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"Don't Leave Home Without It"—Part 2

by Monica Conrady

n the last issue of Romantic Traveling, I gave some suggestions as to what I find indispensable on my travels. Although they keep changing the rules on us — a quart-size ziploc bag and all that — I find my personal travel list hasn't changed that much over the years. Here are a few more ideas from it.

Footgear: Flipflops, an old pair of mules or some of those funny socks handed out by airlines. Whatever. Some sort of light footwear is nice to change into at the end of the day and useful, too, should you have to pad down the hall to a shared bathroom. Also, these days I make a point of wearing slip-on shoes or something that fastens with Velcro to get me through airport security with minimum hassle.

Earplugs: These are a must to drown out street noises — in places such as Tel Aviv, where the action doesn't start until 11 p.m., to various spots around the world where “rise and shine” means the crack of dawn. (They also help should my beloved snore …)

Immersion Heater or Hotpot: Being a Brit, I was raised with the knowledge that there's nothing like a nice cup of tea first thing in the morning or at the end of a hard day's sight-seeing and shopping. With tea bags (or instant coffee), packets of sweetener or sugar, maybe some creamer, you're all set.

Paperback Books: Speaking as one who cannot pass by a second-hand bookstore without a browse, and whose favorite section in thrift stores is the paperback rack, I always take one or two to trade in while on the road. The more remote the location, the better the pickings!

Bubble Bath: I always take along a little bottle of bubble bath to add a touch of luxury to budget hotel rooms and for a nice long soak at the end of the day. (That is, assuming you get a tub rather than just a measly shower!) I keep a small bottle given away by a fancy hotel and refill it as needed.

Dental Floss: Good old dental floss — besides saving your teeth from ruin, it can be used whenever you need some strong thread. Its uses are legion. For example, it saved the day when my bikini top's fastener broke. I was on a sailboat at the time — miles from anywhere. Dental floss to the rescue! Threaded through the loops and securely knotted, I sailed on — modesty intact.

I'm sure you all have your own personal “must take” travel list. We'd love to hear about it.

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