Compiled by Evelyn Hannon
HERE ARE THIS MONTH'S TOP 12 JOURNEYWOMAN TRAVEL TIPS -- As usual, your many female-friendly bits of advice from all over the world continue to inform, inspire and amuse. This time, from wonderful travelling women across the U.S. and Canada to those in Sjöstorp, (Sweden), London (England) and Niamey, (Niger) what follows are this issue's top twelve travelling tips. Enjoy, everybody.
1. CARRY A SMALL NOTEBOOK AND PENCIL IN YOUR BAG -- writes Bodil in Sjöstorp, Sweden -- Possibly you all know this but it is worth a reminder. When travelling to a country where you don't speak the language, put a small notebook and pen or pencil in your pocket or day pack. It is much easier to explain something by drawing or even copying out a word from your phrase book or travel guide. And how do you explain the number of stamps or apples you want (especially when your fingers are not enough!)? Think of the fun factor. It may give you and the other person you are communicating with at least a laugh to share. Try it.
2. WOMAN-FRIENDLY CABBIE IN CHICAGO, USA -- writes Kristal in Nebraska, USA -- I highly recommend that any females traveling in the Chicago area call Gladys at Gold Coast Taxi Association. She is a rare gem that just plain cares about people. I had a 45 minute cab ride with her, and it was apparent that she looks out for fellow women. She made sure the gal I shared the cab with made it to her destination safely. While I was in the cab she called her next scheduled pickup to make sure she was not standing out alone in the cold, and when I paid her, I had to give her every dollar I had in my wallet. She was concerned that perhaps I had no cash left for the evening. I travel alone frequently for work, but I am often uncomfortable and certainly understand the anxiety of the unknown when traveling. Gladys will sooth your soul. Contact: Gold Coast Taxi Association at 773-271-0163, Gladys is cab number 6900.
3. ViSITING TIKAL IN GUATEMALA? -- writes Debbie in San Ramon, USA -- I would like to submit a tip as a result of my recent trip to Guatemala. For visitors to Tikal, I recommend staying in El Ramate at Hotel La Mansion Del Pajaro Serpiente. The hotel is not only beautifully landscaped, reasonably priced, peaceful, and has a lovely restaurant, but the wonderful owner, Nancy, is incredibly helpful. She helped us organize early morning transport to Tikal (30 minutes from the hotel) and also set us up with an excellent guide, a woman named Roxie who made Mayan history come alive for us. Nancy can be reached through this website: http://www.30minutesfromtikal.com/
4. HALF PRICE HAMBURGER MONDAY IN WASHINGTON, DC -- writes Daba in Niamey, Niger -- Mr Henry's is located at 601 Pennsylvania Ave SE, one block from the Eastern Market Metro Stop (orange and blue lines) and six blocks from the US Capitol Building. The hamburgers served there are delicious (and are half-price Monday evenings). In fact there is a different special just about every evening. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available when the weather permits. Open 11h00 to midnight. Many nights there's live music upstairs. Tourist or local, this is the perfect place to chill after checking out the crafts and fresh produce at Eastern Market on Saturdays and Sundays. In the 1960's Roberta Flack, then a Jr HS music teacher in DC, got her professional start singing upstairs here.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's 50 things for women to do in Washington. Click!
5. PACK YOUR LEGGINGS -- writes Phyllis in St Louis, USA -- I am just discovering how comfortable they are and how versatile. They take up very little space in a suitcase too. I wore them on a trip to visit friends in Colorado last spring and could make so many different outfits with two long sleeve shirts, four tanks and a denim jacket. Costume jewelry and scarves add color and can change an outfit from day to night. I only wear Vionic shoes, great shoes with orthotics built in and I brought a pair for walking and a pair for going out. I will admit I also brought a pair of jeans just in case (never can go wrong there). But I am determined to only bring leggings when I travel this summer. You can push them up to wear like a capri pant or wear them to your ankle for a longer look (and you never have to worry about creasing).
6. BEST PERSON TO TRAVEL WITH -- writes Raina in Guelph, Canada -- Choose someone who you can share comfortable silences with. I spent three and a half weeks travelling with one friend before we started our semesters abroad in Fiji and New Zealand. We have different interests and had planned on splitting up on some days, but we stuck together and appreciated the slightly different perspectives. We even shared a tent almost the entire time, I don't think I could have picked a better buddy for my first big trip. And yes, we definitely could share comfortable silences.
EDITOR'S NOTE: More tips and advice on how to be a good travel partner. Click!
7. THIS WOMAN HELPED ME PLAN MY TRIP TO LONDON -- writes Nancy in Springfield, USA -- In planning my solo trip to London last fall I used the services of Connie Maderi (her fee is very reasonable). Connie set up a customized day-to-day itinerary for me based on my interests and my must-sees. Included were door-to-door directions (Tube, train and/or walking) from my hotel and back. Her travel directions were so detailed there was no chance of me getting lost. She also suggested places to visit that I hadn't considered but that fit my interests. Not having to figure out where to go each day and how to get there maximized my time and made for an efficient trip. I certainly was able to cover a lot of ground. There's so much to see in London and nearby areas that I would definitely use Connie for a second trip. I first saw Connie's ad in a JourneyWoman Newsletter a few years ago. Connie can be contacted at Connieslondonplanner.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: She Recommends Good Food for Less in London. Click!
8. HOW NOT TO LEAVE THINGS BEHIND AT THE END OF A CRUISE -- writes Shari in Fairview, USA -- I have two tricks that ensure that I won't disembark a ship and then panic because I forgot something in my cabin. (1) Pack small sticky notes (like Post-It notes). At the end of the cruise, put a sticky note on each drawer as soon as you empty it. That way you don't have to re-check drawers to make sure you've got everything. (2) On the last evening of the cruise put something you will really miss in the safe -- like your only pair of clean underwear or one shoe of the pair you will be wearing the next day. This way you cannot avoid going back to the safe and making sure it's empty.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are interested in cruising from a woman's point of view, Click here!
9. JW RECOMMENDS TWO EXCELLENT PLACES TO STAY IN LONDON -- writes Therese in Southern Gulf Islands, Canada -- Thanks to your website my adult daughter and I recently stayed at the Goodenough Club (LINK TO: http://www.club.goodenough.ac.uk/)in London and found it to be very good accommodations. Great location, safe and interesting - not far from Russell Square/British Museum. Big room, good staff and lovely breakfast buffet. I would also like to thank the person who recommended Hart House Hotel on your website - same trip, we found this hotel to be everything that was promised. Owner operated and very helpful staff, good sized room, beautifully kept and good breakfast facilities. Ask for a room at the back for a quiet stay. Love Journeywoman!
EDITOR'S NOTE: When you are in London next, try checking out these 5 markets. Click!
10. SAVE YOUR SOAP -- writes Ellen in Mahone Bay, Canada -- If you like to carry your own small bar of soap when travelling, you may find it melts away quickly. To prevent this, wet the bar and gently press a plastic water bottle lid into one side of it. This will keep it out of the water on the edge of the sink and it will last much longer.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Be frugal. Shop at Dollar Stores for these travel items. Click!
11. EXCELLENT GUIDE IN CAPE TOWN -- writes Bunny in Atlanta, USA -- I've just returned from Cape Town, South Africa and had the most incredible experience with a tour guide there. His name is Steve Bolnick. He will customize a tour to do exactly what you want to see and do. We didn't go on safari but did do a full day tour around Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park, Cape of Good Hope areas and more. Steve is very knowledgeable, professional, personable and smart. I cannot recommend him highly enough. His website is: stevebolnicksafaris.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This tip made me think of my 2008 time in South Africa on my Semester at Sea assignment. These diary pages talk about my time there. Click!
12. SAIL PAST THE STATUE OF LIBERTY IN NEW YORK -- writes Dorie in Connecticut, USA -- It used to be that the ferry to Staten Island cost 25-cents, but it is now free and it's unequivocally one of the best - and most enjoyable - deals going. A daytime cruise affords views of the Statue of Liberty and at night, millions of stars magically illuminate the skyline of Manhattan. The ride takes about 30 minutes, and although you have to disembark at St. George, you can line up nearby to get right back on to the return ferry. Website: www.siferry.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out 26 Reasons for Women to Love New York City. Click!
NEXT ISSUE WE'RE LOOKING FOR TIPS ON ANYWHERE IN EUROPE -- Europe is extra lovely in the spring and the summer seasons. With your help we are hoping to do an all-Europe 'Best Tips' in May. Would you help by sharing some advice learned while you toured Europe? Let's create a juicy collection of advice. We are counting on you. Please send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Put Europe Tip in the subject line.
P.S. As noted in our April Newsletter, everybody who submits a tip this month will be eligible to win a gorgeous pair of wooden salad servers that we found in a South African Market.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT TRAVEL TIP? -- In exchange for all the travel tips you've read in our newsletters in the past twelve months, please give back to our JW Network by sharing at least one juicy piece of your own travel advice. Not sure what to write about? We suggest you read the article, 'What Makes a Great Travel Tip?' for some basic ideas. Then send your advice to: email@example.com and put 'My 2015 Contribution' in the subject line. That will make us very happy.
PAST LINKS -- If you didn't read 'Best Tips for February' CLICK HERE or 'Best Tips for March' CLICK HERE
For oodles of more travel tips