On-the-Road Travel Tips (part 10)

By Randy Keck
This item appears on page 34 of the January 2021 issue.

In this time of continuing challenge but renewed hopes, we are happy to unveil another selection of readers’ On-the-Road Travel Tips (each followed by my own comments). If there’s something special that you do to make your travel experience work better while actually traveling, we invite you to share your wisdom in the form of a travel tip in 125 words or fewer. See my email address at the bottom.

Joyce Renee Lewis (Camano Island, WA) — Here are some more tips I thought I’d share (Oct. ’20, pg. 30 & Dec. ’20, pg. 27).

• Before your trip, use your phone to take a picture of EVERYTHING — passport, TSA number, flights, credit cards, reservations — anything you might need to access instantly. Then file them under your trip name or anything else you will remember.

• Carry extra passport photos. Think you won’t need this? Think again. The ONLY time I forgot to pack some (I now have a printed packing list that I check off) was for a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, where my purse was stolen. I had to pay $50 for photos for a new passport.

To get the best outcome in an emergency, be prepared for the worst. Contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, the American consulate will NOT help you with any expenses. They will expedite your passport, but it will cost a fair sum. If EVERYTHING is stolen, where will you get the money? (Luckily, I was visiting a friend, who let me borrow $300 to cover everything to get home.)

• Best travel tip — WEAR A SMILE, and learn how to say “Hello,” “Please” and “Thank you” in whichever country you’re traveling.

Thanks, Joyce. Clearly, access to photos, especially pictures of your credit cards, needs to be protected by very secure passwords. — RK



Rosemary McDaniel (Trenton, FL) — Here are a couple of things I do when traveling.

• I avoid checking bags at all cost, so when I fly to a very cold climate where I will need a heavy coat, I fasten the coat to my rolling duffel with luggage straps. When ready to take my seat, I take off the straps and stow them in an outside pocket of the duffel, and everything goes into the overhead compartment.

• When I have flight connections, I make out 3"x5" index cards and color-code them for outgoing and incoming flights. On each, I write the date, airline code, flight numbers, time of departure, time of arrival and seat assignment. I just keep the appropriate card in my pocket as a quick reference. 

On the back of the card, I write the confirmation number, ticket number and, if I have one for the airline, my mileage-program membership number.

I also make out color-coded cards for hotel reservations, each with the name, address, phone number, reservation number and date of arrival.

Index cards are not only a good organizational tool but are handy for accessing important data. — RK



Ann Kruse (Sammamish, WA) — My favorite gizmo for home and travel is the Nite Ize-brand S-Biner. It’s a small, extremely lightweight carabiner with two clips.

I use these in the many situations where I want to clip two objects together — a key to a key ring; a key ring to a pack (easy on, easy off); a water bottle to a pack (so it won’t fall out of the pocket), or clipping two zipper pulls together (to deter casual thieves).

They come in several sizes, from 1½ to 3½ inches. Some models have locking mechanisms. 

Nite Ize (www.niteize.com) also has other products useful for travel. Check out the mini-multitool called the DoohicKey and the Cinch-A-Lot wrist strap. Nite Ize products are also available at REI stores.

Ann, I went on the Nite Ize website and was fascinated by the range of products pertaining to travel. — RK



Ann Cyr (Delray Beach, FL) — So that I don’t have to fish around in the dark in my hotel room, I take the lid from a plastic jar of Kirkland assorted nuts (purchased at Costco) and place it on the bedside table. In it, I put jewelry, travel alarm, flashlight and also a few plastic clothespins for hanging undies on the line in the shower (if available) as well as to keep window curtains closed.

In fact, if a line isn’t available, I attach undies to the rung of a skirt hanger, in which case I can hook the hanger over the shower rod.

Ann, the plastic lid is a great idea for keeping small items handy and contained, but did you just sneak in a Kirkland or Costco commercial? I measured the diameter of a similar lid to be just under 5 inches. My wife, Gail, just gave your simple and clever idea a big thumbs up, which is kind of like receiving the travelers’ Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval! — RK

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