I’ve been to roughly 40 countries on 5 continents. I have moved by every conceivable mode of travel including hot air balloon, submarine, and lawnmower (that’s right… lawnmower). Still, I always learn a little tip, I’m shocked I never thought of before. Here are a handful of “oh yeah…” tips that I try to follow every time I head out on the road.
- The Hotel Key. We all know we should handle the hotel key carefully as it can easily lose it’s use when demagnetized by things like our phone. But don’t carry it in the pouch the hotel provides. Why? Because that pouch usually has the hotel name and room number listed. If it were to be stolen, thieves may arrive before you notice it’s gone. Even worse, they could be waiting for you when you arrive.
- The Hotel Key (Part 2). Have you ever stopped to think exactly what information is on that key anyway? You might be surprised to learn that some keys store more than just your room number and access. Often they actually store your personal information (including name and credit card info on file with the hotel). Be sure to safely destroy hotel card keys when you are done with them.
- Pack for one… or two… or one? If you travel often enough you will run into the situation where your luggage lags behind or may even be lost altogether. If you travel with another person, be sure to pack a basic survival bag (socks, underwear, trousers and shirt) and store them in the other person’s bag. If one of you do lose your suitcase or it arrives a late, at least you aren’t stuck in whatever you flew in, until then.
- Keep your Toothbrush Clean! Have you ever wondered how clean your toothbrush is? Do you run it under tap water when your finished and then just let it air dry? Yeah… it’s still dirty. Small particles of food and microbes will always stay on the brush and continue to rot until your next use. It’s even more likely to get dirty while you’re moving from hotel to hotel in your luggage. Store it (brush down) in a small glass of mouth wash. I use Listerine because it has alcohol in it and helps keep it sanitized between uses.
- Credit Cards, passports and cash. Have you ever lost your wallet or worse been mugged while on the road? Make sure to keep some cash, at least one credit card and your passport or a copy of your passport back in the hotel (preferably in the hotel safe). At least now you aren’t totally screwed and can make it home.
- Have a mugged wallet. Some people travel into deep country. They want to go to the slightly more dangerous places. And if they do, they might get more than they asked for. I travel with a “mugged” wallet with about 15 dollars in ones and some loose non-important receipts. Most muggers are eager to make the experience short and sweet. This decoy option has served me on two occasions.
- Bring one or two small plastic bags. Are you going to the beach? The sand is coming back with you. Going for a hike? the dirt is coming back with you. Are you going out at all? The city is coming back with you. Keep your dirty, sandy, and smelly clothes away from your clean lot. A plastic bag makes it easier to know what’s good and what’s not.
- Communicate! Does the hotel front desk know what you are doing today? Does your family back home? How long away is too long? If people don’t know where you are, they won’t know when to expect you? And when you are in trouble it can be hard to sound the alarms. Make sure to communicate with people you trust so at the very least the authorities can follow a trail when you fall of the radar for two days.