On-the-Road Travel Tips (part 14)

By Randy Keck
This item appears on page 25 of the May 2021 issue.

Welcome to another edition of readers’ On-the-Road Travel Tips. Little did we know that this COVID-inspired undertaking over a year ago would take on a life of its own. We greatly appreciate all of the positive feedback about it that we continue to receive, and please keep sending in your tips related to anything that enhances the travel experience while actually traveling. Keep in mind our 125-word (or close) limit.

As a future primer, I wish to invite readers to especially share tips regarding the topic of travel etiquette.

Here are the latest reader tips, each followed by my own comments.

Bill Thames (Laurel, MS) — Years ago, I got a luggage tag with a clear plastic window that was designed to show a piece of paper with your name and contact details. I took out the paper insert and threw it away. Instead, I place one of my extra passport photos in the pocket.

The photo in my tag shows instantly to anyone speaking any language in any country that this bag is MINE!

This photo luggage tag has actually come in handy a couple of times.

Be sure to update your passport photo occasionally so that it still looks current and so fellow travelers won’t make fun of you for having aged.

Bill, this is a great idea and just too simple. I always have two or sometimes three luggage tags on both my carry-on backpack and check-in bag, so now I will have an extra with just the photo.

Incidentally, when leading groups, I am always amazed how many people have only one baggage tag on their check-in bag, since a tag can easily get torn off. It makes total sense to have at least two tags… and now maybe a third with a photo. — RK

Marcia Bansley (Atlanta, GA) — Here are a few more of my travel tips.

• My suitcase is a Lipault (www.lipault-usa.com) roll aboard in bright pink.

• My travel purse is a Longchamp (www.longchamp.com/us/en) — medium size with long handles so it fits over my shoulder.

• I wear a Pacsafe (pacsafe.com) travel pouch that has two zippered pockets. This pouch is sold online as well as by the recreational equipment company REI and The Container Store (www.containerstore.com/s/travel/1).

I always keep my passport, travel money, credit cards, phone charger and cord and, sometimes, tickets in this pouch, which I wear at all times. If I have a lot of money, I wear a second pouch.

The Pacsafe pouch can be tucked into my travel pants and, I hope, is not very noticeable. It cannot easily be cut off of me by a pickpocket because it has wire in the strap that goes around my waist.

I got the idea for always wearing my passport from a tour leader on a trip.

Thanks for your travel tip gems, Marcia (plus the ones printed in my April 2021 column). Both when leading tours or on private trips, I always wear a travel vest. It allows me to very securely keep my passport, wallet and currency on my person. I will investigate the Pacsafe pouch you recommend and compare it with a couple of others I have.

Each traveler has their own philosophy, preference and comfort level regarding protecting their passport, documents, wallet and currency. Of course, these choices are individual and variable, depending on daily activities and circumstances while on the road. When I chose to go for a swim at infamous Ipanema Beach in Rio, I took only a small towel, my plastic-card room key and a bottle of water. — RK

Ann Kruse (Sammamish, WA) — Randy, I read about what Joan Campbell calls “silk sleep sacks” (Feb. ’21, pg. 31) and would like to offer some additional ways to find them.

Among campers, these are called “sleeping bag liners,” and they serve several purposes. They protect sleeping bags from dirt and body oils, they provide an extra layer of warmth, they provide an option in hot weather for a lighter cover, and some have insect repellant.

I suggest checking REI at the web page www.rei.com/c/sleeping-bag-liners. There are 20 products listed, along with an information sheet to help select the product best for the buyer. They come in a variety of fabrics (cotton, silk, microfiber, etc.), with prices ranging from $25 to $99.

One could also simply pack a twin sheet as a lightweight cover.

Thanks for the additional sleep sack related input. I am still planning a sleep sack type acquisition and will do so by the time we are able to safely engage in international travel again. — RK

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