The best travel tips everyone should know

I hate packing. Hate it. I never know exactly what to bring so I always wind up bringing too much, yet end up wearing the same clothes I started in at least twice. In an effort to make packing more pleasurable (tolerable) here are some great packing trips.

Travel Tip #1: How to keep the noose off your neck and the Smile on your Lips when packing for a Trip

1. Make a list of what you'll need to bring and follow it

Duh. I just started doing this myself because I self righteously thought - "Ha! I can remember everything I need. I am Memory Girl!" Who am I kidding? I'm lucky I can remember what I walked into the room for. Make the list.

2. Spread out all the items you want to bring on your bed BEFORE you pack them

What an eye-opener this is. I realized how excessive I can be. Maybe I don't need 22 pairs of shorts for a week's vacation - unless I plan to be darting into phone booths like Clark Kent every 15 minutes. Also, spreading things out reminds me of anything important I may have forgotten: underwear, the latest copy of MAD magazine, and my lacy French maid's outfit in case…never mind why - that's my business.

3. Pack shoes in separate bags

Pack shoes in a separate valise or tote for convenience and easy access, unless you have room to spare in the mother ship suitcase (as if). Again, less is less. A pair of sneaks for working out and walking around, a nice pair of comfortable, yet stylish heels for dinner, some flip-flops for the pool, and those little bootie socks with the rubber bottoms to wear in your stateroom so your bare feet don't touch the skeevatz floor and you die of cooties.

4. Travel-size toiletries, please 

This should be a no-brainer. Airline rules! For instance, don't lug the Costco-size shampoo and crème rinse with you unless you're Andre the Giant. And if you are Andre the Giant, let me know what cabin you're in so I'll know where to go in case I run out of anything.

5. Bring a minimum of Hair Paraphernalia 

I know how much anxiety this can produce. After all, we all want fabulous hair while on vacation or otherwise. We think we need the blow dryer, hot rollers, curling iron, flat iron, shampoo, conditioner, anti-frizz lotion, mousse, gel, pomade, and finishing spray. And if you're half Armenian like me, that's just for the hair on your legs. Scale down, people! Besides the travel-size hair products, a blow dryer and one other appliance are all you need -like a toaster. Remember - when in doubt about what to do with your crowning glory - don't forget the best hair solution of all - the baseball cap.

6. Reading materials

The Star, the National Enquirer, and the Globe. That's it. Chuck all those grandiose ideas you've had about reading anything that may be nourishing for the brain or intellectually stimulating - it's too much like work. Who needs to be pondering the deficit or if you'll have enough money to retire on what with social security going into the crapper - you're on vacation!

Travel Tip #2 For the Ladies

Use Your Panty Hose to get a Leg Up!

- Because airports can be an easy place for others to prey on unsuspecting travelers - BEWARE of pickpockets! Money and credit cards that you are not immediately using should be in a secure place.

So...cut off a leg of a pair of pantyhose, put the money/credit cards in the leg, and tie the leg around your waist underneath loose-fitting clothes. Keep a little cash in your skirt or pants pocket for emergencies.

African Safaris

- When visiting Africa, use a support bra for the safari because the roads are VERY rough and bumpy. GREAT Adventure! (BTW this tip applies to any bumpy adventure. Just use the same bra you use for cardio at the gym.) Remember how those women on the cover of National Geographic looked? Right. No support bra there.

Think Safe - Think Something Up

- When arriving at an airport alone, I often find people interested in my 'travel arrangements. I always tell them that my husband is coming on a later flight so that in case there is an air accident, the children won't be left orphaned. (Of course, if you're over 40, then you must have highly dependent children - not judging...just sayin'). Besides, it's no one's business. You can also say, "I will be joining the rest of my weight-lifting, special ops experts shortly for the documentary we're shooting on self-defense."

Always Bring Some Tampons

- Just when you thought you could relax! The last thing you need is to be stuck in a foreign country with no tampons and try to describe what it is you need to some guy who's a herding llama. So always carry a box with you - even if you don't need them somebody else might get caught out and I am sure you will have made a best friend if you help them. Or at least a bloody good friend. And just think of the extra money you can make selling them! Just kidding. But you could.

Travel Tip #3 For the Guys

Boxer Shorts Can Be Pickpocket-Proof (Unless you meet a "friend")

Place a plastic bag with a zipper on your boxer shorts with your belongings inside. This is especially good when going to tropical countries that may be prone to persons with sticky fingers. Sweat will not pass the plastic, and it takes a great pickpocket to steal your belongings. Hello. Plus, just think how big your "package" will look.

Eliminate Shave Cream

- I eliminated having to buy shave cream and carry it wherever I go. I use a shaving brush and work a lather from the hand soap. It works like a charm.

Frustrate a Pickpocket

Another trick for your front pocket wallet: Put a comb in the fold of your wallet. With the wallet opening to the top of your pocket and the teeth of the comb facing up, the comb will catch and make it difficult to remove the wallet. (If you can figure out those instructions, you're smart enough to keep track of your wallet.)

Keep Track of Your Companion

You could be... on a crowded city street, with a large tour group or busy looking at history, and then suddenly! your companion wanders off to the nearest shop - without telling you AGAIN.

People, carry a large patterned umbrella (big, bright flowers or huge pentagrams work well) and have your companion carry the same. Then, if you get separated, you can both open them up and raise them above the crowd and find each other in an instant. (The Dork Factor here is high - but at least you'll find each other and won't be trying to pantomime your anxiety to someone who doesn't speak English and just stares at you blankly while he stands there shelling peanuts with his teeth.)
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