We tried to come up with a wonderfully descriptive name for this list, which is posted under ‘Packing Lists’ on the menu bar, but in the end, it is just ‘Other Stuff’.
For Bonaire, I have crossed the following stuff off the list :
- bike cable lock
- crossword puzzle book
- daypack (maybe)
- drawing materials
- eating utensils, bowls
- glasses for map reading
- guidebook/phrase book
- insect repellent (maybe)
- iPod and headphones (maybe)
- mosquito coils
- pocket notebook
- sheet sack
- small padlock and keys
- toilet paper
Some notes on the stuff not crossed off.
It looks like Bonaire has the same type of electrical outlets have we have in Canada. We are going to check with the hotel to make sure. Will get back on this one.
Traveling is about the only time both Murray and I consistently wear a watch. Both watches have alarms in them for those early morning wake-ups.
We always travel with a small bag of Canada pins and stickers. If given the opportunity, we will hand these out to children.
When we went to China, I took a small 2 1/2″ x 4″ pocket notebook with me. It became invaluable as this was where we wrote the “Words to Learn in Local Language”. The notebook also had the Chinese character for rice noodles inscribed in it for easy reference. It came in very handy! I carried the notebook either in my pocket or in an outside pocket of my purse, where it was easily accessible. I would recommend taking one if traveling to a country where English is not the official language.
Laundry Soap and Clothesline
Traveling with little clothing means doing laundry frequently. We carry a small bottle of liquid Tide. We have found the liquid detergent mixes with the water and clothes much better than powder. We sometimes do the laundry in the shower (while one of us is showering) or in the sink. Once the clothes are rung, we lay them in a towel, role the towel up and then stomp on the roll. It is amazing how much water comes out when this is done. Then the clothes can be hung on the clothesline or put on a hangar to dry. T shirts maintain their shape very well when this towel method is used. If we know we have to do laundry, we will share one towel for showering and then use the other towel for laundry stomping. We also time laundry to days we know the towels will be changed, if they are not changed every day. The towels tend to get saturated and don’t dry too quickly.
We have been carrying some thin cord for a clothesline. The clothesline is carried in an old pill bottle. Murray has found another type of clothesline that we are going to try. It is made of braided surgical rubber tubing. It can be bought from Amazon.com (Flexoline), Rick Steves (Travel Gear Clothesline) or in Canada from, http://www.travelsmartsproducts.ca/store/. One concern is the volume of packing space this option uses vs the pill bottle option.
We always travel with some duct tape. It is wrapped around the clothesline pill bottle. It is just enough to make small repairs.
A flashlight is a necessity for safety. We often do not use the flashlight, but if the power goes off, or there is an emergency, we will have it. When we were in Tibet, we stayed in a hotel in Tingri, near Mt Everest. Upon checking in, we were told that there was no power, so we would not have lights when it got dark. Our flashlight came in very handy that night. There are a number of travel flashlights on the market now – small, lightweight, easy on batteries. We use an older Bossman flashlight and when it expires will purchase a smaller one.
When flying to a destination, Murray and I will split up any cash and travelers cheques that we are carrying. Murray carries his share, plus credit cards, in a moneybelt. He wears it low, over his hips and wears looser pants/shorts. If the package is bulky, Murray has found this more comfortable than a necksafe . The money belt stays hidden until we get to our destination. He also wears a necksafe with only our passports in it that is easily accessible.
I wear a necksafe. It is beige and soft on the skin side. I wear in around my neck and it hangs just below my bust and tucked into my pants. I also wear looser pants and shirt to accommodate the necksafe. I wear a scarf draped around neck and hanging down my chest, to hide the cord of the necksafe and the bumps that may show. I will put my extra credit cards in it also. The necksafe will also stay hidden until we reach our destination.
We decided a while back that we wanted these items actually attached to our bodies, not in a purse or bag. This helps to ensure that the money, credit cards, passports are not stolen, lost or forgotten. We arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia and were standing in the visa line-up behind some other travelers. The mom suddenly realized that the bag with all their holiday cash had fallen out of her purse and must still be on the plane! She tells her teenage daughter to run back to the plane on the tarmac to get it. (Duh!) The daughter didn’t get farther than the doors before security stopped her. A big discussion ensued and finally an airport employee ran out to the plane and retrieved the bag. Mur and I just shook our heads.
Large 8 x 11 Envelopes
This trip marks the first trip we are going to start carrying a couple of large envelopes with us. Why? When we were in Vietnam, we stayed at a hotel in Hanoi that had a safety box at reception to leave important stuff in (passports, extra travelers cheques, plane tickets etc). We had all the stuff in the moneybelt and then the fellow at reception placed the money belt into a large envelope, sealed it and had Murray sign across the sealed opening. This way we all knew that no one was going to take anything out of the envelope. Brilliant!
Years later, having forgotten about this trick, we go to Belize. Stay at a fairly nice hotel that has safety boxes for each room at reception. We put our extra travelers cheques and a bit of cash into Mur’s money belt and give it to the receptionist and he places it into what we think is our safety box. To make a long story short, some cash and 2 travelers cheques were stolen from the money belt. Luckily we had made a list of what was in the money belt. The hotel manager was very good dealing with the situation and we got reimbursed for the cash. AMEX reimbursed us for the travelers cheques. Lesson learned. In 15 or so years of traveling, this was the first time we had an issue like this and hopefully the last.
We are going to use the envelope method from now on when we have to leave items at reception. We are also going to make a list of the contents of the envelope.
You never know if the bathroom sink will have a proper stopper in it. Doing laundry in a sink that won’t hold water is material for a comedy. Carry a sink stopper.
On a dive holiday, we check with the hotel to see whether they supply towels for the pool. If they do not, we take our own. Sometimes we take old towels and leave them.
We take water bottles with us on the flights so we always have access to water. Don’t take your favorite water bottle from home – you will be sad when it gets lost. Take a water bottle that is disposable. Remember to take it empty through security and fill it up once you are on the other side. Or plan to buy a bottle of water once past security. I don’t like doing this as I end up with a bunch of Canadian change that has to be carted around on our trip.
Green Garbage Bags/Kitchen Catcher Bags/Ziploc Bags
I will get a large ziploc bag and put inside it the following, ensuring all the bags are flat and have no air in them:
- 2 green garbage bags
- 2 kitchen catcher bags
- 1 – 2 large ziploc bags
- 2 -4 1 litre ziploc bags
- 2 -4 sandwich size ziploc bags
Over the years, we have found the extra ziploc bags come in very handy for carrying travel receipts, a purchase we don’t want to get wet, food and for replacing ripped 1 litre bags for airport security. A kitchen catcher bag is the perfect size for a laundry bag. Don’t remember the last time we used a green garbage bag but as soon as we leave it at home, we will need it!
The remaining stuff on the list is pretty standard – cameras, pens, sunglasses etc. This list looks like a lot of stuff, but most of it is small and fits in purses or the nooks and crannies of a suitcase. Most of the stuff is pretty obvious, but the idea of a list is to not reinvent packing every time and rely on the list. If you use the list, please personalize it!