Travel Tips from Travel Pros at the Women’s Travel Fest

This past Saturday, I attended the Women’s Travel Fest held at the beautiful Angel Orensanz Foundation, for Contemporary Art in downtown New York City.  Women’s Travel Fest was started by Kelly Lewis of @GoGirlGuides, and Mickela Mallozzi  and Masha Vapnitchnaia,  it is a one-day event that inspires women to find more meaning in their travels. There were inspiring speakers who had great tips for travelers, whether you’re going solo or traveling with a brood.

Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art 

{AND THE BEST PART?! I won a 5-day trip for two to Curaςao courtesy of Curaςao Travel and the Hilton Curaςao! How freakin’ exciting is that???}

Sonia Gil, of Sonia Travels and the founder of Fluenz had a load of great travel tips:

1. Check out the Weather Channel. This is a no-brainer. This will obviously help you figure out what to pack

2. Use her awesome packing formula:  # of days traveling = # of day outfits; half of that is your # of night outfits. Bring no more than 2 pairs of pants (+ the pants you are wearing on the plane); bring 2 pairs of shoes (I only brought two pairs of shoes on our trip to Paris!); and bring 1 sweater.

3. Google ” ‘the place you are going’ 36 hours column on”. This will bring up the 36 Hours column from The New York Times and will give you a quick list of things to hit at your destination

4. Buy these packing cubes that optimize and organize the space in your luggage.

Download these Travel Apps

Sonia mentioned apps to download on your smart phone before traveling. I haven’t used these (besides Google Maps and Google Translate) but they sound really amazing, especially Word Lens

  1. Tripit – Itinerary building app. It builds it on its own. Any  email confirmation you get includes everything.
  2. GoogleMaps – Well, duh.
  3. Waze – Shows you the best routes to your destination with real-time traffic.
  4. HotelTonight – Provides you hotel availabilities that open up that day at 9am. So if for some reason you are stuck without a hotel room, this app can get you one.
  5. Google Translate – People can speak into your smart phone and it would translate it for you!
  6. Word Lens – This one is genius! Just point your smartphone’s lens at the foreign road sign or menu, but it will change it to English on your screen. 

Learn these Phrases

These are 9 phrases that you should learn when you go to a foreign country. They consist of only 17 words, so it should be easy!

  1. I want….this,  that, coffee, the bill, the menu
  2. I want to go…here, there, this, hotel

Samantha Brown also spoke the Women’s Travel Fest about having an “authentic” travel experience.  Don’t spend all your time in the past (such as, only see ruins and historical sites. Try to let go of the  intense itinerary of  “Must-Sees” and be in the moment so you can have a more intimate moment of travel.

Samantha Brown’s Travel Tips

1. Go for a walk. Without an itinerary. Just wander. You never know where you’ll end up.

2. Create a ritual. Go to the same coffee shop every morning, or the same bakery for a croissant. We did this on our Home Exchange Paris family trip, and by the middle of our week there, the boulanger knew who we were, and knew our order (“Je veux une baguette, trois pains au chocolat, et deux croissants s’il vous plait.”)

3. Talk to the locals and ask,  “What is the upcoming neighborhood?” and go there, eat there, shop there. This is what The Hubby and I did when we visited Charleston, South Carolina and ended up in amazing, no-line restaurants. 

5. Eat at local’s homes. With websites such as and, you can actually go to someone’s home and get a home-cooked meal. When I graduated college, my best friend and I went and got our divers certification in Cozumel. For 7 days we spent countless of hours diving and learning from from our dive master. We got to know him so well during our time in Cozumel that we were invited to his home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. We got to meet his entire family and more important, we were able to connect with someone from Cozumel on a personal level (and got to eat an amazing home cooked meal!). He was so proud to share his family, home and food with us. That is definitely one of my fondest travel moments.

What are your travel tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts?