Image by Talekinker at Flickr
I was tagged by Sherri at Postcards and Coasters to share three travel secrets and in turn tag five other travel related bloggers and request they do the same on their blogs. “My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets,” organized by Katie of Tripbase.com states “the aim of this game is to unite travel bloggers in a joint endeavor to create an amazing list of top travel recommendations across the globe to share with the entire travel community.”
Here are my three tips:
Tip 1: Learn to say “Hello”, “Please”, and “Thank You” in every language you will encounter on your trip.
Most locals do not expect us to speak their language fluently, but when I use a few simple words in their native tongue here and there, I am rewarded with a smile. Of course, I will never know whether the smile is due to appreciation or glee caused by my mispronunciation, either way they’re amused. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I find that I am more apt to get the directions I request and that shopkeepers give me better service and are more willing to negotiate with me when they see that I'm making an effort. My husband and I once witnessed a street vendor in the South of France charge a brash Australian man 25% more for the ham and cheese sandwich we helped him order. This man's reverse discount can be attributed to his bold assumption that he does not need to try to speak one word of French in order to get service. It goes without saying that these words are the rock-bottom minimum words you should know. Your experience in a new country improves with each word or phrase you learn.
Tip 2: Buy local toiletries.
Even before we were restricted to only one zip-lock bag of liquids, I never tried to pack all my toiletries for extended trips. I love having a reason to go into a local, non-touristy drugstore to buy toothpaste or mouthwash. I enjoy entertaining the local shopkeepers when I try to converse with my hands and feet while pointing to my spent toothpaste tube. When I get home, my Swiss dental floss sends me back to our memorable ride on the Golden Panorama train and I have a good time trying to decipher the words on my Italian toothpaste tube.
Tip 3: Use Eagle-Creek Pack-it Folders
My favorite travel accessory is the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder.
Here’s a video that shows how to use them:
These folders keep my clothes organized throughout the trip and because I can sinch it tight with the Velcro flaps, the resulting compression uses less space in the suitcase. I use the small size for shirts and the large size for jackets and pants.
I hope you find my tips useful. Bon Voyage!