Zoomer‘s travel writer Vivian Vassos returns from her latest adventure with travel tips for fellow globe-trotting women — and a few for men as well.
1. Know the locals
We all know the importance of learning about the local culture BEFORE embarking on a journey. And even more so if you travel with children, who should be educated on what to expect. In Thailand, for example, children from other countries are a precious novelty. When I was there with my baby-fat resplendent, fair-skinned, blue-eyed tykes, they were the subject of much admiration — and touching. Innocent pats on the head and the like, but it was important to prepare my children for this public form of appreciation from strangers, the near opposite of their “street-smarts” training at home.
2. Multi-tasking packing
Scarves, wraps — even the beach pareo — are lightweight and add wardrobe mileage. The beach cover-up, in a pinch, can act as a cover for bare shoulders, a longer-length skirt or even a dress when making the rounds to religious or other sites that require modest dress.
Another secret weapon is the zip-lock bag. I label them with a permanent marker and use them to keep all electronic chargers, batteries, etc., organized and to keep cords and plug prongs from damaging clothes or getting damaged in the suitcase. The zip-locks double as a place for dirty laundry or a wet bathing suit.
3. Key ID
I carry a USB key, stashed somewhere separate from my passport (I try to always leave my passport in a secure hotel safe). I have a scanned pdf copy of my passport and other information like emergency contacts on the key. In case of loss or theft, it can help save time and energy at a Canadian embassy or consulate. Another important note: some countries still demand ID when you make purchases with your Visa card. Rather than toting your passport, take your driver’s licence photo ID, even if you don’t plan on driving, as it’s easier to replace if lost or stolen — and you don’t need it to get home.