Take a night light (and extra bulbs), and plug it into the hotel or cruise ship bathroom. Great when getting up during the night in different surroundings. I write a big note to myself to be sure I pack it. Been doing this for at least 25 years and have never forgotten to remove it.
Take a small (3-ounce) empty spray bottle to combat clothing wrinkles. When I get to my destination, I unpack and hang the clothes I will be wearing (or you can also lay them flat on the bed). Fill the bottle with water and spray wrinkles. Your clothes will be dry and wrinkle-free very quickly. You can also spray away wrinkles even after you have gotten dressed. The empty bottle means no leaks in your suitcase.
Marina Del Rey
To survive any place where it's really hot (Southeast Asia, Atlanta, Phoenix), carry a fan. I'm not talking about the battery operated ones. Get a simple flat or fold-out hand-held fan. They're small, light and they move the air around. As a bonus, in Australia, gently moving a fan in front of your face reminds flies that they should travel on your back, not on your upper lip.
For foreign travel, particularly to destinations in developing countries, be sure to register with the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), at http://www.lat.ms/15X9tLA. This enables the State Department to more effectively assist citizens in an emergency.
Never pass up a bargain or a bathroom, because you are unlikely to find one when you want/need it.
Mary Jane Bagby
Give ordinary things to your kids that seem extraordinary. Until my children were age 6, I would give my kids, with exaggerated excitement, "Baby soap!" and "A shower cap!" courtesy of the hotel room. They would then, gleefully and singing my praise, spend the rest of the day wearing the shower cap and stacking the baby soap. After that and up to about age 11, a "New York City" Hershey bar or "Chicago" M&M's, picked up on the way home from the airport, works. (Pralines from New Orleans always work because they're a treat for all.)
Steven R. Odell
Use a day pack as a carry-on. When going through airport security, I put anything metal (coins, keys, pen, etc.) into one of the small pockets on the day pack. I use a metal money clip, so that goes into the day pack too.
If you are taking medication, write down the generic names and dosages in case you lose or run out of meds. In many countries, brand names differ from ours. In some countries, pharmacies may sell you some drugs without prescription, and if you need to see a physician for a prescription, it will make it easier for him/her to recognize the drug.
George V. Kent
Corona del Mar
Before going on any trips, make the rounds of department store makeup counters and snag as many perfume samples as possible. These samples may be a "one-use-only" towellete or a little glass tube of perfume. Tossing the towelletes (or the tubes) into my makeup bag allows me to try expensive perfumes for free, and I don't have to worry about my normal bottle of perfume leaking or breaking.
Make your bag easily identifiable. All my checked baggage has an identifying stripe painted diagonally on the two prominent sides. This makes it easier to identify on the conveyor belt. Adhesive stickers, straps and other attachments can come off. I also have a picture of all my baggage to show to the "lost baggage" agent when it fails to arrive with me.
On your baggage tag, list your destination, which is not necessarily your home address. On one trip to Ireland some years ago, we had to change airlines in New York for the leg to Dublin. The airline destination tag came off my large checked bag and when the baggage handlers looked at my personal tag, they sent my bag on to the address listed there — my home address in California. Ever since, I list my name and first destination address and a phone number on that personal luggage tag; if going on a cruise, even include the cruise line, ship, departure city, etc. Then when starting back home, I switch tags and use one with my home address.
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