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Women Travel Writers Share Their Best Secrets 2012

Evelyn Hannon

Each year Journeywoman reaches out to her female travel writing colleagues around the world and asks them to share one of their best travel secrets with our JW Network.

Invariably these annual submissions become one of the most popular posts at our website. I believe that 2012 will be no exception. The advice that has been submitted this year is fantastic and we know you'll have great fun going through them and saving the ones you love. Enjoy, everybody!

P.S. Spread the word. Is a female traveller you know having a birthday? Why not forward these tips on to her. I'll bet she'll love them.


1. Scottish Mexican, who knew? -- I spent a summer in Edinburgh, living in a trendy area called Stockbridge, known for its art galleries, boutiques, pubs, restaurants, and a cozy Mexican cantina called The Blue Parrot (49 St. Stephen Street) that became my favorite hang-out. The friendly proprietors David and Fiona welcomed me like family. They'd squeeze me in on a busy night and enjoy a gab when things were slow. The margaritas are smooth and the authentic dishes (including vegetarian options) are delicious. Reservations advisable. Tel: 0131-225-2941
Writer: Rebecca Bricker Website: www.rebeccabricker.com Twitter: @RebeccaBricker

2. New metro system in Delhi, India -- Getting around in New Delhi used to be a nightmare, but the new metro system makes it a breeze. There's a Ladies Car at the end of each train, which makes traveling not only safe but fun. You may find yourself chatting with the women around you while you speed towards your destination in ultra-modern comfort. Your perfect Delhi itinerary? Buy a copy of the Love Guides to Delhi and go everywhere author Fiona Caulfield recommends by metro. www.lovetravelguides.com
Writer: Mariellen Ward Website: www.breathedreamgo.com Twitter: @breathedreamgo

3. Casa plus maid service in San Miguel, Mexico -- In the Unesco town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexcio, one thing to keep in mind is that you can rent an entire casa complete with maid and gardener for about the same per night cost as a hotel room. San Miguel is also a very safe town and is ideal for women travelling solo. Here's a good starting point to check out rental opportunities. Click here.
Writer: Anne Dimon Website: www.traveltowellness.com Twitter: @wellnesstravel

4. A secret park in Montmartre, Paris -- Montmartre is such a very popular place to visit in Paris, always abuzz with hundreds of tourists. But did you know there is a quiet corner where you can get away from it all and even have a nice leisurely picnic not far from the hustle and bustle? I'll let you into my little secret park. It's right behind the Basilica of Sacre Coeur, the Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet (formerly known as Parc Turlure.)
Writer: Marlys Schuermann Website: www.parismoviewalks.co.uk Twitter: @ParisBuFF

5. Organize your first aid-kit into categories -- Since I'm a scientist by training, I've devised an unusual way to organize my first-aid kit. I carry five zip-lock baggies and each one is packed with items to treat a set of symptoms or body part. Packet 1: Tummy Troubles -- probiotics, antacids and Imodium. Packet 2: Pain + Itching -- topical cortisone cream, antihistamine pills and ibuprofen. Packet 3: Mouth + Eyes -- DenTek Temparin Max to temporarily repair dental fillings, sterile saline solution for your eyes and Gly-Oxide for gum irritation. Packet 4: Bandaids + Blisters -- includes mole skin, blister bandages and triple antibiotic ointment. Packet 5: Women Only -- prescription/OTC vaginal cream, and prescription Diflucan, which treats vaginitis with just one dose.
Writer: Jeanine Barone Website: www.jthetravelauthority.com Twitter: @jcreaturetravel

6. Open two bank accounts before travelling -- Open two checking accounts, operating and master, and set up online banking so that you can transfer funds between accounts. Keep the bulk of your money in the master and just a small balance in the operating account. Get two debit cards with different numbers for the operating account ONLY and make sure both work. Carry one debit card with you, storing the second in a safe place in the event your first card is lost or stolen. Use your debit card in overseas ATM's to get local currency, replenishing the operating account online when needed. In this way, the bulk of your funds are never at risk.
Writer: Barbara Weibel Website: holeinthedonut.com Twitter: @holeinthedonut

7. Check out this new Manhattan stroll in NYC -- Forget Fifth Avenue, Central Park and the Hudson Piers (just for now!). The new Manhattan "stroll" is the High Line. This linear park is built on a 1.45-mile section of a former elevated railroad and has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. Running through sections of the West Village, Meatpacking District and Chelsea, this oasis in the sky is high up enough to be a haven -- with great people watching -- but low enough for more intimate views of city life and its surrounding architecture. Don't miss it! Visit: www.thehighline.org/about/park-information
Writer: Gina Greenlea Website: www.ginagreenlee.com

8. Jello, condoms and water purification tablets--to the rescue! -- None of these take much space but they can save your life. For example, if you get stuck, get cold, get lost, get dehydrated or exhausted these items can come in pretty handy. Use the condom to put water in (and pills to purify the water if needed.) Jello is the perfect food for hypothermia or exhaustion. Stay well, ladies!
Writer: Sandra Phinney Website: www.sandraphinney.com Twitter @SandraPhinney

9. Is it a bra, or a wallet?-- When buying a bra, look for one with double padding. I know, they're not always attractive, but for travellers they can be very functional. When you get home, make a 2-3" slit on the inside, and darn the edges with some thread. Now you have a pocket. This is where I hide money and my room keycard. You can also do this without cutting a bra by placing the items inside the cup.
Writer: Pamela MacNaughtan Website: www.spunkygirlmonologues.com Twitter @spunkygirllogue

10. Only two pairs of shoes -- Never carry more than two pairs of shoes with you. Wear the bulkier ones on your flight and the lighter ones get packed in your bag, stuffed with your underwear and other small items so as to maximize space. Many companies manufacture shoes (Olukai comes to mind) that are both comfortable to wear all day while still being fashionable so you don't have to forgo one for the other.
Writer: Beth Whitman Website: www.wanderlustandlipstick.com Twitter @wanderluster

She recommends guides round the world...

As a Journeywoman, I love the freedom of solo travel but I always consider it an absolute bonus to have someone show me around a foreign destination on my first day there. Sometimes it's another Journeywoman welcoming me to her city, pointing out the female-friendly cafés or shops that gals will be sure to love. Other times it's a representative from a tourist bureau who will be introducing me to the major sightseeing highlights of the region. And, when language is a barrier (as it was in China), I was delighted to have somebody to explain what I didn't understand and to speak on my behalf. This article is a compilation of recommended guides and drivers that other JourneyWomen readers worldwide have tried and now generously recommend to others. More ...

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