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Old 02-26-2008, 10:22 PM   #21
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Well after that NZ review cant say it move up on my short list of places to visit
Well, NMLonger, I want to be really clear that this was our experience. (Most certainly doesn't have to be yours.. ) We have only met a few people in all our travels who didn't enjoy NZ. 98%, maybe even 99% of the people enjoy it.

I mean it was everthing put together. We hit a weather pattern where it rained every 2 days out of 3. The locals were raggin' on America right and left. We were flippin' freezing and it was summer! This was the busiest tourist season they had had in years so the hostels were often full and we always had to book ahead (we prefer a leisurely style not so regimented) in order to get a room. They were just coming down from the press and promotion of The Lord of the Rings movie so every day we heard the same thing about the one-and-only-movie they had ever done in their lives and employed all of both islands... sigh...

However.... all that being said, if you like adventure sports (diving, bungy jumping, mountain trekking, swimming with the whales, dolphins, scuba diving, etc.) you will enjoy this place. You can hike up the glaciers and you can freeze your pitutie off anywhere on the islands you want!

We really tried to make it work for us, but hey, sometimes #&*% happens. I say, if you have the opportunity to go and it falls into place for you, do it.

Honest! The country has some spectacular sites.

The hostel system is well laid out, and the Magic Bus is a great way to get around. Both are reasonably priced and the hostels are clean. In fact, just forget what I said and go for it anyway!

I really don't like making another country sound or look bad... it puts me in a bad light too... ;-(

Be well,
Akaisha
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:42 PM   #22
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I think everyone here prefers an honest assessment. Thanks for providing that! I have quite a few countries on my list so if I make it to NZ someday Ill have my own opinion of it too When people purchase your book Im sure they want your honest impressions also so if anything you put yourself in a good light.
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:15 AM   #23
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Does anyone who actually has some empirical knowledge--in other words, someone who has actually traveled to these areas--seen any danger in an older woman traveling alone to these areas?
Once again I suggest Lonely Planet publishing, and their web site bulletin board, Thorntree. You can ask such questions of people traveling now. You can get some of their country-specific books at the library. They have a section in each one of dangers/problems for travelers, and have a section on women traveling alone (if it's a problem, precautions, etc.)
My overseas travel has always been with DH so I can't give specific advice myself. But in Peru recently when he was ill and I ventured out for provisions and such alone, I was never hassled. I'm in my 50's.

I have a single woman friend in her 50's who enjoys REI Adventure travel. She's just back from a trip to Angkor Wat with them. But you need to be physically fit for many of their trips.

Your question reminds me of my good friend Mary. When she was in her late 60's and all through her 70's she drove in her little pickup with camper in the bed, all over the U.S., by herself. Her children begged her not to, because they were afraid. She never had any trouble. She died in her late 70's of natural causes, at home surrounded by family.
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Old 02-27-2008, 04:52 PM   #24
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In fact, just forget what I said and go for it anyway!

I really don't like making another country sound or look bad... it puts me in a bad light too... ;-(

Be well,
Akaisha
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No, thank you very much for your honest review. I don't want to spend a load of money on a vacation and be insulted. I've got a lot to see here in the States and maybe Canada before I have to spread my wings anyway.

Again, thank you for your detail review.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:58 PM   #25
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Don't mean to derail the thread but tell me more about NZ. I have always wanted to travel to NZ. Didn't realize they frown on Americans.
I was a little surprised when I read this as well - but it is reasonably consistent with the experience my brother had when he went to NZ a few years ago. I think the dump of tourism from 'the movie' really impacted their view of tourism, and recent events in the world have impacted their view of America quite a bit.

I visited in the late 90's for a couple months, and at the time, the Kiwis were some of the most friendly folks I've run into anywhere. Sure you get your share of jaded folks involved in the tourist industry, but it was the rare exception. Plus the country is jaw-dropping beautiful - in a small, well manageable package. I remember telling my friends after that trip that, not only was it was the most beautiful country I'd been to for the size (although I now would give the beauty crown to Norway), it was also the friendliest.

My brother had a completely different experience - still an amazingly beautiful country, but with an undertone of resentment at tourists and Americans in particular. I don't necessarily blame them, I can't begin to imagine the burnout from LOTR, but it's a big difference from when I visited. At the time, I mostly wrote off my brother's experience (esp. as he was only there for a couple weeks vs. my couple months), but it's suspeciously similar to Akaisha's experience.

BTW, Akaisha, I heard that the bar for becoming a bus driver for the various jump-on-jump-off bus outfits in NZ (like Magic and Kiwi Ex) is damn low. I think some of the drivers I had were literally the equivalent of day laborers that got bus driving permits - so I'm not surprised that you might find a driver that's got some issues. I used something similar when I was there and of the half dozen or so drivers I had, I had one that was perpetually drunk and another that spent all his non-driving time trying to hook up with the unaccompanied female passengers on the bus. All the drivers had problems with basic math (they needed to book hostels and arrange pickups and something *always* went wrong with head count).

Now, to be fair, even given the above, I would still strongly recommend NZ to anyone that's thinking about doing a trip that's activity focused (esp. hiking). Even if this type of behavior is now the norm and not the exception, in my mind it's a relatively small price to visit an amazing country - but depending on how much interation you like to have with locals on your trips, something you may want to consider...
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:00 PM   #26
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We have enjoyed Rick Steves' "Europe Through the Back Door" TV show for many years.

A very well-educated friend took a tour with his outfit once and enjoyed it very much. (He also met Rick Steves. Did not enjoy Rick very much.) I favour Latin America these days, but if we had the bux, we might take one of Rick's tours in Yurp.

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Old 02-28-2008, 03:01 AM   #27
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I think everyone here prefers an honest assessment.
Dawg52
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Again, thank you for your detail review.
You are most welcome. When I wrote it, I was being honest… then I thought ‘shoot. That’s in print ‘forever‘, and you just really badmouthed a country… shame on you!’

Skyline:
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At the time, I mostly wrote off my brother's experience (esp. as he was only there for a couple weeks vs. my couple months), but it's suspeciously similar to Akaisha's experience.
That makes me feel a little better from the point of view that it wasn’t ‘just us.’ We took the trip as a personal failure. Heck, we have fun ‘everywhere.’ And here we were having a hard time shaking their attitudes off… It made us feel like somehow we 'failed'...

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so I'm not surprised that you might find a driver that's got some issues. I used something similar when I was there and of the half dozen or so drivers I had, I had one that was perpetually drunk and another that spent all his non-driving time trying to hook up with the unaccompanied female passengers on the bus. All the drivers had problems with basic math (they needed to book hostels and arrange pickups and something *always* went wrong with head count).
I won’t even go there with ya on that one! We noticed similar things… And you are right. The countryside is really beautiful. When the kiwis weren’t badmouthing America, they were really fun loving and had a great sense of humor!

Thanks Guys. I appreciate your kindness. Now, back to the single travel thread… !

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Old 02-28-2008, 10:03 AM   #28
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"Available" means what? Looking for sexual romps or just available for adventure? Fess up, Nords!
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Maybe one of them hit on your FIL and MIL wasn't digging it. I did not find the "availability" thing to be an issue. That being the case ya gotta watch the married folks trying to do the nasty on the down low. Ya know what I mean?
I believe the answers to your questions are "Yes".

MIL stewed about that Elderhostel cruise for months. One woman was described as a lonely widow of a senior Navy officer who was very particular about how much money the men appeared to have but who also didn't hesitate to jump in any available lap after a drink or two (in her, not in the laps). She was social in a "ladies who lunch" way with the women but she seemed to be more predatory with the men. I'm sure she was just as interested in "romping" as in remarriage but the men were a bit concerned about the nature of her first husband's demise.

That description & stories came from my MIL. My FIL just smiled.

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I will check out Elder Hostel. Never heard of it before. As usual, you guys give me alot of great ideas! Thanks!!!
My PILs swear by it, especially for Civil War battlefield tours. It's a lot of group/bus travel but the speakers, hotels, & sites are top-notch. You'll also get to places that you might not otherwise discover on your own or with a cab driver. (I really envied the "Aloha 101" Elderhostels they've attended here.) Spouse and I don't enjoy groups or buses at this stage in our lives but if we were in our 70s and challenged by driving in strange locales then we might feel differently.

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We were told that New Zealand won’t allow our Navy ships to dock in NZ ports (Nords is this true?) and yet, if they were to become ‘invaded’… wouldn’t we respond to help them out?
I don't know if NZ is still part of the U.S./Australia/NZ Cold War treaty organization but I've never ever worked with a NZ ship. (I've worked with plenty of ships from just about every other country in Asia, whether they were aware of that or not.) NZ went on a big anti-nuke kick in the 1980s and required visiting foreign ships to state whether or not they were carrying nuclear weapons. U.S. doesn't play that game (even though nuclear weapons are no longer carried aboard) so NZ dropped off the liberty lists.

Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong liberty is a lot more fun anyway. Maybe the "scenery" isn't completely "natural", but it's everything that most teens & 20-somethings are interested in viewing. Australia, in particular, led to more overstimulated sailors dragging their exhausted carcasses aboard after hours (or even days) of extremely affordable liberty than even in Subic Bay. And the Aussie military's liberty behavior in Hawaii is legendary.

I can vouch for NZ's discrimination against Maori. Our local HawaiiThreads.com board has a few Maori with family back in NZ who are perpetually struggling with civil disobedience issues. NZ seems to be a generation behind Australia in that regard, let alone a couple behind the US.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #29
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Orchidflower, you might want to look at the Journeywoman website. Especially their travel 101 section:
Journeywoman - Travel 101 - Main Page

The first link, An Expert's Safety Tips for Female Travellers, (3 pages long) is worth reading.

I think the most important thing is to get educated about common travel scams and trust your gut feelings. My aunt, who travelled alone extensively well into her 70's, taught me that the first thing to do at a hotel was to talk to the concierge about your safety concerns - where to stay away from, what kind of people to look out for, etc. She also said older female employees were very helpful to talk with.

This quote from the Journeywoman site is what both my aunt and mom would point out whenever they'd take me and my sister out shopping or to the airport or pretty much any crowded place. I'm still astounded at how many women will hang their purses off the back of a chair, gaping wide open with wallet in plain view, in a crowded restaurant.
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The next time you are walking in your city center or taking public transportation, do this short mental exercise. It will serve you well when you're travelling in a foreign destination. Look around you. Which women stand out? Whose purse has an outside pocket half unzipped? Who keeps checking the posted subway maps? Who looks relaxed? Anybody consulting a guidebook or checking something in their wallet? Who looks timid? This is exactly what an experienced thug does as he chooses his prey. Which person would you choose to pickpocket? Why? Hopefully, the insights you gain will help you to protect yourself from wrongdoers as you travel.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:28 AM   #30
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I have bookmarked it. Never heard of it before....so thanks alot!
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:34 AM   #31
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Ibid: PLEASE post The Journeywoman in a separate post. It is worth the bandwidth. Excellent, and most women will miss this thread here, I'll bet. When they need it, they can find it if you mark it something like "Traveling for women." Great site.
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:14 PM   #32
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Another good outfit is "Women's travel Club " . I tried to post the link but I'm on my daughter's computer and it is not doing it . They have some nice trips ( a little pricey ) that I've considered . I've also looked at a few Elderhostel trips especially the cooking ones.
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:58 PM   #33
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I've been disgustingly independent (according to the ex- who said it drove him crazy), but might try ONCE, at least, a group thang. What the heck...I might love it? But I think I would like both sexes--and singles--more than all women, but, again, you never know till you try it.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:27 PM   #34
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Thanks, Nords, for your reply and explanation of the NZ port liberty, and for the Maori input.

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Old 03-01-2008, 09:28 PM   #35
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Here is the link for Women's travel club. Women's Travel Club, woman traveling and adventures
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:41 PM   #36
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Orchid, I'm single, 58, and have the travel itch as well. What I've done so far is to take group tours from Overseas Adventure Travel. To Tanzania on safari, and to Peru and Ecuador. I'm not thrilled to be led about with a group of people that I didn't choose to travel with. But there are tradeoffs. For me, having never traveled except in Europe, I felt nervous about being on my own in third world countries and the group tour completely relieved that.

Also, I want to have a great time, relax and enjoy my experience on vacation. I'm not necessarily looking to have a great adventure, despite the name of the tour company :-) I live alone and am not really thrilled about going on vacation alone so the group travel fulfills a social need as well. On my Africa trip there were five single women and we had a really fun time together.

I haven't tried Elderhostel but I might. I also might try Rick Steves tours for Europe. Both of these allow flexibility with your flights, so you could go on the tour then travel on your own afterwards.
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:14 AM   #37
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Thanks...I'll look into that one also. I'm up for just about anything.
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:08 PM   #38
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I am in my 50s and female and just told my husband if he wanted to come home early from Thailand I would make his reservations but I was going to stay longer and maybe go to Borneo. I think it should be fine.

Regarding the shortwave radio. We were in India on a camel safari when the first Gulf War started. Kind of wish no one had the radio. Nothing we could do and it really freaked out some of the people on the trip. Especially when the fighter jet patroling the Pakistan border went over. Some need the comfort, but I vote to do without.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:34 PM   #39
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How about posting some pics of some of your adventures.
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:02 PM   #40
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My news just reported a California tourists was killed in Italy. He and his wife in their mid 70's were offered coffee at a train station. Looked like it was midday as they had video of the man wandering around confused as the coffee was drugged. They were robbed and the husband eventually ended up on the tracks and was killed by a train.

Probably a "friendly" local, not dressed like a crook. Coffee bar was probably in sight so why not? Could have happened anywhere but since it was a train station I would guess tourists were the target.

I like to travel off the beaten track and mingle with the locals but am very aware that danger can be anywhere.

US Tourist Drugged, Killed by Train - AOL News

Their poll reported 22% who say they have been a victim of crime in a foreign country.
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