I’m absolutely delighted to discuss all things travel with one of my favorite female travel writers, Jeanine Barone.
Jeanine’s work can be read in National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveller (UK), and dozens of other top-tier magazines and newspapers. She’s also the author of a new travel tips e-book, The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel, providing more than 200 tips to help everyone from novice travelers to road warriors, whether they’re traveling on business or in the backcountry.
Join us as we talk to Jeanine about some of her favorite travel spots as well as her top travel tip for women travelers.
- What compelled you to write your e-book, The Travel Authority? Tell us a little about the book.
I hate surprises, unless it’s a birthday gift when it’s not my birthday. And I really hate unpleasant surprising when I’m traveling, especially becoming ill with traveler’s diarrhea, losing my passport, or having a hotel break-in. I’ve had all these things happen to me. And each time I said never again. So I wrote the book to help take the worry out of travel. (Did I mention that I’m also a worrier?) Anyone and everyone who travels will benefit from these tips, whether it’s your first trip to Europe or you’ve logged thousands of frequent flyer miles. I’ve broken the book into seven chapters, such as the airport, the plane, documents, gadgets, and so forth, with funny illustrations introducing each of these. The one that’s the most extensive is the health section since I have a health background. I recommend certain products because I feel like they can make your trip easier, safer or more comfortable.
- As an expert traveler, share with us your top travel tip for women travelers.
To avoid being a target for pickpockets, I don’t carry a purse. Instead, I wear a small pouch (not a fanny pack which also labels you as a tourist) around my waist that has zippered and Velcro pockets, and then I pull my shirt or sweater over it. So, whether I’m in a crowded bar, restaurant or on the bus, it’s hard for anyone to get into those pockets without me knowing it.
- You’ve traveled extensively all over the world. What are your three favorite countries or specific places in the world so far? Why?
I love all the countries I’ve visited, but among my most favorite are Spain, Portugal and Israel. Spain, because there’s so much variety of terrain and landscapes, from golden beaches in Tarifa in the south to rain-drenched meadows in Asturias. (I also love the vibrancy of the Spanish people.) Portugal, because so many people associate Portugal only with signature sights in Lisbon or the hotel-lined Algarve, while I seek the less visited parts, such as the languid Alentejo region that’s noted for its full-bodied red wines and fortified hilltop villages. Israel, because there are so many misconceptions about this tiny country, including that it’s only all about the conflict or religious sights. Instead, I mountain biked in the desert, the Negev, visited boutique hotels and upscale wine bars in Tel Aviv, as well as went bird watching in the Agamon Hula Valley Nature Reserve.
- What is your favorite travel memory?
Among my fave memories is cross-country skiing in the Methow Valley, which is some four hours from Spokane or Seattle. Each day was idyllic as I cross-country skied from lodge to lodge along perfectly-groomed trails through snow clad forests. I skied alone with my fully-loaded backpack, stopping to chat with the occasional skier or to snack on nuts and dried fruit beside frozen streams. The most memorable breakfast and lunch stop was at the Mazama Store where I sat at the counter with a real cross section of America: I shared the counter with business people, farmers and elite cross-country skiers sat near. We all came for the fresh baked goods and homemade soups. It was tempting to spend hours there but all the natural wonders along the trail awaited.
- Talk a bit about what inspired you to start traveling?
I was brought up in a very strict, religious household where I wasn’t allowed to do much of anything. My family never took me anywhere, including the beach. I really didn’t do much aside from study. So, as soon as I left for college I decided I wanted to see the world. My first trip was almost like seeing all of Europe in two weeks. I’ve never stopped traveling.