Basic but really useful travel tips on traveling smartly by Mary A. Anderson  on stltoday.com

When it comes to travel tips, you can find a list for just about everything. Best this. Best that. Sometimes, though, you need plain old-fashioned travel tips.

With the fall and holiday travel season flying into full mode soon, try these few tips for passport-perfect smooth sailing.

• Ditch the heavy suitcase. Weigh your suitcase — you may be surprised at how heavy it is. I was astonished that the bag I travel with the most was a hefty 15 pounds. With a limit of 50 pounds per bags, and after deducting the 30 pounds or so for my super-duper high maintenance beauty and hair products, only 5 pounds were left for clothes and shoes. That wouldn’t do. Look for a Bag under 10 Pounds.

• Travel with an alarm clock and flashlight. Not all hotels have clocks, especially those overseas, and wake-up calls can be unpredictable. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in hotel power outages and have been grateful for my tiny travel flashlight.

• Bring plastic storage and grocery bags. A bottle of shampoo once exploded in my carry-on and the gooey mess dripped out of the overhead bin and onto my head. You also can use the bags for any number of things, including storing wet clothes, dirty socks and other unmentionables.

• Pack a small all-purpose first-aid kit. Stock it with aspirin, bandages, sinus medicine, anti-itch cream, antibiotic ointment and insect repellant. If you’re going into a foreign country, such as Kenya or Mexico, and accidentally drink the water, an anti-diarrhea medicine can spare you much anguish and embarrassment caused by nasty water parasites.

• Other items. My checked luggage holds a copy of my passport, a collapsible corkscrew and a sewing kit complete with safety pins. My purse is filled with packets of tissues, a Tide Stick, Shout wipes, and Wet Ones single use antibacterial wipes, a small collapsible umbrella and a rain poncho.

• In case of emergencies. Pack a small roll of duct tape. Luggage handles and zippers break, and duct tape is a quick fix. If you wear glasses, an eyeglasses repair kit is essential. Keep an older pair in your luggage in case of major breakage.

• Throw in a couple of pashminas, wraps or scarves. They weigh practically nothing and can jazz up an outfit in two seconds flat. For those bad hair days, either a baseball cap or a soft collapsible hat works wonders to hide unmanageable locks.

• One last thing. If you’re traveling to a Third World country where poverty abounds, take older clothes that you can leave behind. They will go to good use. I once left a pair of shoes at a hotel in Uganda because I had stepped in rhino poo at a wildlife sanctuary. When I checked out of the hotel, I saw a young man taking them out of the trash and smiling as if he had stumbled upon a million dollars. When I started to protest that they were practically worthless, I was assured by the hotel clerk that someone desperately needed those ratty, smelly shoes and wouldn’t have to go barefoot any longer. That takes the adage of one person’s trash is another person’s treasure to an entirely new level.

Article at original source : Stltoday