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Female Travel Writers Share Their Best Tips 2005

Pay close attention to bumps and jostles...

Whenever someone bumps me in a market or anywhere in a foreign country, the first thing I do is clutch my daypack (which contains all my valuables) closer to me. Thieves, working in pairs, will often distract you this way, so they can pilfer your belongings while your attention is focused elsewhere. Be alert. Be aware. Stay safe.
Diane Slawych -- Travel Columnist, Canada's Toronto Sun Newspaper

Pack your sunglasses...

A little attention is flattering, but in some countries the attention western female travellers get is so relentless that it's annoying. If you're in a country where you find yourself getting too much attention from the local men when you're simply walking down the street, or sitting in a caf� - put on dark sunglasses. Often, these guys are trying to make eye-contact with you. The glasses make that impossible and their pestering tones down considerably.
Lucy Izon -- North American syndicated travel columnist and editor of a new website found at

Beauty product outlet store in Paris...

While researching my shopping guide, I discovered Plantaderm, 58 rue du Faubourg Poissonni�re, 10th arrondissement Metro: Poissonni�re. Plantaderm is a skin care and beauty product outlet store, with very high quality products sold at rock bottom prices. Many of the formulas have been licensed by name brands, and sell for extravagant prices under a famous label. For example, the nail hardener, sold in Plantaderm for 2 euro sells for 15 euro in the fancy department stores. Now that's what I call a bargain!
Jeanne Feldman -- author of the shopping guide, 'Best Buys and Bargains in Paris,' an intercultural trainer/coach, Paris resident since 1991. Website:

Woman-friendly in Hong Kong...

When in Hong Kong, head for the Moon Garden Teahouse at 5 Hoi Ping Road, a short street that runs off Leighton Road, a few blocks from the Causeway Bay station. This traditional tea garden is furnished with antiques, including a brazier beside each table. The staff help you to select one of the gourmet teas, then oversees the brewing. Tiny dishes of salty-sweet preserved olives, pineapple and prunes compliment the flavours of the teas. You can also order dim sum and dessert, or play a board game, read a book or just admire the koi pond. Perfect for the female traveller.
Karen Zabawa -- Freelance journalist, Mississauga, Canada

Protect your baggage...

As someone who has worked for an airline, I offer this simple but trouble-saving advice. To protect your belongings, attach two luggage tags to each bag that will, or may, be checked. Most modern suitcases have two handles, so place a tag on each. Make sure they are sturdy and can't be easily torn off by the airline conveyer belts and equipment. However, if one tag does "get eaten" along the way, there will still be one left to identify your luggage.

Always use clear baggage tags and insert folded notes with just your last name (avoid being gender specific) and the words, "Itinerary Inside" visible. Inside the folded notes, list your flights and dates, your hotels with the dates you'll be there, as well as your home telephone number (no address) and date of your return. Should your bag become lost, airline personnel will know where to route it on whatever date it is located.
Sharon Wingler -- Atlanta, USA, creator of the website: and the editor of '114 Resources for Solo Travel.'

She packs for inspection...

Now that luggage searches are more frequent, it helps to group items and pack them in see-through net or plastic bags. I've found the zippered plastic pouches that pillowcases and other linens are sold in just perfect for travel use, so I stockpile them in my closet. I use one of these zippered plastic pouches to double-bag my toiletries, one to keep maps, my journal and papers organized, and another for my film. I use net bags for undies and socks. If my luggage does get hand inspected, these bags help keep my things organized.
Thalia Zepatos -- author of the bestseller, 'A Journey of One's Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler', as well as two other books. When not traveling, Thalia works as a political consultant.

Gel packs, duct tape and ziplocks...

There are a few things I always carry when heading to an off-the-beaten track destination: duct tape; ziplocks; sachets of 'just-add-water' food (instant noodles, soups, etc...) so that if I am invited to a local home, I can offer something to the meal (and if I am in a place where I don't trust the food, I can eat safely). Then there's a gel pack -- the kind that you can stick in the freezer but will always stay malleable. I use it (warm) as a pillow. Not only is it dust mite proof (I have allergies), it helps with minor shoulder aches (cold) after a day of lugging a backpack full of duct tape.
Cleo Paskal -- travel Columnist, Canada's National Post. Website:






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