Travel Tips from the “Road Warrior”

No one is on the go more than Priscilla’s husband, Peter. Peter is a water engineer and he tirelessly travels all over Africa in an effort to make clean water accessible for all those who don’t have it. Spending more time traveling than even in his own home, Peter has put together a, invaluable list of those travel tips which he feels are the most helpful. Check them out below…some may come as a surprise!

  • Significant travel fatigue comes from noise, including airport noise. Plug your ears with silicone plugs, zone out and maximize a Zen-like state when traveling, including in the airport terminal
  • Keep a journal of what you wear, don’t wear, and wish you had to wear on 5 trips in a row. This will help you better pack for future trips. You can also do this for electronic gadgets and toiletries
  • Purchase a small, hand held scale to always make sure you’re under the airline weight restrictions for your bags
  • In your carry on bag or large suitcase/bag, store common things in separate small bags, of varying shapes such as a bag for:
    • electronics
    • plane food/snacks
    • toiletries
    • hotel energy food/powdered drinks
    • emergency kit (e.g, Imodium, ORS, Malarone)
    • dirty laundry (so not to smell up clean clothes)
    • dirty shoes (2 plastics/pair)
    • electronics just for airport (e.g., adapters, ear plugs)
    • travel documents (passport, WHO card, boarding pass
    • liquids (especially hand-sanitizer)
    • camera equipment
    • local currency and SIM card (if applicable).
  • You can use hotel room laundry bag or trash can plastic insert (if clean) as a spare bag for such things as dirty laundry
  •  If you really want to help the environment place and keep your do not disturb sign on the outside of your hotel door. You won’t receive unnecessary towels, etc.
  •  Use the hotel hair dryer to dry any underwear that you wash if you don’t have time for hand drying
  • Earmark the pages in your passport for
    • where your Visa is for you next arrival
    • the last exit stamp for the country you are entering (if applicable)
    • a used page with enough room for another stamp (so you don’t run out of fresh pages too fast)
    • these marked pages should be shown to the immigration officer to speed up that process.
  •  If you can obtain the immigration forms online and fill them out ahead of time, try this. It could save you time for this process
  •  If you can pack everything in carry on luggage this will save you more time; and it completely removes the risk of lost luggage
  •  Carry with you about ten $1 bills for tipping – before you have time to obtain local currency
  •  Consider bringing your own food/snacks on your flights so that you can eat what you know/trust/like, and so you can eat on YOUR schedule
  •  Research the type plane in which you will fly and select your preferred seat at the earliest possible time – it makes a difference! For example I stay away from bathroom areas, I avoid window seats on long flights, I grab exit rows if not a confined bulkhead.
  •  If you are going straight into a meeting upon arrival, then dress nice, this can make a difference; otherwise, only dress for comfort.
  • Dress for warm conditions on the flight but bring at least one lightweight item that will provide warmth if the cabin is uncomfortably cold
  •  If you are paying on your own for the taxi from the airport to your hotel research the distance and costs. You might pay exorbitant rates if you don’t!
  •  Research the weather conditions for when you land (not from where you depart) and make sure you will have the right clothing available
  •  Bring at least one combination lock to lock your valuables in your bag when you are not in your hotel room. I no longer can trust the safe in the hotel rooms
  •  Always keep your hands clean and NEVER put your hands to your mouth when traveling
  •  Don’t ever, ever get mad with officials; instead be firm but highly respectful. Humor is also a powerful tool to achieve what you want
  •  Drink A LOT of bottled water every day!
  • Bring energy bars and powdered drinks for when you are not eating the local food so to keep your body healthy
  •  Exercise within at least 2 hours of your arrival (or at least before you go to bed) to help you adjust to the new time zone. Running/walking the hotels stairs, even if just 5 floors, is great aerobic exercise.
  •  Pleasant travel can be significantly impacted by something YOU control – your state of mind. If you can remain in a Zen-like state, avoid feeling rushed, having patience with the people around you, being okay with delays and changes, savoring the time to read some pages of your book, zoning out the world around you, then you will better enjoy the hours of you travel

 

Thanks Peter!

Platypus Platy Bottle

 

Platypus Platy Bottle

The taste-free Platypus Platy™ bottle is a great option for your world adventures.
  • Perfect for long flights and transfers
  • Fill up before boarding and stay hydrated for your entire trip
  • Holds 70 fl. oz
  • 100% BPA free
  • Compact and flexible design can be flattened when empty and rolled up
  • Stands upright when full
  • Polypropylene screw cap allows quick and easy drinking
  • Best part is it costs less than $13!
  • Order online from  REI

3 Tips To Make Your Long Haul Flights More Comfortable

Thanks to years of traveling back and forth from the states to Africa and other special places around the world, Priscilla has three simple yet extremely useful tips to make your long haul flights more comfortable. They are:

1. Get a great seat:

  • If there is an option for Economy Plus on the long haul, we feel it is worth it for the extra cost. You won’t have significantly more space, however, you won’t feel so lost in the masses as you are further forward in the plane with a bit more attention paid to you.
  • As soon as you make your reservation, try to get your seat assignment. SeatGuru can be a big help with this. We find a few rows behind bulkhead to be best. If you are traveling alone, try for the aisle seat in the middle section of the plane. Oftentimes, this increases the chances that the seat next to you will be empty and thus you can essentially stretch out in two seats.

2. Have an inflatable neck pillow:

  • These are easy to buy online or in the airport. The advantage to the inflatable neck pillow is that, once deflated, you can easily store it in your luggage taking up virtually no space. It makes a big difference in providing neck support when you relax or sleep on the flight.

3. Wax Ear Plugs and Noise Reduction headphones:

  • We recommend the wax earplugs for when you want to sleep and not watch any entertainment.
  • Noise reduction headphones are for entertainment (listening to music, watching the inflight movies, etc). We always have both. It has been found that one of the biggest impacts on jet lag is the noise from the plane. Trying to reduce that can make a big difference in how you feel upon arrival.

 

Barefoot Shoes by Merrill

A “must have” according to Priscilla! Featherlight, these shoes are perfect for walking in a city, going on a run, or heading out on safari. Easily stored and with lots of different styles to choose from, everyone should travel with a pair!

    • super light and flexible
    • smushes down for packing
    • variety of styles for men, women and children
    • technical design for both comfort and utility
      washable
    • great for running, trekking, walking and water sports

 

Learn more and find your perfect fit here. We love these shoes!

Smartwool 1/4 Zip

The perfect item for variable weather packing. If there’s a chance of cool temps, this always goes in our bags!

  • 100% merino wool
  • Takes little space for its warmth
  • Wicks away perspiration
  • Keeps odors at bay- more uses before needing to wash it
  • Comfortable
  • Works on a hike as well as out to dinner
  • Available for men and women.

Men’s Olive Heather is currently on sale online at REI

 

Advocate Shoes by Patagonia

Our motto is “carry-on only!” 
One challenge with this is shoes.  Bulky and heavy, it’s hard to have three pairs when traveling light.  So we were thrilled to find these shoes by Patagonia.  Super lightweight and comfy, they are the perfect “third pair to toss in the bag”.

The back flattens for easy packing, they only weigh 4.5 ounces (!), they are offered in both men’s and women’s sizes and come in great colors!

Universal Travel Adapter Kit

Converters, chargers, adapters, USB cables…do you really need to take so much?

Not anymore!  There’s a great new solution on the market- Universal Travel Adapter Kit with USB Charger.  Multiple brands now offer this handy adapter, available at most electronics stores or online. The all-in-one design eliminates the need for carrying a variety of adapters and the USB plug is especially handy. For use with cameras, cell phones, iPods, laptops, tablets, etc.

Headlamps!

Headlamps!

This is a must for every trip we take! The lightweight Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headlamp pulls together 5 lighting modes to ensure you can see and be seen during nighttime adventures of all kinds.
  • Fits easily in your suitcase or backpack
  • Versatile enough to light up a trail or to use as a reading light in bed
  • 3 white lighting modes; red & flashing lights for safety
  • Headlamp tilts to point light where you need it
  • Only requires 2 AAA batteries

 

Click here to order your headlamp from rei.com

Royal Robbins’ Cardiff Traveler Pants

We have sworn by (and worn) these pants for years! Versatile and comfortable, the Cardiff traveler pants are great for safari, hiking, touring, and even a night on the town. We especially like they are:

  • so comfortable
  • great for packing light
  • wrinkle resistant
  • have a hidden zip pocket
  • back zip secured pocket
  • quick dry
  • straight leg
  • tab waist
  • work well in the bush
  • work well in the city
  • look good on various sizes and body types

 

Sorry guys… only available for women!
Visit Royal Robbins and order up a pair or two for your next trip!

Priscilla’s Packing List for Ecuador (& Peru)

Packing for Ecuador can be a little tricky because of the diverse spectrum of environments you will encounter, ranging from high altitudes to dense jungle.  What you pack is dependent on the areas you visit, the activities in your itinerary and the season you travel.  Here is my personal packing list for a 12 day trip in October that included a visit to the Amazon jungle and to the Andes: (everything fit in my Eagle Creek carry-on luggage):

For the Andes and Quito…

  • 3 pair long black pants- all active wear and of different
  • weight/warmth (for traveling, hiking, the city)
  • 1 lightweight fleece sweater that zips up in the front
  • 2 long-sleeved basic shirts (1 white, 1 black)- very comfy

(polyester/lycra blend; ContourWear)

  • 2 zip-neck t-neck shirts (polyester) that work as a 1st or 2nd layer

and can be worn as a general shirt

  • 1 cashmere long-sleeved t-shirt sweater
  • 1 short-sleeved t-shirt (Exoffico; cotton/rayon)
  • 1 zip-neck t-neck pullover (2nd layer; polyester)
  • silk long underwear (pants and top)
  • vest (windproof material)

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