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Women Writers Worldwide Share Travel Secrets 2006

Her Cayman Islands tasty souvenirs...

If you visit the Cayman Islands, check out Shruty Nakhwa's Icoa Chocolates shop in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Her addictive chocolates come in mouth-watering flavours like key lime, coconut truffle and passion fruit. Also on Grand Cayman, look for the Cayman Islands' most popular export -- Tortuga rum cakes. They come in pineapple, Blue Mountain coffee rum, chocolate, banana and other flavours, but my personal favourite is the original golden recipe. The Tortuga Rum Company stores also sell other delectable treats like rum-spiked mints, coffee and sauces. Yum!

Barb Kroll is a Canadian journalist, one-half of a wife/husband (Ron) travel writing/photography team and co-publisher of website

Here's some of my travel writer's safety hints...

(1) Traveling light is a key security measure. You will be better able to protect what you have if you take no more than you can tote easily on your own.

(2) Don’t be careless with your belongings at 35,000 feet. Just because you’re in the air, don’t assume your stuff is safe.

(3) Make sure the credit card receipt you receive is for the purchase you just made.

(4) Trusting a stranger because he (or she) is clean-cut, and honest-looking is never a good idea.

(5) Listen to your instincts, they’re probably well founded. If you feel something is awry, don’t ignore it. Move away. Cross the street. Drive on.

(6) When appropriate don a “don’t mess with me look.”

(7) If you are being followed by an unmarked car, even if one that has flashing lights don’t stop. Slow down, turn on the emergency flashers, call the police, report the situation and keep driving until an official police car catches up with you.

Anna Hobbs is a Toronto Star columnist and an Ontario freelance journalist and with a passion for wine.

Hurrah, you're a senior now...

Take advantage of your age. Wherever you go---from the movies to hotels, museums and historic sites, to supermarkets, buses, and beauty salons---ask whether there’s a senior discount. You hate to be identified as a senior? Snap out of it! Speak up and save yourself a lot of money. First of all, the minute you turn 50, you should never pay retail for a hotel room. Virtually every hotel in the country offers at least 10 percent off the rack rate, which is better than nothing, and some will give you more. Second, there are still a few airlines that have special fares, primarily Southwest, Delta Shuttle, and a lot of foreign carriers. Third, you’d be amazed how many shops, restaurants, and businesses offer you a break. Sometimes even your neighborhood Chinese restaurant may have senior specials.

Joan Heilman lives in New York State and is the author of 'Unbelievably Good Deals & Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're over 50' (McGraw-Hill)

Tearoom in Delft, Holland...

I'd like to tell JourneyWomen about Leonidas Lunch Tearoom, Choorstraat 24, Delft in The Netherlands. The food is fresh and delicious, the sandwich presentations pretty enough to photograph, but hearty enough for a full meal. The best part is the ambiance. There are tables on the pavement and inside the tearoom, but the loveliest spot is in the back garden with its covered terrace, vine-covered walls and shade tree. Next door is a Leonidas Chocolate Shop with impressive displays of chocolates, tins of powdered chocolate, chocolate chips, and decadent samples. Wonderful gifts to take home - if they last that long!

Carol Matthews is the Travel Writer for Eastern Canada, Website:

Two-star hotel in Milan...

If being close to the central station in Milan is an imperative, the Hotel Due Giardini is not only a very convenient and pleasant choice but, at between 75 and 130 euro a night for a double (depending on the season), it's also one of the best-value places to stay anywhere in town. Located in a two-storey townhouse in a residential street ten minutes walk from the station (or a short ride on the number 60 bus), the hotel really does have two, lovingly-tended, gardens. Breakfast is served here in the summer. The reception area and bar are on the ground floor, while the rooms are on the first and second (second and third for American readers). Although there is no elevator, staff are available to help with luggage. The hotel is at 47, Via Benedetto Marcello, the phone number is 02 29521093; fax: 0229516933 Website: Email:

Roberta Kedzierski -- is a freelance journalist, living in Florence, Milan. Website: &

The jazz is hot in Barbados...

Each January, the Barbados Jazz Festival offers shows in a variety of stunning historic sites, many of them outdoors. My favourite show locale, though, is Farley Hill National Park, where you can sit all day in the shade of a grove of mahogany trees and listen to great tunes. If you need a break from the hubbub, head to the benches at the back of the park, which overlook the hills and the sea. Bring a picnic, or buy patties, burgers and frosty beers onsite.

Laura Byrne Paquet is a Canadian freelance travel writer and author. Website:

Backpacks -- not meant to be portable cupboards...

Why do we need to carry from home the things that we could buy during our journey? Isn't is easier to just pick up these necessities as needed? I suggest you allot an extra amount for travel expenses in your budget to cover these little things along the way. Also, if you're travelling with a male partner, never tell him the exact content of your packpack. Instead of sympathizing with you about all the great tops you had to leave at home, he will challenge you by asking: “Sure that you need all that stuff?”, or, worse, he'll compare your heavy pack with those carried by intrepid “ninja-travellers” by taunting you with observations like... “Look at how small that girl's bag is!”....

Carlotta Jesi is an Italian journalist specialized in Foreign Affairs and social trends, working freelance for Vanity Fair and Corriere della Sera, one of the most important newspapers in Italy. Carlotta lives in Milan, wrote her first book “viaggidinozzezainoinspalla” (Honeymoons With Backpack) an Italian woman’s hilarious perspective, in Italian, on what it means to travel the globe with a backpack and, if that weren’t enough, her husband.

Safety first on the road...

When travelling have fun but be assertive (politely, if possible) in guarding your own life and limb. Before registering, ask to see the hotel room. Check for a peep-hole, double lock and proximity to elevators. (No dimly lit mile-long corridors, please.) Investigate connecting doors, balconies and fire exits. On the street, dress appropriately to avoid offending local sensibilities. Stay well away from marches, demonstrations or civil unrest and resist the urge to photograph them. Carry photocopies of your passport, your itinerary and home-based contacts and a list of your country's consular services in case you fail to heed the foregoing advice.

Isobel Warren is a freelance travel writer from Newmarket, Canada, and author of the forthcoming "Travel Safe and Savvy" (Cedar Cave Books, September 2006).

Journeywoman Bonus Tip...

Travelling to Florence, Italy? When in this city where leather fashion abounds, it helps to get a referral if you plan on doing any buying. It was American JW reader, Nancy who met me for dinner one evening and showed off her latest Italian purchase -- funky, butter-soft black gloves with different color leather between each finger. What fun they were and very nicely made. The next day I, too, made my way to Roberta's, a tiny leather shop located on Borgo S. Jacapo 78r (a tiny street that runs parallel to the Arno between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte S. Trinita ) and owned by a sister-brother team. Their merchandise is impressive and prices were far better than those in the "tourist" part of town. Pick from unlined or lined (silk or cashmere) gloves in every colour of the rainbow. I bought the gifts for the important people in my life at Roberta's. They loved them and I stayed well within my budget. Website:

P.S. On my latest trip to Florence, I popped into Roberta's once again. This time I found their new line of women's handbags in both suedes and leathers. Styles, quality of materials and prices extremely yummy!

Interested in reading the 2005 list of tips by travel journalists, click here.





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