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 Sydney (Australia), Tel Aviv (Israel) and London, (England) what follows are this issue's top twelve travelling tips. Enjoy, everybody.
1. TIME ON MY OWN IN FRANCE -- writes Hollie in Lexington, USA -- Inspired by Journeywoman, last summer I spent a delightful week vacationing on my own in the French Pyrenees. What made the week so special was staying at Tourné, a bed and breakfast in the small village of Castelnau Durban. Owners Paula and Ram moved to France from England and are wonderful hosts and cooks. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and I fell asleep each night listening to the burble of the brook that runs through their front yard. The house is within striking distance (by car -- the roads are easy to drive on) of many castles and cathedrals, caves, hiking trails, museums, charming towns, you name it. My highlight was a day trip to Carcassonne -- simply amazing! Website: tourne.eu
2. SMALL GIFTS FROM HOME -- writes Terri in Nanaimo, Canada -- When I travel, I like to take small gifts with me to offer as a thank you. Recently I found some small bottles of Canadian maple syrup (in little maple leaf shaped bottles) that were under $6 each. I took a few of them with me, (wrapped in bubble wrap and then put them in a zip lock bag so they don't make a mess if they break). They were lovely to add to a tip for a guide or to add to a small thank you card. They are small enough to not make anyone feel like they need to return a gift, and seemed to be appreciated by the recipients. Be careful about bringing them as a hostess gift, however, as some cultures take offense to a gift of food. Stick with flowers for dinner invitations, unless you know you won't cause offense (then take flowers anyway and add a bottle to the wrapping)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are some other culturally correct tips for you. Click!
3. BEST CLOTHES FOR COMFORT FOUND IN SAN FRANCISCO -- writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada -- For comfortable travelling my favorite clothing label is Cut-Loose. That's why I was pleased to discover that there is a Cut-Loose outlet shop in the San Francisco's Mission District. Of course, I couldn't resist checking it out. In the few hours I had before departing for the airport I took the BART at Powell a few stops (24th Mission District) and walked a couple of blocks to their 1218 Valencia Street @23rd Street address. The shop is very basic - just racks displaying styles from previous seasons that are reduced to affordable price points. I was like a kid in a candy shop trying on outfit after outfit in their communal dressing room. And I was successful. The light linen coat I scored was reduced by 50% and it will be a wonderful addition to my travel wardrobe. Website: www.cutloose.com/store-locator/san-francisco P.S. There's some interesting sightseeing in that area as well.
4. BUDGET HOTEL IN LONDON -- writes May Ann in Boston, USA -- I want other JourneyWomen to know about The Alhambra in London, a great place if you want a budget hotel in the Kings Cross/St. Pancras area. It's a three minute walk to the tube station that has many lifts--so it's great if your luggage is heavy. Also, KIngs Cross & St. Pancras is connected to many tube lines, the Eurostar and bus lines. If you leave from the St. Pancras station--take the Euston St. exit. My room was spotless and modern. It had ample lighting, storage and mirrors. Wi-Fi was good and my room had an ample desk for work. Breakfast was filling and prompt. (Go early between 7-8 AM). Staff was friendly & helpful. They kindly lent me an adapter since I brought the wrong one. There was a Coffee/Tea maker in the room. In my opinion, it's a perfectly safe area. And for the record, I'm fairly conservative when it comes to safety. Is it charming-no. Its hard to be charming when there's a Burger King at the corner. The distance from Tube station to this hotel is about two minutes (less if you didn't have to deal with crossing a busy street). Website: www.alhambrahotel.com
5. SEW YOUR OWN SAFETY POCKETS -- writes Trisha in Olympia, USA -- My travel tip suggestion is to introduce you to a very small pattern company in Oregon, USA called Saf-T-Pockets. Their patterns feature many pockets in each item of clothing. They are perfect for travel. Yes, someone would have to make the clothing, but for those who sew it is no problem and the bonus is that they choose the material and colors they like. For others, they can have a dressmaker create what they want. I hope you will check their website to see what you think. Website: www.saf-t-pockets.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are not a seamstress yourself, you can buy ready made T-shirts and underwear with hidden pockets already sewn into them at Clever Travel Companion. Click!
6. TAXI, SHUTTLE BUS OR LOCAL BUS? -- writes Margaret in Hamilton, Canada -- Something to think about when you travel. Upon arriving at my destination I enjoy taking local buses to my accommodation. This enables me to have a brief tour and feel the vibe of a new city at a very minimal cost. However, departing my destination I always wish to stay as long as possible and therefore will sometimes use a shuttle or taxi to the airport. P.S. I found a great woman-friendly service in Jacksonville Beach Florida called Floridian Transportation with female drivers and half the cost of a shuttle bus.
7. WHERE THE NEW YORK LOCALS HANG OUT -- writes Sunny in Tel Aviv, Israel -- Recently, I celebrated my birthday with a Girlfriends Getaway in the Big Apple. My pals and I chose Jubilee, a casual yet sophisticated French bistro that is a neighbourhood favorite. Jubilee serves a prix-fixe dinner menu between 4 - 6:30 PM. Two courses for $28.50 including wine, beer or sparkling water. There were not only couples and groups of diners when we were there but we saw several solo women diners as well. We enjoyed an excellent atmosphere and very good food. Address: 948 1st Ave (between 52nd and 53rd). Reservations suggested. Website: www.jubileeny.net/menus/dinner-menu
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is such an in formative article! Read 20 Cheap Eats for Women to Love in New York City.
8. TAKE NOTES WITH YOUR CAMERA -- writes Sherry in Ottawa, Canada -- When you're in a museum, at a park, visiting notable architecture, etc., try to remember to take photos of the plaques/descriptions that go with the photo you are taking. You may think you will remember everything you see as well as the name of it, but chances are something will slip and so at least you will have a reminder next to the photo you've taken.
9. FUNKY JEWELLERY AND GREAT EATS IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- writes Diane in Toronto, Canada -- I have two jewelry shop suggestions and one restaurant that I think women will enjoy. (1) Family Jewels (87A Macleay Street, Potts Point) in Potts Point, Sydney sells funky affordable costume jewellery in every colour imaginable. These are great for dressing up your travel wardrobe. (2) In Strawberry Hills, Sydney, I found the store called, Extinct (585 Elizabeth St), where Dinosaur Designs slightly flawed or discontinued jewellery lines are sold at 30-50% discounts. Their products are mostly lightweight bracelets and rings made from resin (excellent gift ideas). (3) Lastly, I want to recommend a real find for lunch in Sydney. It's called The Kepos Street Kitchen in Redfern (96 Kepos Street). If you're willing to wait for a table at lunch (they don't accept lunch reservations) you won't be disappointed. Food and service were both enjoyable the Saturday I was there.
10. DON'T WASH ALL YOUR TROUSERS AT THE SAME TIME -- writes Stephanie in Durham, USA --Here's a tip I'm sure you've never heard before. When doing laundry out of town, never put all your pants (trousers) in the wash at the same time (expecting them to dry by the morning). You never know when a traveling companion will need you to accompany them to the emergency room at midnight, and you may just end up there in your pajamas or in damp trousers! I know. It happened to me!
11. DOING RATHER THAN SEEING -- writes Elizabeth in Denver, USA -- Near the end of my trip in Barcelona, I was becoming bored with sightseeing. I started looking for ideas online and ended up finding a place in the Born district called Mosaiccos, a workshop where you can do mosaic/trencadis work. I did a two hour session and completed a picture frame. I don't consider myself artistic, and I do consider myself a perfectionist, so it took me a little bit to get comfortable. However, once I was I had a blast and ended up with such a personal souvenir from my trip. When I weed through my photos, one of my Spain pictures will go in that special frame. Angelika, the owner of the workshop, was super friendly and super helpful. Overall, this is just a great experience that I want to recommend to other JourneyWomen. Website: www.mosaiccos.com/uk
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read about another traveler's papier mache workshop in San Miguel D'Allende, Mexico. Click!
12. TWO TRAVELLERS BUT ONLY ONE ADAPTOR AND CONVERTER -- writes Jenny in Sydney, Australia -- I've just returned from a trip to Thailand and Laos with my daughter. I took a four-plug power board so that we could both charge our equipment at the same time. In these days of mobile phones, tablets and cameras needing regular charging & power outlets being in short supply and in strange locations in rooms, it came in very handy. Some fellow travellers also took advantage of our extra plugs and they were grateful indeed. The big added benefit is that we only needed one adaptor/ converter for everybody.
PAST LINKS -- If you didn't read 'Best Tips for March' CLICK HERE or 'Best Tips for April' CLICK HERE.
For oodles of more travel tips