11. Important stuff to pack -- When packing, load up with the stuff that matters. Bring your smile and sense of humour, patience for inevitable glitches and an open mind for people's differences. I've found extra money comes in handier than an extra stack of matching outfits. Tip generously - it makes all the difference in the world for some folks - and take the opportunity to get to know people, if it's safe to do so.
Writer: Pam Dillon: Website: www.writewrds.com Twitter: @writewrds
12. Sure way to save money -- Think outside the shopping box when it comes to purchasing the necessary gear for a trip. There are many items I find for less at hardware and dollar stores. For example, the electrical adapters that can turn one outlet into several are less than a dollar at any box hardware chain, and make for added flexibility during airport delays. Door wedges are also great for hostel security and typically come in multipacks for less than $3 just a few aisles over from the electrical section. Dollar stores on the other hand, are great sources for affordable umbrellas, eyeglass repair kits and one of my favorite packing supplies, zippered pencil pouches. I use the kind with the transparent front and use them for pharmaceuticals, nail care supplies, charging cords and more.
Writer: Myscha Theriault Website: trekhound.com Twitter: @myschatheriault
13. For female travel inspiration, check out this memoir -- Read "Travels With Myself and Another," by war correspondent and traveler extraordinaire Martha Gellhorn. She was a marvel of courage and honesty who covered battlefronts the world over for some 60 years. In the forties she escaped a brief marriage to Ernest Hemingway and lived to tell the tale.
Writer: Susan Spano Website: www.travelswithsusanspano.com
14. Act like you own it -- If you are visiting a country where you are worried about your safety or anxious that you may be a target for mugging, it is important to project an image that you know where you are going and that you're 'meant' to be there. As much as possible, dress like a local. Functional tourist-y clothing including backpacks, rainwear and walking boots may be comfortable for travel, but when you are walking around a city these sorts of garments will immediately signal that you are a tourist. Take style tips from what people on the street are wearing, shop locally or wear what you would wear at home (provided you are not visiting a strict Muslim country) and you are much more likely to look like you are a student residing in the city or an expat going about their daily business.
Writer: Fiona Hilliard Website: blog.arguscarhire.com Twitter: @ArgusCarHire
15. Los Angeles's Best Kept Beach Secret -- I want to share my home town secret. The world may think that L.A. has tons of great beaches, but I know of just one that I love: Paradise Cove in Malibu. Next to staying at an expensive beach hotel, this is a great way to spend a day at the beach and is very friendly for solo travelers as well. You will have to pay for parking ($25 for the day or just $6.00 if you get validated at the Beach Cafe), but you have to pay for parking at most beaches anyway. You can rent beach chairs or cabanas and enjoy the menu at the Beach Cafe (you must order their famous fish tacos and award winning key lime pie). Get there early in the day during the summer and claim your spot on the beach where you can often see dolphins swimming off shore. This spot is also popular with TV and movie location scouts because it's quintessential California. I just watched an episode of The Mentalist and noticed my favorite hangout in a couple of scenes.
Writer: Marianne Schwab Website: www.best-travel-deals-tips.com Twitter: @TravelProducer
16. A hidden cocktail lounge in the Windy City -- One of my personal favourite venues in Chicago would be the scarcely known Violet Hour. It has built of a pretty impressive fan base over the last few years in Chicago-- but to tourists, this place isn't on their radar. Everything from the decor to the delicious cocktails is absolutely incredible. Every drink on the menu is custom made from scratch-- Their Dark 'n' Stormy is to die for. If you're in town for an entire week, I would recommend coming earlier (both time-wise and earlier in the week). Monday and Tuesday nights bring an even classier environment instead some of the weekend commotion. Ladies- if you're looking for a sophisticated date night in Chicago, The Violet Hour is an absolute must.
Editor's Note: Check out the house rules at the site. we especially like, 'Please do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn't bring to your mother's house for Sunday dinner.'
Writer: Katy Lynch Website: www.whereivebeen.com Twitter: @whereivebeen
17. Mapping out your hotel and others -- One of the sites I've grown to love over the years is "See Your Hotel". When deciding on a hotel, I'm always keen on proximity - where is it located in comparison to other hotel options in the area and how close it is to places I'd like to explore. With "See Your Hotel", you can type in a location, city, address, place of interest, and it will show you all other hotel options in the area as well on a map. In this way you could find a more attractively-located hotel you may not have initially considered, or were aware of in the area.
Writer: Lola Akinmade Åkerstrðm Website: www.akinmade.com Twitter: @LolaAkinmade
18. Have a set of "man" clothes spare for safety -- Whenever I'm travelling on my own through unfamiliar cities, I always pack a pair of flat boots, loose jeans and some kind of hooded top. I don't want to have the silhouette of a woman travelling on her own; I want my hair hidden, curves disguised and clacking heels silenced. In short, I want to be mistaken for a man. The world has enough other opportunities to dress to the max.
Writer: Abigail King Website: www.insidethetravellab.com Twitter: @insidetravellab
19. A book is your best travel companion -- I enjoy traveling solo a lot, still, dinner is that moment of the day that often makes me feel uncomfortable. Dining alone, surrounded by people often looking at me as if I were a strange animal, doesn't help me feel at ease. I found out however that a book, once again, is the best possible travel companion. Sitting at a restaurant and taking out a book helps overcome the initial embarrassment. Moreover, it can be effective at keeping away (or at least discouraging) unwanted attention from males possibly offering their company. On the other hand a book, especially if a travel guide, can be an excellent way to break the ice and get in touch with locals, asking for advices and tips, chatting about the place and what makes it special. Whatever the author or the subject, a good book will never let you down. On the contrary, it will make you feel stronger.
Writer: Simon Falvo Website: www.wild-about-travel.com Twitter: @1step2theleft
20. Going to the Taj Mahal in India -- The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, India. Agra is not a nice city. In my experience, quite the opposite. However, it is worth a day in Agra to see the Taj, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri - they are all fabulous. If going to Agra by train I suggest that you arrive early in the morning and take a night train out. You can hire a car and driver from the official tourism kiosk just outside the train station for 1250 rupees for the day. (About $25). The driver will take you to all locations. You pay the entrance fees to each. I would not leave my luggage with the driver when touring the Taj etc. Instead, use the left luggage or cloak room at the train station where they will store your luggage for about 10 rupees. You will require an onward train ticket and a lock on your luggage to do so.
Writer: Janice Waugh Website: solotravelerblog.com Twitter: @solotraveler