More helpful travel tips

April 23, 2014

traveltips1Vacation season’s coming and I’m hearing that some of you are taking big, exotic trips.  My big trips are more toward the end of the year, but we’ve got a few smaller ones coming up. I thought I’d share few more of my tried and trusted travel tips and maybe ask you for yours.

Jewelry.  Bring it–but only if you don’t care if you never see it again. I never, ever bring good jewelry with me. A few pairs of inexpensive earrings, a necklace or two, a plain silver wedding band, an inexpensive watch– that’s the kind of stuff I bring. In the hustle and bustle of travel it’s easy to leave things behind and thefts are more common than you might think.  If you simply must have your bling, buy some inexpensive fakes. But I think any kind of  bling makes you a target.

I have several lovely fabric jewelry rolls but they’re impractical for most travel.  For earrings I use tiny plastic ziplocks meant for pills and larger plastic bags for the rest. Everything then goes into one clear plastic ziplock so I can see it all. Necklaces are threaded through straws and fastened to prevent tangling.

Also, in some countries married women get more respect than those who aren’t. If that’s the case at your destination, it’s a good idea for women to wear a ring that resembles a wedding band even if they’re not married.




Prevent liquid leaks.  Ever had liquid cosmetic items leak onto your clean clothes in your baggage? Place a piece of plastic wrap between a bottle top and the cap, then twist the cap shut. Because I’m paranoid, I back that up by putting the entire bottle in a ziplock. Speaking of leaks, I love these little GoToob squeeze bottles for shampoos, face wash and the like. Any liquid. They seem pretty leak-proof. So far, anyway. I’ve got them in two and three oz. sizes.

Laundry. Here’s something I didn’t know. Baby shampoo can double for laundry detergent. It’s mild and its double duty means fewer things to carry.  I don’t like to do hand-wash when traveling, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable. This practical idea could come in handy.

Hotel safety. If you’re a woman traveling alone you want to be in a room as close to foot traffic as possible. Not in an L-shaped corridor off the main hallway with hidden nooks and crannies. You might also bring a small wooden doorstop to jam in the door for additional security when you’re in your room.

Local crafts. If you bring souvenirs home, buying locally made crafts helps support local economies. I love souks in Morocco and the equivalent in India and I try to buy hand-made or hand-painted whenever I can.

Cultural issues.  “I’m a hugger!”  It’s not always ok for women to hug or even shake hands in some cultures. Know the appropriate etiquette in the country you’re visiting and don’t try to force your own style on others who might not appreciate it.  I’ve never gone wrong bringing a headscarf for visiting places of worship. Whether it’s required or not, it’s a sign of respect.

Postcards. I no longer send cards, but when I did, I always brought pre-addressed labels with me.

Free texting. Texting fees across nations and continents can add up quickly. The last few trips I’ve used What’s App, a free texting service you can use just about anywhere in the world. The only trick is that the person on the other end must also download and use it, which means checking it. My pet sitter downloaded it and so did some friends and family.

Got any tried and true travel tips? Would love you to share below. We’re going on a Christmas market cruise on the Danube this December and winter clothes are so darn bulky. I’d especially appreciate some packing tips for winter climates. Thanks!



17 comments on “More helpful travel tips
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    Perfect list. I’ll add tow more necessities of mine, when traveling :- tossable peds. Many holy sites will not let you wear your shoes. Keep the peds at the ready or prepare to go barefoot (ugh). You can always wash them out at night in your hotel sink. And also, TP in your handbag. The end of a larger roll—this goes for Europe , too. Lots of countries supply only a “splash bucket.”Bon Voyage!

    • admin says:

      i use the airline sox we get and then toss them at the temples. They were absolutely not washable in India, trust me on that! Good reminder.

  2. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I missed the warmer climate issue-buy ski wear like Red Hot Chili’s that wick sweat and wear under all your clothes-super light and non-bulky-super warm.

  3. I used those gotoobs on my most recent trip. They work great!

  4. I haven’t traveled abroad in decades, but I might be going to Europe next summer. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Joan Stommen says:

    I loved this tip about straws for traveling with necklaces…never knew this! I only take those with sentimental value….they’re my “good-luck-stay-safe” charms! I also used wicking long underwear and thin layers when I was dog sledding in Alaska! Since we had the same base most of the time, I shipped boots, snow pants etc for 3 ahead of time…..and then back home.
    A trip Down Under is in planning stages only….but it’ll be a return visit. I’ve learned to do mix/match packing and not worry about wearing stuff two days in a row if necessary!
    Thanks for a super helpful post, Carol!

    • admin says:

      Long underwear is a great idea, thanks for reminding me of something I no longer remember now that I don’t leave in the NE!

  6. I wish I was taking a big, exotic trip! But these are good tips. I’ll keep them in mind when I someday leave my state again. 😉

  7. Terrific tips in this post, Carol! For a cold weather trip, I suggest a layering silk underwear like Cuddl Duds and then (lighter) layering items like long sleeve blend sweaters and top with with a lighter weight water proof jacket. You can always pick up inexpensive scarves, gloves, and a thicker pullover when you get there that you may or may not choose to carry home. Also, I love the bags by TravelOn. They are cut proof and offer locking zippered compartments. Fabulous in high pick-pocket areas.
    Happy travels!

  8. If you’re a woman staying at a hotel alone, it’s also a good idea to tell the front desk you’re checking in for two anyway. In most cases there’s no extra charge and you won’t look like an easy target if anyone’s listening in.

  9. Lana says:

    Great tips! When we travel abroad, we make copies of our passports and driver’s licenses and keep them in a separate place. If the originals ever get lost or stolen, we’ll have the info at our fingertips.

  10. Judy says:

    Global access -a game changer. Can save hours and hours if you’re returning to JFK, LAX, ORD, ATL or MIA. Includes TSA Pre. And, if you have Amex Platinum, they will pay for it.

  11. Judy says:

    Oops, I meant Global Entry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.