Iguacu Falls, Brazil

To have a more enjoyable trip, please read and consider the following tips. They are the result of many experiences traveling the globe. Carry as little as possible.


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TRAVEL TIPS

Clothing

1. Coordinate your clothes around one or two basic colors. This cuts down on the number of shoes and accessories you have to bring.

2. Take as few clothes as possible. Plan on laundering. One person suggested one week's worth of clothes. I take fewer unless they are my washable silks.

3. Wear and carry washable silk clothing whenever possible. It is as warm as and as cool as cotton. It dries overnight and 10-15 pieces take no more room than two pair jeans. There are some other manmade fabrics that travel as well if not better, but they cost quite a bit more.

4. Plastic rain coat can double as a bathrobe or windbreaker.

5. Take older clothes that can be discarded along the way. Great for growing children. Many places, the local people are pleased to get these castoffs. There are travelers who take nothing but old clothes so they have that much more room for bringing souvenirs home.

6. Jeans - I never take them as they take so long to dry. If both the time and money for laundering are concerns, take lighter weight pants.

Flight

1. An item that's invaluable when making long, night flights is an inflatable neck cushion (pillow). It takes practically no room when collapsed, but makes it so much easier to sleep. I also carry an eye shade and ear plugs for sleeping.

2. When waiting in line or sitting in the airport (or anywhere else, for that matter), always have the strap(s) to your carryon luggage wrapped around an arm or a leg. Then they won't disappear without your knowledge. I carry this suggestion to the extreme if I am in a questionable area. I have even straddled my large bags when I felt it necessary. Or at least have them touching my leg so I would know if they were moved.

3. When you reach your seat on boarding a plane, MOVE OUT OF THE AISLE immediately. From there you can stow your bag in the overhead bin. If not, wait until the aisle clears.

Foreign Hotels

1. When leaving the hotel, always take matches or stationery with hotel name and address on it. When you don't speak the language, just show the cab driver either one and there won't be any mistake as to where you are staying.

2. Find out exactly what the surcharges are before making a telephone call from the hotel. They can sometimes be several times the actual cost of the call.

Health/Water

1. I always carry a small medicinal bottle with dropper containing either clorox (unscented) or iodine to put in water when it is questionable. Use the treated water for brushing teeth, and even for drinking when nothing else in available. About 5 drops per quart is sufficient. It needs to stand for half an hour to do its purifying.

2. Either carry a plastic bottle with you, or buy carbonated water in a plastic container and when it's empty, use for treating the water with your drops. I don't trust the bottled water for sale in some countries. If it is carbonated, it is probably safe.

3. If the water is not potable, then remember the ice probably isn't either, so do not drink anything containing ice. By the same token, reconstituted fruit juice should not be drunk.

4. For information on water, vaccinations, other health related items, select HomePage at bottom of this page and then select Travelers' Health link.

Information

1. For EMERGENCIES, contact the American Citizens Services, a State Dept. Agency which has offices in every U.S. embassy, consulate and parttime consulate throughout the world. See Department of State link on my home page. Select HomePage at bottom of this page.

2. Carry the appropriate country's Consular Information sheet which has important addresses and phone numbers. You can get it from Department of State link. Select HomePage at bottom of this page.

3. Leave a day-by-day itinerary, with hotels and phone numbers, with a relative or friends.

Jet Lag

After crossing several time zones, many travelers suffer from "jet lag." Although there is no way to completely avoid jet lag, there are a number of ways to help your body adjust to a new time zone.

1. Try to go to bed a little earlier a few days before you leave and get as much sleep as you can during your flight.

2. Many side-effects of jet lag are the result of dehydration, so avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages and drink plenty of water during your flight.

3. Eat lightly on your flight and forego rich or exotic foods on the first few days of your trip so that you can use your energy to adjust to your new surroundings rather than to digest your food.

4. Exercising on a long flight will help alleviate such common discomforts as backaches, swollen legs and feet and general fatigue. Stretch at regular intervals and walk up and down the aisles of the plane from time to time.

5. Finally, take it easy on the day you arrive so that you can take advantage of your trip at a leisurely pace and establish a routine in sync with the local time. I take a short nap when I arrive at my destination, then make myself stay active the rest of the day.

Luggage

1. I use a carryon WITH WHEELS similar to the ones the flight crews use. I find that a carryon is sufficient on most trips, and as I don't check my luggage, I don't worry about losing a bag and don't have to wait around for the luggage to be unloaded.

Be aware airlines are enforcing the carryon regulations. So be sure your carryon is within 9 X 14 X 22 inches.

2. If you are checking luggage, make sure that the city shown on the tag matches your final destination. There have been times when the wrong tag has been attached and the bags went to that destination. And remove all old tags.

3. Also, if you are checking luggage (which I do not recommend), tie a piece of bright-colored yarn or place something distinctive on your bag so it will be easy to identify as it goes round and round on the carousel.

4. An extra folded flight bag takes very little room. But it comes in handy on your way home when you have more to carry than you can place in your luggage.(Just pull it out, and there's another bag.) Fold it and place at bottom of your luggage for trip over.

5. Lock your luggage to avoid accidental openings due to rough handling or cabin pressure and carry the keys on your person.

Miscellaneous

1. Shampoo can be used for laundry. Don't have to carry both laundry soap and shampoo.

2. I have a collapsible pair of scissors that I always carry (they collapse to little more than two inches) and a tiny bottle opener.

Money

1. Take some cash with you, small rather than large denominations. If going to Russia, take only crisp, clean dollar bills. They do not trust old and dirty currency. In some countries, the rate of exchange is far better for cash than travelers checks.

2. I find that using a credit card is the best way in most countries. The rate of exchange is far better than you could get for either cash or travelers checks and the fees charged are considerably less.

If two of you traveling together, each one carry a different credit card. If one is stolen or lost, you'll still have a valid one. Also, if magnetic stripe goes bad, you still have the other one to use.

3. In other words, I carry some cash, some travelers' checks and a couple credit cards. And I use the credit cards as often as possible.

Packing

1. If you are traveling with someone, pack half your clothes in his bag, and carry half his in your luggage. Then if one bag gets lost, you at least have half your things.

2. Wear or carry your bulky clothes on the flight if possible, rather than packing them, to create extra space in your bag.

3. Make a list of items you are taking and check them off as each item is packed.

4. Insert your name and address inside your baggage.

5. Put liquids in plastic containers, not glass. They aren't as heavy and are not as likely to break. And then place those containers inside plastic zipper bags.

6. For fewest wrinkles, I have found it best to lay clothing out on bed in layers, one on top of the other, and fold to fit in bag. At the folds, place stockings, underwear, whatever, to prevent a crease at that point. I like to fold all blouses in one bundle and slip in a plastic bag. Then, fold all pants and slip them in another plastic bag. Do the same with any other items you want kept wrinkle-free. For some reason, the plastic bags keep my clothes more wrinkle-free than any other method I have tried.

Personally, I do not find rolling my clothes a satisfactory way of packing.

7. Put small things in the toes and heels of your shoes.

8. Place shoes at the bottom of the case where the hinges are. They will stay in place and not shift clothing around by their weight. In fact, all heavy items should be placed there.

9. Don't roll belts; place them just inside walls of your bags, running around the circumference. They will take less room this way.

10. Less room is used if cosmetics, medications, etc., are placed in a zipper plastic bag and then transferred to regular cosmetic bag (which you have folded and placed in the bag) after you arrive at your destination.

11. Shoes should be packed in shoe mittens or an old pair of socks to protect other clothes from being soiled.

Valuables

1. Always carry valuables on your person, not in a purse, not in a flight bag. Only other place is a safe deposit box at a hotel or ship.

By valuables, I mean passport, return tickets, travelers checks, money, credit cards, and medication.

2. Have a photo copy made of your passport ID page, airline tickets and credit cards before you embark on your trip. Keep them somewhere other than with the passport and tickets. If you lose any of the above mentioned, the photocopy will expedite getting replacements.

3. Always carry extra passport photos. Handy if you need visa in a hurry, or if you lose your passport.

4. Do NOT take valuable jewelry. You probably won't see any of the people you meet along the way again. And if your jewelry is necessary to impress them, they aren't worth your while anyway.

Last, but Not Least

1. Have a dry run before you go. I ALWAYS pack everything a day or two before leaving just to make sure it all fits. And I walk around the house pulling my carryon, and carrying camera bag, coat, whatever I will be carrying, to make sure I can handle it all with no help. Although I am a woman, I have never had to ask for assistance. In fact, will usually decline help when offered, especially if on tour, because I don't want the men to think they are going to be called on all the time for help.

2. I never carry a purse when traveling or touring. I wear a hip pack that I cover with my blouse. May not be voguish, but probably will not lose my valuables. I also tie the straps with a square knot as I do not trust those plastic clasps. I have a purse in my luggage that I use when we go out in the evening, or when I dress up a bit and am not going to be vulnerable to street folks.


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