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My Blogger Pals Share Their 2016 Travel Secrets

Edited by Evelyn Hannon

When it's time for me to research a new destination the first thing I do is contact my blogger pals who live around the world. As a group these female road warriors have logged tens of thousands of travel miles and have lived as expats in so many different places. That's why they can easily dispense travel advice from a local woman's point of view - the kind of advice hard to find in most guidebooks. These woman are the perfect example of what the Journeywoman Network is all about. Each one of us has experienced only so much of this great big world. However, put us all together and we become an encyclopedia of women-centered travel knowledge.

To begin this New Year I, once again, reached out to my blogger community and asked each of them to share one of their interesting 'bits of wisdom.' This is what came back to me. Enjoy these tips and then click through to each of their websites. I think you will be very pleased with what you find. Safe journeys, everybody!


A floral secret in Seattle, USA

One of the best kept secrets from tourists in Seattle is Swanson's Nursery in the north end of town. Wander through the vibrant flowers and foliage, discover new flora species and inhale the lovely floral scents along the way. If you want to meet a friend for breakfast or lunch, tea or a latte (this IS Seattle after all), the Seasons cafe on site offers a relaxing place for friendly conversations. Go early and find a seat next to one of the koi ponds for an added meditative moment or two. Should you be so inclined, there's also a small gift shop on site where you just might find a souvenir to bring home from your visit. But wandering through the nursery is free and a welcome urban escape within the city limits.

Nancy Meuller from Website:


A truly florentine retreat in Italy

Visiting Florence is wonderful and exciting, and tiring. The business of the ancient streets and piazzas can leave you weary and in need of something to pick you up. Stroll along Via Tornabuoni, past the windows of Dolce & Gabanna, Hermes or Gucci, and look for the beautiful window of Procacci. To call it a delicatessen belies the joys found inside - feast your eyes on Tuscan treats and delicacies that were once enjoyed by Italian royalty. The beautiful displays are filled with products to take home, or you can relax in the wine bar and enjoy a truffle sandwich or two with a glass of prosecco - guaranteed to help revive a weary traveller. Website:

Sandy Swanton from Website:


How to see Kyrgzstan in Central Asia

Use Community Based Tourism (CBT) in Kyrgyzstan to help organize your ground travel. If you're visiting this amazing country, getting from place to place can be challenging, especially since most people don't speak English. One way to do it is to hire a private driver who speaks English. Another is to ask CBT to organize things for you, or at least the more complicated parts of your trip. They have yurt camps and homestays and taxis and the prices range from rock bottom to quite high - something for everyone. CBT has an office in most major Kyrgyz towns and you can either get the main office in the capital Bishkek to organize the whole trip for you, or ask them to organize the first leg, with the office in the next town taking over and so on. I like using them because all their service providers are local people and most of the money goes directly into the community.

Leyla Giray Almanac from Website:


Glacier National Park, USA

Have you had your fill of museums, cathedrals and shopping? It's time for an outdoor adventure in Glacier National Park. Located in northwestern Montana, just over the Canadian border from Alberta, the park offers plenty of fun, even for outdoor wannabes. The Sun Road, which travels from one side of Glacier National Park to the other side, is considered an engineering marvel. It's also crowded during peak tourism season. So hop on a Red Bus tour and let someone else do the driving while you do the looking. The park's lodges offer history with a scenic view; but you'll need to book accommodations as far in advance as possible, preferably a year. For hiking, Many Glacier Hotel is the place to be. And if you're idea of hiking is a little bit of walking with a lot of looking, a Swiftcurrent Lake boat tour combines the best of both worlds. Or watch wildlife through a telescope on the Many Glacier Hotel back deck. The views don't end with dinner if you score a table by the window at Ptarmigan Dining Room.

Donna L. Hull from Website:


Stay safe while taking cash from an ATM

This is important! When taking monies out of the ATM make sure that there already is an installed video camera directed at the ATM. This security camera keeps recording activity around the ATM and will reduce the scammers from wishing to place a skimming device on that ATM. They will tend to go and find an easier target. Taking these precautions will reduce the chances of your travel currency cards being comprised and safeguarding your hard earned travel money.

Jane Dempster-Smith from Website:


DIY wellness retreat in Mexico

If you need a health boost but don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a wellness retreat, try Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Located on the coast of Oaxaca, this fishing village turned surfing mecca has a fast-growing wellness community offering economical yoga classes, vegetarian cuisine, an open-air Mexican market and budget accommodation. You can enjoy a restorative yoga class overlooking the Pacific Ocean at One Love Boutique Hostal or take daily Hatha Yoga classes with Sofia Agaton in a breezy palapa. One hour classes are often under 100 MXN pesos per class (around $6 USD) and monthly rates are available. Classes are taught in both Spanish and English so you get the extra bonus of learning a new language while you master your downward dog. Puerto Escondido is a female-friendly destination that welcomes women of all ages.

Michele Peterson from Website:


Woman-friendly guide in Jordan

I want to send you my Jordanian tour guide's details. His name is Ramzi Nawafleh. He is based in Petra (the town is called Wadi Musa), but he works all over the country and takes groups to Amman, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, the desert forts and the Roman city of Jerash - all fabulous places to visit in Jordan. Here is his contact information. Rams Nawafleh,Tel: + 962 3 215 9888. Fax: + 962 3 215 9800. Mobiles: + 962 79 643 6423/+ 962 77 734 8415. Skype: ramzi.nawafleh. Email: Website:

Ilona Biro, Travel Writer

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