You have a cell phone, program your credit card company's lost card number before your trip with at least the last 4 digits of the card number in the 'memo' field if that's an option to help you identify which card it is when you call.
If you live in the US and are traveling outside the US make sure to get the NON TOLL FREE number for the bank or card provider before you go - many places outside the US you can't dial a US toll free number.
If you are going to fly with a medication that you CAN'T live without, call the manufacturer before you go to make sure it can be X-rayed at security.
An inexpensive small nail brush has become an indispensable part of my travel kit, for anything from scrubbing stubborn laundry stains in the sink to washing dishes at a campground.
Smelly Money?One of my "little bit here, little bit there" techniques is to slip some emergency cash (often US$20-50) beneath the insole of my shoe for ultra safe-keeping. The bill stays neatly-kept and undetectable (by me or would-be thieves). If everything else manages to get stolen, I still have enough money to get a cab ride, food, and/or a cheap night's lodging.
A Couple Tips1) A small zip-lock plastic baggy makes a great "rain proof" case for a digital camera. Tuck one in your bag in case you are caught by an unexpected rain storm. One time, I left my hotel in perfect sunshine, but got caught in afternoon thunderstorm. I was completely soaked through, but my camera (and the precious pictures) were kept safely dry inside the baggy.
2) If a tout approaches you on the street in Asia trying to sell you a tour or something you don't need, respond to them in Spanish. (Even a few words will do the trick). They seem to know English, Russian, German, and their local language, but NO Spanish. They will leave you alone very quickly, and it is a polite way to get rid of these pesky characters.
Advice For Those With Four EyesGlasses wearers, if your lenses are held in by screws, get extra screws of the correct size from your occulist or optometrist. Kits with a tiny screw driver are essential but the accompanying screws may not fit your glasses. Hubby and I spent 45 minutes in the middle of the night on an airplane in turbulence over the Pacific managing to keep our cool while replacing a screw in his glasses. Also take an extra pair of glasses and be sure to keep all pairs in strong, protective cases. A small squirt bottle of lense cleaner and a good lense cloth are nice to have. At least take a lense cloth. Stash your glasses prescription with your other paper
Fake WalletWhen traveling in Europe it is always a good idea to pick up an inexpensive wallet before you leave, fill it with old crap like library cards, fake money, old gift cards, stuff like that. It can be used as a decoy when being mugged. Also, never bring out your real wallet when buying stuff from vendors. (You do not know who could be watching!)
Hidden ChargesUse of a credit card overseas does not always translate into better exchange rates. While, true, credit cards are able to negotiate better exchange rates, some credit cards charge a service fee for overseas transactions. For example, American Express charges "Foreign Currency conversion rate is base rate plus 2%." Read the small print, or call your credit card company to make sure.
Pill AdviceSupplements &/or meds are easy to manage if you pack your daily dose in an individual mini ziplock. I buy mine at a local coin/stamp shop. It's easy to grab a "pack" on your rush out the door to breakfast and to have what you need in your purse or pocket while you're on the move. I store a whole trip's worth in a regular zip-lock where I use a permanent marker to identify the contents and snip and include the labels, dosage instructions, photocopy of rx/ or the ends off the product boxes to identify, just in case an inspector asks, none ever has.
Luggage Tag AdviceDon't display your name and address on your luggage tags. Thieves working in teams will call you by name to distract you so one of them can steal your luggage. Or they will approach you later, by name to get your guard down and mug you. Use tags with a cover flap. On tags that allow for a business card to be inserted, put the card in face down, and write "Turn Over" on the side that shows.
New CurrencyAmerican Express now has the traveller's check CARD- it looks like a regular Amex card with your name and everything on it and you simply use it like a regular credit card-but it's got a preselected amount of cash on it, like traveller's checks. You simply fill it up and use it with most if not all of the general protection that American Express provides but if you lose it, since it's first and foremost a prepaid card, your valuable personal information-other than your full name- aren't linked with it! It's refillable and replaceable too!
Knot Your ClothesI tie a knot in panties, bras, or socks that have been worn. That way I always know what is clean in my suitcase.
ATM CardsWhen going overseas, try and obtain an ATM card from your bank or credit union. These cards are usable only by PIN, so if they're stolen the thief can't use them. ATM's also typically have a better exchange rate.
Cross PackingMy Husband and I always pack a change of clothing in each other's luggage plus a copy of our passports. If one person's luggage is lost you have at least one change of clothing in the other's bag.
Dog TagsInstead of luggage tags, I use those big red plastic dog tags. (You can order them online from different companies.) I use them as zipper pulls on my suitcases, backpack, handbag, coat, even my glasses case. When I fill out the dog tag form, I put "return to" as the pets name.
Money AdviceBefore going on an extended trip, always try to obtain a bit of the local currency from a major bank in your home country--sometimes it takes a week or two for them to get an obscure currency in, but it CAN be done. When your flight arrives at midnight, having even $20US worth of pesos or kwai in your pocket will give you peace of mind. Without the pressure of needing money immediately, you can scout around the next day for the best exchange rate/ATM. (Changing money in your home country won't always give you the best rate, but so change only the amount you'll need to get you through the first day).
We had great difficulty finding money-changers for US dollars in Chile/Argentina on the weekends when banks are closed. ATMs were the only available way to get money. On the other hand, local currency was difficult to get from frequently out-of-service ATMs in Guatemala, so we had to use money-changers. We always take a combination of many forms of money to ensure that we're never without it: Dollars (or Euros) can be exchanged at banks or money-changers; Traveller's Checks can be exchanged at the local Visa/Mastercard office for no service charge or at upscale hotels for userous rates; and Debit Cards and Credit Cards are also essential.
Cell phones and Post OfficesMy cell phone is attached to me! I use the camera to take pictures of parking places, street names, meeting areas, hotels, daily pictures of what travel partners are wearing for emergencies, and many other uses. Also, use the town's "major" post office as a meeting place since they only have one.
Hotel PostcardIn a country where I do not speak the language, ask at the hotel front desk for a picture postcard of the hotel, and ask the staff to write "Please take me to this hotel" in their language on the back. If I get completely lost, I can hand the card to a taxi driver and he'll know what to do!
Instead of Baby PowderRegarding the baby powder tip for hair: Rather than baby powder, I read about no-rinse shampoos that you can use to get rid of that greasy look. Apply the product into your hair, it absorbs excess grease, then comb it out!
New Use for Baby PowderTwo words: baby powder. For those days when you can't wash your hair, baby powder works great at removing the greasy look. Just put a little in your hand and work through the greasiest spots in your hair, and you are good as new! This works best with blonde and lighter shades of brown hair.
Use a Bass String, if at all...The tip about using a guitar string to reinforce a neck purse could turn out to be quite a bad idea if the villian decides to grab rather than slash--it could end up as a garrote! If you must, try a bass string, but it would be better all together to use a pack below the waist and avoid this rather gruesome possibility.
Clothing adviceHint 1: wear clothing that you don't need anymore and leave it at the hotel you are at. Write a note with it so nobody things that you forgot it. The house keeping staff is sure to use it.Hint 2: Bring your old undergarments with you and toss them out after you use them.
More Credit Card AdviceKeep your credit card company's toll-free fraud number in your cell phone. If you try to make a purchase and it's denied, you can call your credit card company right then and there, verify the legitimacy of the transaction and be on your way. Good idea whether you're traveling or not.
Beer in a BottleWe agree whole-heartedly with the person that said "one of the safest liquids to drink is beer." But don't drink it if it comes in a frosted mug! We learned not to do this in Egypt! It's basically ice cubes in disguise! We lost hours of our vacation to a very unpleasant "condition."
Prepaid ATM CardLeave your ATM card at home and avoid those high foreign ATM fees by getting a pre-loaded Visa Cash Passport card offered by Travelex. It can be used at any ATM that has the Visa symbol, which most do. The card acts like an ATM card, but can ONLY be used at ATMs, so if it gets stolen the theif can't use it because they won't know your pin number, brilliant! Also, the card has a flat ATM fee of about $1.25 per transaction last time I used it, which is much less than what your home bank will charge you for using a foreign ATM. You can keep the card and use it over and over for all your trips too, because it is reloadable! Their webiste is www.cashpassportcard.com
CorrectionCORRECTION to the following tip by Anne regarding birth control pills: "Skip the Sugar Pills. For us females, a badly timed period can really make a trip miserable. Birth control pills,(check with your doctor) like ortho-triciclin (the generic is trinessa) can fix this. The way they're designed is there's one week of sugar pills, during which you'll normally have your period. If you're going to be traveling when that would happen, just skip that week of sugar pills, and you'll skip your period. It's best to start the pills at least a month or two before your trip. Note: you shouldn't do this too often, or for more than two months in a row. Double check with your GYN to make sure it's safe for you."
Never try this with a triphasic birth control pill prescription. Triphasic means that there are different hormone levels for different weeks. Examples are: OrthoTricyclen, Trilevlen. Using a triphasic without allowing a period to occur between packs can lead to major cramps and breakthrough bleeding in some people. Use a monophasic birth control prescription if you plan to use packs consecutively. Examples of monophasic pills that afford you the luxury of skipping the sugar pill week are: Yasmin, Ortho 7-7-7 and Loestrin. The only available longer-term FDA-approved birth control pill is called Seasonale. It has a pill pack to be taken for 90 consecutive days. As stated in the original tip, consult your doctor. By law, they should not be advising you against the indications for your birth control pill, but they can write you a prescription for Seasonale.
BeggarsWhile in Guatemala, I came across a very informative article in the local "gringo" paper. RULES FOR DEALING WITH BEGGARS: If a begging child approachs you, never give him/her money, give them food instead. The parents will be less likely to keep send them to school if they know they can be used as pawns in this way. and there is no guarentee that the money you give them will be used to feed the child. If you see a mother and a child begging, always hand the money directly to the mother for the same reason stated above. If you have to make a choice between giving money to a child, a mother, or an elderly or handicapped person, always give to the elderly or handicapped person first.
Take a PhotoIf the place you're staying doesn't have a business card, take a digital photo of the hotel/hostel sign out front, and the nearest major intersection (with street signs if they exist) -- very helpful in countries where many people rely on landmarks to redirect lost travellers! Happy Adventures!
Leave the Library Card HomeBefore a trip overseas, I always go thru my wallet and remove everything that I won't need and do not want to lose. For example, my local library card and the frequent buyer card for local hardware store.
Another Duct Tape UseOne time I sprained my ankle in a real out of the way place. There was no available medical care and I had to move myself. But I couldn't walk on my bad foot! So I took few aspirin, shaved my ankle and the top of my foot (using a sharp knife and some zinc oxide!), and applied the tape directly to the skin, wrapping in around my foot and ankle as though I were using an ACE bandage. Anyway, duct tape reinforced my bad ankle enough to get me out of there! This makeshift brace held up in rain-forest conditions. IMPORTANT: don't wrap too tight or you'll do serious harm!
Student cardsAn ISC is simply an International Student Card, recognized almost everywhere in the world as student identification. If a student discount is offered (travel, food, movies, etc...) abroad and you show them your University ID, the discount will not be honoured. But, if you have an ISC card you will probably get a reduction!
A Corrected TipThe tip: Low pressure in airplane cargo holds can make full containers explode. To avoid having shampoo (or whatever) all over your gear, only fill bottles about 3/4 full and squeeze out the air before closing.
The comment: What expands is the air in the bottle. If the bottle is totally full, then there is no air to expand, so suggesting to fill to 3/4 is not technically wrong, but is a bit bogus. Full would actually be better. But, when bottles are partially full, after you have used stuff, they must have the air squeezed out before flying. And, in most airplanes, the air pressure in the hold is the same as the cabin. Therefore you need to take the same precaution with things in your carry-on or backpack.
Luggage ProtectionSince I am not able to "travel light" and take tours, I skipped the $60 luggage protection through the tour co. and used my AmEx to pay a $10 fee per trip for luggage protection. This includes up to $500 if the bag doesn't turn up in 3 hours - you can call and get $$ credited to your card prior to purchasing, includes $2000 in theft if your carry-on is ripped off and $1000 for checked bag for replacement and 2 nights hotel/transport if you have a delay. AmEx has offices worldwide that can be accessed for help directly. You do have to charge the flight on the card and call if you don't want it automatically charged on future trips.
Still More Credit Card AdviceBefore traveling in a foreign country call your credit card's toll free number and advise them of the location(s) that you'll be using the card and the dates. I've had my card stop working while in central america because they thought they were fraudulent uses. My wife was using her copy of the same card back in the states. Now I call in advance and haven't had any problems.
More Credit Card AdvicePlanning to pay with your ATM or credit card? Before leaving check for excessive wear & tear and order a replacement if you don't want to be stuck abroad with a useless demagnetized card.
Extra Credit CardAnother good reason for taking more than one credit card. We spent several hundred dollars in one day in China and had our credit card blocked because the card company could not verify that the purchase was not fraudulent. The good news is that the card was unblocked in about three days.
--Robert Thomas Crow
Check the WindowsMost people automatically see to the security of the hotel room door. For some reason they assume the windows are locked. Perhaps because they just arrived and never opened them personally. It's amazing how many hotel rooms I've checked have unlocked windows or those that can't be secured properly. We make a quick check of the windows each time we return to the room.
No More Spare ChangeTrying to balance having too much foreign currency on hand before leaving a country is easy remedied, especially if you are flying from your destination. Simpy purchase a item in an airport shop, before going through immigration, for an amount exceeding the foreign currency you have on hand, and charge the remaining cost on a credit card.
Angels Provide Security Besides all the security devices which are available, here's a tip for traveling in any latin american country. Attach a small plastic angel to your luggage. Many thieves tend to be superstitious and have left my bag alone. I also avoid using new or expensive luggage. If your bag is new you can apply a few stains using things like blueberries or rust.
Airport Security TipsMy husband and I go through airport security separately. I give him all my loose items, carry-on bag, etc. and go first. Then he places everything on the conveyer belt and goes through. If he is detained in any way, I am waiting to get all our belongings off before anyone else does it. I also try to keep valuables such as passport and cash stowed in deep closed pockets. Thus these never get put on the conveyer. I use a large safety pin placed perpendicular across my zippers just behind the pull. It makes bags and pockets hard to open.
Simple idea!One thing I realized everytime I travel, for good or bad, is that we are becoming a small world. One of its advantages is the easy access to the internet almost in 100 km radius from the spot you are. Here is the tip: Do a scanner of all your important documents (Passport- front page and visa when applied, flight ticket, travellers check receipt, etc) send it as an attachment to your personal email account... and, voila, in case of loosing them (or even the copies)... you can get a print and get new copies. Travel safe and responsible!
Reversal.Let's face it. Sometimes theives get wallets, and sometimes they manage to get ahold of the sheet that has all your important info. One thing I've done is changed my credit card numbers slighty. Every card is made of 16 numbers for the account. I take the last 8 and put them in the front, and the first 8 becomes the last 8. And's easy to remember, because most people are familiar with the quote "The last shall be first, and the first shall be last."
Skip the Sugar Pills.For us females, a badly timed period can really make a trip miserable. Birth control pills,(check with your doctor) like ortho-triciclin (the generic is trinessa) can fix this. The way they're designed is there's one week of sugar pills, during which you'll normally have your period. If you're going to be traveling when that would happen, just skip that week of sugar pills, and you'll skip your period. It's best to start the pills at least a month or two before your trip. Note: you shouldn't do this too often, or for more than two months in a row. Double check with your GYN to make sure it's safe for you.
Phone Home.When you travel to foreign countries and want to make some local calls, just go directly to the local grocery stores in your hotel areas and buy the phone cards. The rates will be much cheaper than that in the hotel.
AntiBiotics.Take along a 10-day supply of amoxicillin. In some countries, you can buy it at a pharmacy without a prescription.
When all else fails.I have been doing this (living on the road for a long time now). I will just say that telephones (to telephone your relatives, bank and/or consulate are fine when you can get to them, in some parts of the world the closest telephone can be a days travel away.
When you have the pleasure of seeing everything that you posses disappearing in a cloud of dust, the truck I was travelling in/on left before I had a chance to collect my belongings (me and my belongings were reunited four days later). A krugerrand sewn into my clothes was what saved my derrier.
Time is RelativeAlways make sure to return to the country your flight is going out with time enough (ours was going out of Paris, and we were in Italy). We have planned to take the Euronight train going out of Milano, the night before. Being in Venezia and having to pick up a bag at Milano, we needed to go there first. To our dismay, the train going from Venezia to Milano, came two hours late not leaving us time to pick up the bag and make our conection to the euronight. Always remember that those timetables of Eurail trains, are not set in stone.
A Delicate Matter Relieve yourself of a significant travel worry by reading "Going Abroad: The Bathroom Survival Guide" for how-to tips on restrooms everywhere. Female travelers may also wish to visit www.restrooms.org/standing.html for additional advice on how to handle odd facilities. It's incredibly liberating to know you DON'T have to wait for a Western-style restroom!
Keeping in touchThe website www.earthaddress.com offers you a way to keep in touch when you are on the move (or don't have an address yet). How it works: You sign up, and enter your details. You then share these with your friends by adding your friends to your personal address book. When your details change, everyone in your address book automatically gets the changes. If you don't have any details, or are not sure where you'll be next, you can leave your address blank. When you find a place, just add it in and everyone now knows where you are. It works for you when your friends move too, and its free (for non-commercial use). There are also some security settings, so you can restrict who sees what.
My wife & I have traveled through Europe for as long as two weeks with just one under-seat roll-on each. The key to this is: (a) Accept that you do not have a different outfit for each day; (b) be willing to wash clothes (using liquid detergent- drying is speeded up by rolling the wet garments in a towel & twisting)) at least every other night; (c) pack light-weight synthetic garments that can mix and match -- I like nylon cargo pants with zip-off legs (converts them to shorts)..also Coolmax-containing clothes that dry quickly;( d) layer your clothes for added warmth; (e) small but helpful, even in a city -- a cheap compass helps us get oriented quickly, as when coming up from Metro stop.
Good for skin, tooBaby oil makes very compact, long lasting (3 month 1x 35 ml bottle) and cheap shaving cream replacement.
Carry a copy of your ID in your shoe. If you have Luggage: Use nylon tie-wraps to secure name tags onto your luggage. Tie-wraps are not easily torn-off. Also, add a name tag/sticker inside of your luggage. If the name tag on the outside is torn-off, you can still identify your luggage. your wallet stolen, at least with the copy of your ID, you could get help from the local authorities. Also, for men, never carry your wallet in your back pocket. Takes seconds to slice the bottom of the pocket to get the walley to slip out.
Luggage: Use nylon tie-wraps to secure name tags onto your luggage. Tie-wraps are not easily torn-off. Also, add a name tag/sticker inside of your luggage. If the name tag on the outside is torn-off, you can still identify your luggage.
Another note about ATM PIN codes: not only do "foreign" ATMs not accept PINs longer than four digits, but they often don't have a 0 button (that's "zero"), or won't accept PINs that start in 0 ("zero"). So if you can, go to your bank before your trip and change your pin to four digits that don't include zero. Then don't forget your new PIN when you're travelling! Also about traveling for extended periods - you might want to try to get used to the water, especially if you'll be living there. I lived in Ghana for 9 months and got used to the water early on, and it made my life much easier, as long as there was plumbed in water. I still used my filter while in villages and travelling around the country. I started using it to brush my teeth, and quickly got used to it and could soon drink it straight from the tap.
--Jocelyn, Bay Area, CA
Dress downMany folks work hard to blend in by choosing suitable clothing, but forget to remove all those gear Bruce Coriell labels on packs or suitcases that scream "look at my expensive gear."
More Duct Tape AdviceA handy way to take duct tape (can be used to repair so many things!) is to wrap some around a pencil--this saves a lot of space compared to taking a roll of it...
Backup plastic moneyWhen traveling with your spouse, carry different credit cards. My wallet was stolen during the first few days of a vacation, and I had to cancel credit and ATM cards. Luckily, my husband was carrying different cards, or our trip really would have been ruined. Also, have at least two credit cards with you. I once had a card suddenly stop taking my purchases (nowhere near my credit limit--just a snafu), so I merely used my other one for the rest of the trip.
PDAs and modems Some people use cybercafes for email when travelling, but if you do take a laptop or PDA along for email, here are a few tips. 1. Travelling with a laptop or PDA means that you have to cart extra stuff along too. These extras often weight lots, especially the AC adaptor! If you can get by with a PDA, try to find one that uses replaceable AA or AAA batteries -- these are cheap, available everywhere, and save taking an AC adaptor along. Psions use AA batteries, and older models of Palm Pilots and Handsprings do as well. Don't forget a spare backup battery. 2. Replace everything you can with your PDA. Download your schedule and personal info on it, download travel books and info, take an ebook along for reading, use it as a diary, use it as an alarm clock, take along digital photos, etc. You can easily save weight by getting rid of all that paper! Just be sure that you have some sort of permanent memory, such as a Compact Flash card which won't be erased if your batteries die. 3. 1. Put together a telephone kit with two cables, a duplex adapter (thee-way T telephone connector) and a line tester. That way, you can make an extension cord (they always seem to hide the wall sockets behind the headboards in cheap hotels!), or plug in both the phone and your modem for manual dialling, or have a spare cable in case one breaks. Dollar stores are the best source for cheap telephone gear in North America; at $1 per piece, you won't cry if you lose a cable. Don't forget a line tester; the IBM model from Walkabout is very lightweight and can save your modem from being fried by a digital switchboard.
Cheap WatchGet a cheap watch, that you won't miss.
Pillow CaseAlways pack your own pillow case. It takes a minimum of space. Detergents can initiate allergies you didn't know were there, plus the color or fine thread count can make you more comfortable.
Go DigitalDo NOT pack film in checked baggage. The new federally mandated CTX luggage scanners, which are 300 times more powerful than the machines used to screen checked bags at security checkpoints, cause catastrophic damage film-- even lead lined bags used by professionals cannot protect film from the CTX rays. Kodak says that it is working with the Transportation Security Admin to post warnings about CTX damage at airport check in counters. Film damage from less powerful x- rays at screening stations is cumulative; they will only affect film passed through scanners five or more times. Tip: consider traveling with a digital camera.
Clothing tipsOne of the most valuable things that I have been able to take with me is a scarf. They are small, lightweight, and can do anything. My maroon scarf has been with me everywhere. It has been used as a towel, it has wrapped delicate souvenirs, saved portions of my glasses when they broke, wrapped up as a pillow, been lent out as an emergency head covering for my female friends in Russian churches, been tied Gypsy-style over my head as a fast identifcation when lost, covered a girlfriend's hair and face in Iran, been usd as a breathing filter during a dust storm, and it still looks as good as the day I bought it at WalMart. It can also be wet and used to cool your neck, or used as a tourniquet or makeshift sling.
My second piece of advice - Don't bring jeans, and don't bring shorts. First of all, jeans are too heavy, take forever to dry, and they don't look nice. And never never never bring shorts. I've been living in Europe long enough that I can tell the only Europeans who wear shorts are younger than fifteen. Everybody else who wears shorts are Americans. You be surprised how much better you will be treated by the locals in long pants. It makes quite a difference and singles you out less for pickpockets. My advice: look what other people are wearing. I was harassed a lot more in Russia when I wore really loose trousers. When I finally looked around and realized that everybody else wore something different, I changed my look and nobody gave me a second glance.
The Electronic AgeI've stored on the Web a jpeg of the first page of my passport, the one with my info and photograph. I'm the only one who knows where it is and it's password-protected, so it's only readily accessible to me. If my passport is lost or stolen, I can make a copy of that page from any computer with Internet access and get a new passport issued at the nearest US Embassy or consulate with no hassles.
Various AdviceAlways try to communicate in your host country's language even if you are butchering it, it shows you are trying and it shows respect to the people living there, they will be much more likely to help you and speak English to you if you try, at least learn how to say "Do you speak English" in their language as well as common words, like yes, no, thank you, and please, this will also go a long way in locals eyes. Walk around in your pack and the shoes you'll be wearing, go for short hikes to see if your pack and shoes fit right, and to see if your pack is too heavy. Don't be afraid to change your plans if something intresting comes along, they don't call it an adventure for nothing. Most muggings can be attributed to 3 factors or a combination of them, they are 1. alcohol 2. women 3. being out late by yourself. Never drink the water outside of the Westernized countries (Japan, Canada, Germany, ect.), drink the beer or carbonated beverages bacteria can't live in them, thus making them safe to drink.
--Kaleb von Hildenburg
Keep a JournalI cannot stress the importance of writing down everything that you do when you are on the open road ... even if it just the odd few lines at the end of the day. Looking back on your journal along with all the pictures that you have taken will only just start to make up for being back home and not out travelling. And ... don't try to save loads of cash on the type of backpack you get. Buy the most that you can seriously afford ... it will pay off when you least likely expect it to. Happy travelling!!
Nail ClippersNo matter how many travel books and 'pack this' lists I read, none of them ever mention bringing nail clippers. I've had strangers walk up to me in the bathrooms at hostles around the world with tears in their eyes and beg me for the use of my nail clippers. You can always chew your fingernails off, but for some of us, its a neat trick to get the toe nails. Nail clippers are also a life saver for hang nails. Get a pair with a small nail file. You can use the file to do every thing from get rid of that bit of nail that snags on everything to opening tightly wrapped ceilophane wrapers.
Where is my Hotel?The first thing to do when you get to your hotel is get their card! This is useful when recommending (or otherwise) to friends but more importantly if you become a little "geographically embarassed" you can hop in a taxi or some such and be driven home.
(Adhesives Part four)Carrying glue is always problematic as all it takes is a small puncture and you have glued stuff you didn't intend. Go to a craft or hardware store and get a stick of hot melt glue. This is transluscent stick about 10cm(3in)long. When you want to use it heat the end with a match, lighter or candle. Then dab it on. This stuff glues anything and the stuff you are gluing will probably fail before the glued joint does.
For Healthy Gums, TooI read this in a Lonely Planet TravelGuide, and found it was a great tip: Take one of those tiny boxes of floss that you normally use to clean your teeth with you. It can be used for repairing your moscuito net, to hang up some cloths to dry etc. It is very light and does not take in much space!!!
Hidden Pouches should be HiddenI've seen people digging out their security pouch to pay for souvenirs or lunch, telling the world right where it is and what is in it. Keep all of your important papers (passport, credit cards, copies of tickets, driver's license, traveler's cheques, extra cash, etc) in your security pough under your clothes, but DON'T keep your daily spending cash there too. Velcro your pockets shut and keep your daily spending money there. If you need more, go to the bathroom or other inconspicuous place.
Pantyhose for All...When traveling to cold climates layering is better than bulky, heavy clothes. One of the best layers for warmth and insulation is pantyhose. Pantyhose (for women AND MEN!) are light, cheap, warm, and disposable. They don't take up any space in your pack and you can just throw them away when they wear out! It just takes a little time for guys to get used to the idea but take my advice: try'em, you'll love'em! ;)
Stash your StuffWhen you're finished packing, place a large plastic trash bag inside your suitcase on top of your stuff. If you are checked at customs and have to unload everything in your bag (which never goes back in like the first time) you can just throw part of it in the trash bag, zip up your suitcase and hit the road. You can re-pack everything somewhere a little less rushed.
Tips from JenniferToilet seats: All women know how disgusting public toilet seats can get. Learn to squat, putting either one or both feet up on the rim (after you've lifted the seat up). It helps if you've lived in Asia for awhile....Toilet paper: Bring a little from home, but remember you can buy tissues on the road. that are meant to be used in the toilet. Bring a ziploc baggie, and load up on paper from your hotel (not tons, just enough to get you through the day). Also, if you get into a public restroom with a little trash can and used TP in it, follow suit. Sometimes the septic system's not meant to handle a lot of paper, or the local grade makes problems.You might want to invest in those travel pants with the zip-off legs. They're great in a place with temples and churches you have to wear pants into. The Ex Officio ones I have dry really fast, and they have approximately 400 pockets of various sizes to hold stuff in.
Girls Only!! sorry guys Recently, while trekking in Nepal, a girlfriend of mine had a stash of panty-liners for use daily. While it's great to know you'll have clean fresh undies...when you know you'll be away from any type of washing facilities for 2 weeks or less - this is a great idea. Of course, you do need to take them out of your pack when you return to civilisation......
Every dollar countsMost credit card companies charge 3%(1% Visa and 2% Bank) of your purchases abroad, but some charge less. For example, Wachovia Visa charges 1% (1% Visa and 0% Bank) as of April 21, 2001. Call your credit company to find out about their surcharge before you travel, since they change their charge often.
It's a towel, a blanket, clothes....For women - the best piece of clothing would be a long sarong. Can be casual, dressed up, perfect for beaches, or asian countries wear shorts are inapproriate. I've used a sarong many times for a towl, blanket, or to bath in Nepali villages. Be sure to bring large clothes pin to pin sarong shut on windy days.
--Shelly - Gunnison, Colorado USA
Wash body and laundry.Scrub yourself with a T-shirt with soap on it. You can clean your body and T-shirt at the same time.
Heat-coil Bring a heat coil. You can make coffee, soup and cook rice.
Under feet anti-perspirant.When walking over long distances(10-13 miles), particularly with not quite broken-in shoes or hikering boots, I had grown to expect blisters or hot spots to form on my feet inspite of powers and/or several sock changes. This problem is magnified by sweating in hot weather. Nothing seemed to work for me until in desparation I rubbed a good brand of anti-perspirant all over the soles of my feet. I found that this kept the moisture away and allowed the necessary calluses to form slow enough preventing down-time and furthermore most importantly prevented the ensueing blistering followed by peeling of the blister caps...ouch
Disposible clothes.Before a trip to an outdoorsy location (rainforest, jungle,etc) I shop local garage sales for inexpensive, used tee shirts and shorts....By paying only a quarter or so apiece, I feel free to leave them behind rather than carry them home.
Long knife and cheap wallet. (What's a pocket clander?)After a rather unpleasant experience at the end of a long knife in Tunisia I always take steps to foil muggers. I buy a realy cheap wallet and stuff it with a few low denomination notes of the local currency. I also put in a couple of those credit card like plastic cards (pocket clanders, business cards, reconer tables, whatever). If I ever am in the situation again I can quite happily hand over my dummy wallet - and hopefully get away with my life!
Free Ride.See if you can find a copy of the ride guide, it's all about ride sharing on planes, and how to do it. I had my copy pinched by a fellow traveler last year, they didn't have a web site then but i'm sure they do now. I managed to score rides with missionaries in Africa, it was a blast. It's by Adventurair.
Film Protection.I've noticed a number of people suggested having your film, camera, or laptop hand-checked at the airport. That doesn't always work. I requested my film be hand-checked at London's Heathrow airport on my way home. I was told that Heathrow no longer hand-checks anything. All possessions must go through the x-ray machines. I'd recommend purchasing a special film bag. Fortunately, even without one of these bags, my film survived the x-rays at Heathrow.
Money Belts. Etc..Money belts are uncomfortable in hot weather, and chest pouches are impractical for women with bosoms. I removed the pouch from the belt, and sewed the 'hook' part of the velcro on it. I then sewed the 'soft strips of velcro across the centre back of all my clothes - slacks, shorts and skirt. I keep all important stuff (money passport etc) in a ziplock, in the sippered pouch that is velcroed onto my butt!!!! It is easy to remove, comes off with a ripping noise and it is INSIDE my clothes. I carry just enough money for the day in a small cloth pouch, which i tuck into my bra. I have been pickpocketed several times, and have only ever lost city maps, which i had in my pocket.
Travel Lite.Why bother taking any luggage at all when you can just buy stuff as you need it! You'll be the hippest and most care free globe trotter on the planet!!
Photos, Photos, Photos.Another reason to bring along extra passport pictures is for discounts on the metro (in Paris for sure!). You can get something called the Carte Orange in Paris that gives you unlimited access to the Metro for a week, and it's much cheaper than having to purchase over and over the individual tickets or even packs of ten. However, it is REQUIRED that you have an extra passport picture to go on this carte orange, or you can't even get them issued to you! It is worth it to get the savings. Remember to keep the ticket the entire week. On the individual tickets, once they are used, throw them away.
I can't stress enough to write down EVERYTHING you did. This helps when you get your film developed... it's tough when you get some pictures back, and you remember seeing it, but not the name or the place!
Bandana.A cotton bandana/kerchief can be invaluable on the road. Great for drying hands or a quick wash up when paper towels aren't provided. Wear it wet around your neck to cool off, or dry to keep warm. I frequently take several and give them away to new friends and free up luggage space... colors and designs are interesting for those in other lands. Happy & safe journeys!
Double as Beach Shoes.Flip Flops are great to bring as shower shoes when sharing bathrooms in many hostels and other low budget sleeping facilities...
Good Budget Travel Tips.Use a rock-climbing carabiner or two to quickly snap your pack to the overhead luggage racks on chicken buses, to benches in bus stations, etc. You can catch a nap without worrying that someone can do a snatch-and-run with your bag. If you're in a bus station, try to stick a leg through at least one strap of any bags you're responsible for, carabiner or no.
Bring a baggie (not ziploc) full of fabric softener dryer sheets... anything you put into your pack will come out smelling clean and if you decide to splurge on a laundromat in a city, your clothes can really smell like home.
Use a ratty-looking knapsack as your daypack. I found a plain greyish one in an Army-Navy surplus store for cheap, I didn't look like a walking target for thieves, and I didn't care when it got dirty. Just avoid carrying camoflage-patterned bags (or wearing camo clothing) in many lesser-developed countries with heavy military or drug army presence.
Guitar String.If you insist on using an around-the-neck security pouch, be aware that thieves often look for that telltale string to cut it and run. You can put a guitar string through it to make it knife-proof.
Opposing View.In reference to a tip about using guitar string for an around the neck security pouch... Please think twice, if you get hung up on something, or someone pulls on it with any force, you will feel like you are in a bad movie (think piano wire wielding villian) being strangled to death. That is why most things made to hang around the neck are either large band straps, or reasonably break-away.
Water Bottle/Safe.While travelling in Africa, I suffered acute paranoia about loss of cash, credit cards, etc. I always carried water in an insulated, opaque, shoulder strapped container. I bought and replaced pottled water in liter sizes. I figured that if I was robbed, they might get my purse and pack, but who would take a water bottle? I placed my credit cards, major money, airplane ticket and passport under and on the sides of the replaceable bottle. If I needed money, I could privately unzip in a Forex office and replenish my cash. I also placed small cash in an accessable pouch, feeling that if pickpocketed, I wouldn't lose too much.
Financial Advice.Although using your credit cards overseas will usually get you the best available exchange rate, some credit card companies have begun to put a new surcharge on overseas purchases. Call your credit card provider to make usre you don't pay more than 1% surcharge. Also, your ATM card is good at ATM cards worldwide but many overseas ATM don't accept a PIN of more than four characters. (Worldwide ATMs can be located through www.visa.com.)
Cable Ties.Use cable ties which come in all colors and sizes to use in place of locks and to use as key chains and keep items tied together. They are available from large home improvement stores or electronic stores.
Laundry Advice.Don't count on washing anything in your hotel sink in western europe. It takes an eternity to dry and you take the risk of having to pack wet clothes. Simply pack many, many socks and pairs of underwear and bring extra t-shirts to wear under your good shirts so they wont get dirty so fast. Tip # 2: don't bring jeans! They are too heavy and take up a lot of room in your backpack. Plus they don't dry in the little time you have in european laundromats.
More Laundry Advice.Instead of paying a lot of money for "stuffer sacks", try lingerie bags (the kind you put in the washing machine with your delicate lingerie inside). They are made of mesh, have a zipper, and are cheaper than mesh sacks made specifically for camping purposes.
Still More Laundry Advice.In addition to a universal stopper, a clothesline, and a superabsorbant towel, we always pack a small ziploc bag of the powdered version of Woolite. It isn't easy to find but worth the search, comes in a blue box, can't leak and weighs practically nothing. Very little goes a very long way!
Whatever Happened to Space Food Sticks?Carry health bars such as PowerBars or another "complete food" when you travel. If you are hungry and can't take the time to eat just then, you can snack on them to keep body and soul together (as my mother would say) until you can eat. Also, if you have specific dietary needs or tastes and can't find a restaurant, you will have something nutritious and familiar to get you to the next culinary opportunity.
High Tech.Instead of a rubberband around the wallet, I prefer to use a narrow strip of two-sided Velcro, 1/4" wide, strapped around the wallet. (Those velcro strips used for gardening to tie branches or tomatoes).When wrapped around the wallet, it is less slippery to "coming out" of the pocket, instead of a rubber band, because it has more friction or "stickiness".
Don't Leave Home Without Them.Always carry two credit cards with you when you travel. Keep one in your possession, and the other at your hotel, either in your locked luggage, or hidden well in your room. There is a chance that you may be attacked while "out on the town", and lose everything, but then there's always that other credit card in your room you can depend on.
--Cajun Joe from New Orleans
Better Safe Than Sorry.Those urban legends about train passengers being drugged while sleeping and then being mercilessly robbed? While it is rare, this DOES happen. Use a personal alarm (the kind that screams when the pin is pulled) and attach it to the sliding doors of a couchette compartment using suction cups. This may be a little paranoic, but it can save you money and the feeling you get when you realize a thief has just groped you to take your money belt.
Safety Pin rule.A bunch of safety pins are a must for travelling. The larger ones can act as a hanger, curtain closer etc... The smaller ones are great for "locking" your backpack zippers. The thief wont be able to open the zipper immediately and wont bother the hazzle of opening the safety pin.
Don't Get In Hot Water.Beware of the temperature of hot water in the U.K.! We measured 180 degrees F in several showers which is hot enough to cause third degree burns in several seconds. Most of the temperature controls ranged from 1 to 9 but anything over 1.5 was too hot. (Most homes in the U.K. use the same boiler unit for both hot water and heating the house.)
Hot Water Platypus.Traveling with cold feet/ achy muscles? Fill your Platypus water bottle with hot water and use as a hot water bottle. Folds to next to nothing when not in use.
Less Tasty to Bugs.If you are going to be out amongst the mosquitoes, there are some ways to appear less tasty to them. Taking garlic capsules leaves a chemical residue that mosquitoes don't like in the pores of your skin. Also, ingesting a vitamin B complex (containing 100 mg of vitamin B1) causes the body to produce an odor that is not detectable to humans but is disliked by mosquitoes. There are also essential oil blends, including essential oils of citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and geranium, that can be applied to the body as nontoxic insect repellents.
Mom Knows Best.Going on from Mom's advice about getting separated. We always go back to the last place we TALKEDto each other. My idea of "seen" and your idea of "seen" may be different. Better still always make a fall back plan for this especially in a strange place or country.
Secret of the Ancients.When travelling to places where there is a fear of contamination or parasites in food or water, it may help to take an acidophilus supplement before and during the trip. Acidophilus is a culture (like in yogurt) that encourages the growth of "good" bacteria in the stomach, thus aiding digestion.
Luggage tags and Ziplock Bags.Luggage tags: On one side of piece of paper I put my name, flight #,airline and destination with the telephone number of where I will be staying(if with a friend). If at a hotel I put the hotel name. On the back side, I put my name, airline,return flight number and my telephone number. This helps if your luggage does not arrive when you do. This happened when I went to Australia. I also pack my clothes in ziploc bags. Easier to get to and to repack when ready to come home or go someplace else.
Baby Wipes.I always put a dozen or so Baby Wipes into a zip-lock bag. These are wonderful for all sorts of things : they remove stains or marks from clothing. You can wipe the handles of dubious looking luggage carts to get off the excess germs. I use them to clean my makeup off, in the plane. You can go and give yourself a nice wipe down during a long flight.
Importants of CoinsHaving a few coins in the local currency comes in VERY handy when you are faced with pay toilets in many European train stations. You will also find pay toilets at Versailles, all over Venice, in Zurich, etc... I always carry small travel packs of tissues to use as toilet paper. Speaking of Venice...The streets with the diagonal bricks will always lead you back to St. Mark's Square, the straight bricks will always lead you to the Rialto Bridge!
Take Samplers, Instead...It's pretty wise NOT to pack a bottle of your favorite perfume or cologne for obvious spillage reasons. instead, save those fragrance samplers that, come by the dozens in magazines, and pack those for a safe, no-spill way to carry a fragrance.
--k s lemley
Travel with No Bills to Pay.I use to use travelers checks, but found that establishments, in the U.S. and abroad, that do not accept personal checks sometimes also refuse travelers checks. Electronic banking has made travel and paying for it much easier. First, no more travelers checks. Second, very little cash, just enough to exchange to pay for that first cab, bus or subway from the airport and to get home. Instead I send a carefully determined amount of money to one of my credit cards BEFORE departing. There are several advantages to this. I've set a budget for myself, one receives a much better exchange rate when using a credit card than when exchanging at a bank or a money service window, and one does not have to pay a fee or immediate interest if one makes a cash withdrawal on the card. And best of all, I have no, or just a small, bill to pay when I return home. I usually do not use my credit card for cash withdrawals, I use my debit card. I normally only take out as much local currency as I need for a couple days so as not to have left over foreign currency when returning home or travelling on to the next country This card is a different type of card (Visa, Master, AmEx, Dinners, etc) from the card to which I send advance cash. This way I have two credit-type options when using plastic. I also set a limit on how much I spend on this card and have no bill to pay when I return home. I don't worry about losing travelers checks or cash, don't worry about carrying large amounts of cash, and don't have any bills to pay once the fun is over. But, do remember that most debit cards do not offer the same protections that credit cards offer if your card is lost or stolen. So, keep the telephone number of your bank and your card number in duplicate so you may put an immedite halt of services to your card if you should be so unfortunate as to have this happen to you.
Simple, Useful Tips.A simple travel tip that may prevent some one from stealing your wallet. Wrap a thick rubber band around your wallet. This stops a pick pocket from easily sliding your wallet out.
Another tip is to take along a clothes pin for keeping curtain together in the hotel.--R Podrasky
The Versatile Contact Lens Case.Contact lens cases are great for storing small amounts of things like moisturizer, antibiotic cream, and other necessities. These cases are flat, surprisingly deep, and take up hardly any room at all in your pack. Oftentimes travellers need to carry along a wide assortment of various salves and ointments, but don't need too much of any one thing. Cut down on bulky tubes and bottles by keeping only as much as you need of each item in one or both sides of a lens case with a tight, screw-on lid. The cases are also great for OTC pills, spices, small jewellery, and, oh yeah, contact lenses! (a bit of whiteout and a ballpoint pen will let you label the bottoms with contents, exp. date, etc.)--Beth Snyder
Leggings.I've found leggings to be one of the most versatile pieces of travel wear. They're comfortable wearing as pants; you can wear them under long skirts and jeans for added warmth; they're great comfortable p.j.'s and are opaque enough to wear to the w.c. in the middle of the night if you're sharing a bath. And, they take up very little luggage space and are easy to wash out in the sink and dry quickly!! Can't beat 'em!!!!--Sue Mansfield
Dry Nose No More.When travelling on a plane for long hours, take a bottle of either AYR or OCEAN, which are saline nasal mist bottles. The dry air in the plane makes your nose dry and this stuff helps a lot. These are available in most pharmacies. Good for high altitude locations, too. Also a spray bottle of Evian or some other pure water helps on the plane as well as a handbag-sized tube of hand cream.--Nancy B.
More Luggage Tag Advice.I use business cards in places provided on luggage for ID's, but I always put them in face down so that only a blank card shows. You can assure the airline that your luggage has your name, etc., can get to the info easily if necessary to show the ID, and make it difficult for anyone else to access. For clear tags, use 2 cards face to face.--K. Norcross
Rubber Wedge.A rubber wedge used to prop a door open can also be used to wedge a door shut from the inside. It gives added security in a questionable hotel room.--Jan Hinkle
Contain Leaks.Put your shampoo and other leakable stuff in ziplock bags. If they do leak, it will be contained and not make a mess in your luggage.--Dave Farmer
Half and Half, His and hers.Split Pack your bag half of her half of his. Protection against the lost of all clothes on a trip. also to aid in the recovery have your name and Company address inside the bag. Happy travels--Gord Brown
Expert Film Advice.When traveling with a lot of film or in a third-world destination where they may or may not hand-inspect and the carry-on inspection may be with older, higher intensity equipment, it is better to have your film FedEx'd to and from your hotel before arrival and just before departure. In the US FedEx does not subject packages to x-ray of any kind. However, in foreign countries you can't be sure whether FedEx is using their own planes or contracting air freight with another carrier who does x-ray--it It could well be freight on a passenger-carrying flight. In this case, I put my film in a large ziplock bag (~20-30 35mm rolls/bag) and wrap that with aluminum foil from the hotel's kitchen. Label the outside of the FedEx box with "PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM INSIDE" as well as the airbill and the customs manifest. The foil causes the first pass, low-intensity x-ray to kick the package out for manual inspection and the labelling tells the freight crew to by-pass the high-intensity, film fogging laser.--Ed, New York
Travel tip for India.Be sure to carry a pair of pliers with you whenever you are exchanging money. Large amounts of Indian currency usually comes stapled together. You can usually work the staple out with a back and forth twisting motion. It is important to remove the staple without tearing any notes because shopkeepers and taxiwallahs will not accept damaged bills. Also, hang on to your small bills as much as possible. Most everyday transactions will require them and you don't want to fall pray to the taxiwallahs that never seem to have change.--Paul James, Canada
More duct tape advice.Duct tape comes in handy for so many things when traveling and camping. A compact way to carry it is to wrap it around a pencil--you won't have that big roll taking up room.
Buy a cheap shoe bag (the kind you can hang on back of doors)and use to hang on bathroom doors in hotels (or hang up in tent)to store all your toiletries. Great when you have no counter space or very little.--N. Petta
Passport photo advice.Passport Photos: Always have yours taken in nice clothing. Men should wear a jacket and tie. No matter how grungy you look at immigration, the guard looking at you will know that you can and do occasionally dress nicely. If possible, DO NOT WEAR THE SAME CLOTHING FROM YOUR PASSPORT PHOTO WHEN YOU CROSS BORDERS. It can look mighty suspicious (particularly if your photo is not completely and properly sealed in the passport) and cause all sorts of delays or refusals.--David Braun
More Zip Lock UsesWhen traveling by air, prior to passing through security, take a moment to put all metallic items (coins, pocket knife, pen) in a small zip lock bag and then put that in your carry-on that will be X-rayed anyhow. It's much easier to retrieve the bag later than dumping loose items from the baskets provided by the metal detectors. The people behind you will appreciate it! Additionally, if you a concerned about someone picking up your X-rayed items while you are delayed at the metal detector, become familiar with what clothing items will set off sensitive detectors. eg. Belt buckles, metal snaps on coats and steel shanks in your boots. Travel safe!--Randy
Travel Vest (Maybe we should sell them.)I just returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand carrying a ton of camera equipment and video camera. Since I don't feel comfortable carrying a purse that can be easily pickpocketed, I invested in a travel vest with lots of pockets, two of which are inside. This is where I carried my passport and money. Film and other items on the outside. Wash it at night and wear it the next day!!!--Marla Bowman
More on Luggage Tags (a bit of safety)Though many people think it is a good idea to put business cards on luggage tags, it also identifies you as a "wealthy" business person regardless of how wealthy you really are. In many Third World countries things like kidnapping are much more commonplace and announcing your affiliation with a large Company may also be announcing yourself to potential kidnappers (many companies have been known to pay ransoms for their employees). This is also true for frequent flier tags. If you travel enough to be a member of XYZ Gold Club you also have enough money to pay a ransom. Your name and address are enough identification for luggage.--David Goldstein, USA
Sink PlugTake a universal sink plug with you - cheap hostel accommodation rarely provide plugs in the sinks, a necessity when trying to wash youself, your clothes, or any other bits of kit.--Matthew Joynson, United Kingdom
Don't leave home without it:Lots of ziplock bags, small flashlight, laundry detergent, Swiss Army knife, antibacterial hand gel, a journal, rope, plenty of film, a packtowel, and an adventurous spirit.--Meghan Taylor
Tips From GeorgeWhen arriving at destination airport check outside first or inquire about local busses to town or hotel airport pickups which are free for hotel clients. Can save you a lot of money. Read up on your destination as much as possible.--ghare CANADA
Travel Tips For The MilitaryMost venders in South Korea do NOT take returns, make sure what you are buying is what you want for that price. Shop around first. Keep a copy of your military ID so that if you lose it you still have some proof. International airports charge different taxes that are not included in the price of your ticket so look into it before you arrive at the airport. Most people working on the base (Exchange, Commisary) do not speak very good English, learn as much of the local language as possible. Ziplock bags are a must, they keep everything dry. Buy items that you use daily before leaving the US, most countrys do not carry the same brands even at the Exchange. Eye contacts sold in the foreign cities are not the same as those sold in the US even if the brand is. Disposables may not be disposables and you may have to clean them daily or at least soak them.--DEBBIE BRUMBACK
All Purpose GelWhen traveling many disaster volunteers (myself, included) find a top choice to be the small squeeze bottles of Shout Gel.( It's the stuff for doing laundry stains) It has a scrubbie top with a twist on cap (no leaks), works for doing laundry or for general cleaning nasties (like the shower floor). You can even use a small amount in place of bar soap/shampoo. It also stops squeeks, and helps grease the skids of stuff that doesn't move (ie: like WD-40). Best of all its cheap, small, versatile, leakproof, and who cares if it gets lost.Happy trails from the disaster chick!--Jane
A Couple of Tips from Laura.One word: Silk.Nothing beats silk as THE fiber for travel clothes. It's lightweight, cool in summer and warm in winter, washes and dries in no time, and feels SO good! It may be wrinkle-prone if you put pack it wet, but otherwise it's fine. And the biggest advantage - if the building/bus/airplane you're in catches fire, silk won't melt to your skin like the artifical fibers will.
I like to carry a pillowcase with me - a king-size one is best, but any will do. Aside from its obvious use (which is especially nice when the hotel beds don't look too clean), it can be very handy for other things. I store my sleeping bag in one when I'll be sleeping in a bed for several days (It's not good to leave the bag in its stuff sack). It's also a great laundry bag or sit-upon - and you can never have too many things to put things in.--Laura Shumar
Bug Advice.Always carry a can of all purpose bug spray. When you arrive at your hotel room, strip down the bed and spray the mattress and box sring. Then go out to eat, explore, etc. When you return make your bed and relax to an undisturbed night sleep. This is especially important if the room has been vacant for awhile,leaving microscopic predators with a voratious appetite.--Frederick Giuliani
Write it Down.Keep a travel journal! Not only does it give you something to do when you're on long train and bus trips, but it will provide many memories in the years ahead. Plus it gives you a handy place to store names and addresses of people you meet.--Mardee Sherman
Good reason for FilmShields.Never put film in your check in luggage. The newer x ray scanners for check in luggage are designed to do a second, more powerful, scan of luggage that "seems" suspicious. This second scan can ruin your film.--Anil Kapahi
Bubbles, no bacteria.In countries with questionable water supply, drink carbonated water, beer, sodas - bacteria cannot live in the bubbles.--Jack Fisk
Advice from Mom.If your ever lost or separated from the group, go back to the last place you saw them. And "... be sure everyone knows that!--Mom
Excellent tip.If you have access to a scanner before you leave, have somebody scan and save copies of your important documents. You can have them sent to your e-mail account before you even leave. That way, it will be easy to get another copy, even if everything you owned has been stolen. No matter what, though, always leave a copy of important documents with somebody at home. Good or bad, there are very few places left on this earth without access to a fax machine.--Kim
Motor Club.Before leaving, if you belong to a motor club, check to see if they have a free travel book for the area you plan to visit. While the information isn't always the best, they often include small, book sized maps that can be torn out and carried discretely anywhere, thus advoiding the need to carry your guidebook or meter long map to the market.--Heather
A couple of tips for long airplane trips.Some people find it hard to sleep on long international flights (14 hrs LAX to Sydney for example). I can usually sleep for 6 hours by using an inflatable neck pillow, a sleep mask (that's right, one of the things you wear over your eyes), ear plugs, and an adult dose of Tylenol-PM or similar painkiller with sleep additive. Take your shoes off, put on the free socks, get a blanket over yourself, fasten your seatbelt on top of the blanket so the hosties don't wake you up, and then nod off. Thanks to my former boss at NASA/GSFC for suggesting this one. BTW make sure you get a seat away from the galley/toilets so you don't too much random noise while you're trying to sleep. Some people say forward of the engines is quieter.When you get to your destination, even if you're completely buggered (tired), don't go to sleep in the daytime. Get out in the sunshine, stay up until after sunset, and go to bed at 8-9pm local time. It might be fun to sleep for 18 hours the day you arrive, but your sleep schedule will then be screwed for the next 2-3 days. Best to get in sync with the local time as soon as possible.Cheers, Liam.--Liam Gumley
Pay with Coins.When leaving a country, most exchange houses will only take your bills. The morning in the hotel, I give all of my coins to the hotel at checkout, and then charge the remainder on my credit card. I have never been refused, and it saves the drawer full of unspendable change that can accumulate. --Steve Johnson
Bug Advice.When you are using any kind of bug netting or sleep screen on a bed don't make the typical mistake I've heard about so many times! Tuck your netting in uder the mattress. Do NOT let it hang down over the bed. Guess where mosquitos hang out during the day! Right, under the bed. When they try to get out at night and run into your mozzie netting they'll end up INSIDE your netting WITH you. This is a real bummer. So, be careful and don't go "mozzie trapping..."--JB
Ice Cubes and Airplanes.Air Travel may seem safe but don't ask for ice for your bottled water. Odds are the ice was made with the very water you are avoiding by drinking bottled water! It cost me nearly two weeks on the throne and only narrowly avoided a hospital stay!--Frank Blume
Food Advice.Since I travel extensively in Asia to remote locations I have two tips to help your G.I. tract adjust to the local cuisine: 1) The week before you depart, eat dinner at a local restaurant specializing in the cuisine of your intended travel location. This will stimulate the appropriate bacteria in your system and will reduce the "shock" to your system when you eat your first local dish. 2) After you arrive at your intended location, go out and eat some of the local yogurt. This will introduce the local "bugs" into your system and is much easier than adjusting to a big plate of Nasi Goreng.--J.B. Anderson
Go natural.To all those who like to smell pretty, bears have been known to take a human head whole not knowing the difference between honey and hairspray. My tip is: Go natural!--Robbyn Hicks
Good Advice.When packing for a trip lay out all the stuff you plan to pack including your money. Take half the stuff and twice the money. This will insure a successful trip.--Carol
Hair.Shave your head just before your journey or when you arrive. No hair to comb, no shampoo to carry. Plus you get to see what you look like bald. Also a good psychological statement your adventure has begun.--Hunter Hayes, Tainan, Taiwan.
Email and Zippo.If you use e-mail to keep in touch, and like to take down addresses of those you meet, and short reminder notes about them, use a free e-mail like HoTMaiL (www.hotmail.com) or RocketMail (www.rocketmail.com). Both of these allow you to keep an address book, which takes up no room on your person, and won't be lost.
Also, take a Zippo lighter and not a disposable. There is a reason these were once standard Army issue - they never let you down. They'll light instantly in wind and rain, even; you don't have to hold a button down to keep them lit, which makes them a good source of light; and the lighter fluid you use to refuel them may also come in handy.--Anonymous
Here are a few items I find to very useful while traveling.A flat sink stopper (these work much better than a tennis or golf ball)
Suction cups (Get some with hooks to hang stuff up to dry or to support clotheslines. These attach very nicely to windows, mirrors and lots of places inside bathrooms. I also use one to hold up a mesh bag to keep from putting stuff on wet bathroom/hot t ub/shower floors.)
Wire hangers from home (Most places don't have enough hangers and these can be cannibalized for lots of uses. I leave them behind when I return home.)
Fiber supplement (Metamucil or equivalent. Prevents or cures constipation and diarrhea.)
And the usual suspects: Duct tape, Nylon cord and fold-up leather tool (you know, those things with pliers, screwdrivers. knife, fold-up canoe, ...)--Robert Doucette
Bungee.Take a few meters of bungee cord with you. Usually found in hardware stores in different diameters. Infinite uses.--Bob von Liski
Cliff's Tips.Ship it home. In some places they will ship your purchases to you. Besides staying light you are usually exempt from most local taxes and will not have a problem declaring all your purchases to customs when you get home and paying tax again.
Get in shape before you go on a long trip. I have lived on road for years and you get used to it after a while. However for the person who does not travel or has never traveled they may not realize how tough it is on the body. They think being on vacation is just laying around in the sun all day. Wrong. Being on a plane for 13+ hours, then a train trip for 4 hours, and you are not there yet can be very tiring. If you are not in shape you will tire quickly, be more susiptable to disease and in general not have as good as time as you could have. You don't have to be able to run a marathon or anything but the better shape you are in the better you will hold up.
Because travelling can take it out of you I recommend most people get on a multi vitamin prior to extended travel. Your diet may change greatly and this will ensure your body doesn't get angry at you.--Cliff Thompson, New Zealand
No Gimmicks-n-Gizmos just big pockets Maglite AA torch, Swiss army knife, Small Padlock, Cable Lock, Sarong, Disposable plastic lighter, Ball point pens, roll or wad of toilet paper, small pocket sized first aid kit, role of electrical tape, iodine tablets, water bottle, $100 bill emergency m oney.
LuxuriesKatadyn Pocket Filter (water filter) + Katadyn Micropur treatment tablets (Very expensive and heavy but the best and the only surviving one of many). 5 Litre nylon water bag. Mosquito net.--Matt
Scarab8 Trip TipsWhen I'm on a trip I collect e-mail adresses as well as snail-mail addresses. It makes it easier to keep in touch. Then I have my photos put on cd-rom and e-mail pictures to my new friends.
I have learned to carry 2 ATM cards, my magnetic strip went out on me once and gave me a little scare. Always carry some travelers cheques for emergencies, but remember that they cost a lot to convert and cash. Credit and ATM cards are the best.
I put copies of all my important documents in a ziplock bag and velcro them inside the strap pouch of my backpack, then I hope my backpack doesn't get stolen. If it does, my family always has copies. Instead of the cable lock which tends to break, I just clip my backpack to something stable. If a thief can't just grab and run he probably won't grab at all.
Always try to speak the language of the country you are in, it shows respect for your hosts. When you make mistakes laugh at yourself, your not alone. People are almost always willing to help someone who is trying. Remember that you are representing yo ur country, leave a good impression!
Most of all DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! Your going to get lost, or lose something, it's inevitable that something will go wrong somewhere. Working it out is a great way to meet people and see some interesting things. Have fun!--Scarab8, Chicago
Ziplock hot compresses.Large ziplock bags make good hot compresses. Use hot water coils to heat water and pour over hand towel then put in ziplock bag.--Florine Daigle
Ideas from a spontaneous traveler and pilot.I have spent years assembling the perfect travel wardrobe and accessories. Almost everything I own matches, (neutral colours with brighter accessories) Natural fibers that dry quckly and pack tightly. Makes washing easy and that neat scarf you find in t hat exotic bazar will match all! I searched for the perfect comfortable and stylish (I live in Italy) shoes so I could cut down on the packing (Dr. Scholes black) I always know what I will take so if the oportunity arrises I can pack and be ready for eve n an extended trip in just a few minutes. My friends who see me everyday probably think my wardrobe is boring, but they sure are jealous when I can get a phone call and head out the door in a hour for a week long trip. I find ziplock bag indespensible! Also dental floss - a million uses! (sewing, emergency clothes line, this stuff is strong!) For spices (to bring with you and to take home with you) I use those medical test tubes. They come in plastic with rubber caps. Perfect for a million uses.
I wear contacts so I use the disposable kind and throw them out as I go along! Don' t for get a copy of your prescription though! The idea about the telephones is important. Lear how they work and also emergency numbers. Many countries now use phone cards. Here in Italy it is difficult to find a phone that takes coins, find out before you have an emergency.
I always carry a chamois cloth - you can buy them in swimwear shops or auto supply stores. They are great for drying clothers. Just roll the clothes inside the chamois and squeeze. let the cloth dry and repeat. Also for general towel use and they take u p 1/5 the space of terrycloth. if you have to have a towel the turkish "wafflel weave" are great they don't take up much room and the are very absorbent and dry quicker than terrycloth. Happy Travels.--Leonard
Exploding pillows.When using inflatable neck pillows on planes. Never blow them up full before take off. The pressure in full pillows cause them to burst. Therefore no pillow for the rest of the flight. Or carry an extra pillow. I usually do and give them to neighbour pass engers with burst pillows.--Tracy
More pillows advice.Inflatable neck pillows are also great in the bathtub.--Sabu, Taipei
Leave the kitchen sink at home.i would like to emphasize the importance of packing light. even if you will be in a cold climate, layers are better than bulk. if you will be travelling on trains at all, that makes it all the more crucial that you pack light. besides, it's a lot easier to enjoy the experience if you aren't hauling a mountain of luggage. who cares if you wore that same shirt a few days ago? smile!--Brett Fountain
Advice.In poor countries such as India or Pakistan, don't give money to children, as it encourages a begging culture, but do show that you are happy to meet them by having ballpoint pens to give away (buy them in dozens; you'll give away dozens) and, if you can afford it, pack a cheap Polaroid camera and lots of film: take their photos and give it to them. Remember, in Muslim countries, not to take photos of little girls or women unless you have their mothers' or their own (in the case of adults) permission. People are not there to be objects for your photo albums.--Carolyn Clarke, UK
Coconutty hair.If you know you will be in a place where showering/bathing will be few and far between, take a deep cleansing shampoo and a small bottle of coconut oil. After washing your hair, use a tiny (and I mean tiny!) drop of oil and apply to your hair - add more if necessary, but go easy the first time to how it looks when dry. The oil will keep nasty things out of your hair (like lice) and allows you to remove dirt by combing through your hair until your next hair wash. Hair stays soft and the oil acts just like a soft hair gel to keep the frizzies down!--Jenny Cox
Or a headlamp.Mini light is essential. I prefer to use a Mag light AAA. It is useful to do something in a dorm midnight, especially.--Keitaro, Japan
Save your dress shoes.When traveling for a formal event, insert your dress shoes in cotton athletic or crew socks. By placing freshly polished shoes into socks that you can always wear later, you prevent any stray shoe polish from getting on other items in your pack. This also protects the shoes from scuffs during transit as the socks hug and protect the shoe.--Edward J. Pelegrino
Again, copy important stuff.I found out the hard way that it definitely pays to have a copy of your plane tickets and to have one with a relative or friend at home. Some airlines will honor it as documentation of a lost/stolen ticket. In most cases it will make it easier to get them replaced.--Michael
Pre-made address labels.Before leaving on your trip, with your word processor make address labels of all the people you will want to write to. Carry a glue stick with you, then put everything in a zip bag. What a time saving blessing, when you have to address a lot of postcards to mail back home. --Joseph Broulet
TP.Always take along you own toilet paper. Most places offer some sort of paper, but outside of US it isn't often like America's. It often resembles either wax paper (good for a smear) or is like crape' paper (very rough) and some places offer nothing at all .--Massie Tice
More lugguge tag advice.Besides carrying your business address in your luggage tag, also make a copy of your itinerary and place it also in your luggage tag, be sure dates are included on your itinerary. Therefore, your luggage can follow you rather than going home before you do .--S. Bevis
Tape.When travelling overseas, dont forget to pack masking or electrical tape. It can be used to wrap around suitcases or back packs. This way you can easily tell if your bag has been tampered with. In countries where the transportation of drugs is prevalen t this tip is extremely important. Unlike a lock, taping your bag makes it harder for anything to be easily secreted.--Margaret Cross
A List.Make lists of things you need ... and update them continually. Ear plugs are the single most important thing we take. Eg:
FoodNibblies in ziploc bag
Cooking / EatingSwiss Army KnifeBowl or platemug for hot drinkseating utensils: knife and fork, plastic bowlWater bottle 1 L.
Campingcandle lantern and candlesTHERMAREST sleeping pad. (a must for comfort !)warm light weight sleeping bag
ClothesPants & Wind pantsFleece vest/jacket or wool sweater running shoes, sandalssun cap with visorwater resistant jacketMisc
headlampSunglasses & sunscreenToilette kit: earplugs, kleenex, moleskin, toothbrush, towel WhistleRope .... 7 mm in 20' lengthreading stuff small hiking packfirst aid kit: bandage, aspirin, sunscreen--Bruce Roberts
Old Clothes.For traveling to remote places, pack old underwear and tee-shirts that you would wear "one more time" and then toss them out instead of saving them to wash. This will free up more room in your baggage to bring back souvenirs and other collectibles from y our trip.--Bob Hilderbrand, San Diego California
No annex.Never stay in a room called the annex!--Anonymous
Useful cup.During a 3-month backpacking-by-train/bus/foot trip through Europe, we used a sierra cup (the steel, sloped-side cups used by experienced hikers) for everything! Eat/drink/wash from it. Cook in it, using a candle (almost every day!!). Make coffee/tea in it. Boil water in it to drink or sterilize the day's minor wounds. Use it for a candle base in unlit/unheated rooms. Empty our pockets into it at night, so we know where everything is and can quickly empty it back into a pocket.
Although we didn't do it, some persons use it as a percussion instrument. It can also be used to bail out a canoe, rap a vicious dog on the nose, and -- in desparate cases -- collect coins while begging.--Mike & Debby Willoughby
Make a list.Before you leave home, make a detailed list of the contents of your check-on luggage and store in your passport carrier. Sure saves time (and imagination) at a foreign airport filling out forms when your luggage didn't arrive with you.--Barb Robins, Emporia, Kansas
Also good for playing SquashA squash ball used as an emergency sink plug in cheap hotels will come in handy for washing!--Wern Sze, Melbourne, Australia
Shoe adviceWhen "budget backpacking" bring only one pair of shoes for the trip and a pair of flip-flops. Your shoes should be a combination hiking/sneaker shoe w/a rugged sole, and your flip flops will prevent picking up undesirable germs and fungi in the showers!! --Jeff Thomas, Dallas TX
Tramping in the tropicsWhen tramping in tropical wet areas (New Zealand, Peru, Bolivia...)1. Try to where long jones and tight fast dry shorts on top. Both shuld be the kind that would get dry after a night rolled in or under your sleeping bag.2. Also important to get yourself a big (at least 2 meters long) plastic bag to roll into in case of rain & floods.3. When tramping at muddy or snowy places it's important to have gaiters on - rent them or buy -you'll need them--No name given
Know before you goWhen coming to a new place ALWAYS know where you plan to spend the night before you arrive. This just might help you preserve your life or belongings. That 'nice' cab driver's advice are usually to his bennefit and not to yours....--Alon Rubinstein, Israel
Don't planDont waste your time preplanning, you might meet people along the way, and all the fun is freedom to do what ever you want whenever you want!--Micky
Battery adviceWhen traveling with battery operated devices - always start with fresh new batteries, test them in the device they will be used with and THEN leave the batteries in that device BUT reverse one. This will assure that the batteries are where they belong and that they won't be dead when needed.--Paul Mathews
Cell phones and mailing labelsDo not put credit cards or anything else with a magnetic strip next to your cellular phone as the strip will be de-magnetized. It is handy to keep addresses of the people you will be writing to on pre-printed mailing labels. This way you will not have t o worry about writing them over and over, and you can keep track of how many times you've written everyone.--Angie & Natalia, Miami, FL. USA
ZiplockPut all your clothes in Ziploc bags. Squish them so all the air comes out. You can fit a lot more into your lugage, and stuff stays dry even if your bag gets wet. If you get really ambitous you can package each day's outfit separately.--Erin Wigger
Make copiesMake a note of the 800 numbers and the collect numbers to report stolen credit cards, and keep this separate from your credit cards in case they are stolen. You can't use the 800 number in foreign countries. It's also a good idea to carry two different cards, separately, so that if one is stolen and you have to cancel it, you'll have credit to buy new airline tickets or whatever else may have been stolen along with your credit card. Keeping a photocopy of your passport picture page will make it easier to get a replacement passport. Yes, I had them stolen and learned all this the hard way!--Julie Towery
Buyer bewareIn some countries, like Greece, it is not unusual that you will recieve alot of coin change. This means that when it comes time for you to move on that these coins cannot be changed for other currency (they only exchange notes). When making purchases dema nd that your change be in notes BEFORE you buy.They will be much more co-operative then! --Heidi, Australia
Free steaming15-20 hours of flying is bad enough, but showing up for your first meeting in the suit you just pulled out of your suitcase/hanging bag tends to make your tired appearance look even worse. One solution is to take your suit/jacket/slacks out of your suitca se as soon as you arrive, put them on a hangar in the bathroom, turn on the hot water and close the door. After 10 minutes or so, the steam takes the wrinkles out of the clothes and they look fresh pressed! It's better (and cheaper) than trying to find a 1 hour laundry service in a foreign country.--Steve Kelly
Bow tipWhen you are in Japan and don't know how deep you're suppose to bow, bow as deep as the other person and you won't do anything wrong.--Rasmus, Sweden
No longer a neck pouchCut the string from a neck pouch and sew the pouch to the inside lining of your slacks just behind your pocket. Easy to get at and loss proof.--Maralyn Taylor
Film and XraysWhen traveling with camara equipment and lots of film do not let your film go through the X-ray machine. One or two times is OK but more will can make your pictures fog. Ask the people in charge to check it by hand. Also don't carry your camara in a r egular case because it makes it really easy to steal.--Eliza Ginn
Don't be a hunger artistDon't leave home without instant soup, ramon noodles, or instant breakfast; you never know when you'll be stuck somewhere without correct currency or simplywithout any type of currency. It may not fill you up completely but it will help tie you over for a while. It is also a good idea to bring a small set of camping dishes with you.--Jeni
Drink liquid before you swimIf you mistakenly touch a poisonous (black) sea urchin spine you can use urine as a neutralizer. It really works and can prevent a really miserable pain.--Beth
Tips from VictorLarge Safety PinsUse them as hangers. They could be attached to any material. They are especially handy while travelling on planes. Just hang your jacket or small bag in front of you using a safety pin - everything becomes very accessible. You don't need to get up and rea ch for the overhead compatment.
Bring Your Own Soap and Shampoo.Many hotels don't provide any. The more expensive hotels do provide soap and shampoo. I find those soaps and shampoos are not appropriate for men. For the most you end up smelling like a rose garden.
Resolving Disputes.A smile, a compliment and a please will get you much further than any loud demands.
Resolving Dispute while travelling by air.To resolve your situation you need to speak to airline personnel who has the authority to handle problems. While at the airport ask for a STATION MANAGER, while in the air ask for a FLIGHT MANAGER.--Victor Ryzhak
Tips from a habitual backpackerHere are some tips from a habitual backpacker/youth-hosteller:
Enclose passport, cash, travel checks, etc. in a plastic Zip-Lock bag in your money belt - keeps everything from getting soggy and NASTY!
Carry a cable lock (on the safety page) for fastening packs together and/or to luggage racks (in trains, buses, or left-baggage offices etc.) to make it harder for thieves to casually lift (and take) them.
Carry a mini flashlight (I prefer MagLite Solitaire) and whistle for security
Hang a decent-sized jingle bell on room doorknobs (if you don't carry your own supplemental doorlocks) - to get warning of uninvited visitors at night.
I keep my day's spending money and 1 form of ID handy in a little purse in my pocket, and NEVER remove anything from my money belt in a public place. I also wear my money belt UNDER all clothing - not on top of my shirt, or anywhere that someone could te ll that I have one (see above for the Zip Loc tip).--Karen Gaines
Tips learned from long days on the trailTake iodine tabs for emergency water purifiers - they're compact and cheap - the water will taste disgusting but it beats the runs (or worse)! Take unsweetened Koolaid and artifical sweetener to cover up the taste.
Take a small plastic bottle of iodine for antiseptic (packed in a ziploc just in case)--lightweight and dries fast.
For your postcard list, type just first names, street address, and zip code - you probably know the last name and the city and it saves space. Then shrink it on a Xerox to as small as you can read it, and laminate it. Takes up just a TINY bit of space i n your pack.
Hit a cheap store and buy el cheapo clothes--nylon and rayon and other light stuff--then toss them when you're through with them. Never carry jeans--they're bulky, weigh a lot, and will rot before they air-dry.
Carry a bunch of $1 bills - they make good quick tips and cab fares--American dollars are quite useful.--Kay Brewer, VA
Better exchange rateYou can usually get a better exchange rate by buying stuff with a credit card, rather than exchanging your cash. This is because the credit card company aggregates all its transactions and get a better rate than any one person could get.--Big Bill from Milwaukee, WI, USA
T-shirts and a towelI always take several cool T-shirts that are obviously 'American'. As I pick up new stuff on my trip, I hand out a t-shirt here an there to new friends. They always get a kick out of it and I have more room to bring stuff home! Also, always bring an old towel which you can also throw away for more room. You never know what you may need it for. When I was in South Africa, I used mine to scare away an overzealous Vervet monkey....--Barbara Blood
Adhesives part fourTake a roll of half-inch masking tape to tape caps and lids that invariably vibrate loose during your travels spilling goo all over your suitcases' contents. Just tape the caps and lids for extra security. The tape is easily removed and can easily be torn into the proper lengths needed for the job at hand.--Dave Davis
Ice-breakers, germ-killersTwo indispensible items in some of the very out-of-the-way places we have traveled in are a few photos of our house, our children, our cats, our neighborhood, etc. Also, a small spray bottle of Shaklee's Basic G. The photos are an enormous icebreaker with people who are just as curious about the way you live as you are about them, and the Basic G kills any germ, virus, etc on any surface you aren't sure of.--Marilyn Schlansky
Salt, Pepper, and CadmiumPlastic film canisters are a good way to organize small loose items, but they should never be used to carry food or spices. Heavy metals from the film they used to contain may leach into the food.--Robert White
We Carry Those...A multi-purpose knife, such as the Swiss ones, is a little tool box in itself. You will be travelling with scissors, saw, fish knife, tweezers, tooth pick ... the can opener might save lives one day.--Sandra, Germany
Phone, insteadWhen you at are the airport's boarding gate and they cancel your flight, DON'T go to the ticket counter with the throngs of people that were also on your flight to rebook. Simply head to the nearest telephone booth and dial the airline's 800 number - you' ll go to "the front of the line."--Terry Roth
The Seventh SenseNever Never Never travel without your sense of humour! It is an invaluable piece of equipment and will help keep you sane when faced with the non-existant train or the deluge in the 'dry' season. Oh, and if you share it, it lasts much longer!--Samantha Hobbs
More monetary adviceWhen you are traveling to exotic lands, be sure to have several ways to access your money. If your travelers checks get stolen (as mine did in Germany), then an ATM card would come in handy until you get replacements. But if your pin is over four digi ts, you may be out of luck again. Then there is the ever-popular credit card, but if it happens to be demagnitized in the south of France, you'll be s.o.l again, because they can't seem to key in the digits!--Annette Warganich
Easier to remember, tooWhile in Europe recently, I discovered I couldn't withdraw money from the ATMs because my PIN code was too long. My code has 8 digits, and I found out that most European ATMs only support 4 digit PIN codes. Fortunately, I was able to have someone wire me money. My tip: take lots of money or traveler's checks, or get a short PIN code!--Anna Davidson
Family Travel TipsWhen traveling as a couple or as a family don't feel you have be together every minute. Split up, go your separate ways for a few hours or a whole day. Meet again at dinner. You will find your mealtimes conversations lively as each one shares his/her day's adventures. If one parent takes a child to a place the child really likes, let the child 'take' the other parent there the next day.--Martha in Ventura
Disposable clothesTake along all your old underwear and/or socks to wear. At the end of each day, throw them away. Not only are you lightening your load as you go along, you're cleaning your drawers at home at the same time.--Mardee Sherman
Obvious and trueTake as much money as possible.--Mark Sandstrom
Copy your passportLeave a copy of your passport with a family member. If you need the passport numbers ETC this can be faxed to any consulate to possibly speed up replacement.--Cindie Barlow, Surrey B.C. Canada
Money here, money thereCarry your money in a different place then you carry you I.D. In case you are robbed of your money, they will not get your identification. Also keep enough money, in a different location, so you have cab fare back to the hotel.--Mary Peck
Plane trip tipsIf you're on a long plane trip, it's handy to bring along a bottle of pure water spray. Spray it on your skin, and it will prevent dry, itchy skin.
Another tip for long, airplane trips, is to bring along a few static cling preventer tissue things you put in your dryer to prevent static cling. Rub one over your hair, and your hair won't be sticky anymore!--Cindie Barlow
Extra passport photosAlong with a copy of your passport and other travel documents, carry extra passport photos. They are required if you loose your passport and it must be reissued.--Thomas K. Moore
Luggage TagsPut your work address, not your home address, on your luggage tags. There have been reports of thieves getting addresses from luggage tags because they know the luggage owner is on the road.--Dale Erkkila, Slute, Utah
Luggage Tags, Part 2To save time just use your business cards, that way you have business address and don't need to fill them out. (Which is a tedious job and if one is traveling a lot, who wants to do anything tedious?)--Georgette Burritt
PeaceKnow hand gestures in the country you travel to. Remember George Bush going to Australia? He gave the sign for peace, but in Australia that is their way of being flipped off.--No name submitted
Disposible water bottles.I've replaced the water bottles for my day pack with Gatorade bottles (the manufacturer's ones leaked anyway). The Gatorade bottles don't leak, and at the end of the trip I throw them away (into a recycling bin, if possible). My day pack is smaller and suddenly I have extra space for acquired goodies!--Hoku Gilbert
Film canisters.Reuse of the plastic film canisters is a good way to keep small loose items together. Also, they can be used as salt and pepper shakers using the available snap on lids that can be purchased in many sporting goods stores.--Richard Grubbs
Free from your bank.You know those 'check registers' you get (at least in the US) with your personal checks? Those registers make wonderful travel notebooks. They fit in your fanny pack, belt pouch, etc. You can keep tabs of your traveller's checks, rolls of film, travel bud get, hotel info, and still leave you with enough room to jot down the addresses of your new friends! Best of all, they're free from your bank!--Lani Teshima-Miller, Hawaii
Photos online.If you travel with a laptop computer, you can view your trip photos before you get home. Simply mail them to Seattle Film Works and they will develop your photos, then put them online. (As well as mailing your prints and/or slides to your house, of cour se.) Visit their homepage at http:///www.filmworks.com to learn more.--Brad
Bloody good tip.Be aware that "RH negative" and "O" blood types are not commonly stored in Mainland China.--Mary C. Clark, Smart Woman Traveler
More Xray advice...Beware of a new scam at airports involving laptops computers. Two people look for someone with a laptop, placing themselveves in front of him/her at the metal detector. Once the victim puts the laptop on the conveyor belt, the first person goes through the metal detector. Then the second does, but is carrying something that will set off the alarm. While he slowly removes his jewelery, empties his pockets, etc., the first person takes the laptop while the victim is still on the other side of the metal detector...--Mark Sandstrom, visiting Oporto, Portugal
Who's who?You know how you take photos of people and they all want a copy? Well, it certainly helps at the end of a long journey and hundreds of photos and addresses to know who's who. So when you take someone's address down (to send a photo you've just taken of them upon your return), jot down something special about their clothing, photo setting etc. next to the name/address so you'll send the right photo to the right recipient. Having pen & paper always handy by the way is immeasurably valuable!--Kuan Sng
One, two, threeWhen paying for food, gasoline, or anything in foreign countries, always count your money to your waiter (or whomever) outloud. There have been plenty of horror stories about attendants who, if you're not paying attention, tell you (and show you) that you've given them less than the bill when in fact you've given them more than enough.--Miah
Skin may be a sinWhen travelling to warm weather, conservative coutries, girls, wear long skirts made from crepe or something similar. You can take ten in your luggage without it weighing a ton, you won't get hot and will not offend anyone by showing too much skin.--Justine Plenkiewicz, Central America
The Lost X (ray) FilesAlways have your notebook PC or electronic organizer hand checked at the airport; never pass it through the X-ray machine. X-rays are harmless but the power supply from the machine creates an electromagnetic field which can scramble information on a hard disc or erase addresses in an organizer. (Organizers are particularly susceptible because they have little or no shielding.)--Frank Mahon
You must drink the mylar punch first...If you can swallow buying those cartons of wine, take apart the box and save the mylar liner when you're done. (Rinse first, of course.) They make great portable water carriers, as well as air pillows. Also, they are nearly indestructible and weigh nex t to nothing.--Lani Teshima-Miller, Monoa, Hawaii
When Gatorade isn't available.In a hot climate, always remember to drink lots of water. (Purified, though!) If you find yourself feeling ill, you may be dehydrated. A good anti-dehydration formula is 8 oz. water, 1/2 tsp of sugar or honey, and a pinch of salt.--Carrie Kim, Thousand Oaks, CA
Also keeps crumbs away from your gear...Whenever I leave on an extended trip I always take along a small supply of plastic zip-lock bags in various sizes. These bags are wonderfully handy for picking up fresh fruit, bread, and cheeses when stopping at open-air, town center markets. This way y ou can pick up fresh and tasy supplies for picnicking when riding the rails or tooling around in your rental car.--Dan Rivera
Not Recommended for SmugglersMy luggage tag has my business card, address & phone number on one side -- standard for most people, I'm sure -- and my picture on the other with the legend "this face and this luggage go together." It's one way to prevent someone from walking away w ith my bag at the airport, etc.--Judy Colbert, Crofton, MD
(Adhesives Part One) It saved the Apollo 13 crew...For emergency repairs of equipment, take along the right stuff -- duct tape. You don't need an entire roll; a roll end with several yards/meters remaining will do. It can be used to repair packs, tents and shoes, seal packages or post notes. A small square of duct tape on a susceptible part of the foot can prevent a blister. (Don't use it if a blister has already formed.) For travel in or out of this world, the sticky silver stuff can be a lifesaver.--John Bahlmann, Orem, Utah
(Adhesives Part Two) Fixes Dad's teeth, etc ...One invaluable item to take along is a tube of Super Glue. It comes in lightweight, small tubes, and is really handy, as my father discovered on our trip to the Canary islands. He used it to glue the bottom plate of his false teeth together after they b roke sampling the local cuisine. Super Glue can also be used for emergency repairs to just about anything ... shoes, luggage, etc...--Anita Wilcox, Billerica, MA
(Adhesives Part Three) Fixes almost everything except Dad's teethCarry a half-empty (if you're weight conscious) tube of Shoe Goo. It will repair anything, is a great glue, pneumatic gear plugger-up, restores broken pack frames when reinforced with a dental floss wrapping; we've even bonded broken cast aluminum parts, fixed leaks in canteens and holes in torn tents, packs, pants or whatever. It will plug punctured oil lines, restore insulation on electrical wires, mend your umbrella, and it's even good for a hole in a shoe. Duct tape has its moments, but it's no contes t when it comes to Shoe Goo and you're walking about.
--Eduardo and Esther Mercado, San Juan, P.R.
Mouthwash kills germs... (and they don't have to be in your mouth)Carry a vial of strong, concentrated mouthwash. It can double as a general disinfectant, good for sterilizing toothbrushes and other items. Even toilet seats, if necessary. Also, it can be used in lieu of toothpaste if you run out. --Alan Bowes, somewhere near Petra, Jordan
A plate that flies!We always carry a frisbee with us. Not only is it useful for entertainment and distraction, but it also serves as a platter, shallow basin, and holder for diverse objects you don't want scattered about when doing repairs or whatever. It's surprising how many uses it has. Also, it's light and takes up minimal room because it's flat.--Ned and Ruth Davison, in New Zealand
Die, germs, dieA pocketful of individually wrapped alcohol pads are very handy and don’t take up much space.--Cymon Kent, Moab, Utah
Barley pop the perfect food?One of the safest liquids to drink in developing countries is beer. It is too acidic for microbes to live in. Also, it has very little fat and lots of liquid carbohydrates. In fact, it is liquid bread. To be safe, drink beer constantly.--Del Hayes, no permanent address
Prevents gum disease and so much more...When travelling, always carry a roll of dental floss. It's effective not only for dental hygiene but for emergency sewing needs -- it's one of the strongest threads anywhere.--Lani Teshima-Miller, again
When you’re outside AAA’s towing range (by a continent or so)...When renting a vehicle in a foreign country, always ask for an extra set of keys -- or have a set made. This advice comes from experience; I accidentally locked our keys in the car while visiting a remote Taiwanese village, far from -- well, anywhere.--Mike Clawson, Taipei, Taiwan
Phoning home from BFEFind out how to use local telephones before you arrive in a new country. There is often a bewildering array of local codes, city codes, etc., that can turn a phone call into a nightmarish experience, especially if people are waiting in line. (Remember in poor countries public phones are public phones.) Also, some countries (Malta, for example) don’t use coins for their phones, only phone cards. Find what the phone procedures are before you arrive in a strange country.--Alan Bowes, again
Also good on steaksWhen snorkling or scuba diving, carry a small bottle of meat tenderizer. Meat tenderizer neutralizes jellyfish or Portugese man-o-war stings.--JB and Kim Anderson, Tokyo, Japan
Other Walkabout tips
Hiker Microfilter -- Plan AheadThe 200 gallon capacity of the Hiker Microfilter cartridge is plenty for even long solo journeys. If two or more people are using the purifier, or if your walkabout is an extremely long one, consider taking an extra replacement cartridge along. (They're awfully hard to get outside the USA
Brushing Your TeethDon't forget to use purified water when brushing your teeth! And while we're on the subject, don't swallow the water when you're taking a shower. Even one mouthful of contaminated water could cut your trip short.
Jacques' Undersea WorldIf your Walkabout includes a diving or snorkling adventure and you don't own an underwater camera, take a dispoable waterproof one. They cost about $15.00 and without one the only pictures you'll have of Jacques Cousteau's undersea world will be in your head, which are hard to show to friends and relatives.
Bulbs and BatteriesBatteries for our waterproof headlight (and most products) are usually easily found overseas. However, light bulbs are a different story. Take a couple extra. (Or more if you're a heavy nightime reader.)
Copy Important StuffAlways make two copies of important items, like passports, plane tickets, and credit cards. Leave one copy at home with someone you can reach in an emergency, and pack the other somewhere seperate from the originals. (If you're traveling with a partner, carry each other's copies.)
Avoid the MessLow pressure in airplane cargo holds can make full containers explode. To avoid having shampoo (or whatever) all over your gear, only fill bottles about 3/4 full and squeeze out the air before closing.
Quick: Describe your BackpackCarry a small color picture (or a description) of your bag so if the airline misplaces it, you can accurately describe it. (Especially with multi-color backbacks.
Unfortunate NecessityMany health insurance policies are not valid outside the USA. We recommend the purchase of international health insurance. See our help insurance information.
Walkabouting in an Out of the Way Place?Always check if Malaria is a problem. Remember you must start taking anti-Malarial pills two weeks before you leave.
Rx RxTake a copy of your eyeglass or contact lense prescription. Store it in your passport holder.
Contact AdviceIf you wear contacts, it's best to use hard contacts overseas as enzymatic cleaners can be hard to find. Hard contacts can be cleaned with baby shampoo. (A tiny bottle will last a long time.)
Culinary AdventuresTake some spices to liven up (or disguise) your away-from-home-cooked meal. Aside from our travel salt and pepper shaker we recommened a small bottle of Tabasco sauce.