GlobetrotterGirls - Ask The Experts - Travel, Foodie, LGBT, Solo Travel, Wanderlust, Lesbian - Pepo - Jan 25 2017, 10.19.15 AM UTC

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***L.A. Travel Tip: Hike To The Hollywood Sign***

Hiking up Runyon Canyon is the most popular hike in Los Angeles, but did you know that you can hike up to the Hollywood Sign? You can’t get to the sign by car, the only way to get up, close and personal with these giant white letters that have become an American icon, is on foot or by horse, and you can’t get in front of the letters, only above them.

It used to be a bit tricky to get up to the sign until a few years ago, unless you were a local and knew your way around. The Trust For Public Land, that is in charge of protecting the sign and the surrounding lands, has made it much easier now to find the right paths and not get lost in the relatively remote and rugged southern side of Mount Lee, on which the sign is located. There are now several hiking routes: the Mt Hollywood Trail (short and moderately difficult), the Canyon Drive Trail (longest route), and the Cahuenga Peak Trail (the shortest, but most challenging). We took a shorter version of the Mt Hollywood Trail, which can be started at the Griffith Observatory (3.5 miles round trip) or at Sunset Ranch at the northern end of N Beachwood Drive. The ranch offers guided horse rides up the sign, by the way.

The hike is pleasant, with sweeping views over parts of L.A., Glendale and The Valley from various viewpoints along the way – but the star of the show, the sign itself, stays out of sight for the most part. I started the hike at Sunset Ranch, but next time I’d start at the Griffith Observatory for a longer hike and better views of the sign itself.

When you get to the sign, the most astonishing thing is seeing how big these letters actually are: each letter is 45 feet tall (14 meters) and all of them next to each other are 350 feet (110 meters) long! My height compared to it: 5.8 feet.

If you’re thinking about climbing the security fences that fence off the sign, be warned: the charges are no joke. Trespassers face a $1000 fine, restitution to the City agencies involved in the trespasser’s arrest, a one-year probation period and 20 days on a Cal Trans highway crew.

My advice is to hike up there in the late afternoon – seeing the mountains bathed in the warm ‘golden hour’ light is beautiful, and you’ll get to see the sunset from the Hollywood sign. The views from over LA from up there are stunning! If you hike up for sunset, make sure to bring a flashlight though: the hike back down will be pitch black, since there are no lights.

Fun fact: The sign didn’t have any association with the movie industry when it was put up in 1923. Instead, it was supposed to promote local real estate during a time when the Hollywood Hills weren’t the prime real estate location that they are today. Back then it still read Hollywoodland. After years of deterioration, Hugh Hefner started a fundraiser to save the sign, and $250,000 were raised to restore the sign that had fallen into disrepair.

You can find more information on the hikes to the Hollywood sign here: https://hollywoodsign.org/hiking-to-the-sign/
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***TRAVEL ADVICE FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS***

Being a solo female traveler is in some aspects not much different from traveling as a male, but in some aspects, it differs drastically. Especially in terms of staying safe and protecting ourselves, as women we have to be more cautious, better prepared, sometimes even more suspect. To make sure your female solo trip goes without a glitch, here are twelve rules you should always follow:


1 Always trust your instincts. If your gut tells you something is off, it probably is.

2 Pay attention to your surroundings. Scan the scene around you with your eyes, keep track of people who keep showing up near you. If you notice someone following you or someone who just gives you a bad vibe, leave the situation, or duck into a café until they’re gone.

3 Never flash your valuables. You’re making yourself a target that way. Especially in countries or cities that are known to be pickpocket hot spots, such as Barcelona or Buenos Aires.

4 Read up on the place you’re visiting. Wikitravel is a great resource, especially the ‘Safety’ section on each town. Thanks to that, I knew about a double rape and murder of two Argentinian girls in a beach town in Ecuador earlier that year that is famous for its parties, but because of this incident, I was much more vigilant and made sure not to leave my drink out of my sight.

5 Cover up where it is appropriate. Make sure you are familiar with dress codes, especially in Muslim countries and other conservative regions of the world. Try to blend in as much as possible – the less you look like a tourist, the less of a target you are.

6 Bring a padlock to lock up your luggage. Some solo female travelers bring a door stopper, but I haven’t really used the one I’ve got. A whistle is also practical to have, and if you get anxious easily, also consider carrying mace or a small can of hair spray (as a substitute) with you. To prevent theft, I also like pickpocket proof clothes (T-shirt or scarf).

7 Make sure to always tell someone where you are going that day and when you’re expecting to get back. Since almost everyone is traveling with their smartphone these days, it’s easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home via WhatsApp and Facebook, for example.

8 Take a business card of your hostel / hotel with you when you leave to explore. Or write down the address. If you get lost, you can show a cab driver the exact address and get a ride home, or ask a local for help. In addition, I always save the hostel’s location on GoogleMaps with a star. This way I can see where it is in relation to where I am on the map, because the GPS and the ‘saved locations’ feature work even when you’re offline or don’t have a SIM card.

9 Do whatever makes you comfortable. I for example don’t mind taking night buses in Mexico and Colombia, but if that makes you nervous, plan all your travel days so that you arrive in daylight.

10 Keep your alcohol intake at a minimum. Getting wasted in a country you’re unfamiliar with is never a good idea.

11 Learn a little bit of the local language. There are some great resources out there for language learning – including free ones. Apps like DuoLingo make it super easy to pick up at least the most common phrases. It also helps to have the Google Translate app on your phone.

12 Don’t let fear consume you. Yes, be vigilant, and yes, be careful. But don’t let fear consume you! Be open to meet new people, talk to strangers, make friends. Travel is often about the people you meet along the way.
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***TRAVEL TIP: EMERGENCY CONTACT FOR SOLO TRAVELERS***

When you’re traveling solo, do you have an emergency contact written down somewhere? Do you know who people should call in an emergency? Do you know that person’s number? I know nobody really wants to think about tragic stuff that can happen while you’re on a trip, but you simply have to assume that something could go wrong.

If you haven’t thought about writing down an emergency contact yet, why not do it now while you’re reading this on your phone? If you have an iPhone, you can store your emergency contact right inside the Apple Health app? This app is already downloaded on every iPhone, it’s the one with the red heart. And what most people don’t know: It can be accessed when your phone is locked!

Here’s how: When you tap the ‘Home’ button, the phone will ask you to enter the passcode, or in the bottom left corner you can press ‘Emergency’. Press ‘Emergency’ and it’ll give you the option to make an emergency call or, again in the bottom left corner, it says Medical ID. Press on it and it’ll tell you whose phone you’re holding in your hands, and the person’s emergency contact, i.e. a person close to them.

This is also a great way to find out who the owner of a phone is, in case you ever happen to find an iPhone and want to return it to the owner.
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***TRAVEL TIP: MAKE SURE YOUR PASSPORT IS STILL VALID‼️***

Are you planning a trip? Maybe even already looking for plane tickets?

Before hitting the ‘Buy’ button, make sure that you still have at least six months validity in your passport!!

There are 38 countries that require your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your stay! I’ve heard stories from people whose passport was valid for another 5.5 months, and they were denied entry to the country they were traveling to.

- These countries include (six months valid after departure): Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Cuba, Dubai, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
- 3 months valid after departure: Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Spain
- 1 month valid after departure: Hong Kong, South Africa

Another thing to take into consideration is how many free pages you’ve still got left in your passport. Some countries require an entire free page to add their visa, and want an additional one or two pages to be still free. It’s not a bad idea to look up passport requirements before you leave on your trip.
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***INSIDER TIP SEATTLE: SPECIALTY COFFEE ☕️***

Seattle is known to be one of the most coffee-loving cities in the U.S. – Seattlelites take their coffee seriously! Yes, and of course it is the birthplace of Starbucks. But despite there being over 400 (!!) Starbucks cafes in Seattle, there’s still plenty of room for independent coffee shops. If you are a coffee-holic, you can’t miss these five coffee shops on a visit to Seattle:

1. Storyville Café
2. Espresso Vivace
3. Milstead and Co
4. La Marzocco
5. Craftworks Coffee
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Do you use trip planning apps?

If you don’t, but you’re looking for a good one, check out TripIt.com . The app combines all of your travel confirmations, itineraries, tickets, hotel bookings, rental car reservations, and the rest in one simple view. That view then becomes the central hub for all of your travel needs—no more fishing for a confirmation email to get your reservation number, or wondering what flight number you're on before you check in; it's all right there, and it's all incredibly handy. It'll even let you know if there's a better seat on your flight so you can switch to it – amazing!!

It's also easy to share trip plans with people who may need to know where you are, like friends in town or loved ones picking you up from the airport, so they know what flight you're on and when you'll arrive, or where you're staying and when. Sync it with your Google Calendar, set up a few mail rules to push your travel confirmations to TripIt, and you have a custom built itinerary, automatically, every time you travel.

I know that there are other trip planning apps out there, like TripCase, but I personally haven’t used that one yet. If you have a favorite trip planning app, I’d love to hear which one is your fav!
So, London was just voted 'Best City in the world to spend a weekend'... (see my precious post).. so guess where I'm headed next weekend!!

It's been a while since I lived in London, so I'm sure there are plenty of new places now - bars, restaurants, coffee shops..

What should I do when I visit London next week? Would love your recommendations for cool spots to check out!
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Honey de G 1 week ago
Yaaaaay! Hope to bump into you!
Honey that'd be amazing 😃
The weekenGO app has released a study revealing the top 100 best cities to spend the weekend. The results give an overall score for each city, but also indicate which destinations are best for three different types of travellers; millennials, families and baby boomers.

Some interesting results (see picture for the full list and scores)

· London, United Kingdom ranks as the best city to spend the weekend overall, coming out top for concerts, theatre and cinema, and ranking highly for museums, accommodation options and LGBT friendliness.
· Berlin, Germany ranks as the top recommended destination for millennials, Vienna, Austria for families and Zurich, Switzerland for baby boomers.
· New York City, USA ranks number 7 in the top 100
· Madrid is the only city that got a 100/100 for LGBT friendliness!
• Hamburg, Germany made the list! Who would've thought!

❓❓❓Is your favorite city to spend a weekend on the list? Which cities do you feel are missing❓❓❓
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Ignas Pečiūra 1 week ago
❤️ Berlin ❤️
Two Bad Tourists 1 week ago
Go Madrid! 🇪🇸🇪🇸
***Insider Tip Mexico 🇲🇽 ***
A Caribbean dream beach off the tourist trail

Have you heard of Mahahual❓
Probably not!

Even though this gorgeous white-sand, palm tree fringed beach on Mexico's Caribbean coast is only a couple of hours of tourist hot spot Tulum, not a lot of tourists make their way down here.

If you're looking for a getaway without the tourist crowds of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, I highly recommend a vacation in Mahahual instead. There's no Señor Frogs or Margaritaville down here, no skyscraper hotels, no US prices.

Instead you'll find a quaint Mexican village right on the beach, fishermen who go out to catch fresh fish every day, and charming little guest houses. Rent a car so that you can visit nearby Cenotes, Maya ruins (Coba and Tulum), and the Lake of the Seven Colors in Bacalar.

I let the pictures speak for themselves 😊
***INSIDER TIP: Camino De Vino***

"You walk in the mornings, and you drink wine in the afternoons."

This was how the Camino de Santiago had been described to one of my fellow pilgrims, and she didn’t have to think long about if she wanted to do it.

30 to 35 days of walking and wine drinking? If you’re a wine lover, the popular pilgrims route from Saint-Jean-Pied-du-Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in the northwest of Spain might be for you, too!

Because the Camino passes no less than nine wine regions as it winds its way through northern Spain! You can sample wine in each region – bottles are as little as 5 Euros, and a glass of wine is usually around €1.30.

There is even a free wine fountain along the Camino!

Some of the wines you’ll have to try along the way:

-Bierzo Wines: Bierzo is a rural and remote ancient region in the north-western corner of Spain, or Castilla y León which until recently was one of Spain’s best kept secrets. El Bierzo wine counts as one of the country’s up and coming stars within the wine industry!
-Rioja: Made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava
-Tempranillo: A popular a medium- to full-bodied wine with red fruit characteristics, which is grown in Castile and León.

…and plenty of other, lesser known, but incredibly tasty wines along the way!
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***Travel Tip Iceland: Drive the Ring Road***

If you want to visit Iceland, I highly recommend driving the Ring Road. The Ring Road is a 828 mile (1332 km) long road that encircles the entire island, and driving it is the most convenient way to see as much of Iceland as possible. Not only does the Ring Road go around the entire country, but it also lets you see all of the things that you’d want to see on a trip to Iceland: geysers, glaciers, volcanoes, fjords, waterfalls, lava fields, Icelandic horses, hot springs, and of course, the dramatic landscapes Iceland is famous for.

Here’s my suggested itinerary for the Ring Road. It’s a lot of driving, but you’ll pass spectacular landscapes and natural wonders every single day.

· Day 1 Reykjavik & Golden Circle (the Golden Circle is a 190 miles/300 km route off of the Ring Road that is famous for its massive waterfalls including the most popular one, Gulfoss, geyser fields and Kerið volcanic crater)

· Day 2 Reykjavik – Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – Vik (Black Sand Beach)

· Day 3 Vik – Hornafjordur (Fjords!)

· Day 4 Hornafjordur – Eskifjörður

· Day 5 Eskifjörður – Laugar (Moon-like landscape)

· Day 6 Laugar (Spend an extra night there because there’s so much to explore in this area: Husavik for whale watching, Asbyrgi Canyon, Lake Myvatn and the Myvatn Nature Baths (recommended!), Dimmuborgir lava field, Hverir geothermal fields, Godafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls)

· Day 7 Laugar – Hunafloi (stop in Akureyri)

· Day 8 Hunafloi – Snæfellsnes Peninsula (gorgeous scenery and an active volcano)

· Day 9 Snæfellsnes - Reykjavik

· Day 10 Reykjavik (Spend the day sightseeing in Reykjavik)
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What's your favorite Spanish food / tapa / pintxo? Mine is hands down Tortilla Española , or Spanish omelette. A simple and yet incredibly delicious dish made of eggs, potatoes, and sometimes onions. Served hot or cold and also as a sandwich filling all over Spain 🇪🇸

I just had it every day for a month and I'm still not tired of it.. I think I'm officially addicted 😂
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TRAVEL TECH 📲

These are all the tech gadgets I take on each and every trip:
- laptop with mouse and external hard drive 💻
- international adapter
- Kindle Fire
- Sony A6000 + two 16GB SD cards 📸
- USB stick
- USB flashlight 🔦
- GlocalMe or Skyroam Wifi hotspot
- Small portable charger (PowerBank)
- large portable charger (which in addition to my phone can charge my camera, my Kindle and my Wifi hotspot)
- remote shutter
- smartphone 📱
- charger cables

***
❓Which gadgets do you take with you on a trip❓
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Ignas Pečiūra 2 weeks ago
Haha, I thought I am travelling light, but I did realise I take a lot of gadgets :) Still thinking about bringing my film camera to my next trip 🎞️
Ignas Oh how can you not!! This was my first trip without my dSLR. I felt weird not taking it, after nearly eight years with it, but the camera plus zoom lens and /or wide angle lens was just too heavy & bulky 😳
What’s your favorite thing about fall?

Mine: Halloween, the fall foliage and pumpkin spiced craft beers 😊
And pumpkin patches are pretty awesome too - hundreds of bright orange pumpkin in different shapes and sizes. Also fun? A corn maze! If you've got no plans for a weekend in October, look up corn mazes near you.

I also love fall foods like any kind of soup or reading a book in a café with a fireplace while sipping a steaming Chai Latte 😍
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🇲🇽 TRAVEL TIP MEXICO CITY 🇲🇽

Have you heard of Xochimilco, a suburb of Mexico City? The town is not only worth a visit because of its tranquil, charming vibe, but it makes for a relaxing day trip out of Mexico City because of its main draw: The trajineras!

These are colorful covered punting boats, and you can hop aboard a Trajinera for a relaxing ride along one of the 224 canals that remain from the ancient Lake Xochimilco – simply find one of the town’s embarcaderos (docks). A ride through the canals is an absolute must. Although often lazily compared to Venice, the canals of this small Mexican town are a completely unique adventure.

Trips last from an hour to three, or even longer, and while some Mexicans bring food and drinks on board, it is also possible to purchase from floating vendors everything from ‘street food’ like elote, tacos or full meals to Coronas, Micheladas, sodas and water. Also floating through the canal are Mariachi and Marimba bands who will serenade you for less than US $10!

A private ride on a Trajinera costs anywhere from $350 to $500 Mexican Pesos ($20-$28 US, try to bargain), but on Sundays there are ‘colectivos’, or public rides, which cost only $15 pesos per person (around $0.85 per person). The sign there states $350 MXP per hour. This is the TOTAL cost for the boat per hour NOT the charge per person per hour. The boat promotors will try to convince you into believing it is the cost per person, but that’s not true, so don’t let them fool you!

How to get there:
It’s an easy 90 minute trip from the city center using public transportation. Take Metro Line 2 (the blue line) to the end - station Tasqueña. Exit the train platform through the turnstiles and head through the doors straight ahead of you to get to the Tren Ligero (light rail). The light rail accepts the same reloadable card you use for the metro but doesn't accept Metro tickets. You can buy a CDMX re-loadable card for $10 MXP (you can share one card between multiple people) and load it with $3 MXP per-person one-way at the booth just outside the train turnstiles. Having a CDMX metro card will make getting around Mexico City much easier for you anyway.

Take the light rail to Xochimilco, the last station on the light rail line. The embarcaderos are only a 10 minute walk through the village: follow the small blue signs on the street with arrows that will lead to the embarcadero, or just follow the crowd. There are several entrances to find a trajinera.
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Travel Quiz:

Who knows at which famous body of water these photos were taken❓❓❓
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Cruise ships 🚢 - yay or nay⁉️

A few years ago, I went on my first ever cruise. For a week we cruised around the Mediterranean, stopping in different ports in Spain, France and Italy. I wasn’t sure if cruise vacations were for me, but surprisingly, I loved the cruise. Since then, I’ve gone on another cruise – around the Galapagos Islands. And again: the cruise was absolutely amazing. I am now eyeing cruises around Alaska and the Caribbean, and I am sure it won’t be long until I find myself on a cruise ship again. There are many reasons why I love cruises, but let me share my top five reasons why I think you should go on a cruise vacation:

1 Great value for money

Cruises are great value for money! If you check discount cruise websites, you will notice that cruises are very inexpensive, and you can often find deals that are almost too good to be true. A 7-day cruise around the Mediterranean can be found for as little as $399 – and that doesn’t mean the quality isn’t that great, because that is exactly what I paid for my Med cruise, and I loved the ship and its amenities. And just think about what’s included in this price: Everything from accommodation to transportation to food for an entire week!

2 A Great Way To Get A Teaser Of Various Countries In A Short Time

While the short amount of time you get to spend in each place was a turn-off for me initially, I liked that it gave me a teaser of each place I visited – and still enough time to see a lot. When the boat docked in Livorno, for example, we still had enough time to drive around the hills of Tuscany all day, stopping in picturesque towns along the way, enjoying local wines and meals. When we docked on the French island of Corsica, a day was by far not enough to explore the entire island, but it whetted my appetite and made me vow that I’d return for a week-long vacation one day. And that’s precisely why I’d really like to go on a Caribbean cruise: to get a teaser of several Caribbean islands and then decide which ones are worth a longer visit.

3 No travel planning

For someone like me, who is constantly on the move, not having to worry about any travel planning is a major plus. You basically just have to check in on the boat and enjoy the ride, leaving the route planning to someone else. Booking hotels? Nope! Even though you’re visiting several countries, you’ll sleep in the same bed every night. And that’s another plus for me: the convenience of it:

4 It’s easy

Not only are you spared the travel planning, but the entire trip itself is very uncomplicated. You enjoy the ship’s facilities on cruise days, and whenever you dock somewhere, you can decide if you want to head out independently, or if you’d like to take an organized tour of a place. And while I enjoy exploring cities on my own, instead of following a tour leader around a busy city as part of a group, I enjoyed the organized snorkeling trips on my last cruise, and would definitely sign up for a snorkeling tour in the Caribbean, tour.

5 The food

Yes, I love food, and I loved the food on both cruises I went on. And after talking about cruises with other people who have taken cruise vacations, I know that my cruises were no exception: the food on cruise ships is fantastic. No matter if you go for the buffet option or if you opt for fine dining – you won’t be disappointed. I’ve found the range of food on the cruises I’ve taken to be large, the produce fresh and tasty, and most importantly for me: vegetarian friendly! I had to force myself to work out every day on the cruises I was on to compensate for all the cake I was eating (dessert buffets are dangerous, but may also be the best thing ever!)

❓❓❓what do you say: Cruise ships yay or nay ❓❓❓
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Ignas if you go on one I'd love to hear what you thought of it 😊
Ignas Pečiūra 3 weeks ago
Dani definitely 👍