I love travelling, I love it so much, that in 2008 I traveled through Asia for a whole year. While preparing for my trip, I talked to friends who had been to the places I wanted to go to, I looked online for tips, and in the end, packed a backpack and took a one way flight to Thailand… Oh, how I wish I had had the list below then!
I am not the most complicated traveler, as people who I have traveled with can attest, I need a couple of things to keep me comfortable, and other than that, I am good to go. My list of essentials, which I learned to optimize while on the road reads like I carry a huge bag, but in reality it all fits in a small pencil case type bag, except for one item, read on!
First and foremost, I stuff a clean pair of socks and underwear in this small bag. You never know when your luggage is going to mysteriously disappear, a change of socks and underwear gives you enough leeway to find a shop to replace your essentials. In that same bag, I stuff a chap stick, dry lips can drive a person crazy, a pair of ear plugs, to zone out the sounds of your snoring neighbors, and some wet wipes. Again, you might not have access to a shower for some time, plus, wet wipes can be a lifesaver if there is no toilet paper at hand. A portable toothbrush and some toothpaste, no explanation necessary. Put a deck of cards in that case and you have instant entertainment and a good conversation starter.Lastly, on my lists of must-haves, a neck pillow. Some might argue the neck pillow is bulky and a hindrance. I say, to hell with them! Five hours into a 15 hour bus ride, when your neck is sore and you have restless leg syndrome and are wishing you had spent the extra money on a flight, I am comfortably sleeping with my head in place.
But, I digress, that is not the list I am speaking of. This morning, via kottke I read the coolest travel tips I have seen in some time. So, what’s on the list? According to My Little Nomads the following:
golden rules to live by while traveling the world
* Don’t eat at corner restaurants — they don’t have to be good to get a lot of traffic so they probably aren’t.
* Steal soap from your hotel and give it to kids in developing countries as a present. Studies have shown that distributing soap to kids in poor countries saves lives. Travelers are always thinking up things to give to kids that ask for handouts (pencils, erasers, candies) but nothing beats the gift of clean hands. And don’t just collect 1 or 2 from your hotel bathroom. Hit the hallways while the cleaning staff are having a smoke and grab a couple handfuls from the service carts. When you’re saving lives, Go Big.
* Don’t take any one person’s advice for important decisions. This is called anecdotal evidence. “I went to Kenya and didn’t take malaria medicine and man, I was fine.” All this means is that it’s possible to visit Kenya, without anti-malarials, and not die. It doesn’t mean it’s smart, advisable, or even likely. Just possible.
* Err on the side of inexpensive hotels. This goes against most travelers’ natural inclinations. We talk a good game above traveling frugally, but once we get on the road we tend to spend up a bit, and treat ourselves. And that’s fine. This rule isn’t about saving money. It’s about having an interesting trip and the more expensive a place is, the more likely it will have package tourists and people traveling on 7 or 14 day tickets. Nothing against these people but if you want to swap stories about taking a boat through the backwaters of Kerala, go with the cheap place. If you want to talk about who’s going to win the Superbowl this year then go with the package tourists.
Check out the rest of the tips. Anything you would add or take away? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking to improve!