On-the-Road Travel Tips (part 8)

By Randy Keck
This item appears on page 26 of the November 2020 issue.

It is hard to believe we are embarking in this issue on part 8 of On-the-Road Travel Tips (each followed by my own comments). The response has been continuous and far beyond what we had envisaged.

As of this writing, the “New Normal” we are getting accustomed to means we need to do all we can to remain engaged and in a positive learning state until such time as conditions allow us to hit the road again. Therefore, readers, keep those tips coming in — anything that makes the travel experience work better for you while actually traveling — and try to keep each submission to 125 words.

Linda Huetinck (Alhambra, CA) — An umbrella can be used for rain, sun or privacy. On a tour in Mongolia, our group stopped with not a tree in sight. The men walked away somewhat and simply turned their backs to follow nature. After a short while, I brought out my umbrella and my husband’s, then we — the women — had a convenient privacy barrier.

Love the creativity, Linda! When I used to lead groups in the Australian Outback in the old days, when facilities were really sparse, we would sometimes stop along the road, with ladies going to the bushes on the left and gents to the right. Our only privacy screens were the bushes and the coach. — RK


Robert Quillin (Centennial, CO) — One reader said that he and his wife take their marriage license with them on trips overseas, in case there is a sudden illness or death of one spouse (Sept. ’20, pg. 29), which reminded me of another traveler years ago whose husband died while they were in France (Feb. ’05, pg. 16 & May ’05, pg. 31).

The French authorities would not release his body to her without legal evidence that she was next of kin, i.e., a marriage license. Back home, her daughter couldn’t find her mother’s marriage license but did have a lawyer fax a copy of her parents’ will, which was accepted.

But the woman’s problems went even further in that the credit card they had on the trip was in her husband’s name, and it now was invalidated. After reading that, my wife and I have always taken at least one card in my wife’s name.

The further message from the story was that you need to have someone back home who has access to your documents and cards.

An excellent reminder and preventative strategy, Robert. — RK


June Wallace (Castro Valley, CA) — My essential travel items include Platypus® (www.platy.com) beverage containers, which I pack into my checked luggage, as I often like to take my own beverages when I travel.

I’ve used these for years, and never once have they leaked. They come in different sizes, the largest being one liter. They also come in handy if you want to take wine from your unfinished bottle in a restaurant.

When filling them, you squeeze out the air before capping. They stand up unsupported when full, and when not in use they fold flat and weigh next to nothing.

June, this seems to be imbibing genius. Hopefully, your stashed next pour will continue to flow through airport security in these tenuous times. — RK


Sally Bingley (Richmond, VA) — Randy, while reading the travelers’ tips in your September 2020 column, I thought it was the August issue all over again. Sure enough, Bethany Graves’ tip about repairing a damaged tooth with braces wax was a repeat. I’ve concluded that working from home must be getting to you and the ITN editors. Anyway, it gave my husband and me a good laugh. 

Randy, these readers’ travel tips have been most enlightening. For your info, if we are traveling with more than one large bag, I have ALWAYS mixed my husband’s and my clothing, shoes and whatever between the two bags (Sept. ’20, pg. 28).

I even mix them in our wonderful Eagle Creek packing cubes before placing them in our suitcases. We usually each have a carry-on, and I have items mixed in those too. One never knows when an airline might make you check a carry-on, which then goes missing. This system has never failed us.

Keep up the good work at ITN, and may life get back to normal sooner than later.

Thanks for your kind words, Sally. During these tenuous times, sharing and humor seem to be the best antidotes against the effects of our continuing restrictions, especially as regards travel. 

Regarding the travel tip that appeared in both our August and September issues, maybe Editor David and I will take the stance that the repeat was intentional, that we had an inside bet on how many readers — in the current state of lack-of-travel mind drift — would notice the repeat and point it out. Yes, I like it! What a great way not to have to own up. Thanks loads for stimulating my creative thinking process, Sally. — RK

Contact Randy at 80 America Way, Jamestown, RI 02835; 401/560-0350, randykeck@yahoo.com.