Canon 7: The first thing you pack is yourself.

New York Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 10 › view all entries
. . . and THAT should be an open, positive-thinking, compassionate person.

Pack to give away: clothes, footwear, bungee cords, safety pins, and other convenience items we take for granted. Someone you meet may need them more than you do. Airline give-away paraphernalia (slippers, eye shades, toothbrushes) make great gifts, especially in undeveloped countries. Business-class travelers always leave these gifts behind, so collect them as you deplane. Kids love balloons. People who’ve never seen an ocean are enthralled by seashells. Photos of friends and family also create a buzz. Pack a favorite music mix or two — lost Brazilian villages sometimes have generators that produce a few hours of juice a day. Many people learn English via music.

Protect your ears. Along with safeguarding snore-stressed marriages, earplugs are protection against blaring buses, trains, and obnoxious human beings.

Choose guidebooks that will support your mission — whatever it may be. Experiment by comparing what several different guidebooks say about a locale with which you are already familiar.

Think about your backpack. Before stuffing it, recognize that the real essentials are what’s in a globetrotter’s head — background knowledge, resourcefulness, and sensitivity. A vital commodity to bring on any trip is an open mind. Usually, people make a place.

“The most important feature of a backpack is dah zippers (pronounced zipiz) When zippers fail, a backpack it ain’t. Darker colors hide dirt. Thieves, like bugs, are lured to bright colors.” — JFK airport baggage handler
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