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Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety: Here are our ten tips.  Please go to  our Contacts Page and send us your own!

There are four good reasons that solo travelers should travel light. The first is the cost of having to check luggage. Second, traveling the world alone makes dragging luggage around twice as tiring.  So many times, I have been surprised in a subway to find steep stairs and no working escalator or elevator. Third, without a travel buddy, it is much easier to discover your bag or small items have disappeared.  Airport or train bathrooms rarely have room for luggage.  A moment’s distraction and your valuables may be headed for a separate “vacation”! A fourth consideration is also about safety.  Especially at night, a foreign tourist may be an easy target for robbery. This is often the case since travelers generally carry cash and credit cards and may be unfamiliar with their surroundings.  In addition, being tied down with luggage, it is harder to get away in case of an emergency.

Since my student days, I have favored traveling light, matching wits with airline weight restrictions. As a college student, I made my first solo travel. I journeyed across the US on a bus for 5 weeks, I only took an overnight bag! Even then, I had a huge bias in favor of traveling light. Now with airlines charging for checked luggage, I am even more committed to carrying on. (One of the joys of travel is leaving your “baggage” behind for real.)

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip One: In 2016, even international flights have tightened up on carry-on’s. Be sure to see what your airline allows as to all 3 dimensions and weight. The typical allowance is now 18 pounds. Don’t forget that the suitcase’s own weight must be added in. I wa surprised flying on China Air how hard it was to keep to that limit. In the gate, a staff member dutifully walked around with a portable scale looking for overstuffed luggage. I spent the entire boarding period lurking behind the row of seats. Luckily, no one weighed my roller-bag which by then was likely overweight.

 

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Two: Even if you make the 18 pound limit, watch out if you have connecting domestic flights. They likely only allow 11 pounds and possibly smaller dimensions. I even noticed that some roller-bags have very large wheels. That may mean they will not fit into smaller overhead bins. So be sure to have an empty tote in your luggage. If your “carry-on” is not allowed to be “carried on”, you will want to rescue laptops or valuables. Hopefully if your bag is whisked away at the jetway, it won’t be a final goodbye!

 

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Three:  I previously tried hand washing  clothes in Siberia in January. Fortunately, the radiator overheated the small Soviet-style hotel’s bathroom. I did find that even hand washables could be hard to keep from wrinkling. The good news? This summer I found on the Internet washable linen and other fabrics made for travel.  Supposedly, they don’t wrinkle.

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Four:  For malaria zones, buy pre-treated shirts and long pants. You can treat clothes from your existing wardrobe. However, for many of us city dwellers that is impractical. I bought a can of spray to treat my clothes for a trip Upriver on the Amazon. After reading the warnings, I wanted to buy a hazmat suit! One of the chief problems? The spray was to be used in open-air. Then the clothes needed to dry. This does not work well if it rains or is in the middle of winter with no well-ventilated, dry workspace.

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Five:  For adventure travelers, exploring remote regions often involves the Tropics. After you have picked up your malaria pills and worried about dive-bombing mosquitoes, think about sunburns. Unfortunately, really stylish beach cover-ups don’t do much to prevent sunburn. Watersports make it really hard to keep on sunblock. Add to that a cool breeze on a sailboat, and you can end the day like a lobster. I mistakenly thought snorkeling in a tee shirt would prevent a sunburned back. I quickly learned that “If you can see through it, so can the sun!” The best solution? Reapply waterproof sunblock often. Secondly, purchase clothes that include sunblock.

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety

Tip Six: I came up with a surprising realization in packing for India. Sometimes it is better to buy abroad much of your travel wardrobe than lug items from home! It can even be a savings. I am taking a solo travel package to India. Long skirts are recommended. I noticed that many Washington shops carried long skirts for this summer. I quickly realized that it would be a real savings to buy them in India at markets or from street vendors.
Tip Seven: Clothes that you are traveling with or purchasing abroad may not work at home.  When I traveled in Africa, I asked my hotel if I could donate certain items before checking out.  (Large chains may be accustomed to guests losing things that end up being unclaimed anyway.) This can be especially true of purchases made for use abroad, like safari hats, that may not be a good fit in New York’s Times Square.

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Eight: Bag it! A great way to separate clothing by day and night or street wear and sports wear is to use plastic zipper bags. I found this really helps arriving after a long overseas flight. That way you don’t have to dig around for what you need that night. The perfect size? When you buy throw pillows, regular pillows or bed linens, keep the flat plastic zipper bags they come in. This is also an excellent way to stow away a wet bathing suit.
Tip Nine: Tote bags were not meant to be a substitute for a second roller-bag! As the size of allowed carry-on bags shrink, my tote bags grow in dimension and weight. No surprise that my trips through international airports look the same going home. That is when the handle breaks. I can either carry the tote in my arms like a baby or go to the nearest airport gift shop to buy a new one.  Another tip: If the handles and bag are made of a single fabric, it will be stronger. (Separate handles whether in leather orf a second fabric more easily break since they rely on stitches or metal hooks.)

Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety:

Tip Ten: As we continue our love affair with electronics, every device comes with its own challenges. Many are supposedly “universal”. However, traveling with a colleague, an engineer, on a business trip to Russia, we found some devices still did not work. There is more confusion since adapters only make plugs fit even if the currency is not the same. (Years ago I plugged a handheld 110 device into a compatible outlet in Trinidad. Unfortunately, the voltage was 220. It suddenly felt like a firecracker! I ended up tossing it across the room fortunately not breaking a lamp or window! Many hotels will happily lend guests adapters but may not have a converter. Although the latter have improved over time, they still are heavy. However, when in doubt, I pack one anyway.

Please check out out Ten Tips for Packing Single Traveler Tips for Saving and Safety.  Then send us your comments or please email us at our  Contacts Page at Solo Trekker 4 U.

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Packing Smart and Traveling Light – Solo Trekker (solotrekker4u.com)

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