Over the years it's become our tradition to pick 'the best of the best' travel tips our readers submitted over the last year. It's always such a hard job to decide which tips will have the 'prestige' of being posted on our site for posterity. As you'll see these are all travel suggestions 'by women for women.' They are all (to the very best of our knowledge) authentic, culturally correct and tested by females.
Once again we're encouraged that these tips are truly international. They've been submitted by women close to home in North America as well as from our Journeywoman members all over the world -- from New York City, USA to Melbourne, Australia and from Drammen, Norway to Toronto, Canada and many other destinations in between. Each bit of advice we chose is designed to keep you safe, healthy, comfortable, budget-conscious and having fun as you go out to explore our great big world.
For those visitors to our website who are not yet receiving our newsletter, here is a sampling of the best tips our members read in 2009. For those who do receive our newsletter, here, again, is a helpful trip down memory lane. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and thank you to everybody who helps to make our Journeywoman Network the largest and the juiciest in the world.
WHAT'S COOKING IN PARIS? -- writes Jennifer in Almos, Mexico -- On a recent business trip to Paris, I had a free day to myself. Perusing the Web in advance, I found a cooking school that gave short one to three course classes. I signed up for a 90 minute class in which we made a crab/avocado/grapefruit appetizer, chicken stuffed with beet roulades, and an apple crisp dessert. All this for 54 Euros. The best part was the group meal afterwards where all 16 students sat around and ate what we had just created. A great way to meet people and learn something about French cooking. Check out their website: http://www.atelierdeschefs.co.uk/
GOOD PLACES TO STAY IN STRATFORD AND LONDON, UK -- writes Elizabeth in Vancouver, Canada -- I just got back from a solo birthday trip to Stratford and London, England. In Stratford I stayed at the Broadlands Guest House, a Victorian home built in 1901. In 2008 this B&B was chosen one of the 100 Best Places to Stay in England by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. The hosts, Jeremy and Tamara are so very thoughtful. On the morning of my birthday there was a 'Happy Birthday' banner in the dining room, a big 'Birthday Girl' plaque at my table and later in the day a cake with candles, cards and a bit of hoopla. What a sweet surprise!
Then, in London I stayed at the 4-star Copthorne Tara superbly located in Kensington close to transit, and Marks and Spencer and Whole Foods for great produce and quick meals. It's an 835 room hotel but with the smiles and good service of a much smaller establishment. The breakfast they serve is superb. P.S. I also came across a pleasant little London chain of sushi restaurants called, Wasabi. It's very popular with the locals, reasonably priced and super clean. All highly recommended.
ENGLISH BOOKSHOP IN BARCELONA -- writes Sandra in Victoria, Canada -- I'm a solo traveller so I don't tend to go out that much at night. That has both its drawbacks and its benefits. What I may miss in nightlife, I gain in reading time (which I don't have scads of when I'm at home). I've just returned from Barcelona and while there, found a wonderful second-hand, English-language bookshop. It's called Hibernian Books and it has a great selection. They also have a 'buy back' policy so once I'd read them I returned them and bought more. Mind you, I didn't get much money back for the ones I returned but, frankly, I was happy to be able to keep replenishing my reading supply. P.S. Thanks for all of your great tips.
SAVE MONEY WHILE TRAVELLING -- writes Judi in the U.S.A -- I have a couple of tips. (1) Go native. Instead of ordering your favorite and expensive glass of wine at dinner, order the local beer. It's cheaper and you'll get to experience the local culture. For entertainment, try visiting sights that are free. Many museums in the U.S. and Europe have a 'free' day. Also check with the hotel or local newspaper for nearby street festivals - you'll end up spending more time with locals than with tourists and have more fun, spending less. (2) Think Thursday and Monday when making reservations. This is probably the most important money saver when flying or booking a hotel. If you can depart on Thursday and return on Monday, you'll definitely get better prices.
AN ENTIRE FLOOR FOR WOMEN IN OSLO HOTEL -- writes Anne-Sophie in Drammen, Norway -- Located right in the centre of Oslo, the fabulous 130-year-old Grand Hotel has reserved an entire floor for women guests. Named after contemporary Norwegian female personalities in the arts, sports and business, the 13 rooms are designed to fit the needs of women travellers. En route to the rooms is a portrait corridor and the Ladies Floor Path, featuring paintings by local artist Trine Folmoe. The rooms have toiletries from L’Occitane, plenty of books and magazines, a CD and DVD-player, a yoga mat and a Ladies Floor room service menu (without the service charge) www.grand.no and www.ladiesfloor.no
FREE WALKING TOURS IN BUENOS AIRES -- writes Mei Ling in Melbourne, Australia --There's a small company called BA Free Tours run by a brother and sister team (Gaston and Sol) in Buenos Aires. They are actually 'free' tours, one starting at 11:00a.m. at the Plaza de los Dos Congresos, and the other at 5:00p.m. at Plaza San Martin in Retiro. Gaston and Sol are extremely friendly, they conduct their two hour tours in either Spanish or English, and though the leaders rely on small tips to make their living, tipping is not mandatory. I personally enjoyed the 5:00p.m. tour. The Retiro and Recoleta areas are absolutely fascinating.
WE DIDN'T WANT TO LOSE OUR RENTAL CAR -- writes Sandy in Collingwood, Canada -- My girlfriend and I went to the market in Sienna and parked the car 'somewhere' but we had little idea of where we actually were. Being true JourneyWomen we took digital photos of the parking lot address and then signs along the way so that we could find our way back to the car. It was a little like Hansel and Gretel in the forest. After much walking and consulting our photographs we did indeed find our way back to the car.
1000 Ways To Say Hello...
We found these fun facts on wikihow.com and thought that every JourneyWoman should have access to this language lesson. Have you ever stopped to consider how many people are saying 'hello' to each other today, and in how many different languages? If you wanted to say 'hello' to everyone on the planet, you would have to learn at least 2,796 languages and greet at least 6,500,000,000 people. Here are some ways to say 'hello' around the world. http://tinyurl.com/27semh
little ones as you travel --
My 7-year old granddaughter and I went on a four hour
train ride. That's a long time for a little girl to
sit still. To keep her occupied I brought travel brochures
from our destination, scissors, tape, crayons and a
notebook. Together we created a wish list of all the
things we want to do over the next two days. She cut
out her favorites from the brochures, drew pictures
of the food we were going to eat and then pasted everything
into her travel book. Voila, an instant itinerary.