We want to talk about ideas to keep travel simpler, less costly and more enjoyable. That is, if one is able to manage traveling at all. But, if travel can somehow help stimulate the tipsy economy, either at home or in the entire shaky world, and it is personally feasible — it’s a great time to plan a trip. Deals galore. Due to the lack of confidence in just about everything, regular travelers are pulling back, prompting extremely good offers from airlines, hotels and cruising, to dining out and shopping. Many two-for-one offers abound. Scout around and find the surprises. I browse the Internet. Being basic, I typed in “cheap travel,” and “bargain trips,”… you get the drift. Locally or worldwide, there are oppor-tunities. And if you don’t see a specific place that you have been pining for, just call them, most anywhere in the world (or down the street), call and ask for the Manager. See if there is some-thing that can be worked out with mutual benefit to both of you. Remember, destinations want to have new people become their friends and future clientele. Some don’t, but take that in stride and find the places that need to please. I don’t mean this to sound too cheesy. It just helps when funds have dwindled … packing list – make a plan and stick to it!
David: There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who packed light and those who wish they had. Like an architect planning a building, so must you plan the contents of your suitcase by creating a packing list. This eliminates the panic of last-second packing, serves as a handy guide for repacking at the end of the trip, and can be beneficial in the unfortunate event of lost or stolen luggage.
For your wardrobe, consider the events you will participate in both day and night and write down a possible outfit for each activity. Crosscheck this packing list to determine if one piece can cover multiple occasions. Pick clothes that coordinate well. Check the weather forecast. Also, be sure to know the local traditions, where a t-shirt for dinner could be a serious blunder. Shorts or bare shoulders may bar your entrance into such places as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Take pieces that can be layered to handle chill. The world at large has relaxed its dress code, showing almost universal leniency to tourists. Dark colors – a black dress or blue jacket – will get you through most any activity. If possible, weed out single-use items.
Contact your travel agent or your hotel about in-room amen-ities – such as a hair dryer, an iron and board, soap, shampoo etc… Save that space.
Jewelry – don’t take what you don’t want to lose, and leave behind watches that could attract thieves. Pack minimum makeup and delete perfume. Scented lotions work just as well.
For toiletries, use waterproof travel kits. Most personal items come in travel sizes. Don’t fill bottles up to the very top, for pressure inside the plane may force the contents to expand and overflow.
Jackie Confesses: My packing sin was trying to cover all bases, but I’ve learned that I wear the same things all the time. Just a selection of scarves makes a difference. And medication is always a concern on long journeys. (I don’t’ love counting pills.) My on-board tote has my medication (with copies of the labels all Dr. data). A little hang on purselette keeps my ticket and ID and credit card on me during the flight. My official one carry-on tote has tons of shawls (I get cold), snacks, meds and something to read. David carries on his computer and the Kindle his thoughtful wife gave him for our Anniversary. I’ve found that my black walking shoes pass well as dress up; just keep an animated face so no one will look down.
It’s important to check your airline to see what the TSA allows in your carry on. It’s OK to bring an empty plastic bottle. Once you are past security it can be filled at any snack stand. To limit bulk, try photocopying certain pages and maps from the guidebook. For incidentals, bring a first-aid kit, a tin of aspirin, sunscreen and a small bottle of Woolite for emergency washing. A Swiss army knife will peel fruit, open tins and a wine bottle for little picnics. Remember – it’s not allowed on the plane, so pack it in your checked luggage.
All garments can be folded in many different ways – T-shirts, jeans, skirts and sports coats can be rolled up and strategically positioned (stuffed) in a duffel bag or travel pack. To defy wrinkles, a piece of tissue paper between each layer of clothing will help.
Now, label each piece of luggage, inside and out, with your name and telephone number, but not your home address. If an address is needed, then put your accountant’s office. And remove old claim checks to avoid confusion.
I’m the dope that puts gaily-colored ribbons on my bag; it really helps me at the baggage claim.
Keep a checklist (or email it to yourself!) so forgetting won’t happen when re-packing.
SERVICE TIPS: This is the last place to scrimp. An extra dollar or so?means?so much?more to?a?server, housekeeper… all attend-ants that earn most of their living on the generosity of patrons. This population is really suffering from the money drought. A good smile along with a well-meant gratuity can mean survival… Just a heartfelt tip from JJ.