Five Travel Tips from “Une femme d’un certain age”

Give a man a Fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

This morning I didn’t want to arise. The bed was warm and the kitty was soft (and giving her cute little purr as I rubbed her ears). I yielded to temptation and opened Bloglovin‘s email “20 Travel Posts You Must Read Today”. As often is the case, this was a disappointment. When you get to “un certain age” you have seen many things float by.

Reflecting on this I realized that maybe I have something, however small, to add to the travel tips conversation: Here are some tips from “une femme d’un certain age”:

  1. Take tea to China…and anywhere else, specifically decaffeinated tea and tisanes (herbal teas). Decaffeinated hot beverages aren’t common in many places, and sleep is a good thing. In China this is especially useful since the tap water is unsafe to drink and hot water is readily available all over (add on tip: carry a water bottle that is safe for hot water in China). My favorites are Constant Comment and green tea, but I also carry lemon ginger and mint herbal teas, which are good for congestion and tummy upset (helpful in places where the air is a bit…”iffy” and the foods are unfamiliar). A hot drink is soothing at the end of the day and a variety of decaf options help you stay hydrated.
  2. Check a bag. (Shocking isn’t it? Everyone else out there will give you advice about how to manage with just a carry on). There are several reasons why I suggest this, some examples: a) I am usually either traveling alone or riding heard on others and the last thing I need is extra baggage to keep track of and schlep through an airport. b) I have a computer, camera and a few other things that must be carried on because of lithium batteries, that is enough weight for me to heave into an overhead bin. c) I like to carry a Swiss Army knife and different security personnel have different ideas on whether it is okay. Last I knew, it should be fine but it is easier and faster to just put it in a checked bag, this also prevents a problem if the rules change while you are traveling. d) I like to bring moisturizer and shampoo that I know agree with my skin (and the fragrances of which do not make my skin crawl). I don’t need huge amounts and, for most trips it would fit in a “3-1-1” bag, but why schlep it if you don’t have to? d) The less stuff you have the easier it is to get through security and onto and off of an aircraft, especially if you are assisting others.
  3. Channel your inner scout and carry a Swiss Army knife, compass, and flashlight. It is surprising how often you run into instructions like “the hotel is southwest from the train station”. Also, many older cities are not on a north-south, east-west grid, and they often have curving streets. The Swiss Army knife can cut open stubborn snack packs, or other packaging (camera memory cards, for example), slice mangoes and other foods into manageable bits, and open a bottle of wine at the end of a long day of sight seeing. I don’t think I have ever not used it on a trip. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the need for a flashlight.
  4. Obtain a paper map, and study it ahead of time.  Have an idea of where you are going and how to get there. Paper doesn’t need reception and its batteries never wear out…Just sayin’. Last trip my son and I ran into a young man relying on his phone for all. He was a bit disoriented when there was no reception. But, to be fair, he did have some information that we didn’t. Balance, ne (ne is Japanese for ne, a bit like n’est pas? ).
  5. Learn a few words of the language and don’t be afraid to ask…or laugh at yourself. That is how you get to know folks.

Do you have unusual tips that you have learned from experience?


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