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Female Travel Writers Share Their Best Tips 2005

What to wear, where...

Every savvy Journeywoman knows that you wear scarves and sleeves in Arabic countries and long pants when visiting St. Peter's in Rome. But it can work the other way too. Last year in Havana, I could not walk down the street without constant whistles from the romantic Cuban men. I looked around and saw that I looked like the straight-laced western tourista that I was. So I put on my tightest jeans and rolled them up, added a shiny top, put my hair in a ponytail and applied eye makeup to match the style of the local Cuban women. Result? I was able to walk around without being hassled.
Kate Pocock -- travel writer and Toronto Sun columnist, "Family Fare."

I hide my map...

One of the best pieces of advice given to me regarding safety when travelling, was from a Rio de Janeiro banker that I was interviewing. I commented on the street crimes in his city. "Look like you belong," he advised. This may sound trite but when I'm in a locale that has a nasty reputation regarding safety, I ditch or hide the camera, swap my North American shoes for local sandals and if I need to check my hidden-away map, I do so in a washroom. I try to achieve a look that says 'I know where I'm going', even if I don't. And, touch wood, so far, so good.
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).

Woman-run hotel in Italy...

There's a beautiful corner of Italy that contains the most perfect hotel for women travellers because it's run by three generations of women. It's called Real Castello and the property is a castle, no less, situated in the charming village of Verduno in the Langhe region of northwestern Italy ( (Via Umberto1, 9-12060 Verduno, Langhe). Grandma and mama are involved in the running of the hotel, but it is to the youngest generation that the accolades must go: to Alessandra (26) the experienced chef, to Elizabetha (22) who is the efficient administrator and to 19 year old Marcalla, a qualified sommelier, who looks after their renowned cellar. This area of Italy is as beautiful as Tuscany (if not more so...). Turin is the nearest city with an international airport, while Alba is the major centre of the Langhe region. For details about this lovely hotel visit their website:
Ann Wallace -- Editor of TravelScoop, 'The magazine for independent travellers'. Website:

A young guide can be so helpful...

When in a country where English isn't commonly spoken, look for a student, age 12 up to be your unofficial guide. Often these young people are studying English in school and are delighted to have an opportunity to practice. They are usually more forthright, will answer questions frankly, and even offer wonderful suggestions for places to see or things to do you might not otherwise have found. I have even been invited home on occasion (use discretion as to whether or not to accept such an invitation) and seen a little of life from the inside so to speak.
Liz Campbell -- freelance writer with work in such publications as Forever Young, Tourist, City Parent and The Consultant.

Read, read, read along the way...

Before you travel and while you're on your way, seek out literature as well as guidebooks about the area you are visiting. Most decent travel book shops have a catalogue of fictional or documentary works which relate to different countries, cities, peoples and governments. Their vivid detail will enrich your experience far more than just logisitical and practical details. Travelling to Ireland? Consider Maeve Binchy's, 'Dublin 4.' China? Jung Chang's 'Wild Swans,' Spain? Ian Gibson's 'Fire in the Blood: The New Spain.' Happy reading, everybody!
Kate Spicer -- London based freelance travel journalist

Auntie's spa in Hawaii...

Auntie Angeline, a respected elder of Hawaii's native community on Kauai, runs a charming island-style spa, Angeline's Mu`olaulani. After purifying the body in the octagonal redwood and cedar steam house and receiving a brisk total body sea salt scrub, it's time for one of three lomi massages - hot stone treatment, a deep tissue lomi or the specialty of the house, a double [four-hand] lomi lomi massage. US$130 for a two-hour appointment, but - no rush! - enjoy ohana [Hawaiian time] by relaxing on the spacious garden deck all day if you wish or request a "gourmet-light" vegetarian meal. E-mail: or phone (808) 822-3235 for further information.
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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