Top 6 hydrating fruits for Ramadan

What a blessed time of year when the glorious month of Ramadan connects with this sweet summer season. All this heat though, will tire us out quicker in fasting season.

The recommended amount of drinking water is 8-10 glasses per day. In Ramadan it will be a digestive challenge to drink vast amounts in short periods, particularly after breaking the fast. 

Top up your water shortage by eating these 6 juicy fruits per meal for bursts of energy.

1. Watermelon

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Blend watermelon chunks with ice and coconut palm sugar for a light Iftaar dessert.

Hydration rating 92%. As this fruit is mostly water and sugar it’s packed with essential rehydration salts magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium so it can actually hydrate you more effectively than water.

 

2. Oranges

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Squeeze fresh orange juice into chocolate drinks and cut up segments into fruit salads.

Hydration rating 87% water. Oranges are sweet and packed with more than 100% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C.

 

3. Berries

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Eat berries with cereal for Suhoor (morning meal) or as a parfait with yoghurt and granola.

Strawberries rank as the 4th strongest antioxidant fruit and are made up of 92% water. Raspberries and blueberries are also at their peak during the summer. Full of vitamin C, berries are known to clear the arteries, regulate blood sugar and taste awesome. Go for organic, eat a handful each day.

 

4. Figs

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Slice fruits with coconut milk ice cream/Kulfi, blend into a fig smoothie or make a fig chutney with some medjool dates for breaking the fast each day.

Known as At-Teen in the Qur’an, these summer beauties are indulgent fudgy fruits with a high-output on the health scale. They’re known to lower blood pressure, improve digestion, help with weight loss; even the leaves of the fig tree lower the insulin required by diabetics.

 

5. Grapes

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Slice into fruit salads or just eat whole. One particular mix-up is eating a single grape with a morsel of cheese and sprinkling of coffee granules. Sounds weird but tastes gooood!

These hydration gems are known for their extremely high content of Resveratrol, a substance that acts as an antioxidant and is heart-friendly. Bursting water with each bite, take your pick from purple, red, black or green. One of summer’s most delicious fruits.

 

6. Grapefruit

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Pan fry segments to caramalise grapefruit and eat with waffles. Cut a fruit in half, sprinkle with fairtrade sugar and scoop to eat with a spoon. *Warning, do not get into eyes. Ow.

Hydration rating 90% water. Sweet but zingy, grapefruits contain only 30 calories and the detoxifying limonoids, which according to research, may inhibit cancer tumours.

Have something to add to this post? Share it in the comments.

 

RAMADAN With MARRIOTT

Experience the true essence of the Holy Month at COUNTER CULTURE CAFE, set on the ground level of Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites. Complete with an extensive Iftar buffet ranging from Middle Eastern treats to Indian Sub-Continent specialties, enjoy an interactive open kitchen and an elaborate dessert buffet. A tempting range of a la carte options is available for Suhoor.

AED 99 per person for Iftar (food only), from sunset to 8.30pm
Free for children below 6 years old
Suhoor is served a la carte from 9pm to 3am
Reservations are required, Call +971 4 319 4786

6 refreshing drinks to relish, this Ramadan

Refreshing drinks plays a big role in celebrating Ramadan, with specialty dishes and drinks served during the Muslim fasting month.

Drinks like Jellab, Amar al-Deen and Tamar Hindi are essential during the holy month. Fasters want to refill their body’s water levels after long hours of fasting. Sweets are considered part of reviving Ramadan traditions.

There are traditional drinks considered an integral part of a Ramadan meal. These are the top 6.

 

1. Amar Al Deen

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Amar al Deen or Amar Addeen is a combination of two words in Arabic: Amar (moon) al Deen (the religion). Amar al Deen is made from sheets of dried compressed apricot. In order to prepare the Apricot Drink Sharab. the apricot sheets should be soaked for several hours. It is customary to serve the drink at Iftar during the Holy month of Ramadan as it is refreshing

The best Amar Al Deen, or the dry apricot sheets come from Syria, which is a major producer for this type of product.

 

2. Tamar Hindi

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Tamar Hindi, or Tamarind, is a sour chilled drink usually sold throughout the year in several Arab countries.The drink is a sour-sweet combination, so it is better to add a dash of rose syrup for an extra drop of sweetness.

Tamar Hindi was the name given to the tamarind fruit by Arabs, the name literally translates to ‘Indian dates’.

 

3. Jellab

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Jellab is a very popular drink in the Middle East. It’s made by diluting the syrup made of grape molasses, dates and rose water with water and serving it in a tall glass with crushed ice.

The best part about it is the heap of pine nuts and golden raisins that are so much fun to fish out from the bottom of the glass with your straw!

 

4. Karkadeh

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Refreshing hot or cold with a color that is as intense as the flavor, Karkadeh is a sweet infusion made from hibiscus flower.

Karkadeh, which is a typical Ramadan drink, is also served for other occasions such as weddings.With a hearty Iftar meal the cold version is preferred.

 

5. Kharoub

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Carob juice, also known as Kharoub, is a traditional Egyptian drink, that is usually made during the Islamic month of Ramadan, made from carob molasses. Carob juice, which can be used to make sugar as well, gives the feeling of drinking a glass of thin honey.

The healthy and refreshing drink is full of fiber, protein and antioxidants, that helps Muslims go through the long hours of fasting.

 

6. Erk Soos

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Extract of the licorice plant are mixed with water to make this drink that is served in Egypt and the Levant (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria).

The process of making it involves put the ground roots in a muslin cloth and drop water over it drop by drop all night long. As you can see it is complicated and time consuming so no body makes that at home.

Have something to add to this post? Share it in the comments.

 

RAMADAN With MARRIOTT

Experience the true essence of the Holy Month at COUNTER CULTURE CAFE, set on the ground level of Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites. Complete with an extensive Iftar buffet ranging from Middle Eastern treats to Indian Sub-Continent specialties, enjoy an interactive open kitchen and an elaborate dessert buffet. A tempting range of a la carte options is available for Suhoor.

AED 99 per person for Iftar (food only), from sunset to 8.30pm
Free for children below 6 years old
Suhoor is served a la carte from 9pm to 3am
Reservations are required, Call +971 4 319 4786

5 Tips to help your fasting, this Ramadan

Ramadan is the one of the most predictable events of the Islamic year, yet it takes us by surprise every single time. And before we know it, our bodies are struggling with the first day of fasting. Being low on sugar, caffeine or nicotine is never a fun way to start the holy month.

Well before Ramadan starts , you can start planning ahead and coaching your body to cope with the routine fasting. 

Here are 5 tips for before and during Ramadan to ensure you are never drained of energy.

1. Ditch the Addictions

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Everyone has that yearning in the morning when you unconsciously reach out for the coffee jar, then stop half way because it’s the first day of Ramadan.

To avoid the sudden shortage and withdrawal of caffeine, start by reducing the number of cups your drink per day, and increase the hours between each. Also try to avoid drinking coffee once you wake, and increase the time you give yourself before the first cup of coffee.

The same rules apply for nicotine addiction – if you try weaning yourself slowly off shisha or cigarettes now, you’ll be better come Ramadan.

 

2. Move often

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One great way to stay focused and energized without having to eat or drink coffee is by moving. So make sure that every hour, you spend at least five minutes moving. Take a walk around the office or stretch at your desk. It will help you pump blood through your body, and you’ll get a fine boost to help you through the day.

Just make sure you don’t engage in exhausting exercise, or you will get thirsty.

 

3. Stay hydrated

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This may sound silly, because how can you stay hydrated if you can’t drink water all day long, right? Wrong.

You can make sure you’re well hydrated by eating foods, especially fruits, that are rich in juices when you break your fast or before you start your fast.

Also, it’s very important to make it a habit to reach out for water instead of sodas and coffee post iftar, which won’t really quench your thirst.

 

4. Eat foods that take longer to digest

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Since you won’t be eating for a while, you want to make sure you have enough nutrients lingering in your body for as long as possible. That’s why it’s important to include complex carbohydrates into your meals, especially at the Suhoor (predawn meal). This will help to release energy throughout the day.

 

5. Eat consciously

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With regular meals turned into huge feasts, a lot of people tend to eat much more than their body actually needs. Let alone the kind of foods they stuff their bellies with …

Avoid deep fried foods as much as possible, and limit your use of salt.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

 

RAMADAN With MARRIOTT

Experience the true essence of the Holy Month at COUNTER CULTURE CAFE, set on the ground level of Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites. Complete with an extensive Iftar buffet ranging from Middle Eastern treats to Indian Sub-Continent specialties, enjoy an interactive open kitchen and an elaborate dessert buffet. A tempting range of a la carte options is available for Suhoor.

AED 99 per person for Iftar (food only), from sunset to 8.30pm
Free for children below 6 years old
Suhoor is served a la carte from 9pm to 3am
Reservations are required, Call +971 4 319 4786

6 Food & Drink Hacks to elevate your Health & Fitness

There are countless moments in our everyday lives where we have opportunities to do tiny things — decisions and actions that take minimal effort, but can yield a bunch of truly significant benefits to your overall health and wellness.

And when we combine these little things with the bigger, more ambitious activities and habits we implement to meet our fitness, health and happiness goals, we come ever closer to truly living our best lives.

Head over to COUNTER CULTURE CAFE to experience …

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A key highlight of this lifestyle café is the new menu, created by award-winning culinary experts, will feature an irresistible selection of sweet and savoury treats, with a key focus on healthy eating options without sacrificing taste or flavor.

 

Here are 6 simple ways to kick your health & wellness efforts up a notch or two, to have that GREAT life:

1. Green Tea

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Make Green tea a staple by drinking it before or after your meals. It helps stimulate your metabolism, improve you brain function and lower your risk of cancer. Additionally, drinking hot tea helps you relax too.

At Counter Culture Cafe we offer the Green Tea with  Jasmine Flower –  a mild and delicate tea with a pale yellow infusion and pronounced jasmine aroma, naturally enriched with jasmine flowers.

 

2. Pure Dark chocolate

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When you have a craving for a sweet treat, go for a pure dark chocolate. I t is lower in sugar content than you run-of-the-mill candy bar, and it may help lower blood pressure and improve brain function. It’s the smart way to indulge!

Indulge in our range of Dark Hot Chocolate drinks blended exotic ingredients such as Mango + Cardamom; Beetroot + Maple; Mint + Soy milk; and Rum & Espresso, when you visit Counter Culture Cafe

 

3. Avocado

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Embrace the Avocado! they are high in fiber, which helps regulate digestion, and heart healthy fats. It’s much more nutritious topping for your toast than butter or cream cheese.

You must try the Goat cheese & Avocado Crostini from our All-Day Dining Menu at Counter Culture Cafe

 

4. Spin-off Protein

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Put two carb-heavy foods together to make a complete protein. do, if you’re eating grains, add some dairy or legumes, like Cereal + Milk, Rice + Beans or Whole Grain Bread + Peanut Butter.

Treat yourself to a lush Homemade Cereal with peanut butter cookies, fruit & fiber and chocolate milk, part of All-Day Breakfast at Counter Culture Cafe

 

5. Greek Yoghurt

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Toss mayo in favour of some Greek yoghurt. It  has 10 times the protein of mayonnaise and moreover it contains probiotics, which are good for digestion.

 

6. Cayenne Pepper

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If you can handle the heat, don’t be afraid to spice it up. spices such as cayenne pepper and ginger help give your metabolism a boost thanks to their high levels of capsaicin.

They are also said to help prevent cancer, keep your heart healthy and release endorphins in the brain.

 

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Original post by Lean Cuisine/MASHABLE

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Business in Dubai

You’re heading to Dubai on business? That’s no surprise: The city rocketed onto the list of the top five most robust economies in the world last year, and it’s considered one of the Middle East’s most cosmopolitan cities.But Islamic influence makes doing business in the City of Gold a bit more nuanced than in, say, the City of Light.

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Here are some of the most common professional pitfalls — and how to avoid them.

 

1. Swashbuckling

Your hard-charging, Type A alter ego should be benched. Meetings here move at a slower pace, with manners and courtesy making the most impact on your hosts. Graciously accept the refreshments you’re offered, which might include cardamom-infused coffee or a puff from the shisha, or hookah. Embrace the culture and let patience be your guide.

Do: Stand when any guest — of either gender — joins the meeting. And in Dubai, your word is your bond. If you agree to terms — even verbally — be prepared to deliver on what you’ve promised.

 

2. *&#@&!!!

Arabs love good banter as much as the next person. But profanity is uber-offensive in the Muslim world, so save your R-rated repertoire for your bar buddies back home. You could be fined and jailed for offensive language and gestures. And avoid dishing disparaging views of Islamic culture — you could be fined, jailed or deported.

Do: Impress your hosts by learning the Arabic phrase assalaamu alaikum (“peace be upon you”). You’ll hear this often, and you’ll discover that it’s a nice alternative to “Howdy” and “See ya.”

 

3. Leading with your left

Keep that left hand tucked away when eating, gesturing and glad-handing with your Dubai colleagues. Muslims generally consider the left hand to be unclean.

Do: Let your host initiate handshakes — the usual greeting — and be prepared that handshakes can last a long time. Use only your right hand — covering the handclasp with your left hand won’t be appreciated.

 

4. Eating in public during Ramadan

Visitors during the ninth, and holiest, month on the Islamic calendar will want to make sure they’re respectful of Ramadan’s restrictive customs. (In 2016, the observance will run from June 6 to July 5.) Eating, drinking and smoking — even chewing gum — during the day in public is against the law for Muslims and non-Muslims.

Do: Remember that Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol. While your Dubai colleagues may have adopted Western habits — many business types went to U.S. universities or have lived in the West — it’s best not to drink unless you’re invited to.

 

5. Worrying too much

Dubai’s population is nearly 90 percent expat, and the business community is comfortable with all kinds of cultures.

Do: Relax! Try your best to respect the Emiratis’ values and avoid the preceding mistakes — but also know that you’re dealing with forgiving folks who understand that their culture is, most likely, pretty foreign to you.

 

 

Original Post by Jordan Bressler/MARRIOTTTRAVELER

How ‘The Perennial’ designed itself around preventing Climate Change

Though there is a deluge of innovative dining trends in 2016 — cricket flour, high-tech food delivery and poke (pronounced pok-eh) to name a few — here’s one that goes beyond the palate and extends to our future: saving the planet.

The Perennial is an audacious new “post agrarian,” sustainably designed restaurant in San Francisco that’s rethinking every aspect of traditional food service. It is sparking a larger conversation about food, its role in adding to climate change, and how restaurants can lead the charge toward reversing that devastating decline.

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Here are 7 innovative practices you’ll find at The Perennial and why other restaurants might soon be looking to follow in its tread.

 

1. Progressive Agrarian cuisine

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Forget “farm-to-table.” The Perennial is “table-to-farm,” which asks not what our natural resources can do for us, but what we can do for them. The menu showcases plant-centric starters such as sunflower caesar salad made with aquaponic lettuces , along with entrees such pastured beef with blistered broccoli leaves. Even the smaller portions of meat (four ounces versus the typical eight) is intentional.

 

2. Aquaponic greenhouses

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The restaurant’s 2,000-square-foot aquaponic greenhouse in Oakland not only supplies it with greens, herbs and eventually, sturgeon, catfish and clams; it also puts its waste to good use.

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Aquaponics is a symbiotic system in which plants are grown directly in water that gets its nutrients from fish waste. Kitchen scraps are composted by the greenhouse’s worms and larvae, which are then processed into feed to nourish the aquaculture. The fish waste is converted into fertilizer for the greenhouse plants that get served at the restaurant. And the cycle begins over again.

 

3. Carbon farming

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According to The Marin Carbon Project, as much as a third of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results from poor farming management practices. The Perennial champions a new kind of climate-beneficial farming, known as carbon farming, in which cattle graze on rangeland planted with perennial grasses whose longer roots can sequester carbon beneath the soil longer.

In addition to sourcing from farmers and dairies who follow this practice, The Perennial partners with the Carbon Cycle Institute to design technologies and national policies that encourage more carbon stewardship.

Carbon stewardship refers to land management decisions that aim to reduce greenhouse gases and its role in climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that gets released in the air, through various means, including carbon offsets and sequestering.

 

4. The Kernza alternative

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You may not have heard of kernza yet, but this new perennial grain developed by The Land Institute in Kansas is a promising alternative to traditional wheat. Because it grows year round, the kernza plant is able to grow deeper roots that are more effective in storing carbon, fighting pests, preventing soil erosion and combating other problems associated with annual monoculture.

The Perennial employs kernza for its house bread and is the first restaurant in the world to use it on a large scale.

 

5. Energy-efficient kitchen appliances

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The kitchen is tricked out with high-tech innovations: a laser-activated smart vent hood that senses the air above the stoves and turns itself on and off as as needed; Turbo Pots lined with ridges to create heat sinks that boil water twice as fast as conventional pots; and eco-grip flooring made from 100% recycled material that doesn’t require being hosed down.

 

6. Cocktails for a smaller planet

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Beverage director Jennifer Colliau also follows the three Rs (reuse, reduce, recycle) behind the bar. Wine and pre-batched cocktails are stored on tap, cobbled ice replaces the more wasteful ice-cube machines, and straws are made from actual straw (as in, scarecrow straw). She also uses a water still to convert leftover garnishes such as citrus zest into hydrosols to give cocktails acidity, in lieu of freshly squeezed juice.

 

7. Sustainable design

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Nearly everything (bar, tables and chairs) was made from reclaimed lumber, and much of it was upcycled: Wood shavings from milling the posts were woven into the ceiling, and scraps from the dining room went to build raised beds at the greenhouse. Sustainability also extends to the tabletop. Recycled glass utensil holders cut down on silverware changes, and old menus (printed on 100% recycled paper) and cloth napkins are fed to the worms.

 

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Will all of these initiatives pan out? Probably not. But Myint and Leibowitz aren’t afraid to try to throw a bunch of sustainably sourced spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. You can be sure that other restaurateurs will be watching their every move. In the meantime, the experiment is proving to be a tasty one for diners.

 

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Original post by Meesha Halm/MASHABLE

10 Travel Tips for the Female Solo Tourist

Would you travel across the world by yourself?

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The “solo travel” phenomenon has officially arrived, with adventurers and wanderlusters alike blazing the trail to self-discovery. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being totally free, experiencing a new destination with no plan but your own. Free to see whatever, go wherever, and meet some amazing people along the way.

But it’s easier said than done. Many are intimidated by traveling alone, worried about this and that.

We asked some of the Top Female Travel Bloggers one question:

What’s the most important piece of advice you would offer someone traveling solo for the first time? 

Here are their answers offering advice for first-timers considering solo travel.

 

1. Leave room for SPONTANEITY

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Audrey Bergner, That Backpacker

“As great as it is to plan things in advance, you never know how you’re going to feel about a place, who you’re going to meet, or what you’re going to find until you arrive at your destination. Sometimes a city may be love at first sight and other times your feelings may be lukewarm. Don’t lock yourself in with long bookings until you’ve had a chance to dip your toes!”

 

2. CONFIDENCE is key

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Rachel Jones, Hippie In Heels

“If you are walking around looking at your phone’s map, acting nervous, or in general being awkward, you’ll draw attention to people who would take advantage of that. Act like you know what you’re doing, walk with a purpose from place to place, and don’t be a afraid to smile and interact with locals – that’s the best part of solo travel!”

 

3. BELIEVE in yourself

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Jessie Festa, Jessie On A Journey

“Instead of worrying about getting lost, losing your passport or losing your reservation, understand that when you have nobody to rely on but yourself your problem solving skills will be enhanced and you’ll figure out how to get out of these types of situations. Instead of stressing, realize there may be times you’ll run into issues and you’ll have a much better time if you roll with the punches and go with the flow instead of allowing every problem to ruin your trip. Missed trains and lost baggage aren’t fun, but they’re also not the end of the world.”

 

4. It’s NORMAL to be nervous

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Kristen Sarah, Hopscotch The Globe

“It’s completely normal to feel nervous and scared even. I did too the first time I traveled solo, and even the second! But, once you’ve booked that ticket and arrived in your destination, the feeling you get will be like nothing you’ve felt before. You will feel so empowered and have a newfound freedom! I believe every person should go on at least one solo trip in their lifetime. It’s truly the best gift you can give yourself. Personally, I go on at least one solo trip each year and it ends up always being an incredibly insightful and highly enjoyable experience.”

 

5. DON’T LET fear stop you

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Kiersten Rich, The Blonde Abroad

“Nobody starts out as a confident solo traveler. This is something that comes over time as you become more comfortable finding your way by yourself and making your own choices. But, traveling solo is not scary. The world is full of amazing and wonderful people so don’t let fear keep you from experiencing the world. Give yourself the gift of independence, an opportunity to experience new cultures and the time to learn about yourself and what’s best for you. You will be a much more confident and independent person because of it.”

 

6. Do your RESEARCH beforehand

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Anna Lysakowska, Anna Everywhere

“Do your research to be prepared for every eventuality, but don’t over-plan. You might want to change your activities, lodging, even sometimes a destination when you’re abroad for millions of good or bad reasons. You make some friends who you’d like to join, you could get sick or you just simply don’t like the place you’re visiting. There’s no need to freak out about it, but it’s always good to have a plan A, B and C. It never hurts to know too much.”

 

7. Travelling alone doesn’t mean you’ll BE ALONE

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Christine Ka’aloa, GRRRL Traveler

“For every beginning soloist, I recommend staying at hostels, where you’ll be around other travelers. There are many more female solo travelers on the road these days and I meet a lot of them at hostels. Hostels are social places, where you’ll find travelers eager to meet and share stories and advice. I use questions to meet people and often, I find travelers open to hopping onto my itinerary and sometimes, vice versa. It’s much easier to make quick and flexible travel companions, when you’re alone and already at the destination, than when you’re coordinating your travel from home.”

 

8. It’s not as SCARY as you think

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Monica Stott, The Travel Hack

“The thought of traveling solo is pretty terrifying for a lot of people and this fear stops most women from traveling alone – but don’t let it stop you! You soon adapt and you’ll love the freedom and the adventure. Once you’re on the road you realize that it’s much easier to meet new people when you’re traveling solo so you never need to be on your own. You do need to be cautious from a safety point of view so be careful and trust your instincts – just like you would at home.”

 

9. Be prepared to exit your COMFORT ZONE

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Brenna Holeman, This Battered Suitcase

“Listen to your intuition, but be open to new experiences. As a solo traveler, I think it’s important to keep an open mind and do things that may be slightly outside your comfort zone: try that new food, talk to that stranger, go to that art exhibit by the artist you’ve never heard of. It sounds like simple advice, but when traveling solo you can’t rely on anyone else for company, so it’s one of the best ways to find out who you really are and what you’re really capable of. It’s an incredibly rewarding and powerful feeling, and you never know where those new experiences will lead you in life.”

 

10. Embrace the UNKNOWN

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Jeannie Mark, Nomadic Chick

“Women come to me all the time worried about their first solo trip. I always tell them this: prepare but don’t be rigid. Women are taught to worry about every single detail, from safety to harassment, or how to pack properly, right down to the type of tube socks to bring. But I also think it’s equally important to leave room for spontaneity. Embracing the unknown a little is how a first time solo traveler grows and finds her inner strength. Laugh, smile, and enjoy the absurd, awkward, and epic moments. Because they’ll be plenty of them!”

 

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

 

Original post by Dave Armenti/TRIPADVISOR