The Red Dot System wasn’t my idea; friend Caroline clued me in for our first African Safari trip. Using a red Sharpie pen, tag old clothes and shoes, then leave behind at the end of a trip. We’re not talking about clothes for a posh Riviera Cruise… more like schlepping around Morocco.
Developing countries have good uses for used clothing. And selfishly, the system produces extra luggage room for treasures purchased on the trip. I tag in advance of a trip because at the end, ALL my clothes look (and smell) bad; this helps identify the ones I intended to part with.
You can also use things like men’s sports shoes to barter – I scored several handmade baskets and wooden spoons in Zimbabwe in trade for Larry Nike’s.
And of course, on the trip there are often surprises, like how my well-worn hiking boots decided to split from the rubber soles, sucking in a ton of sand with every step in the Sahara Desert. See me knocking the sand out? I wasn’t too shook up; bought them used on EBay for about $17, and left them in Casablanca.
So, while I was an attendee at a Women in Travel Summit, I queried a handful of travel bloggers for more Tiny Travel Tips. Here are their contributions:
· Always carry a small role of duct tape. It’s useful for small repairs and killing scorpions.
· Airplane barf bags are excellent for storing shoes in your suitcase.
· If you are traveling on a holiday, be sure to thank the hotel, transportation and service staff– it’s their holiday too.
· Avoid tourist traps by remaining at least 1/4 mile away from the nearest wax museum.
From Jana of Merlot Mommy:
· I always travel with an extra Ziploc bag. You never know when you’ll need an extra storage bag for something wet, sticky, dirty, tiny, etc.
· I travel with at least 2, generally 4 tiny bungee cords. They are 10″ long and I can use them to secure additional items to my backpack or to keep things a bit more organized in my bag. They don’t add much weight and help keep things together!
· Always carry a small amount of cash.
· Shop and eat where the locals shop and eat.
· Wear comfortable shoes.
· Charge your phone whenever you see an outlet.
· Stay hydrated.
· Hostels & couchsurfing.com are great options for traveling on a budget.
Quick and easy from Pattie of Living Mi Vida Loca:
· Always say yes to dessert.
· Use magazine perfume samples as your scent on a trip. Not a liquid, it’s paper so takes up no space in your bag. I rip out of my magazines and save for a future trip.
· Take a small vial of lavender oil – put a drop on your pillow case for calmness when sleeping and getting over jet lag.
· Get up early for sunrise, beautiful lighting for great photos and no crowds!
Deirdre of Taste and Travel suggests:
· When traveling in another country or even a new city…. Ask people walking dogs for recommendations or directions. Chances are they are locals and often friendly. Bring a picture of your dog it you have one. Instant connection.
Teri of Travel With Teri B offers:
· Replenish all cosmetics and toiletries when unpacking from a trip! I invested in duplicates of everything I need, which are always in my carry-on. Most important is a small kit of first-aid stuff and prescription meds, just enough for a day or two in a pinch!
· Bring a small insulated lunch box with you on your travels. Include a reusable and easy to clean spork (spoon/fork). This allows you to pack a picnic and take it with you to places where the only options for food are overpriced sandwiches or snacks. Also, if you’re staying at a hostel or bed and breakfast you can pack up a few hard boiled eggs or any other perishable and save it for lunch later that day. We first started using a small insulated lunch box when we went to Pompei. It was a very hot day and the water and food that was available there was extremely overpriced. We packed some cold water and snacks and sat in the shade of one of buildings eating our picnic. We had many people walk by and say that we were the smartest people there today because they’d just spent twenty euros or more on their lunch.
– ALWAYS double check your airline/train/bus ticket; when you purchase it AND the day before travel. I have gone to the airport a day early, 3 hours late, and to the wrong one!!