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I Packed My Backpack...
and in it I put...


Evelyn Hannon

Wonder what a woman carries in her backpack? Because so many of you have been writing to tell us your travel secrets, we now know that a true travellin' woman always has a few special items near and dear to her heart that she never ever leaves home without.

Journeywoman decided to put all those helpful "must-pack-this-in-my-backpack" picks into one article. Some items are oh-so-practical, some are downright quirky and some are so smart that we wished that we'd thought about them first.

May we suggest that this list can make a wonderful addition to a Bon Voyage gift for any journey woman preparing to hit the road.....your friends, mama, sister, grandmama or Godmother. Print it and pass it along, ladies. We're sure it will be a hit!

P.S. Forward this list to your pals. They'll love you for it.

Journeywoman's Top 25 Picks....

She's So Practical

hiker with backpack...1 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 Equal

...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 water.

...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.

Ms. Fix-it

...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 tape!

...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 Connections

...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 reverse.

...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 Item

...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.

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