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Travel Tips

Carry Spare Change
When travelling to places with different currencies, always carry spare change that can be depended on for vending machines, quick phone calls or laundry machines. This way you don't have to go searching for someone to give you change. It saves a lot of time and a lot of hassle.

How To Not Gain Weight
Do you gain weight on your travels? Many people do since they eat out in restaurants. Here are some tips for eating healthy in any restaurant.

  • Don’t go starving. Have a snack before you go out to eat. Upon check-in ask for a fruit basket, and bring instant oatmeal or dried fruit to munch on.
  • Ask the manager. Servers are NOT privy to how food is prepared. Ask the manager for suggestions on healthier options or substitutions.
  • Order the portion size you want. If you were brought up with the ‘clean plate’ mentality, order just what you want/need. Request just a 4-oz steak, just one roll (rather than a basket), or a 1-cup portion of pasta. They may even discount your meal, but at least you won’t overdo it.
  • Ask for special orders. The pasta meal can be prepared with 1/2 the cream sauce - a good break from the red sauce, still tasty, but with 1/3 less calories. Ask for a dry bun with your sandwich. Substitute fruit for the coleslaw. Request them not to brush the steak or fajitas with butter/oil. Tell them you’d rather have pretty thighs than pretty meat!

Locate Post Office First
When you first get to another country, look for the post office or a stamp machine. Generally there’s one at/near the airport/train station, and you can buy enough stamps to send one postcard home per day/stop, sometimes more if they’re especially pretty. Extra stamps make nice souvenirs or gifts for a stamp collector, they’re relatively cheap and light, and sometimes you can sell the extras to fellow travellers. The postcards can then be sent at your convenience as you travel. If you send them to yourself, you have a mini journal with official postmarks when you get back.

Use Money Belts
If you go to another country which is heavily populated, or will be heavily populated for the dates you are there, eg. Olympics, world rallies, etc., use money belts, and use more than one. They have belts that fit under your shirt where you can keep important things. They also have wallets that wrap around your ankles and arms. If one of them is stolen, you will at least have another money source.

Night-Light Technique
Wish you had a night-light in that strange hotel room? You don’t have to pack one. Before you go to bed, turn on the bathroom (or closet) light, then shut the bathroom door. Just enough light leaks out to guide you to the bathroom, which is the only place anybody would ever want to go in the middle of the night.

Buy A Small Suitcase
When you’re far from home and you’ve run out of room for gifts in your suitcase: Go to a resale/charity shop and buy an extra small suitcase.

In Lieu Of Sandals
Instead of bringing flip-flops or sandals for the shower, I place a hand towel at the bottom of the tub. It's great for a shower or bath.

Sunday Off
When travelling I try not to relocate or change cities on a Sunday. This is because most train times are infrequent or destinations are limited, and many stores and businesses close early or are not opened at all - such as money exchanges. I find it easier to go early the next morning.

Save Receipts
Keep all your receipts on your trip. They are usually on paper so thin they never add up to much. Also, keep business cards and anything else that will help you remember where you were and when. They make a great diary and a source of information for yourself or others.

  • When travelling in a taxi, make sure you leave the door open while you are getting your bags out of the boot; that way the taxi can't drive off before you have had a chance to make sure you haven't left anything behind.
  • To get wet clothes dry overnight, hang them on a coat hanger and hang them in the bathroom - LEAVE THE LIGHT ON. In the morning they should be dry enough to wear - really works!
  • While travelling consider purchasing your postcards, making a quick note on it of it's significance to you and then buy local stamps and mail the card to yourself. When you get home you'll have a mailbox full of great memories to keep.
  • In a foreign country, take extra care to not "stick out like a sore thumb". If you are renting a car, ask for a nondescript car in a dark neutral colour like blue, green, or grey (never red!) ... If at all possible dress like the natives. Some brand name clothes with brand name logos may be cool and in style where you are from, but in exotic destinations they will "scream" tourist!
  • When renting a car, always insist on two sets of keys. We had guests who fell into the river when fishing and they lost the only set. It took about 6 hours to retrieve the guests, contact the rental car agency, drive 45 miles to the dealership to get another set, and drive them back to the car. If the rental agency won't give you an extra set, get one made at the nearest hardware store.