Before I get started, note to self: places I have to check out:
Ok, “travel secrets…” I know people have asked me about insider tips and ways to make life easier when traveling. This is not that kind of post. This is really about silly secret things that I do when I travel; it’s going to be way more boring than you first suspected.
I poison people that I meet, a little bit of arsenic in their drinks, when they’re not looking. Duh, of course I don’t do that, that’s awful; just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. By the way, don’t lose track of your drink anywhere, people can poison you.
I have a Lucky Shirt that is not part of my regular travel clothing rotation, one shirt that travels with me but doesn’t get worn, not for a while at least. Depending on the length of my trip, the lucky shirt stays in my suitcase or in on a hanger in the closet. This is not such a big deal on trips to cold climates, but in tropical weather, the lucky shirt is clutch. I tend to sweat through my shirts in tropical heat; lately I get the sweat dripping from my forehead into my eyes and then falling like tears onto my shirt. Those shirts get worn and washed and worn again and washed again and after a while I start to get sick of them, I hate them, I never want to see them again. That’s when I put on my lucky shirt, crisp and pristine as the day I packed it in Seattle, Washington. I put on the lucky shirt one day, and I feel better; I know I can make it through the rest of the trip.
I first kept a lucky shirt in 2000, on my trip to rural El Salvador; didn’t wear it until day 9 of 10, when we were at the beach hotel.
Similarly, I hide emergency socks. Sure, I pack all the socks I need in my regular suitcase, but I also hide a couple pairs of socks in those suitcase pockets that never get used; the front pocket of the carry on, the inside pocket of the checked bag; even a pair in my spare backpack; I hide pairs everywhere. You never know when you’re going to need a pair of clean, dry socks. Even though I have plenty of regular socks in the regular rotation, the emergency socks give me peace of mind.
I have no idea when I first started hiding socks for myself; I feel like I’ve done it forever. I actually do it when I’m not traveling; I keep the emergency socks in the suitcase in storage. You never know.
Finally, I always travel with a little tube of anti-fungal foot cream. I first did this in August of 2000, when my church choir did a singing tour of Beijing and Shanghai. The day we arrived in Shanghai, the entire city was flooded with a foot of water. We couldn’t leave our hotel on East Nanjing Road without wading in that water, and who knows what was floating in it. When I got back to the hotel, everyone felt some psychosomatic itchy feet, so I took out my foot cream and passed it around, and everyone in the room gave themselves an anti-fungal foot massage. It was at that point we realized how much we had been walking (and how little we walk in the US) and how sore and tense our poor feet actually were.
Bringing the foot cream is a legit tip; a lot of people are put off by it, but I highly recommend it.
While we’re on secrets, here are three secrets my house-sitting host didn’t get around to telling me:
- the room lights have a secret set of mood lights, that you can get if you double-flip the light switch.
- the garbage: I have no idea how or where to dispose of garbage, it must be a secret.
- ghost shoes; I discovered a spooky pair of shoes in the window cage. The ghost flies around the alleys, but when it wants to come back it uses the window. Of course it takes it’s shoes off where it enters.
It’s getting dark, time to get out and get some dinner. Besides, it smells like foot cream up in here. Ghost foot cream….