Writers Worldwide Share Travel Secrets
Let your books go free...
to free up some extra room in your luggage for souvenirs? Plan
ahead. Instead of bringing heavy, expensive hardcover books to
read en route, bring paperbacks you don't plan to keep. Before
leaving home, sign up with www.BookCrossing.com,
a web site whose members leave their used books in public places
for strangers to find and enjoy. Put a BookCrossing sticker (available
free on the Web site) inside the book, which encourages the finder
to go online and record his or her impressions of the book. Then
leave the paperback in a cafe, train station or airport lounge.
Your book may become even better travelled than you!
Laura Byrne Paquet
is a freelance writer from Ottawa and the author of the 2007 book
"Wanderlust: A Social History
Save on your credit card...
you're traveling outside the country beware of something called
'dynamic currency conversion,' a system that lets merchants or
rental-car agencies convert your Visa or MasterCard bill from
the local currency (euros, Canadian dollars, Mexican pesos, etc.)
into dollars on the spot. This is marketed as a 'service' to customers
who won't have to bother 'with messy foreign exchange calculations,'
according to one promoter. But it's mostly a money-making scheme
for merchants who set the exchange rate 5-6 cents on the dollar
higher than the official bank rate, then pocket the difference
as a service fee. What to do to avoid this? Read the fine print,
of course. There's a note on the sales invoice that says by signing,
you agree to have your charge converted to dollars. Refuse to
sign. If the merchant protests, walk away. This is one 'service'
you can afford to do without.
is a travel writer for The Seattle Times.
Age matters in car rentals...
matters when you want to rent a car abroad. Many countries and
rental-car agencies deny rental vehicles to drivers over a certain
age. In Ireland, for example, it's doubtful you can find a car
to drive if you're 65 or more. Other places where age can be an
issue include Italy, Israel, Britain, and Egypt. So if your stay
is going to be more than 17 days, think about leasing instead
of renting. No age problem there and it can end up cheaper besides.
Joan Rattner Heilman is the author
of the bestselling guidebook for older travelers, Unbelievably
Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get
Unless You're Over 50, 2007-2008 (McGraw-Hill) Now in
its 17th edition.
She looks for absolute
best spa value...
women look for a spa that offers lots of free extras. For instance,
some offer workout facilities, wet and dry saunas, hot and cold
plunge pools, aromatherapy rooms (for inhaling such essential
oils as eucalyptus for energizing, and clearing the respiratory
system), comfortable and quiet lounge or waiting areas, and complimentary
classes such as yoga or Pilates. When you’re still in the
research stages ask a spa receptionist how long a one-hour treatment
really is. Yes, when it comes to spas, one hour is not universally
60-minutes. At many spas it’s just 50 minutes with 10 minutes
left for the therapist to clean up and turn-over the room. At
other spas it is a good 60 minutes with 15 minutes between treatments
to prepare the room for the next client.
is a Spa & Wellness Travel Writer and founder/editor
the online-magazine for the wellness-minded traveller.
She visits the Hammam
Paris Mosque, located in the 5th arrondissement near the Jardin
des Plantes, is excellent for first-time Hammam ('spreader of
warmth') experiences. Here,
all nationalities and religions are welcomed, as well as all shapes
and sizes! Arrive on a 'womens’-only day (Mon, Wed, Thurs
and Sat 10 am—9 pm; Fri 2 pm—9 pm) for a sensuous
trip through five warm-to-scorching steam rooms ending in an all-over
(and we mean all over) massage in a room lavishly decorated with
mosaic tiles and carved woodwork. While you wait, recline on couches,
watch sunlight dance through stained glass and filigreed lanterns,
sip mint tea, nibble on pastries, whisper to a friend or drift
in and out of sleep. After the baths, stop for honey-soaked pastries
and Turkish coffee under the fig trees in the leafy courtyard
tearoom. A four-hour visit, including soap, robe and towels, steam
rooms, exfoliation and massage costs 48 Euro (about $68). Web
is a Toronto-based family travel writer and author of a future
book on Paris.
#5! The Best Women's Travel Writing 2007...
book title that includes the words 'best', 'women' and 'travel
writing' makes Journeywoman sit up and pay attention. We're glad
we did! Published by Travelers Tales this compilation of 32 stories
written from a woman's point of view is guaranteed to inspire,
excite and educate. You'll laugh, learn, cry, empathize and delight
in tales like "Learning to Dance (Cuba), 'Flirting in Paris'
and 'A.K. Phone Home' (Bolivia/Chile). This is a perfect book
to give to any woman who loves to travel -- especially those university
grads setting out on their first tour of Europe, Asia or just
plain anywhere. Enjoy!