Janice Waugh eating a cricket at Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexico

Janice Waugh covers everything from digital detoxing to breaking the ice with a chili cheese omelet.

I’VE TRAVELED SOLO, with a partner, and with a group, and to be honest, I think I’m fairly savvy as far as travel planning and safety go. But I picked up more than a few new tips and tidbits thanks to The Solo Traveler’s Handbook – and I also learned that Janice Waugh is a lot cooler than me. (She’s been kissed by B.B. King. For real.)

Founder of The Solo Traveler and co-founder of The Global Bloggers Network, Janice was a solo traveler in her twenties and, after the death of her husband in 2006, found herself going solo once again. The success of her site prompted her to compile the lessons she’d learned, as well as some great travel anecdotes to illustrate her points, into one handbook.

The format of this handbook is great – a mix of short stories, checklists, how-to’s, pics, and outside resources for trip planning. And despite the tragedy that prompted Janice to take this path, the book is anything but self-pitying; she maintains a positive, upbeat tone that had me nodding along and plotting my next solo adventure as I read.

Janice admits to being a natural introvert who works to be an extrovert, but her sections on socializing include tips for both types of people. For readers who aren’t social media/web savvy, she offers great advice on easy ways to get into it, such as using Google Alerts when searching for travel deals, or using Twitter, Facebook, and Skype to keep up with friends and family back home. Her section on how to pack light was extremely practical – I thought that her idea of choosing a color palette was particularly helpful, especially for the ladies.

This is a quick read all the way through, and a great resource to pick up if you’re trying to decide between hostel or hotel, need help planning a budget, or just want a little motivation to strike up a conversation with strangers and make a few new friends.