodities are time and money, so when choosing the destination, you have to decide, What do I want to experience? I have a checklist, which I call CAWS- Culture, Activity, Weather, Social level. At tangodiva.com, you can take the quiz "What's Your L'Atitude?" It will pick the five best destinations for you, based on your needs.

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4. START SMALL
There are different levels of traveling alone. Start with level one: group tours or cruises. All you have to do is show up with a suitcase. Level two is destination trips, like Club Med, horse ranches, and spas. When you reach level three, you're ready to truly fly solo!

5. ACT LIKE YOU OWN THE PLACE
Travel with self-confidence, and you won't have a problem with unwanted attention. Eye contact is important. If the locals connect with your eyes, they know you're human. And hold their stares-that helps in places where men can be aggressive, like Morocco.

6. FIND THE INSIDER HOT SPOTS
Frequent cute boutiques-the shopgirls always know the coolest bars and clubs (usually because they're dating someone who works there!).

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Teresa's Top Solo Travel Destinations
1. Port Douglas, Australia
I love Australia! The people are so friendly, and they really know how to live life. In Port Douglas, I'll sign up for a snorkeling trip or horseback-riding adventure.

2. The Mayan Riviera, Mexico
For first-time soloists, try Club Med's adult-only village in Cancun. It's all-inclusive, and there's always a really cute guy who picks you up at the airport.

3. Bio Bio Expeditions
Bio Bio organizes rafting and yoga trips to far-flung places like Peru and Nepal-but it makes them luxe. The people on the trips are an equal mix of males and females, and there aren't many couples.

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