1. A BUDGET LUNCH IN CUENCA, ECUADOR — writes Regina in Cuenca, Ecuador — I have a great tip for other women in our Journeywoman Network. You will not want to miss the most delicious, healthy, and hearty lunch buffet imaginable for only $US3.75. Your meal, called an almuerzo, will include homemade soup, one of three daily entree choices, salad, potato or rice, dessert, and unlimited juice. Visit Alma Bendita (which means Blessed Soul) in the historic center of the city. Address: Pres. Cordova #8-34, 2nd floor, between Benigno Malo and Luis Cordero.
2. WHAT TO WEAR IN HAWAI’I — writes Helina in Maui, Hawai’i — I am an European, but have lived in Hawai’i for the last 32 years. What I have noticed is that tourists who come to the Islands buy colorful (I mean screaming!) Aloha shirts and MuuMuus. Please know that this will immediately identify you as a tourist. In Hawaiian resort areas men wear sophisticated Aloha shirts (Think Tommy Bahama, not Hilo Hattie ) and women wear nice, flowing maxi dresses for Luaus. These always go well with an orchid lei around your neck. Or you can choose soft cotton string pants, with a tunic. Light, fashionable and comfortable. Think white, coral, aquamarine, floral prints and you will fit right in here. Enjoy my Hawai’i.
3. A WELCOMING HOMESTAY IN CUBA — writes Tracy in Beijing, China — We have already visited Cuba and we would like to let everyone traveling to Cienfuegos know about our excellent homestay/hostel experience there. To gain a thoroughly tremendous Cuban experience we suggest that you stay with Roque & Libia. They were our greatest link to knowing about Cuba, its past, its future and so much more. They made us feel like part of their family. Our rooms were very clean including a private bath with a shower. If you want to know Cuba first hand you should stay with these people. Address: Avenida 50 No. 4130 entre 41 y 43, Cienfuegos 55100. Phone: 5343516130.
4. HOW TO TRANSPORT CHOCOLATE BACK HOME — writes Doreen in Saskatchewan, Canada — I imagine other JourneyWomen are chocolate lovers but they, too, wonder how they can bring chocolate from their travels back safely without it melting or getting damaged in travel. I always travel with a couple of those shiny silver insulated travel envelopes in my suitcase. They’re perfect for keeping chocolate bars cool and safe all the way home. The trick is to put your chocolate into your room fridge until you are leaving, and then slipping it into the heat resistant packet before you hit the road. By doing this, my chocolate acquisitions always arrive home in good shape and ready for sharing.
5. SAVE $$$ WHEN TRAVELING — writes Paula in Santa Fe, USA — In many U.S. cities, restaurants and bars offer Happy Hour specials on appetizers as well as drinks. These are often the same or a slightly smaller version of their regular appetizers, but they cost much less, and you can make a dinner out of appetizers. For example, Lambert’s in Taos, New Mexico has a good selection of appetizers and salads at a discount during happy hour. The last time I stopped in, I ordered several and spent less than $20, about half of what a dinner entree costs there. My usual strategy when traveling is to eat the breakfast provided at my hotel or B&B, skip lunch, and have an early dinner, so happy hour (which is usually in the 2:30-5:30 PM range) works perfectly for me.
6. MOSQUITOES IN CUBA — writes Donna in San Diego, USA – This is helpful information I learned while in Cuba that I want to pass along to other JourneyWomen readers. To counter mosquitoes, homes in Cuba are fumigated every week. A troupe of military workers walks the neighborhoods in Trinidad and Havana, going inside all the homes and spraying a diesel-powered plume of insecticide inside each one. Residents cover food inside prior to the fumigation patrol and folks and pets all go outside. It’s loud, it smells bad and who knows what is in there – so, if you’re chemically sensitive, keep that in mind.
7. CHEAP TRAVEL PILLOW — writes Rona in Vancouver, Canada — Here’s my little secret. I always travel with a dollar store inflatable beach ball. If blown up partially, it can be used on planes or buses as a travel pillow, lumbar support or a sit-on pillow for bumpy jeep rides on safari. When not in use, deflate it and unlike bulky neck pillows it takes up no room in your carry-on. Try it. It’s perfect!
8. WHY I TRAVEL WITH A NECK PILLOW — writes Christina Smith in New Braunfels, USA — I bring my blow-up neck pillow for long flights but I don’t use it for my neck. I use it to put my feet on! The extra couple of inches and the little bit of squish keep my feet comfortable and my legs more relaxed. It makes a huge difference. I bet you’ll recommend it to other travelers once you’ve tested it yourself.
9. SALADS AND CHICKEN IN TORONTO, CANADA — writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada — Flock is the perfect name for this restaurant that has created a menu of delicious salads (which can be ordered in small or large sizes) and succulent mains featuring mouth-watering rotisserie chicken. Pick anything on their list of offerings and it arrives filled with fresh, healthy ingredients. I especially enjoy the half portion of Power Salad – Romaine Hearts, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onions, Marinated Black Beans, Daikon Soy Beans, Cilantro, Goji Berries, Crispy Chick Peas, Sunflower Seeds with a Carrot/Ginger/SoyBean/White Miso Dressing. To it, I added a side of juicy chicken for my extra protein fix and my full bill amounted to under $17. P.S. The sides and chicken sandwiches are all delicious, too. Check this website for their four locations in Toronto. This is the perfect place for a weary traveller to refuel after a full day of sightseeing. Dress: very informal.
10. BE TREATED LIKE A GODDESS IN SHKODER, ALBANIA — writes Faith in Asheville, USA — At the recommendation of a fellow traveler I visited Albania without any expectations and with limited knowledge of the country. I stayed eight nights at a family guest house in Shkoder and was treated like a “goddess”. The Florian Shkodra Kola guest house is situated in a semi-rural area about a 30-minute walk to the center of Shkoder. You will receive a warm welcome and excellent hospitality from this Albanian family. They offer fresh home-cooked meals from the garden plus their homemade wine. Florian manages the guest house and is helpful in planning tours, providing transportation and socializing in the evening. It should be noted that Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in Europe. From the Rozafa Fortress, you will have stunning views over the whole city. Albania, in general, has stunning natural beauty with crystal clear lakes and mountains that are wonderful for hiking. One of the tours provided by the family was a 30-minute drive to a mountain resort with beautiful scenery, beautiful people, laughter, relaxation, an Albanian lunch, and many wonderful photo opportunities. For more information visit their website: florianguesthouse.wordpress.com
11. CAMPING IN THE MIDDLE OF SYDNEY HARBOUR — writes Maria in Sydney, Australia — What better experience in Sydney, Australia than camping on an island right in the middle of Sydney Harbour? Cockatoo Island, a short ferry ride from Circular Quay is a historic site from our convict days, also a major former shipyard, now restored. Apart from Day Trips, the island offers various levels of camping, and you don’t necessarily need your own tents, etc. Ferries come to the island regularly so you are within a gorgeous boat trip of Sydney’s attractions. One night for two adults and two kids starts at $A89 or $US68. Visit cockatooisland.gov.au and book online. The site has great amenities, its own cafes, and stores and is very safe.
12. DELICIOUS TURKISH RESTAURANT IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY — writes Judy in Pickering, Canada — If you are travelling to Budapest, Hungary, there is a delicious Turkish restaurant near the Big Synagogue. Ararat Kebab is located at Dohány utca 5/a around the corner from the building. For approximately $5.00 US or $6.95 CDN the meal includes a main course, side dish, and soup/salad. The choices are many, always fresh and the portions are very satisfying. My husband is a large eater and even he could not finish the meal. The staff is extremely friendly and the restaurant is open late. Take a chance and you will not be disappointed. The restaurant can be found on Facebook under Ararat Kebab. Enjoy!
ANOTHER YEAR HOPEFULLY MEANS ANOTHER TIP FROM EACH ONE OF YOU — Our Journeywoman Network was founded on the premise that with a readership of women worldwide who loved to travel we could keep replenishing our travel advice for many years to come with the tips that each of you supplies. Here it is our 24th year and we’re still going strong! All we ask is that you submit one bit of advice in the next 12 months. It should be a topic that you know other members of our network will find helpful. Hotels, museums, books, restaurants, hostels, guides, shops. There are so many categories to choose from that sending something our way should be very easy, indeed. Email your tips to email@example.com.
Thank you for the help, everybody.