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Journeywoman's Best Tips of 2005

Pack an umbrella for China -- cautions Julie from Singapore -- No, it’s not because of the weather. I used mine for a totally different reason and that reason is modesty. If you’re travelling to the outskirts of any Chinese cities and need to use a washroom, you’ll find that not all toilet doors close properly or even close at all. Just open your umbrella, hold it in front of you and it can save you a lot of embarrassment.

A short tip about towels -- writes Jill from Australia -- On the road for a long time? It's always helpful to have a towel in your backpack. I suggest you purchase an extra large, absorbent, cotton tea towel. These make fabulous, inexpensive travel towels and they don't take up too much room in your bag.

No deet repellent -- writes Laury in Brunei Darussalam -- I'm a Canadian living on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Since I have two young children and we live next to the jungle, I need a good repellent which does not contain DEET. There is one kind - Zero Bite - which I found works just as well (I've tested this during jungle hikes). I buy this product in Vancouver, Canada but you can locate it online by doing a Google search. Ed. note: I found it at (amongst others) which says 'Zero Bite's unique plant extracts bolster the skin's natural ability to repel insects'.

ED. NOTE: JourneyWomen offer tips on the top 25 things to pack in your backpack. You can find this helpful archived article at:

Cool ice cream parlous in Chicago -- writes Erica from Minniapolis, USA -- When I visited Chicago a few years ago, I was taken to a very cool ice cream parlour called Margie's Candies (they also make and sell candy). These people make their own ice cream and all the sundaes are served in big, plastic half clamshells. The booths at Margie’s are gold vinyl and there are lots of interesting things hanging off the walls and perched on shelves. If your adventuress radar is sensitive enough, you'll definitely get a blip on your screen where Margie's is located -- roughly on Western Ave. and Armitage Ave., just outside the Western El stop, northwest of downtown. I think the area is called Bucktown. Tel: 773.384.1035

ED. NOTE: Want more advice about Chicago? We think you'll find, 'Women Tell Women About Chicago' helpful:

Homemade Bon Voyage gifts -- writes Susan from Melbourne, Australia -- Are you a whiz on the PC and printer? How about putting your technical skills to good use and produce a set of personal business cards for your traveler? Rather than print their full contact details, put just their name and email address. This makes swapping contact details with new acquaintances both easy and safe. Than, a quick trip around the aisles at your local drugstore and you can make a handy little Flight Survival Kit. Include, aspirin, ear plugs, lollipops or hard candies (to relieve air pressure on landing), mouthwash, breath mints, hand-wipes and a pen (I always forget to pack a pen!) in a colorful cosmetic purse or bag. Finally, a compilation disc of your traveler’s favorite music is always a hit. A few dollars for a blank disc and a walk through your music collection will soon locate a personal Top 10 Hits to entertain your traveler on the road.

ED. NOTE: Want more gift ideas? Visit:

College dorms are safe and women-friendly -- writes Catherine from Montreal, Canada -- Massey College on the University of Toronto campus is normally a dorm for handpicked graduate students, but they accept guests during the summer. They have single and double rooms, simply furnished but comfortable, and cafeteria-style breakfast is included. It's quiet, inexpensive (50-80$CAN), centrally located, and it feels more like a home than an hotel (don't be surprised if permanent residents sit down with you at breakfast). Perks include a common room with at least half-a-dozen daily newspapers and a beautiful park in the quad. Website:

ED. NOTE: Journeywoman has lots more inexpensive college dorm suggestions at:





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