Gene's Luggage

20 Travel Tips

Ask your flight attendants for dining, lodging, shopping, and sightseeing advice. Most crews

have up-to-the-minute recommendations gleaned from layovers, which they’re more than
happy to share with passengers. You can count on flight attendants to seek out budget treasures.


always pack several tea lights, a small vial of essential oils, and

matches. Tea lights, when placed in a water glass for extra safety, banish stale

or unpleasant smells in hotel rooms. The essential oils work wonders when a drop

is placed on a warm light bulb.


For inexpensive Japanese souvenirs,  I recommend 100-yen stores, the equivalent of our dollar

stores. These hyaku-en stores are often located near train stations, and are popular

among Japanese. Many items are unique to Japan (you may have to ask

locals what they’re used for). We’ve bought origami with beautiful Japanese

designs and dishes for sushi and tea.


Use your local motor association B membership worldwide. Even though we belong to the Alberta Motor

Association, we were able to pick up information for our recent trip to Disneyland

at a Los Angeles AAA. The detailed street maps helped us find our way around unfamiliar territory.


In Cairo, taxi prices triple if you leave from a hotel. To save money, walk to the nearest main street. Never

agree to pay more than 10 pounds (less than $2) for a ride within the downtown

area. Trips to the pyramids in Giza or to Khan el-Khalili cost a bit more.


On a recent trip to Tuscany, I B decided to buy my daughter some Chianti. The shopkeeper said he could

ship to the U.S., so I bought the wine and paid for the shipping. After I got home, FedEx called to say the wine had arrived

but that they needed a copy of my liquor distributor’s license before I could take delivery. When I explained that I wasn’t a

distributor, they told me that I had five days to produce a license or the wine would be shipped back. Needless to say,

I didn’t get the license and the wine was returned to Italy. Research your local regulations before you leave home.


My girlfriend’s passport was stolen r/ji in Madrid. Although we couldn’t avoid the $85 passport replacement fee,

we could have saved time and money by having copies of our passport photos with us.

The extras would have also come in handy for mid-trip visas.


When I travel to a new city, B I always check with the local running club to see if there are any

events planned during my stay. The entry fee is usually donated to a charity, and I get great exercise,

meet locals, and tour a part of the city I may not have known about.


If you plan to travel to a less developed country, pack an extra  suitcase with hand-me-downs of all sizes.

Housekeepers and other resort  workers make so little money that the clothes are greatly appreciated.

On your way home, you can use that empty suitcase for souvenirs.

TIP 10

Every year, I get address labels from numerous charitable organizations. I keep them with me

when traveling because it’s the quickest way to provide my address to new friends, enter prize drawings at shops, sign guest books, etc.

It’s not only efficient, it can also help spread the word about worthwhile charities.

TIP 11

Restrooms abroad rarely have hooks on stall doors. Our solution: Pack a small S hook in your shoulder

bag and make use of a hole in the wall, a pipe, etc., to hang purses, jackets, or anything else you want to keep off the

floor. S Hooks can be found in most hardware stores, near the screws and bolts.

TIP 12

The next time you’re visiting Rome, why not do something different? Explore the underground city, where you’ll find palaces,

villas, theaters, and much more hidden beneath major landmarks. A few local groups will take you,  including Inertia (011-39/06-2780-0785),

  LUPA (011-39/06-574-1974), Citta Nascosta (011-39/06-321-6059), and Il Sogno (011-39/06-8530-1758).

TIP 13

Pack light, or that great deal you found on airfare won’t seem that great. On a Ryanair flight between Glasgow

and Dublin, my husband and I were charged over $100 for excess baggage weight (the airline tickets alone cost less

than half that). Be sure to check the weight limits before you leave home.

TIP 14

Recently, my wife and I took our llftl first trip to San Francisco. We didn’t want to spend a fortune seeing the

city, and we didn’t want to be bound by a tourgroup schedule. A friend told us about www. The

self-guided tour itineraries are filled with great sights, history, and transportation tips, and can be downloaded for $9.95.

TIP 15

Before heading to the Phoenix area, Visit for discounts on last-mirmte

greens fees. I’ve seen some cases where you can save 80 percent.

TIP 16

The New Orleans Good Times Guide is filled with useful information and coupons for everything from

restaurants to tours. Request one at , or download the coupons directly from the site.

TIP 17

When you fly ill winter, slip a thin nylon zippered dress bag into your carry-on. Once you’re on board the plane, put your coat, hat, and scarf into

the bag and fold it into the overhead compartment. Your warm clothing is kept all together-no more gloves left

behind in the seat pocket -and it will be ready to put on when you arrive.

TIP 18

Don’t assume that all airports  give lousy exchange rates, serve greasy food, or sell overpriced souvenirs.

I found Mexico City’s airport often has some ofthe best exchange rates in the country; the food at Bangkok’s airport

was tasty and cheap; and at the airport in Langkawi, Malaysia, one store had the

most beautiful batik sarongs I’d seen and at unbeatable prices!

TIP 19

When I’m packing to leave a  hotel room, I always turn the bedding down to the foot of the bed so

that the white sheets are facing up. This way, any items placed on the bed are clearly visible. I learned to do this

the hard way,when I left a camera behind: I didn’t see it because it was laying on a very dark bedspread.

TIP 20

If you’re traveling overseas, be sure to check the fine print concerning passports (go onlme or call the country’s embassy). I had three

months before my passport expired and found out at the last minute that I needed six months’ leeway to enter

Tahiti. Luckily, I was able to get a new passport just in time for my vacation.



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