Tip #65: Don’t drink the water
There are basic precautions that everybody can take to minimize risk when away from home. Don’t leave your luggage unattended. Don’t trust hotel safes. Don’t keep all of your money in one place. But, at the risk of sounding alarmist, some risks are unpreventable or simply overlooked. They range from minor annoyances (spilling mustard on jeans that were supposed to last you four wears) to potentially life-altering crimes (RFID identity theft). It’s true that nothing worth doing comes with zero risk. But with a little foresight and a few key accessories, traveling doesn’t have to be one big paranoid headache.
Problem: “I spilled [bulgogi/bruschetta/biryani] on my shirt, and I need to wear it a second time.”
Solution: Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets
No matter how luxe the trip, we sometimes feel a little not-so-fresh by day five or six. Odors and stains can strike at any time, and if you’ve packed light, it’s imperative that you get maximum use out of each garment. Hotel laundry facilities, if they exist at all, are often pricey and annoying to use. But if you have access to clean water, you can have fresh clothes with the ingenious Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets. One sheet (they come in a pack of 50) washes one garment, so you don’t have to worry about waste. Once they come into contact with water, each sheet dissolves in a matter of seconds. Hand-wash your clothes in the resulting sudsy water, then rinse them out and let them air-dry for a daisy-fresh outfit when and where you need it.
Problem: “My hotel lost power, and I have to be up at the crack of dawn for a kayaking trip.”
Solution: Lewis N. Clark Digital Alarm/Flashlight
Brush your teeth, read a book, lay out tomorrow’s clothes, and be sure you’ll be up on time with this convenient multi-tool. Aside from emergency situations, it’s perfect for camping, backpacking, long-haul flights, or anywhere an outlet isn’t readily available. Its backlit display illuminates the time, date, and even the temperature at the push of a button. Though the built-in LED flashlight is a typically overlooked just-in-case travel item, it’s nice to have if you need to let your roommates sleep while you get ready in the morning or find an unobtrusive place to relieve yourself in the middle of the woods. Its loud, easy-to-program alarm wakes up on time for meetings, tours, and flights. Of course, it’s quite possible that you’ll never need to use it, but you’ll always be glad you have it.
Problem: “I have a money belt, but I’ve heard it’s not enough these days.”
Solution: Travelon RFID Blocking ID and Boarding Pass Holder
Unfortunately, you heard right. Newer passports, credit cards, and IDs now contain RFID (radio frequency identification data) chips that store your personal information. While the use of RFID chips has made traveling and day-to-day business transactions more efficient, thieves can easily extract your personal data without your knowledge by using an easily attainable, relatively inexpensive RFID scanner. Though these crimes certainly aren’t the norm, they do happen. Happily, it’s easy to prevent them with RFID-blocking items like this passport case. Using special materials, the ID and Boarding Pass Holder effectively blocks scanners and keeps your information safe. Wear it around your neck for a low-tech boost of extra security.
Problem: “I can’t lock my suitcase anymore because the TSA wants to snoop around in it.”
Solution: Eagle Creek Travel Safe TSA Lock
Well, yeah, they do want to snoop. A few bad apples ruined it for everybody, so we can’t help you with that. But you can still keep your belongings from falling into the wrong hands with a TSA-compatible lock. TSA locks allow you to set the combination yourself, just like regular locks, but they also feature a keyhole that only the TSA can access. This particular model features a resettable three-digit combination, so you’re free to change it to something that’s easy for you to remember. You don’t know what happens to your luggage after you check it. (Really, does anybody?) But you can restore some pre-9/11 peace of mind with a TSA lock like this one.
Photo credit: Daniel Gasienica / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND