1. AFFORDABLE CAFE IN LONDON, ENGLAND -- writes Karen in Victoria, Canada -- My suggestion for an affordable place to eat in London is the Cafe in the Crypt, in St. Martins in the Fields, Trafalgar Square. I recently spent a week in central London and the Cafe was the best and most affordable place I ate. There is something for everyone and the food is all made from scratch and on the premises. I spent a lot of time in the vicinity of Trafalgar Square and used the Cafe several times. While there are good restaurants in the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery, and around the area, if you are needing to watch your pennies, then the Cafe is for you. And, their Creme Brulee is the best!
EDITOR'S NOTE: We think that anybody travelling to London will benefit from reading the article, '25 Things Women Should Know About London'. Actually, even if you aren't planning a trip to London, reading these tips just might make you start dreaming.
2. EXCELLENT FEMALE GUIDE IN CAMBODIA -- writes Jane in New Berlin, USA -- I'd like to recommend a female guide in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her name is Kong Vitheany (she goes by Theany-pronounced "tee-ah-nee"). She's a very personable young woman with a good knowledge of the history and culture of Cambodia and works very hard to make sure that her visitors have their every question answered. In Cambodia, guides are located by city and Theany is one of few female guides. We experienced her guidance through an organized tour but she is available on an individual basis as well. She can be contacted by telephone (855) 17 56 81 81 or (855) 15 56 81 81 or by email Theany792@yahoo.com. We enjoyed her immensely!
3. RELIABLE AIRPORT TAXI SERVICE IN TEL AVIV -- writes Sunny in Tel Aviv, Israel -- If you require a lift to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, I would like to recommend Hadar Taxi Service. I simply call them the night before, state my preference for an English speaking driver and they have never let me down. The daytime fee (After 6:00 am) is 100 shekles (about US$30 at time of writing). A 25% surcharge for night trips is in effect from 9:01pm until 5:29am (from 4pm on Fridays and holiday eves). As is the custom in this city, tips for this taxi service are not expected. Number in Tel Aviv is 03-9711103
4. GREAT SALADS IN ALTEA, SPAIN -- writes Darlene in Vancouver, Canada -- Do you like salads? I discovered a wonderful restaurant in Altea, Spain that has the best salads ever. I have been to Cafe Opera in Altea a number of times. I have never been disappointed and I'm pleased to see the quality has not changed over the years. The café overlooks the Mediterranean with a large outdoor seating area surrounded by greenery. The tablecloths are decorated with sheet music and the menu, in four languages, looks like the program for an opera performance. The staff is very friendly and efficient. Inside the café, the walls are decorated with musical instruments and drawings of famous composers. But the best part is the food. I had a Beethoven salad on my first visit nine years ago, which was amazing. Although I was tempted to have it again the second visit a year ago, I opted for the Tchaikovsky salad and was not disappointed. A large portion of prawns rested on top of an assortment of greens surrounded by avocado and mango slices, wedges of pineapple, watermelon and tomatoes sprinkled with black Spanish olives. I savoured every morsel. The bill arrives in a small music box. The portions are generous, no need to order anything else, and the prices reasonable. This is an experience I hope to enjoy again one day and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good substantial salad, named after a famous composer.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Every Journeywoman should check out this article created by members of this JW Network and called: '25 Cheap and Cheerful Eats Around the World'. Guaranteed you'll find one to suit your taste.
5. PACK A SMALL OVER THE DOOR HOOK -- writes Marie in Philadelphia, USA -- When I travel I use an over-the-door hook that is easy to pack and fits in any carryon. To begin, I like to air out my clothes when I arrive. Then, I use it when I'm packing to leave by clearing out the closet and placing everything on the hook so I don't leave anything behind. It's also great for a wet raincoat or umbrella or to hang your bag of dirty laundry.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another '24 Household Items That Can Make Your Travel Experience Easier'.
6. HOTEL RECOMMENDATION FOR HO CHI MINH CITY -- writes Beth Marie in Kamloops, Canada -- I have travelled extensively in Vietnam. I would like to recommend the hotel, Madame Cuc 184 which is well located at 184 Cong Quynh in Ho Chi Minh City. Room rates are reasonable and value received was excellent. The owner is wonderful and her staff friendly and helpful. Be aware - there will be steps to climb. Many positive reviews on tripadvisor.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heading to Vietnam? Check out our archived article, '25 Things Women Should Know About Ho Chi Mihn City.' Click here.
7. PACK ONE EXTRA CASE FOR GLASSES -- writes Marti in Downers Grove, USA -- There is no end to the things you can put into one of those glasses cases that snaps (or zips) completely closed. It can hold jewelry, batteries, phone charger, camera cards, safety pins, lanyard, glasses repair kit, paper clips and rubber bands, bandaids, and all the endless list of little items you want handy when travelling but don't want to clutter your small toilet kit.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA IS GREAT FOR PLANNING YOUR HOLIDAY -- writes Marilyn in Stratford, Canada -- When planning a holiday, in the months leading up to your trip, follow the Facebook pages and twitter feeds of the country and city tourism associations. It's a good way to find out about current and new information. For example, I'm planning a trip to Vienna right now and found out about a new series of joint concerts by the Lipizzaner Horses and the Vienna Boys Choir just by following Vienna Tourism on Facebook. I ordered tickets right away and scored really good seats.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This past year a lot more Journeywoman readers have dipped their toes into social media and are demonstrating that they really like it. In our last newsletter we claimed 8702 Facebook followers. This month we are up to a whopping 9157 women and so many of them followed us and kept us company on our month long stay in Israel. If you missed those photos you can see a sampling right here. Want to try Facebook? You can sign up here and join our juicy conversations.
9. A WONDERFUL PLACE TO STAY IN BATH, ENGLAND -- writes Mary in Bloomingdale, USA -- The Aquae Sulis Guest House is lovely, and very comfortable for a woman traveling alone. Located just outside Bath on the city busline, the staff have looked after me beautifully. Not only do the city buses pass right outside, the A4 Airport bus from Bristol does as well, and the driver was kind enough to drop me off right in front of Aquae Sulis the day I arrived. A wonderful place to stay! Website: www.aquaesulishotel.co.uk
P.S. Traveling solo for weeks at a time means packing light and choosing versatile items. I love my Köppen pants! I found the first pair on sale and took them to Scotland. They were such a success, I found a second pair for my current trip to Ireland and England, and am very happy I did. They're comfortable, wash easily in the sink, dry quickly, and look like new. Strong enough for hiking, good looking enough for city visits. The cut is a bit different from standard US sizes and shapes, so try them first. I love mine!
10. VISIT THE QUEEN MARY IN LONG BEACH, USA -- writes Abbey in Laguana Niguel, USA -- For those visiting Long Beach, CA I would highly recommend seeing the Queen Mary, a retired English cruise ship that is permanently docked in the harbor. It is quite like stepping back in time to 1930's. They have a number of delightful tours that give you all kinds of fun information, like telling you where Fred Astaire practiced his dance routines on his numerous trips across "the pond." They do have rooms available where you can spend the night on board, however, I would recommend one of the many other good hotels in the area as there is no insulation in the ship walls and everything happening in the next room can be heard! There is a wonderful free shuttle service in Long Beach that can take you from most hotels to the Queen Mary. If you're in the area don't miss it.
11. AN INTERESTING TOWN IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC -- writes Debra in Vienna, Austria -- I highly recommend the town of Olomouc (pronounced "ohl-moots") in the Czech Republic, about halfway between Prague and Vienna. I was there in November and have already fallen in love with the place. It has beautiful architecture, is clean and safe, has museums, grand squares, and no other large groups of tourists. The food is delicious and cheap! - about 1/2 the price of Vienna. It's very green and has lots of parkland to stroll in. I can also recommend my spotless little pension just off a large square, "Penzion No. 2". It is inexpensive and has been newly renovated. It's a medieval building with the charming angles and slanting walls of age. It looks as though their website just links to their Penzion No.1, but I can attest that Penzion No. 2 is also charming. See: www.penzionno1-ubytovani-olomouc.cz Email: Jana.Jirgesova@ow.cz P.S. The coffee in Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic is far superior to that of Vienna, and I can't figure out why the lattes here are so much better. A sweet mystery!
12. EXCELLENT BOOK YIELDS EXCELLENT GUEST HOUSE IN ROME -- writes Barbara in Toronto, Canada -- My husband and I just returned from two weeks in Italy. Our last three nights were in Rome and we had chosen to reserve accommodation at a Catholic guest house called Il Rosario, one of many suggestions in a great book called "Good Night and God Bless" by Trish Clark. We were pleased with our clean, twin room with private bath and good breakfast, also the warm welcome from the Dominican Sisters who operate it. We paid 98 Euros a night, tax included. However, the real tip is to get the book -- Volume two is already in our personal library, and Volume one can be purchased on Amazon for $16. It's fascinating reading and these places are much more interesting and less costly then the average hotel. In future travels, we'll check this wonderful book before departure.
AND THE WINNER IS -- In November, we explained that one tip submitted for top 12 tips would be chosen at random to receive this lovely prize: 'Dreamers & Doers,' the world's first book about women who have been to Kilimanjaro. And the winner is, Susan In Philadelphia, USA. Susan please email your full email address and mailing address and we'll get that prize out to you ASAP.
WE HOPE THAT THIS NEW YEAR MEANS LOTS OF NEW TIPS -- Remember that the only fee you pay to be part of our Journeywoman Network is to send us one travel tip per year. That's all. We do the rest by sharing your knowledge with the rest of our members. We each know something juicy about a small hotel, wonderful things to see and do that are 'free', a solo friendly restaurant, a market that other women will love, a great book to read on holiday, a charming little museum that offers free admission, a novel way to protect our belongs, etc. etc, etc. So send firstname.lastname@example.org at least one contribution in this new year. Put the words, '2014 Contribution' in the subject line. Remember you don't need to be a great writer; English doesn't have to be your 1st language. It's our job to edit and share it with the rest of our travelling sisterhood.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST! -- For new tour ideas, travel products, discounts, free single supplements, etc. CLICK HERE.
PAST LINKS -- If you didn't read 'Best Tips for November', CLICK HERE. 'Best Tips for October' CLICK HERE
Oodles of more travel tips