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Best Travel Tips of 2015
AFFORDABLE RESTAURANT IN CUENICA, ECUADOR -- writes Regina in Cuenica -- I live here and I suggest that you sample delicious, exotic Colombian cuisine at the busy and affordable spot called Moliendo Café on Honorato Vasquez and Borrero. It is owned by a tireless couple from Colombia. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I suggest you try the Arepas. These are thick Colombian corn tortillas as big as a dinner plate with at least a dozen toppings to choose from, everything from beans to chicken to shredded pork.

HOW DOES THE SHOWER WORK? -- writes Clare in Topsham, USA -- Wherever you stay in Britain, get your host/porter to explain the shower before he or she leaves the room after carrying your bag in. In eight different guest houses in England I encountered eight different ways to turn on or use the shower. In one you had to pull a cord outside the shower on the wall to turn on the hot water. I live in a retirement village. Cords in the wall there mean "call for help." What was I supposed to do, on the third floor of a top-rated B&B, stark naked, with a male host? I took a cold shower. I think someone should write a book showing the different kinds of showers and how they work, something like explaining the different foreign coins.

BEST VEGAN BURGERS IN WINNIPEG, CANADA -- writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada -- Please remember the name Boon Burger Cafe at 79 Sherbrook Street. This was one of my lunch stops and what a great choice it was. Boon Burgers is a small eatery with a very cool selection of vegan burgers (in a very different type of bun) served with baked yukon gold potatoes or a selection of salads. Picture this example from their menu - The Buddha burger consists of a curried chickpea patty, creamy curry mayo, red pepper peach chutney, sliced cucumber, tomato, red onion and lettuce. Or you can try their Thanksgiving burger with (of course) cranberries that also looked so very tasty. You can check out their complete menu online at: www.boonburger.ca. Boon Burger is completely solo friendly. Seating is at two very long tables with benches on either side. You can't help but talk to the folks sitting around you. I did and they turned out to be a husband and wife discussing plans for their upcoming trip to the Amazon. I had a terrific time there. Even if you're not a vegan, I think you will, too. Website: www.boonburger.ca.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Heading to the Canadian Prairies? Check out 12 Things a Woman Will Enjoy in Winnipeg.'

THIS APARTMENT IN VICTORIA, BC, CANADA SLEEPS FOUR -- writes Wendy in Vacaville, USA -- If you are more than two people looking for a central place to stay in Victoria, BC, check out the Bella Belvedere Apartment managed by Victoria Prime. This was our home for a week with another couple. We had two rooms with two full bathrooms. It offered fantastic service including WIFI, great location in the heart of downtown, and was reasonably priced. Our concierge, Sharon, was amazing. Check their website for photos.

SAVE NOTE PADS FROM HOTELS -- writes Lorraine in Wellington, New Zealand -- Lots of women who travel save the shampoo and soaps from their hotel stays and offer them to charities that collect and regift them. I suggest that you save the note pad and pens left for your use in your hotel room. I give these to the village children I meet when travelling in Cambodia and they seem to like them and make good use of them.

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN BOUTIQUE HOTEL -- writes Leslie in Etobicoke, Canada -- The Refinery Hotel hosts the most sought after hidden gem of a bar in its exclusive rooftop terrace. Check out the up close and personal view of the Empire State Building (only two blocks away) while sipping fancy cocktails and eating light bites. Opens at 4pm daily. Get there early or call to book a table in advance as it's a real draw for hipsters and hotel guests alike. And be sure to consider staying at the hotel itself (a rebuild of an old hat factory), which is both hip and charming with more than decent sized rooms. Be sure to say hello to manager Albert on your way in. As a frequent guest, every time I stay there I'm greeted with a "welcome home Miss Leslie" and a complimentary bottle of wine or cupcakes. Heavenly luxurious splurge. 63W 38th Street between 5th and 6th. Website: www.refineryhotelnewyork.com

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 Tourn#233;, 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

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!

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