How do you really travel?

6 Jul

A few years ago, we  sorted and organized our travel items.  We found and got rid of many travel gadgets that we did not use.  Why did this happen?  These were travel gadgets that we bought on a whim years ago, assuming they would be helpful.  They came in shiny packaging that described how useful the items would be.

The problem was, these items did not reflect the way we really travel and so we did not use them.  There was the bulky travel jewelry container that was too big for our light-packing preferences, held more jewelry than we ever carried, and didn’t work as well as a simple alternative like a reused card or a small cloth pouch that took up the right amount of room.  There was the boring, uninspired suitcase that didn’t compare to the well-planned suitcases that we travel with now.  There was the huge toiletry kit that made it hard to find the items inside, left lots of unnecessary empty space, and took up half a suitcase.  There were the bulky, oversized, overpriced toiletry containers that didn’t work as well as our smaller, more reliable, and usually-free toiletry containers.

Nowadays, we’re better at avoiding the trap of flashy travel gadgets that don’t really fit how we travel.  In fact, we very often find that simple, low/no-cost tools like binder clips and the right lists fit our travel style much better and do a better job of making our trips enjoyable and less stressful.

So, how do YOU really travel, what tools fit your travel style best, what gadgets are worth the expense, and what items reduce your stress on a trip?  How can you tell?

Start by paying attention to the way you really travel, or prefer to, not the way travel-gadget-makers think you should travel.  You can also take a look around our site for examples and ideas, then note what you think will work well for you.  You can also grab our free eBook of Surprising Travel Tools to see what (mostly free or already around your house) travel items we use for our trips.

Here’s to better travel!


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Do you have a travel tradition? I’m starting a new one.

29 May

Recently, on my birthday, I was walking by a big, beautiful fountain near my home.  It was a gorgeous day, and I was in no rush, so I stopped to sit by the side of the fountain and appreciate the great weather.  I looked down to see a handful of coins in the fountain and got an idea.  I took out my wallet, counted out some change equal to the age I turned that day, made a wish, and threw the coins in the fountain.

The next time I travel and I see a fountain with coins in it, or a voluntary donation jar at a great museum or historical site, I’ll throw in coins equal to my age and try a new travel tradition.  You can also throw in coins equal to the month or year you are visiting (i.e., this year, you can throw in fifteen cents), or another sentimental number, like the anniversary year of a significant other you are traveling with (i.e., ten cents for ten years together).

Many people have travel traditions.  For example, some have a particular pose they do in pictures and collect pictures of themselves in that pose in front of landmarks all over the world.  Do you have any favorite travel traditions?


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