My uncle and aunt are world travelers. On a wall in their basement is a map of the world, with various coloured pins sticking out of nearly every continent.
One pin reminds them of their safari in Kenya; another symbolizes shopping in Thailand. They’ve flown and cruised and walked and driven their way around gorgeous territory, both near and far.
So, when I want to plan my next trip, I often call on them for help. Here’s a list of some of my uncle’s best travel tips:
- When packing, use items that can be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits. All items should dry easily, too. This is because ideally, you want to have only carry-on luggage. Better to have only a few outfits in your carry-on than dozens in your lost(!) suitcase.
- Every time you step out of your undies and socks, wash them in your sink, and wrap them in your bath towel. Then, step on the bath towel to squeeze out the excess water. You won’t have to pack as much clothing, if you’re washing it often. Which brings me to the next point:
- Clothespins! Bring a few of your own, and you’ll be able to hang dry your laundry. Most showers will have a clothesline.
- Make several copies of your passport and leave a few in the safe, and a few back at home with your loved ones. Heck, why not go a step further and leave your credit card numbers and your itinerary with someone you trust?
- Always wear a money belt under your clothes. I had originally resisted this suggestion (I’m too cool for that dorky thing!) but thieves have many creative ways of getting into your pockets. Some are even bold enough to grab your purse right from you, or cut its strap! Additionally, you want to keep your hands free to take pictures, browse the markets, etc. Cumbersome bags are just that: cumbersome!
- Do your research! My uncle recommends the following websites:
hipmunk.com for flight information and searching.
hotwire.com for hotel bookings.
travelzoo.com for last minute travel deals.
- Finally: have fun! My uncle and aunt always say that travelling will give them memories for the old folks’ home. They’ve met interesting people, eaten bizarre food, and come to realize that ours is indeed a small world.
If you need guidebooks, maps or pocket dictionaries, then visit your local library. We’ve also got travel DVDs, like the popular Rick Steves series.