Travel Gems for June 28th – July 2nd

Each Monday through Friday, a Travel Gem of the Day will be posted at SmartWomenTravelers.com. These Travel Gems are tips that will help a traveler travel smarter, safer, handle home issues, be prepared and enjoy their journeys.

Here are last week’s Travel Gems:

Monday – Traveling to a new city and not sure what to do and where to go? Yelp.com <> is the next best thing to having a friend show your around a new city. It’s like having thousands of helpful strangers around the world giving you the scoop on best places to eat, shop, stay, spa and more.

Yelp’s user reviews can be an invaluable resource when deciding how to get the most enjoyment out of your visit with the least amount of self-discovery. Why waste valuable time on your trip trying to find a great restaurant when Yelp is at your fingertips?

Users offer recommendations, ratings, photos, a comment about their experience at the venue you’re looking up, and more. Yelp also gives you maps and directions.

Not only is Yelp available online, chances are there is a Yelp application for your phone. Go tohttp://www.yelp.com/yelpmobile to see which phones are covered. Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Palm Pre and Yelp Mobile are avaiable as of today. Never is an uninformed traveler again (at least for the cities that Yelp covers)!

I just learned that there’s a Waldorf Astoria in Orlando! I knew of the Waldorf in New York City but never imagined my home base had a Waldorf also – I need to stay home more and find out what’s in my own backyard – and Yelp is just the help I need.

Tuesday – Have a long lay-over? Cancelled or delayed flight? Or just want to get a work-out in to stretch your flight-stiffened muscles? Check out www.airportgyms.com. This site will give you a list of gyms and workout facilities in the airport or surrounding areas of popular airports in the United States and Canada.

For example, Chicago O’Hare has a fitness center inside the Hilton Hotel which is right in the airport terminal. How convenient is that? They also have a Bally’s within a 5-minute train ride.

This site is also great to find fitness centers accessible by travelers for when your hotel either doesn’t have a fitness center or has a fitness center that is so minimal (one old treadmill in a tiny room off of the hotel lobby just doesn’t cut it) when you’re looking for an all-over power workout.

So say good-bye to your excuses that there just isn’t a good gym around and check outwww.airportgyms.com.

Wednesday – Not allergic to peanuts but are allergic to cats or dogs? Most airlines are very sensitive to people’s peanut allergies and serve alternatives, but what about people’s allergies to cats and dogs? There are more pets than ever flying onboard and the pet-owners seatmate and nearby fliers may be having severe reactions to the animal.

Since pet owners must tell the airline that they’ll be bringing an animal onboard, call the airline before you fly and ask them if there will be any animals near your seat. If so, ask to be reseated as far away as possible and ask that they make a notation that about your pet allergy. If the airline can’t reseat you over the phone, check again with the gate agent upon arriving at the airport. And if the gate agent isn’t able to help, another passenger on the plane may be willing to switch their seat.

Thursday – You’re always happy to find ample power outlets in your hotel or cruise ship cabin, right? Most travelers say “Heck, No!” Finding an outlet at an airport can also be a challenge. And if you do find one, people may need to jump rope over your laptop cord that you have extending across the floor.

An easy solution? Travel with a small power strip or extension cord. Either will give you a few extra outlets to use and more cord length. The extension cord may weigh less than the power strip. Check your laptop plug and get a 2- to 3-prong plug adapter if needed.

Friday – Are you one of the 1% of adults (about 3,000,000 people in the U.S.) who are vegan and travel? If so, finding food choices that meet your needs can be difficult. Here’s a great world-wide site for you!HappyCow.net free worldwide guide has been created to assist travelers and people everywhere find vegetarian and healthy food options. They promote vegetarianism as a compassionate, healthy, and environmentally sustainable way of living. When planning a trip of travel, or just craving some delicious wholesome grub, be sure visit HappyCow.net first!

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