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Female Travel Writers Share Their Best Tips 2005

Evelyn Hannon

typewriter When I need travel advice I usually turn to my female travelwriting colleagues for answers. After all, they've been 'there' and done 'that' -- all over the world and all from a woman's point-of-view. These journalists have travelled solo and in groups -- in big cities and throughout the countryside. They've learned how to stay safe, fit into new cultures and find great travel goodies along the way. To say the least, they are experienced and exceptionally savvy travellin' women.

That's why I asked these newswomen to share some of their "know-how" -- to pass along bits of advice that will, I hope, make us all better travellers. Here are their interesting and varied words of wisdom...

P.S. My special thanks to all these 'friends' who took time from their busy schedules to make this list possible!

She never leaves home without...

Type 1 Travelling in Third World Countries, there are several items I never leave home without and that I always use. I take J-cloths to wash with, Skin So Soft to deter the bugs, an antiseptic cleanser for hands while on the road, a flashlight (it once helped me to spot the HUGE tarantula in my jungle hut), a small but well-stocked first aid kit, and a water bottle with a filter. The latter is invaluable - it is called an Aqua 2000 and has a natural coconut carbon filter.
Judi Lees -- freelance travel writer from British Colombia, Canada. Author of 'Vancouver The Ultimate Guide' (Greystone Books, Vancouver; Chronicle Books, San Francisco) and co-author of '52 Weekend Activities Around Vancouver' (Greystone Books).

She rides the waves...

Do you dream of riding waves on a surfboard � la Endless Summer? Head out to Canada's Pacific Coast where Surf Sister runs Canada's all-girl surfer school. On the beautiful west coast beaches of Vancouver Island, Jenny Stewart and her patient and knowledgeable female surfer staff teach lessons to girls from six to 60-something. Special Mother/Daughter camps run July and August. Girls (or boys) can sign up for kids-only weekend surf clinics; those 12 and up for teen-only weekend surf clinics. Sessions run from $75 to $495 including instruction, snacks, flower-powered Hawaiian surfboard and wetsuit. 1-877-724-SURF; Website:
Kate Pocock -- travel writer and Toronto Sun columnist, "Family Fare."

Advice for the older adventuress...

Once you reach a designated age - sometimes a mere 50 but usually 60 or 65---you become eligible for an astonishing number of good deals and you'd be pretty foolish not to take advantage of them. Don't wait for anybody to volunteer information about your special privileges. Ticket takers, reservations agents, store clerks, waiters, travel agents don't know how old you are, nor do they care. So, at home or abroad, wherever you go---the movies, museums, hotels, riding the bus or the commuter train, pharmacies, even health-food stores and restaurants---make it a practice to ask if there's a discount or other age-related privilege to which you are entitled.

For example, in the United States you can get 10 percent off your meal at your local Applebee's if you sign up for a free Golden Apple card at age 55+ or stop in at a Denny's and order from the special senior menu that gives you smaller portions and smaller prices. Join a Bally's gym and pay less than your more youthful friends. Ask for your discount---anywhere from 10 to 30 percent---when you book a room at a Choice Hotel (Quality Inn, Clarion, Comfort Inns, etc.) anywhere in the world. And, did you know that most major theaters in Washington DC sell half price tickets to performances; so do those in London, England for that matter. PS: Always carry proof of your age with you.
Joan Heilman -- author of 'Unbelievably Good Deals & Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're over 50' (Contemporary Books).

Hand in glove in Milan...

A delicious present for yourself? How about a pair of gloves in myriad delicious colours? Perfect too for gifts -- compact, feather-light, and easy to pack. In Milan, the place to go is Sermoneta at 46 Via della Spiga. This may be right in the heart of the Fashion Quadrilateral, but the prices are perfect. If you are on a budget and want to try your luck, try heading for the Alpo outlet. This is at 4/1 Via Bandello, just by Piazza Baracca (metro Conciliazione). Open Monday to Friday, 09.00-13.00, 14.00-18.00.
Roberta Kedzierski -- Freelance journalist, Florence, Milan, Website: &

She packs delicate objects...

Often on our journeys to exotic parts of the world, we see wonderfully small, delicate handicrafts that appear too fragile to transport home. I have found a way never to leave these objects behind. This is my tried and true solution --simply cut the tops off used water bottles with scissors borrowed from your hotel's front desk. Now place your delicate treasures inside -- add a few socks to cushion if necessary. Presto! Your tiny treasures will arrive home intact.
Sharon Wingler -- Atlanta, USA, creator of the website: and the editor of '114 Resources for Solo Travel.'

Women's walking tours in Mexico...

Off the beaten path but worthy of a week's detour, Alamos in Mexico's northwestern state of Sonora is a gem of an 18th century silver mining town, exquisitely restoring Spain's colonial past. To catch a candid glimpse of life beyond the residents' bougainvillea-draped gates, take a tour with Los Amigos de Educaci�n. This group of local women raise money for student scholarships by offering mini walking tours that rotate through their own one-of-a-kind homes and gardens, sharing stories about the restoration, design and antique furnishings of these properties. The one-hour by-donation tours raise impressive amounts of money that presently support 300 needy Alamos children with scholarships at the junior and senior high school level. For further information visit their website at:
Alison Gardner -- travel journalist, author of 'Travel Unlimited: Uncommon Adventures for the Mature Traveler', and editor of Travel with a Challenge website:






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