Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Your Hotel Pick!

Quick! Name the last hotel you stayed in that made an impression.
My answer: L'hotel in Pietra (room #1004, to be exact), a former cave in Matera, Italy, named Europe's Capital of Culture 2019.

Photo by Cynthia Dial
#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

TripAdvisor: Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Destinations in the World

Here's the top 10 of TripAdvisor's list of 25:
Photo by Cynthia Dial
  1. London, United Kingdom
  2. Istanbul, Turkey
  3. Marrakech, Morocco
  4. Paris, France
  5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  6. Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Rome, Italy
  8. Hanoi, Vietnam
  9. New York City, US
  10. Ubud, Indonesia
#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #tripadvisor #tripadvisorlist #topworldsdestinations

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Getting to Know Cynthia Dial

Posted by Terri Marshall in 

Cynthia Dial is an award-winning journalist and admitted addict—a travel addict—because for her travel is like breathing, she can’t live without it. As a travel writer whose office is the world she’s visited all seven continents where she’s attempted Argentina’s tango, canoed in the Amazon and sat amongst penguins in Antarctica, all for a good story. Her career spans over two decades. She joins us this week to talk about her career and the changes she has seen over the years. She also offers advice to aspiring writers.

You have had a successful writing career spanning two decades, please share with us how you got started and what the journey has been like for you.

On the surface my entry into the travel writing arena appears to have been simple. During my stint as a travel agent, a new travel industry magazine crossed my desk. The magazine, Travel People (which has since ceased publication), showcased those working in the travel industry in non-traditional roles. Through my affiliation in the local San Diego travel community, I had become acquainted with Billy Riley, a colorful 70-year-old Southern belle who was general manager of the Horton Grand Hotel, which was comprised of two century-old hotels, disassembled brick by brick, reconstructed side by side and restored with loving care by a team including Miss Billy (as she was affectionately called). As I came to know her, I became as impressed with her past accomplishments as I was with her present endeavor. She was San Diego’s first female general manager of a major hotel, the first female president of the hotel/motel association and the first female recipient of the city’s annual Travel Industry Person of the Year award.

Seeing the potential of a story on Miss Billy, I wrote a query letter to the editor of Travel People and upon quickly receiving the go-ahead. I interviewed Miss Billy, photographed her and wrote a 1,000-word piece for which I received a check and a byline. My first query and my first draft resulted in my first payment and my first clip. For me, this career came easy. Right? Wrong.

The next month I was invited to Israel at a time when the country was considered extremely unsafe. Yet, my travel experience was a priceless visit during which I never felt danger. So, upon my return I sent a query letter to a variety of major US newspapers and continuing with my perceived good luck, I received the reply, ‘Yes, on spec,’ from The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Examiner. Already resting on my laurels, I assumed my previous luck would prevail. The resulting article was good; but even I knew it wasn’t great and I received three rejections.

This is when I learned that the roller coaster career of a travel writer is replete with ups and downs, and the only way to be a success is to present my best work – always.
As far as my journey, it has exceeded my dreams – allowing me to travel the world . . . for work. I simply love it!

I understand your book entitled Get your Travel Writing Published is in its third printing.  What was your inspiration for writing the book and how do you feel it helps other writers?

The purpose of my book was to simplify the process for aspiring travel writers, noting the essential steps to take and pointing out possible pitfalls. In short, my goal was to give readers the tools necessary to put their travel experiences on paper and sell them, which I have tried to do by sharing personal experience through travel anecdotes and professional guidance.
You have been a travel instructor for several learning institutions offering travel writing tips and travel advice.  What advice do you have for new writers or established writers who want to increase their visibility?

Adhere to the law of averages and submit, submit, submit. It’s like throwing pasta against the wall: some of it has to stick. When beginning, write for local outlets, regional outlets; and once established, push the envelope and approach high-profile publications or e-zines. And these days, maintain an active profile on social media.

You have managed to diversify your career with writing, photography, instructing and appearances – what tips can you offer to other writers who want to break into instructing and personal appearances?

Again, initially contact those institutions that are less intimidating, more approachable. An example might be your local library – a venue that would be more comfortable for a first- or second-time presentation. Then, go after television stations, writers’ conferences, etc. Lastly, practice, practice, practice (always aloud). Do NOT think you can wing it. To this day, I practice extensively before I speak publically or appear on television.
What organizations do you belong to in connection with your writing and how do you think they have helped you in your career?

Initially, the organizations of which I was a member were travel oriented and included San Diego Women in Travel, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) – all of which I served as a board member. My philosophy was that it was more advantageous to be the organization’s only travel writer, as opposed to one of many. I recently joined the San Diego Press Club (one of the nation’s largest), and received the 2015 First Place Excellence in Journalism Award for “Television Same Day News Feature.” And as this is a career measured by achievements and networking, I consider my membership a valuable one.

Having been in this business for over 20 years, what changes have you seen and how have you adjusted to those changes?

The biggest changes involve the Internet. Granted, research via the Internet is light years from those days when a day at the library was an integral part of writing a piece. And if I forget to ask a question of an Italian winemaker when in Tuscany, I simply email my request, as opposed to yesteryear’s necessity of a pricey (typically ill-timed) international phone call.
That said, the Internet and social media have modified this profession to one in which everyone who travels, has an iPhone and expresses an opinion is considered a travel journalist. It’s the only industry of which I am aware whose pay over the years has steadily decreased (many times to nothing)

You’ve been to all seven continents and to countless destinations, what are you three favorites and why?

Antarctica – It’s the continent most do not have the opportunity to visit, thus, the one I most wanted to see. And once there, you truly feel you are at the bottom of the world (which, of course, you are).
Burma (also known as Myanmar) – Because of its military presence, the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi (until a couple of months before my visit in 2011) and its virtual isolation from the rest of the world, it was an unblemished, authentic travel destination. The biggest perk was that in spite of the oppression, the people were warm, welcoming and genuine.
Anywhere in Europe – At heart, I’m a romantic. I love cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, quaint villages – everything that is Europe. And I especially love the diversity from country to country. I try not to go to a destination again and again because it means that there is a new destination to which I will never go; but my ‘forever’ exception is anywhere in Europe.
Cynthia Dial is a seasoned travel writer, author, presenter and teacher. Among her outlets are TIME magazine, Hemispheres, Costco Connection, Shape and the Toronto Star, for whom she wrote the column, Shopping Trips; as well as online outlets including and She also authored the book, Get Your Travel Writing Published (McGraw-Hill is the US/Canada distributor), hosted the No Passport Required show on World Talk Radio and frequently appears on television as a travel specialist. To learn more about Cynthia, visit and follow her on Twitter.

#book publishing  #freelancewriting #travelauthors #travelwriters # travelwriting #TravelWriting2.0 #writerinterviews #writingadvice #writingteachers

Terri Marshall is a freelance travel writer, editor and blogger. Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the USA, Europe, into Central and South America and to Antarctica. Favorite adventures include crocodile tagging in Belize, reindeer driving in Norway, and hanging out with penguins in Antarctica. Keep up with her adventures on her website at join her on Facebook and Twitter or email her at terri [at]

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Message to Brussels, Belgium

To Belgium, with sadness and sympathy.
Photo by Cynthia Dial

#brussels #belgium #prayforbrussels #prayforbruxelles #solidarity

Monday, March 21, 2016

Travel Quote

"I only travel on days ending in 'y.'
#travel #travelquote #travelingcynthia

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Desire to Travel is Genetic

Excerpted from Nomadic Matt

Last year, I read an interesting article that said the desire to travel is genetic. While there’s no actual travel gene, there is a risk gene that most travelers tend to have. That makes sense to me. I think we are risk takers. Instead of just saying “I wish...”, we say “I will...”. 

Cynthia Dial 
Another Gypsy Soul
Travel may not be for everyone but I think what separates us doers from dreamers is that we’re willing to risk it all to make our dream of travel happen. The desire to do so comes from deep within our soul. We want to see the world and nothing is going to get in our way.
I've always felt I was a wanderer. I have friends and family love to travel and take vacations but not like me. I have a gypsy soul.

And science proves it.

Nomadic Matt

#travel #traveltips #travelgene #travelingcynthia

Monday, March 7, 2016

World's Top Quality-of-Life Cities

Excerpted from

New York, Paris and London might dominate when it comes to fashion, nightlife and entertainment. But it is a more low-key city that has been crowned the best place in the world to live. 

The Austrian capital of Vienna beat 229 other cities to take the title in the 18th Mercer Quality of Life survey.
Vienna, Austria
Photo by Cynthia Dial

It was followed by Zurich, Switzerland in second place and the New Zealand capital of Auckland in third.

Access to healthcare, quality of education, housing and environmental factors are all taken into consideration by the team at Mercer, one of the world's largest HR consultancy firms.

The results of the study, the most comprehensive of its kind, are used by international corporations to assess how safe it is to send their employees to a given city. 
Seven of the top 10 places with the best quality of life were in Europe, and nearly half of them were in Germany. Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt ranked at four, six and seven respectively. 
The Danish capital of Copenhagen, which was recently named one of the happiest places in the world to live, came in ninth place. 

Despite its high cost of living, Geneva, also made the list, coming in at number eight. Residents of the Swiss city, among the richest in the world, enjoy high standards of education and low crime rates. 

Sydney, Australia, was named the 10th most desirable place to live. Its stunning natural environment, beautiful weather and thriving cultural scene all work in its favor. 

Vancouver, Canada, one of the country’s most diverse cities, was came in fifth place. 

But British cities have failed to make an impact on the list this year, with London the highest place at 39. The only other English city to make the cut is Birmingham at number 53.

Scotland fares slightly better with three cities - Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen - ranked at 46, 55 and 59, respectively. Belfast was ranked in 64th place.

One place where safety has become a more pressing issue over the last year is Paris, where a string of high-profile terror strikes causing the French capital to fall 10 places to 37th. 

Crime and personal safety are also factors that keep many US cities out of the top spots, with none of them managing to break the top 20. 

San Francisco is the highest ranking at 28, followed by Boston at 34 and the Hawaiian city of Honolulu at 35. Chicago and New York City come in at 43 and 44 respectively. 

Bottom line: Vienna is the best city in the world to live in, while London, Paris and New York don't make top 35 as German-speaking cities dominate quality of life rankings.

1 Vienna, Austria
2 Zurich, Switzerland
3 Auckland, New Zealand
4 Munich, Germany
5 Vancouver, Canada
6 Dusseldorf, Germany
7 Frankfurt, Germany
8 Geneva, Switzerland
9 Copenhagen, Denmark
10 Sydney, Australia
11 Amsterdam, Netherlands
12 Wellington, New Zealand
13 Berlin, Germany
14 Bern, Switzerland
15 Toronto, Canada
16 Melbourne, Australia
17 Ottawa, Canada
18 Hamburg, Germany
19 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
20 Stockholm, Sweden
21 Brussels, Belgium
22 Perth, Australia
23 Montreal, Canada
24 Stuttgart, Germany
25 Nurnberg, Germany
26 Singapore, Singapore
27 Adelaide, Australia
28 San Francisco, United States
29 Canberra, Australia
30 Helsinki, Finland
31 Oslo, Norway
32 Calgary, Canada
33 Dublin, Ireland
34 Boston, United States
35 Honolulu, United States
36 Brisbane, Australia
37 Paris, France
38 Lyon, France
39 Barcelona, Spain
39 London, United Kingdom
41 Milan, Italy
42 Lisbon, Portugal
43 Chicago, United States
44 New York City, United States
44 Tokyo, Japan
46 Edinburgh, United Kingdom
46 Kobe, Japan
46 Seattle, United States
49 Los Angeles, United States
49 Yokohama, Japan
51 Washington, United States
52 Madrid, Spain
53 Birmingham, United Kingdom
53 Rome, Italy
55 Glasgow, United Kingdom
56 Pittsburgh, United States
57 Philadelphia, United States
58 Osaka, Japan
59 Aberdeen, United Kingdom
60 Leipzig, Germany
61 Minneapolis, United States
62 Nagoya, Japan
63 Dallas, United States
64 Belfast, United Kingdom
65 Houston, United States
66 Miami, United States
67 Atlanta, United States
68 St. Louis, United States
69 Prague, Czech Republic
70 Detroit, United States
70 Hong Kong
72 Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe
73 Seoul, South Korea
74 San Juan, Puerto Rico
75 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
76 Ljubljana, Slovenia
77 Budapest, Hungary
78 Montevideo, Uruguay
79 Vilnius, Lithuania
79 Warsaw, Poland
81 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
82 Bratislava, Slovakia
83 Port Louis, Mauritius
84 Taipei, Taiwan
85 Durban, South Africa
86 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
87 Athens, Greece
88 Limassol, Cyprus
89 Tallinn, Estonia
90 Riga, Latvia
91 Busan, South Korea
92 Cape Town, South Africa
93 Buenos Aires, Argentina
94 Santiago, Chile
95 Johannesburg, South Africa
96 Panama City, Panama
97 Victoria, Seychelles
98 Zagreb, Croatia
99 Wroclaw, Poland
100 Taichung, Taiwan
101 Shanghai, China
102 Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
103 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
104 Tel Aviv, Israel
105 San Jose, Costa Rica
106 Brasilia, Brazil
107 Muscat, Oman
108 Monterrey, Mexico
109 Bucharest, Romania
110 Doha, Qatar
111 Noumea, New Caledonia
112 Nassau, Bahamas
113 Tunis, Tunisia
114 Asuncion, Paraguay
115 Sofia, Bulgaria 
116 Rabat, Morocco
117 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
118 Beijing, China
119 Guangzhou, China
120 Amman, Jordan
121 Sao Paulo, Brazil
122 Istanbul, Turkey
123 Lima, Peru
124 Kuwait City, Kuwait
125 Manaus, Brazil
126 Casablanca, Morocco
127 Mexico City, Mexico
128 Quito, Ecuador
129 Bangkok, Thailand
130 Bogota, Colombia
131 Windhoek, Namibia
132 Colombo, Sri Lanka
133 Manama, Bahrain
134 Chengdu, China
135 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
136 Manila, Philippines
137 Nanjing, China
137 Shenzhen, China
139 Hyderabad, India
139 Xi'an, China
141 Belgrade, Serbia
142 Jakarta, Indonesia
142 Gaborone, Botswana
144 Pune, India
145 Bangalore, India
146 Chongqing, China
147 Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
147 Qingdao, China
149 Lusaka, Zambia
150 Chennai, India
151 Kingston, Jamaica
152 Guatemala City, Guatemala
152 Mumbai, India
152 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
155 Hanoi, Vietnam
156 La Paz, Bolivia
157 Shenyang, China
158 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
159 Skopje, Macedonia
160 Kolkata, India
161 New Delhi, India
162 Dakar, Senegal
163 Libreville, Gabon
164 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
165 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
166 Accra, Ghana
167 Moscow, Russia
168 Jilin, China
169 Kampala, Uganda
170 Vientiane, Laos
171 Cairo, Egypt
172 Managua, Nicaragua
173 San Salvador, El Salvador
174 Saint Petersburg, Russia
175 Blantyre, Malawi
176 Almaty, Kazakhstan
176 Kiev, Ukraine
 178 Maputo, Mozambique
179 Tirana, Albania
180 Beirut, Lebanon
181 Cotonou, Benin
182 Yerevan, Armenia
183 Banjul, Gambia
184 Nairobi, Kenya
185 Caracas, Venezuela
186 Tegucigalpa, Honduras
187 Algiers, Algeria
188 Tbilisi, Georgia
189 Djibouti, Djibouti
190 Minsk, Belarus
191 Kigali, Rwanda
191 Havana, Cuba
193 Islamabad, Pakistan
194 Yaounde, Cameroon
195 Phnom Penh, Cambodia
196 Douala, Cameroon
197 Baku, Azerbaijan
198 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
199 Lahore, Pakistan
199 Luanda, Angola
201 Yangon, Myanmar
202 Karachi, Pakistan
203 Tehran, Iran
204 Lome, Togo
205 Tashkent, Uzbekistan
206 Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
207 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
208 Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan
209 Harare, Zimbabwe
210 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
211 Lagos, Nigeria
212 Abuja, Nigeria
212 Dushanbe, Tajikistan
214 Dhaka, Bangladesh
215 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
216 Tripoli, Libya
217 Niamey, Niger
218 Antananarivo, Madagascar
219 Bamako, Mali
220 Nouakchott, Mauritania
221 Conakry, Guinea
222 Kinshasa, Congo, Democratic Republic of
223 Brazzaville, Congo, Republic of
224 Damascus, Syria
225 N'Djamena, Chad
226 Khartoum, Sudan
227 Port-au-Prince, Haiti
228 Sana'a, Yemen
229 Bangui, Central African Republic
230 Baghdad, Iraq