Sharing Ten Travel Tips
This is something I’ve been contemplating blogging about for a while – friends often ask what they should take when travelling to ……. destination. Prompted by the desire to enter a fabulous competition*, here are a collection of my 10 Travel Tips – which have made this travel bug’s trips smoother and happier!
1. Tools for Sleep
I don’t care what anyone tells you – sleep is not over rated. Sleep makes us happier campers when we arrive or as we travel. Much to my disappointment, I am a light sleeper. Whatever is available to help provide a decent sleep, chuck it in your bag. When travelling on planes, trains, buses, ships, or staying in hotels these are my must haves to grab some shut eye AND they take up minimal space:-
- a good eye mask to block out any annoying light
- a decent set of ear plugs to cancel the snorer dropping some persistent zzzzzeds near me or across the aisle or to reduce the traffic noises from the street below, or the people staying next door doing not what you are doing which is trying to sleep!
- a few temazepam sleeping pills. These allow me to nod off at 1am when my body clock is still in a different time zone. (Taking one of these, gently knocks you out for up to three hours – no longer – and I never feel drowsy or dopey upon wakening. Only available by script, so see your GP before departure to discuss if you can take them. (Note: Temazepam may cause a severe allergic reaction – according to google – I am fine with it – but please check with your GP FIRST.)
2. Footwear – choose wisely
I love to discover a place on foot – walking the backstreets of a town or village is an essential part of my travel joy. Having the correct footwear can make or break this adventure. I love my Merrell shoes which double as a pair of runners if necessary and are more lightweight than a jogger. Thongs or flip flops are the choice of footwear for dodgy shower recesses (depends on where you travel) and visits to the beach – hot sand is not my friend. Closed in shoes are essential for temple visits. Don’t forget separate shoe bags for each pair in the suitcase – no one wants mud or street debris next to their clothes! If necessary a pair of heels or flats for nightwear – but remember cobblestones and heels are incompatible!
3. Sarong and swimmers
An obvious inclusion for anyone contemplating a beach holiday. Note the sarong is VERSATILE. Doubles as a shoulder warmer at night; coverage for temple visits, a towel if taking an impromptu dip without a beach towel. But the BEST use for a sarong and I discovered this gem when trying to sleep in the stiflingly, humid close heat of Zimbabwe one night – if soaked in water, squeezed out and laid over your body – the sarong acts as an air-conditioner. Swimmers – essential for the beach holiday but when travelling – handy for hotel pools and outdoor spas (if you are brave enough to try one.) Remember this little piece of motherly advice: never put your head under spa water – unless you are prepped for a middle ear infection (see Tip #6!)
4. Overseas adapters
Another obvious inclusion – but often overlooked – check country of destination and the electrical plugs they require. Many Hotels sell them – but if you BYO no need for that. Smart phones, ipads, tablets, cameras etc all need charging.
5. Spare phone
In addition to your everyday phone you use in Aus – take a spare as its easy in most countries to pick up a separate sim card usually for nix $$$. Make this your phone to use when in your country of travel or to call home. My experience in Hong Kong with sim cards and USA with a phone card is you can phone Australia for ridiculously cheap rates. Just make sure the phone you take is “UNLOCKED” ie. not still tied into a plan with your home phone carrier. If it is locked it will not accept a new sim card and you will have to buy an “elcheapo” phone like the one I had to buy in Hong Kong as my old iphone 3 was still locked to my Australian carrier.
6. Selection of pharmacy essentials
Maybe its the mother coming out in me – but after suffering from “Gypo” belly in Egypt and “Bali” belly in Indonesia – a couple of pharmaceutical products for those just in case moments will be gold. I have never suffered from constipation – but if you are inclined to – I recommend throwing in something to sort this out as well (no shame in sharing info!) These are my selected favourites – paw paw ointment is versatile in many situations – dry lips, sunburn and insect bites.
7. Notebook and pen
The writer in me says this is another fundamental addition and I know smart phones do the job readily with the notes/memo app. But I love to write on a page (old fashioned.) If the language differs in the country you are visiting, make sure you include a few words and phrases. Nothing better than being able to say to a local: hello/ bye/ thank-you / please and count a few numbers in their language.
As an older traveler, I remember pre-smart phone days travelling on trains around Europe and using a multi-language phrase book to start many interesting conversations with fellow passengers. Try to minimise immersing yourself in your phone or ipad – converse with those around you, it offers so many amazing memories and experiences.
8. Fan and skim ball
I combined these two as they are quite random – but have proved very useful in some of my travels. The fan is lightweight and fits easily into the bottom of your handbag. Its brilliant for any stifling hot, humid countries you visit where you wonder where your next breath is coming from. Having that movement of air in front of your face seems to makes life that little bit more bearable.
The skim ball is the perfect entertainer for kids or adults in a pool or at the beach – and can also be squeezed like a stress ball when you turn up at the airport to find the volcanic ash has delayed your flight!
Yep you read this right a pillowslip! This is a new one for me and is for an upcoming trip to Vietnam. I have to overnight in a train where they “provide” bedding, but a friend told me about her train experience and how some in their group ended up with nits! Now I am not a precious princess – but after many years of my kids having a school infestation and knowing what buggers these pests are to get rid of – I’m packing a pillowcase. Besides I can dump my dirty clothes in it later. Love versatility.
The most important one and really the easiest as it requires no packing, is free and readily available. A smile warms the heart on the coldest night and offers a connection to another human being. It has universal meaning and requires no translation, or explanation. Please use it regularly in your travels.
We all have our travel goodies / must haves – these are some of my Travel Tips which have worked well for me over many years of travel to varying destinations. We all seem to develop our own through our experiences. Maybe they reveal our personalities too: the more carefree and adventurous, or the reserved and cautious. I’d love to hear your travel tips. The sharing of them is part of the traveler’s journey. Please share below.
Carpe Diem everyone and pack wisely!
*This post is an entry in the Virgin Australia Voyagers / ProBlogger Event 2015 competition.