Women are not strangers to the world of travel. But more and more today are becoming adventurous and beginning to enjoy vacations by themselves. There is an even bigger revolution in the number of women taking business trips. According to a survey by a major airline company, the number of businesswomen traveling is increasing three times as fast as the number of men who travel as a part of their jobs. Three million women spent 32 million nights on the road in 1977.
Despite the large numbers, many women still feel uncomfortable traveling alone. At a workshop held in Boston recently, a panel of women told how they have come to enjoy their frequent trips.
The speakers agreed that preparation is important, whether the trip is business or pleasure. Businesswomen should set up appointments in advance, specify how much time will be needed at meetings, and send a business card as introduction.
"Check your appointment the day before you leave, even if you made it only the week before," said Judith Fenno, a panelist who is fashion and publicity director of Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston. "Have alternatives, just in case something falls through."
If travel reservations fall through, don't get intimidated or upset, the panelists said. Ask questions of airline, bus, train, or hotel personnel. Be acquainted with travelers' rights, such as those outlined in "Fly Rights," available from the Civil Aeronautics Board, 1825 connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20428.
When a woman checks in a hotel, she can ask to look at the room before she accepts it, and at all times on a trip women should feel free to complain when service is not up to par, the panel members said. Be firm, and go to the right person. For example, when arriving at a hotel late at night and problems arise, ask for the manager instead of the desk clerk.
The women also advised carrying dollar bills in pockets to tip service personnel, and they proposed the idea of tipping in advance to ensure good service.
Many women do not like to eat alone. In fact, it is said that most women who travel alone, whether for business or pleasure, end up eating in their hotel rooms.
"Be good to yourself," said another panel member, Linda Harris, who is a reporter for a Boston television station. "I recently found I had some time in a city.So I dressed to the nines and went out to dinner and a floor show. I was so excited, I was just as happy alone."
The panel pointed out that women who don't feel comfortable dining out alone can take a newspaper or book. And no one should be bothered if she wants to be alone.
Some hotel restaurants now offer "captain's tables," where customers who come in by themselves are seated together at tables.