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Wanderlust and Lipstick

Reviewed by Mary Gallagher

When I first picked up Wanderlust and Lipstick, I couldn’t go beyond page one, there have just been too many of these advice books for me to wade through another one. But then I flipped through the pages, looked at the website resources and index and decided this one had some real useable substance and as I delved into it further it’s a traveler’s right hand.

Beth Whitman, an highly experienced traveler, is in the process of writing a series of travel guidebooks of which Wanderlust and Lipstick is the first. She formed her own publishing company Global Trekker Press and if this is an example of their products she should be recognized not only for her writing skills but her success as an entrepreneur.

In my opinion Wanderlust and Lipstick is more than a guide for women traveling alone but an excellent resource for all travelers solo or otherwise. The internet sources alone are worth the price of the book.

The first sections tend to address the person that has little or no travel experience and then things heat up to benefit the long time traveler. Her chapter on transportation is 13 pages long covering rail passes, your own car, motorcycles, ships, ferries and more. There are other women’s personal travel experiences scattered through the book, while set off by shaded areas and a different type face, I found them difficult to read especially in a moving car but thankfully they are concise. In fact Beth doesn’t overly dwell on any subject but lays out the facts making efficient use of your time while passing on a lot of information.

Travel is a personal experience for everyone even if we’re sitting next to each other for two weeks; Beth is able to give advice that can be used at one time or another by everyone. One section titled Potty does a good job of describing how basic this process can become in places other than North America. I found all her comments accurate to my own experiences, although there is no way to describe a few porta- potties hours into a festival of thousands in Malaysia.

The section on checked and carry-on luggage is comprehensive and it’s important for you to know that airlines and Homeland Security frequently change their restrictions and they are not always on the websites. Daypacks are listed as very important and I totally agree. Practice by putting the things you think you’ll be carrying around for a day and test it out weeks before you leave. The example in the book did not carry a camera and I need two plus a small tape recorder adding a lot of weight. Water bottles are necessary but also add weight. In addition to her pills and makeup travel writer Phyllis Steinberg carries pajamas in her carry on just in case her luggage is lost. You could rehearse the scenario by only having the items you’re wearing and your carry-on bag for two days at home.

Wanderlust and Lipstick answers a lot of questions and makes you think thoroughly about planning you next travel experience. Many women favor traveling with a group or tours focusing on their particular interests. As women tend to outlive men, middle age and older women enjoy a lot of traveling and frequently are just as adventurous as any age group even when traveling alone.

If you’re a frequent or longtime traveler this book will still be a valuable aid with its resources and organization. I like a reminder or brush-up if I haven’t been to a particular climate for a while or perhaps will be using a ferry or other transportation not in my everyday routine.

Some friends told me their daughter has a chance to go to Europe or India next year for a month through her college—a common program—and I think Wanderlust and Lipstick would be the ideal gift for her, to read before she leaves and to take with.

Beth also has a website where you can order her book personally autographed (special offer $14.95 includes shipping) and sign up for her monthly e mail tips.