Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Top 5 Travel Tips

Realllly scratching for topics here, since I’m not traveling...at the moment. Anyway, I’m always on a budget, like always. And since I always want to go places super far away aka expensive flights, when I get there I have to live off nothing. At the same time, I’m not really a camping/living off the land kinda girl – I hate bugs, I like being clean, no thanks to sleeping outdoors, etc. But I’m adaptable. Below are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Body wipes are your friend. If you’re traveling cheaply, showers are a privilege. If you’re living in a developing country, running water is a privilege. I always carry some sort of wipes with me, even if I only use them on the plane ride over – trust me, the people sitting next to you (and I’m assuming you’re in that middle seat because it was the cheapest and hey you can last 12 hours in cramped area with no access to the arm rests) will greatly appreciate it. They become your shower, your face wash, your toilet paper, your hand soap, your ahh that’s better. So bring them and bring them in bulk.

Preventatively take the Pepto. I love street food: in DC, in NYC, in other countries, and most of all in places where I should absolutely not be eating it. Our western bodies can’t handle the way it’s prepared, but it smells sooo good, it’s so cheap and whatever you’ll deal with the consequences later. Well, having dealt with a parasite (courtesy of Chaing Mai, Thailand), I now preventative take pepto before eating street food abroad– which I will not give up. It’s authentic, it’s part of the experience and, most importantly, it’s the only thing you can really afford.

Identification. Never, and I mean never, give up your passport or yellow fever card. This one may seem obvious, but I had a little incident in the DRC about someone taking my yellow fever card. You want to get back into a developed country, do not let that yellow saving grace out of your sight…EVER. And always carry some ID – I had a random road stop in Rwanda and I had no ID on me, some blank stares and battered Kinyarwanda later he let me go on my way, but I think things would have been easier with my license on me.

Bring earplugs, Imodium and an eye mask. Ear plugs: There will be a baby on your flight and they will most certainly not sleep through the night (that rhymed). Staying in that $2/night hostel really saves, but don’t forget about the 15 other people you will be spending the night with. The Imodium: didn’t you just eat that street food? The eye mask: the sun rises early, but I most certainly do not. Mine says “Sleeping Beauty” on it, and yes I do wear it on public transportation, get over it, move on, I have.

Gender Specific:


You’re going to go out at night; I’m not just saying that because I’m 24 – going out in the country is part of the experience. This doesn’t mean you have to bring your stilettos and satc dress, but bring a going out top – they are so small you can squeeze them in and use them as layering tanks (depending on the level of sparkle). It’s also ok to bring makeup. I know from most of my travel pictures, you’re wondering – did you wear makeup? And obviously, as you can see, the answer is no. But, going out is part of the experience, and there’s nothing wrong with looking nice when you do that.

Getting ready to go out in Australia

needless to say, I brought a lot of going out tops


Bring pants. I know, Africa is hot as eff, but for some reason in a lot of countries they wear pants. I do not understand this but accept it. Only children wear shorts and let’s be real, you’re going to stick out enough, so just throw on the pants, especially in culturally sensitive countries. But really Africa – the pants? the heat?

Hope those were helpful or, at the very least, entertaining. Happy non-traveling Tuesday!

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