Travel Writer Carla King

Who she is: Travel writer who has ridden motorcycles solo across Asia, Europe, America, and Africa.

What she does: Shares her wisdom from life on the road with others. Her new book, “The China Road Motorcycle Diaries,” debuts in 2011, and features tales about two wild rides through China. Her previous book, “American Borders,” was based on her 1995 chronicles of breakdowns in small towns all around the USA during a four-month stint as R&D test rider for Ural America.

Why she does it: A longtime tech writer, journalist, and web developer, Carla started self-publishing in 1994 with a guide to Cycling the French Riviera. “I don’t know where my next trip will be, but wherever my travels take me you can be sure I’ll be taking notes to share with readers in the future.”

By Hope Katz Gibbs

Is it safe for women to travel alone? Certainly, says travel writer Carla King. She has made a living taking to the road and sharing her amazing experiences with others.

But, she says, women traveling solo need to be smart. Here are her five tips for taking to the road and staying safe.

1. Use your intuition, and never talk yourself out of acting on your gut feelings. It’s unwise to convince yourself to “work through your fear.” Our animal instincts are ancient, and there for a reason. Trust them.

2. Slow down. When you are in a hurry, it’s easy to get distracted. The key to being safe is to pay attention to your surroundings so your intuition and instincts have time to kick in. When you take your time, you are also less likely to be careless and leave things behind.

3. On the issue of “packin’.” People often ask me if I carry a weapon, and the answer is no, because I might rely on a weapon instead of my intuition. Instead, I carry a cable lock with a motion sensor to secure my belongings. My favorite is the Targus Defcon with a retractable cable and audio alarm, because you can also hang it on your hotel room door, or attach it to the zipper on your tent. The alarm will sound if it’s moved, and it’s really loud.

4. Please, dress appropriately. Try not to call attention to yourself by wearing a flowery Hawaiian T-shirt, like a tourist just off a cruise ship. Be neat and respectful of the local culture, and for maximum efficiency, opt for wrinkle-free, quick-dry clothing. Also, learn and respect local customs. In some countries they couldn’t care less if you walk around topless, while in others showing your knees is verboten.

5. Ask for help when you need it. People love helping others, and often don’t have enough opportunity to do it. Enlist the assistance of a shopkeeper, restaurateur, or the nearest old lady if a man is bugging you. They’ll give him hell, and that’ll be that.

For more information about Carla, visit her website,

The Women