10 Travel Tips

We always read others’ travel tips in search of how to do it smarter, lighter, better.  After many years of traveling it’s our turn to share some with you:

1. Locking clips for your pack       We worry about pickpockets behind us on a busy train, carefully sliding that daypack zipper open and helping themselves to our stuff.  Buying lots of locks is crazy and expensive, as well as bringing attention to our pack.  We picked up little micro-lock clips at REI for around $3.  They’re simple and work like a dream.


2. Hard drive case       We have a little external hard drive that stores our photo library.  How do we protect it when we travel?  Start with a zippered cloth bag a little larger than the hard drive.  Drop a nice padded envelope inside.  Cut the padded envelope to fit in the cloth bag.  Now we have a lined, padded, zipped bag.

cloth zippered case + padded envelope = perfect storage for hard drive

cloth zippered case + padded envelope insert = perfect storage for hard drive

3. Covers for passport and credit cards with chips       If your U.S. passport was issued since 2006, it probably has a RFID chip laminated in the cover.  (There’s a little symbol at the bottom of the passport cover that looks like a camera.)  This RFID, which stands for radio-frequency identification, can be read up to 3-feet away.  Anyone can scan this RFID, and that can be a problem, if the wrong people are scanning for your identity information.  An easy solution to block anyone’s picking up the signals is to buy little passport and credit card pocket protectors.  We picked up two credit card holders for under $2.


4. Witopia       A worry for any traveler is unsafe wifi in the occasional internet café.  Witopia is a personal VPN (virtual private network) that gives us security by hiding our IP address.  You can use an IP address from any country where Witopia has a VPN gateway.


5. Google voice       We struggled with ways to stay in touch with friends and family while we’re traveling.  We won’t be using our U.S. phone number while we’re traveling so we got a Google voice number.  Whenever we travel, we set incoming calls to our U.S. phone number to forward to our Google Voice number; GV then sends a message in text to our email.

6. SteriPEN       A lot of our traveling will be in places where we’ll need to drink bottled water.  An alternative to buying all those bottles is to use a SteriPEN, which uses ultraviolet light to purify the water.

The pean and case are light and packable (about 8" long).

The pean and case are light and packable (about 8″ long).

7. Replica edition of “The New York Times” on line       We’ve been reading “The New York Times” for a number of decades.  For the past few years, we’ve been able to read the Replica Edition online.  It looks just like the hard copy paper. Now, no matter where we are, we read the Replica Edition every day on our iPad, using an app called Press Reader.


8. Printouts for hotel addresses in the country’s language       We’re going on the web, getting each hotel’s name and contact information in the language of the country, and printing them out.  We think this should come in handy for cabs or needing directions back to our hotel.

9. Laundry soap sheets       There will be lots of hand laundry in our future, and the best way to take detergent is in little packable sheets.

The container is only about 3" long.

The container is only about 3″ long.

10. Computer backup left at “home”       A full backup of our computers will be on a hard drive left with our son.  If anything happens to our computers while we’re gone, at least we’ll have that hard drive as a true backup (to the backups we make every week on a hard drive we’re taking with us).

Why don’t you add a few travel tips to our list?  It’s never too late for new discoveries on how to do it smarter, lighter, and better. Thanks.

September 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Trip Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to 10 Travel Tips

  1. Hi Beth and Joe, this is a great article! So many ‘unusual’ yet valuable travel tips different from most bloggers these days.. hope to hear more pearls of wisdom from your years of travel. Thanks for also dropping by my blog, and I look forward to more traveling entries from you!

    • Thx for your comment. Looks like your visit in Thailand couldn’t have been better. You must be in great shape now. What camera to carry is a tough decision. Beth carries a Sony RX100; I use only my iPhone. We yearned for a SLR but the weight and size ruled it out for our extended trip. Every once in awhile we’d love to have one but 99% of the time we’re happy with our choices.

  2. I have the RFID covers for our credit cards. According to the US Department of State, the US Electronic Passport has RFID blocking in the cover. The chip can only be read if the passport is open. http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_2788.html#Twelve

  3. gordonburns says:

    I always lock my checked luggage. You never know what someone might put IN there. Also, since we are all likely to lose or misplace stuff while traveling (passport, phone, luggage, purse, tablet, keys), give the finder a safe, private and secure way to get your lost item back to you quickly. My Stuff Lost and Found works for me…my lost passport found me with the recovery location the same day. The service is free and worldwide.

  4. I like your idea of the mini-locks. I have a PacSafe backpack and purse. They come with clips to lock the zippers and have slash proof fabric in the sides and bottom. The slash proof straps unsnap, so you can secure the backpack or purse to a table leg or chair. I also have a PacSafe Camera strap that is slash proof. Yes, they are pricey, but I have had mine for over ten years and they have seen lots of wear and tear.

    My daughter had a friend who had her backpack slashed while she was sitting in a cafe. The thieves put a bag underneath your backpack, slash the bottom and everything empties into the bag. She only realized what had happened when she lifted her pack to leave and found that it was empty.

    I also bought my husband Pick Pocket Proof Pants. They are great with multiple zippers and buttons. They are made by Clothing Arts and are sometimes called PCubed pants. They are available from various outlets.

    I also have a new tip about electric outlet adapters. Most of our electronics (kindle, camera, cell phone, computer, etc) don’t need a converter, but you do need a plug adapter. With all the electronics I sometimes have a hard time swapping equipment out to make sure they are all charged. All of these devises can be charged with a USB port, so on our last trip to Eastern Europe I took a USB Hub with four outlets, then I only needed the Adapter, the USB plug that came with my kindle, the hub and up to four USB cords. This way you can charge four devises from one outlet. Also, for some reason the USB cords that came with our Kindle’s are longer than the ones that came with our phones. The longer USB cords work MUCH better in hotel rooms where the available outlet may be a long way from the table top. You can buy USB hubs on Amazon for around $5.00.
    I will also re-blog your tips. Thanks for your great blog.

  5. gkm2011 says:

    Great tips! I like the one about the portable hard drive case. Normally I just throw mine in my bag, but this would be an upgrade!

  6. echo says:

    Reblogged this on echo in the city and commented:
    Beth and Joe from simpletravelourway is one of my favorite blogs 🙂 They travel around (so, right there, I’m hooked!) and have written a great post on some travel tips. Please be sure to check out their blog if you haven’t already!

    • Thanks so much for re blogging and glad to have you along for the ride. Speaking of rides, your big wheel bike logo comes to mind. You may already know that bicycle riding in Tokyo seems to be a means of transport for young and old, services and professions, and recreation and workout.

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