Journeywoman's Top 25 Picks....
She's So Practical
Be sure to take along several
photographs of yourself. This way you'll avoid the hassle of having
to locate a photo booth when you need ID for a foreign bus pass
or museum card.
...2 Pack a folding
umbrella that has an aluminum spine and handle. This type is more
expensive to buy than all the others but it's so light and compact,
you'll almost forget you're carrying it.
...3 In hot humid
countries, a folding paper fan works wonders when waiting at bus
stops or travelling by (non-air conditioned) vehicles.
...4 A mini flashlight
-- the light disposable type is invaluable for Third World destinations
where power failures are frequent.
...5 Leave expensive
jewellry at home. Instead, for an evening on the town, try dressing
up your hair. A dime-store rhinestone barrette or sparkly bobby
pin works wonders with black shirt and pants.
...6 Can't wash your
undies because the plug in your hotel sink is missing? Before
you leave on holiday, pop into your local hardware store and pick
up a "one-size fits all" stopper just in case.
All Bathrooms Aren't Created
...7 Always carry
emergency toilet paper or a package of tissues. In some parts
of the world, it's either very scarce or too coarse to be usable.
...8 Handiwipes are
perfect when hand-washing facilities aren't readily available.
...9 The smell in
toilets is sometimes overpowering. Carry a mentholated chapstick
and dab some under your nose to help mask the odours while you
use the facilities.
She's Health Wise
...10 Feel a cold
coming on? Keep lots of chewable Vitamin C on hand. Many women
swear by it and when taken in prescribed doses, for short periods
of time, it's reported to be quite harmless.
...11 Ditto for Echinacea
-- a herbal remedy meant to rebuild your immune system.
...12 No chicken
soup available? For some women, Ancient Healing Formula in tea
bag form (Yogi Tea Co.) is the anti-sniffles remedy of choice.
Even when it's hard to find a pharmacy, it's easy to locate hot
...13 Carry these
two recipes for making your own emergency rehydration mixture
should diarrhea strike and you find yourself far from a pharmacy.
(Mix 1 litre of bottled purified water, one-half teaspoon of salt
and four teaspoons of honey or sugar). If these ingredients are
not available, eat bananas (to restore your potassium levels)
and dry chips (to give you salt) and drink cola (to provide glucose).
She Needs Her Beauty Sleep
...14 Don't leave
home without your eyeshades
...15 ..or your earplugs.
They're perfect for snoozing on the airplane and, for keeping
out the "sounds of baby" just two rows ahead.
...16 Carry clothespins
for those hotel drapes that refuse to close properly. They're
perfect for blocking out the early morning sun as well as discouraging
potential "Peeping Toms."
...17 A tiny (1 oz.)
bottle of lavender oil is lovely for relaxation. Add several drops
to an evening bath and travel stress will simply melt away. Put
some on your pillowcase and you'll sleep like a baby.
...18 A small roll
of electrical tape has a myriad of uses. A skirt hem come down?
Tape it up in a pinch. Leaving your luggage at the hostel for
a few days? Tape everything closed so nothing can be slipped in
or out. Shipping a box home, want to put souvenirs into your journal,
need to take fluff off a black sweater? Hurrah for electrical
...19 Don't throw
away the plastic canister that your film comes in. They make perfect
do-it-yourself sewing kits with enough room for needles, thread,
a few extra buttons and safety pins.
She's a Hungry Girl
...20 Many hotels
and B&B's now provide electric kettles in their guest rooms. To
satisfy those middle of the night munchies, it's great to have
packets of dehydrated soups, powdered hot chocolate (and a light-weight
plastic spoon) on hand.
...21 Girl Travellers
Have Special Needs! Having your period while travelling can make
your body feel extra tired. Pack dried fruit (heavy on the apricots)
and pop them at "period time." These magic morsels help to replenish
the iron your body has lost and you'll feel great again.
Making Connections - Discouraging
...22 When on holiday,
leave those formal business cards behind. Instead carry colorful
postcards from home and give your new acquaintances a glimpse
of where you live. Relevant contact info can be printed on the
...23 Carry ball-point
pens for the kiddies you meet. In some Third World destinations
young irresistible children will beg you for candy. Why help to
rot their teeth? Instead, before you leave home, check your local
phone book for those companies that personalize ball-point pens.
They generally have no use for their misprinted stock and will
be happy to give you some free of charge.
...24 Want to discourage
unwanted and persistent male advances while travelling? Pre-trip,
pick up a (Chinese) magazine in Chinatown. Then when someone invades
your personal space, pretend that you don't understand English,
absorb yourself in your Chinese reading material and watch the
guy's puzzled reaction. (P.S. If you do read and speak Chinese...all
the better. You don't have to pretend).
She Finds Many Uses For One
...25 Always carry
a few cotton handkerchiefs. They're cheap, they're light, they
fold flat and they serve a 1,000 purposes (well...almost...) Use
them to carry groceries, sit on them, tie one to your backpack
for instant creative color, wrap them around your favorite travel
hat to spice it up. If you need a drain plug, a hankie comes in
very handy. Want to stay cool on a hot day? Simply wet it and
wrap around your neck. They work wonders at keeping your hair
up or pulled back. If you exercise while traveling, they make
super sweat bands. Want to take an unexpected dip and don't have
a towel... use a hankie. They dry real fast. Cotton handkerchiefs
can carry leftovers from lunch picnics. You can put them on your
head when visiting churches or when walking in the sun. Tie one
around a backpack handle or strap--it makes yours easier to spot
when in a train or bus luggage pile. You can hold it in your teeth
and dance with a Greek Adonis in a taverna. Italian and French
dogs love them around their necks and so do their masters --they're
a yummy ice breaker. You can use one as a belt. Or an arm sling
(heaven forbid). Want to say thank-you for something special?
Always keep a few new ones aside and give them as gifts.