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By tlmcirish
Joined: Feb 2, 2007
Posts: 3

Posted on: October 09, 2008 at 1:16PM

When traveling to Paris, or anywhere in Europe, I always save room for my do-it-yourself kit. Included in the kit are many items, which with time and money, could be obtained in foreign countries, but by having them at hand can save the day. Certain items are always included, and some are specific to the country, the mode of travel and the number of "stars" possessed by the hotel where I am staying. If you are familiar with Eagle Creek packing cubes, I use a quarter cube packed tightly - and if you are not familiar - a look at www.magellans.com, or a visit to their store, is the best travel tip. Many of the items in my kit, are available through that site. I start with all things laundry - whether you are staying for a few days or weeks, eventually wash day rears it's ugly head. Although I have some funny laundromat stories, of doing a wash load in Paris, it is far easier to stay on top of it by hand washing. An elastic, braided clothesline, (no clothes pins required), to which I add carabiners at each end, can find any number of places to attach; a small bottle of Woolite, and a sink stop, solve most problems. Fabreze, in a small spray bottle, can offset the smell of cigarette smoke, in a hotel room or on your clothing after a night out. Spray the bedspread, inside the closet, where your clothing hangs, and even the drapes - leave for a few minutes and return to a much more comfortable room. Remember, non-smoking is an American concept, not necessarily available in European hotels. Other items include a small roll of duct tape, (for that rip in your suitcase, a WD40 "pen", (you know the motto: if it moves use duct tape, if it doesn't move use WD40), velcro fasteners, an eyeglass repair kit, safety pins (actually, I have these attached in several places) a small sewing kit, with pre-threaded needles, a permanent marking pen, a swiss army knife (a smaller version, but with a wine opener). Although I haven't found painter's tape, in the kind of miniature roll as duct tape (Magellans again), I wrap a quantity around a golf tee, since I don't want to leave sticky tape evidence on the walls of a Parisian hotel, but sometimes it is necessary to divert the air ducts, which are blowing directly into your face. Don't forget a few snack size ziplock baggies, for those items which spring a leak, a couple of different sizes rubber bands. I never leave home without a small assortment of different sized plastic zipties. However, the "coup de gras" of gadgets - I always carry a small combination lock with cable, (very small, lightweight), which can be strung thru my suitcases - the sly thief, casually slipping by and grabbing a loose bag, finds himself with all the luggage tied to each other and whatever solid object lies in my vicinity. It connects and disconnects very quickly if you have the combination, but frustrates the opportunistic thief. I don't keep this item in my gadget bag, since that must go in your carry-on, and I want my locking device with me even with hand items - it can be attached to the arm of your seat, while you unintentionally doze, during one of those many airport delays. Basically, I am always looking for small, useful devices which will make travel more comfortable and safe. I traveled to Europe, the first time, as a 16 year old exchange student with AFS, and 40+ years and many trips later, the love of international travel has never worn off. I recommend all travelers think like a scout and Be Prepared. report a problem

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