1. PACK AN INFLATABLE GLOBE BEACH BALL -- writes Brenda in Prince George, Canada -- Whenever I travel I take one of them with me. They take up no room at all in your bag and they are great for playing with kids no matter where in the world you happen to be. Inflate the beach ball and show the children which country you live in and how far you've traveled to get to meet them. It's a great conversation starter and often leads to a game of ball toss. Then, before I depart for home I give my beach ball away to a deserving child. You can be sure that I'm always rewarded with a huge smile.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more ways to make friends on the open road, click here.
2. NIKE AIR RUNNING SHOES ARE PERFECT FOR MEXICO -- writes Joanna in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- My number one safety tip for walking the uneven cobblestone streets and often hazardous sidewalks in San Miguel is Nike Air men's basketball shoes. They have superb shock absorption so you do not even feel the cobblestones plus they offer excellent ankle support for stability. And, believe it or not, they are also stylish! I bought two pairs my first snowbird winter and they are still going strong.
3. BEST INDIAN FOOD IN TORONTO -- writes Marilyn in Toronto, Canada -- I'd like to recommend Bukhara Grill, a relative new addition to our city's dining scene. They serve some of the best Indian food I've had outside of India, including a number of dishes I'd never seen on an Indian menu before - including the Kashmiri naan, a deliciously crisp, thin and buttery bread enclosing a filling of fruit and nuts that I will order forever. It's clean and comfortable with white linen tablecloths and napkins, and a good selection of beers and wines. P.S. I'm told that Monday is the chef's volleyball night, so perhaps Tuesday - Sunday might be a better choice to visit. Address: 2241A Bloor Street West. Runnymede subway station.
EDITOR'S NOTE: At Journeywoman we have a full section on 'eating and travel' with loads of good tips that every traveller will enjoy. Click here.
4. HOW MUCH SHAMPOO SHOULD I PACK? -- writes Kay in Fresno, USA -- Right now, even before you have a trip planned, put an ounce or two of your must-have shampoo, moisturizer, lotion, etc. into travel size containers and see how long each size lasts in regular use. I realized from this test that I was vastly over estimating what I needed for one or two week trips and was able to cut back significantly on the liquids I carry. This test period is also a time to think about which items must be the same brand you always use and what can be supplemented with those provided by the lodging or purchased locally at your destination.
5. TEA AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM IN LONDON, ENGLAND -- When visiting a museum there is only so much information a traveler can take in at a time. We love the fact that at the British Museum there is an oasis where one can go, enjoy a cup of tea and just relax. The British Museum's Court Restaurant overlooks the magnificent 19th-century Reading Room. Their afternoon tea menu features sandwiches, scones and cream, and a selection of pastries. There's also a Champagne Tea, and a Viennese Tea with coffee and traditional Demel chocolate cake. Website: www.britishmuseum.org
EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are many more excellent suggestions on where to enjoy afternoon tea in London. Some are posh, others much more casual. Click here.
6. EXCELLENT FEMALE GUIDE IN PRAGUE -- writes Carolyn in Twin Falls, USA - If you are planning a trip to Prague, I highly recommend Katerina Svobodova. She led our group and did a fantastic job. You can reach her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or (+420) 603 181 300 on her cell phone. Website: www.praguewalker.com P.S. Conde Naste recently listed Prague as one the most 10 desired places to visit this year.
7. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHS AT TORONTO'S ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM -- writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada - I absolutely loved this photography exhibit entitled, 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' How could I not? It celebrates nature and wildlife through100 stunning photos, selected from tens of thousands of submissions by photographers of all ages around the world. Perfect for the whole family! Website: www.rom.on.ca
EDITOR'S NOTE: We invite you to browse our Journeywoman photography section. Perhaps it will whet your appetite for your own adventure in 2015. Click here.
8. A POWER STRIP IS INDISPENSIBLE -- writes Caroline in Mana, New Zealand - Nowadays one of the things I have found most useful when travelling is a 4-plug power strip with surge protection and a 6-foot cord. Quite often in hotels there's only a couple of power points or the ones that exist are in hard to reach places. This means that you have to take turns to charge your phone, your tablet, your camera etc. With the power board you can charge everything all at once without any problems at all.
9. LADIES TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELVES -- writes Suzanne in Montreal, Canada - For the last seven years, I have been travelling solo a few weeks every year and loving it. As a mother of three teenagers, there's nothing like going away to realize how lucky you are and fully appreciate what you have in life. I've been married for 24 years and you know what? I think that's the secret. Take some time away from each other a few weeks every 12 months.
10. BEST LITTLE GUIDE TO PARIS, FRANCE -- writes Barbara in Walnut Creek, USA - When you arrive in Paris, go to a newspaper kiosk and buy Pariscope. It's in French but you will be able to figure it out. It's inexpensive, maybe one dollar, and has sections devoted to concerts, museums, galleries, movies, metro stops for each event, times, etc. Within each section, it is organized by date. It will tell you if the movies are subtitled or offered in English. It's where I find the concerts, almost always classical music, which are held in old churches. Pariscope comes out every Wednesday. Absolutely the greatest resource.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heading to Paris? Here's 100+ tips that you will enjoy. Click here.
11. DON'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT YOUR UMBRELLA -- writes Deb in Vancouver, Canada - My advice is to buy yourself a small, light umbrella just for travel. Don't use it at home; keep it in your suitcase so it's always there when you go away. Whether to shield you from rain or wet snow or from the blazing sun in hot climates, I promise you it will always come in handy.
12. GREAT GIFT FOR THE OLDER TRAVELLER -- writes Journeywoman Editor Evelyn Hannon - I recently received a KOBO Aura H2O e-reader to review. I already knew all about the Kobo being so light (233 g). I knew it's totally waterproof and dustproof for beach holidays. Of course, those are both impressive assets for travellers. However, as an older adult whose eyes tire very easily, I am totally in love with the readability of the Kobo Aura H2O. It has the highest resolution screen on the market in a waterproof ereader. And, I can adjust the brightness/light of the screen as well as the font size until my reading feels totally comfortable. Plus, I just found out that I'm able to download e-books on to my Kobo directly from my local library and that service is totally free. I'm calling this my best pre-Christmas gift yet. Want to know more? Website: Kobo.com
WHO WON THE GREEN TEA KITKAT BARS FROM JAPAN? - Our lucky travel tip winners this month are Brenda in Prince George, Canada and Caroline in Twin Falls, Idaho, USA. Ladies, please email your mailing address to me and I'll send your treats out A.S.A.P.
BONUS TIP - ALMONDS ARE A TRAVELLER'S BEST FRIEND -- writes Wendy in Vacaville, USA -- I always have a small bag of almonds in my purse whenever I travel. They give me just enough energy and keep me from getting too hungry if lunch or dinner is too far away. But, they don't fill me up too much. Buy your supply before you leave home, ladies.
WE'RE OFFERING TWO NEW TRAVEL JOURNALS FOR 2015 - Journeywoman is giving away two copies of '1,000 Places to See Before You Die Traveler's Journal' by Patricia Schultz. Besides places for diary entries, each includes intriguing destination ideas plus a reference section for international travel. Simply tell us about your favorite B&B and/or your favorite moderately priced restaurant anywhere in the world. We'll print those tips and the names of lucky winners in our January 2015 issue. Contest closes January 15th. Address submissions to: email@example.com. Put '1000 Places' in the subject line.
PAST LINKS -- If you didn't read 'Best Tips for November' CLICK HERE , 'Best Tips for October' CLICK HERE
For oodles of more travel tips