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10 July 2011 / leggypeggy

Tips for travellers—Part 1

I’ve decided to compile a series of tips for international travellers. I have no idea yet how many tips there will be, but I’ll post as things come to mind—usually in batches of three. Here are the starters.

1) Take a head torch and spare batteries—and carry them with you. This is essential advice—that’s why I put it first. Trust me. Someday the power will go out in your tent, a hotel room, a restaurant. Or you’ll be blundering around in a taxi searching for a lost wallet, lighter or contact lens. Take the damn torch, even if you are travelling in your own country. You’ll thank me for it. Oh, and try not to shine it in everybody else’s eyes.

2) If you have a new-ish Australian passport, cover it in plastic wrap, put it in a plastic bag and dress it in a raincoat. You think I’m joking? Heck no. This is more essential advice. The new passports bleed. They bleed a lot and the ink runs all over your bad mug shot—making it even worse, if that’s possible. We learned this last year the hard way—in Indonesia—when we were caught in a sudden downpour which left us standing in ankle-deep water. Poor John’s passport was a mess. He wasn’t waving it around in the rain. It was in his pocket in his shorts, but what a disaster. Indonesian immigration wasn’t very impressed when we left the country, but Poor John promised them he’d get a new one. Imagine his surprise when he trundled into the Passport Office to ask for a replacement and to show them what a dodgy product they had, and THEY told him off for getting it wet! And then they charged him for a new one. Oh pleeze. These things happen when Australians travel. These things happen when anyone travels! I think it’s appalling that an Aussie passport cannot withstand a bit of rain, even a lot of rain. Just because we’ve had a drought for 10 years is no excuse for their lack of beta testing. My older passport survived that same storm just fine! Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

3) Take a roll of duct tape—seriously. It took me about 40 years to figure out that duct tape (AKA electrician’s tape) is one of the most useful items on the planet. A few years back I came across an insightful and hilarious website on the uses of duct tape. I can’t find it now. Let me know if you do. And one of these days I’ll tell you about the university dance at which a mere six inches of duct tape might have kept me from being the spectacle of the night.

6 Comments

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  1. Sy S. / Jul 10 2011 11:21 am

    Hello LeggyPeggy,

    Having a Flash Light (and extra batteries, bulbs) is a good idea.

    Here is the URL for over 100 uses for Duct Tape; http://www.thezac.com/ducttape/
    Number #23 on this listing is “Toilet Paper”?? Add this to your life’s experiences LOL

    I used to travel around using a hidden waist passport. The leather absorbed sweat and leaked through to paperwork within. So if anyone is using this type of waist or other passport folder,
    line it with tin foil or plastic wrap (a zip lock bag would be good…).

    Sy S.

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  2. leggypeggy / Jul 11 2011 2:37 am

    Thanks for the passport storage tip.
    I finally found the duct tape site I remember.
    http://www.ducktapefun.com/

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  3. Jim Clark / Jul 12 2011 6:58 am

    All good ideas.
    Traveling with kids can increase the “needs” list.
    I always took a kids Potty. I had to check in at the “door” at the Vatican.
    I personally carry a small leatherman. It has been handy many times.
    A small, pocket size, bottle of hand cleaner is also nice to have – especially with kids.

    Luck in your travels

    Jim

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  4. leggypeggy / Jul 12 2011 1:23 pm

    Good one Jim. I’ll be on the look out for anyone checking a kid’s potty at the door. 🙂

    Hand cleaner and a small leatherman are wonderful travel companions—our leathermen are too large to carry, so we each have small Swiss army knives, which we’ve had to check at a few doors. I’m glad tourist sites have a more helpful attitude than airports—they at least let you reclaim your possessions when you leave.

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  5. Jim Clark / Jul 12 2011 7:21 pm

    I have a leatherman PST multi-tool. They do not make this model anymore. I carried the same one, daily, for 20 years. Leatherman has a great warranty, and I had it replaced once, at the 18 year point, free no questions asked. The knife blade on the one I had was broken off, leaving only the tools. I carried mine all over Europe. I lost my original leatherman in 2009 and purchased 5 or 6 other models, but none were the right size for me. This model is slim and fits in smaller case which I wear on my belt. I wrote the company for a replacement and that is when I found out they no longer make this model. You probalby can purchase one on Ebay. I happened to find one in a pawn shop in Dongducheon, S Korea that a Soldier had probably sold. Sorry for rambling so, but you can see how much I love this multi-tool

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  6. leggypeggy / Jul 12 2011 8:19 pm

    Hey Jim, I understand completely. A Leatherman is an object of desire. Poor John got his first one in the early 1980s. His brother bought him another one in the 1990s. One lives in our car and the other moves with us. Guess we need to think about buying a smaller model one day.

    As for replacements—Poor John has a great track record for getting replacements for Screwpull corkscrews and electric toasters. Don’t ask about the toasters, but the salesmen now recognise him when he arrives and just head for the storeroom. 🙂

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