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Travel Needs

I’ve been busy wrapping up some things and getting ready for my trip to the Nebula Awards weekend. I may try to post from the road, but things are going to be busy, so I’m not sure it will happen.

As I’ve been planning my packing, I found myself thinking of a feature they used to have in the travel section of the newspaper, in which they had various famous people who travel a lot tell what things they can’t travel without. Of course, they were mostly useless for normal people because these people were rich and traveled in first class, so it was stuff like “my personal set of silk sheets and cashmere blanket.” So, here’s my more realistic list of travel must-haves that make life on the road easier:

My travel hot pot — I don’t drink coffee, which means most hotel coffeemakers are useless because they produce hot water that smells and tastes like weak coffee. I have a small travel hot pot that’s about the size a school lunchbox thermos used to be (before they made them smaller and a different shape). I bring tea, hot cocoa mix, spiced cider mix, some herbal teas, and chicken noodle cup o’ soup. That allows me to have a cup of tea before I face the world, cocoa at bedtime, a refresher whenever, and I’ve got a light meal, if necessary. I learned to bring the soup when I was traveling on business. Our company’s travel department always seemed to have us fly late in the day, so we could put in a full day of work before going on a business trip. That meant I usually got to my hotel after they shut down room service, and far too late to try to go out to eat. After a few meals of hot cocoa and Doubletree cookies, I learned to bring soup.

A pair of yoga pants — these are a multi-purpose garment. They work as pajama pants with a nightshirt, if the room is cold. I can wear them to the hotel gym or to take a walk. I’ve used them as a swimsuit coverup. Mostly, though, they’re for comfortable lounging in the hotel room. I try to travel light, so I often bring just a couple of skirts or pairs of slacks and then have different tops. If I change into yoga pants whenever I’m in my room, I can hang up the skirt/slacks and let them freshen up/not get dirty or wrinkled.

A pair of those fuzzy spa socks — I use these as house slippers while in the hotel room, and they’re also good for recharging if I have a break during the day. Taking off your shoes and socks and putting on the spa socks even for a few minutes can make a big difference, especially if you’re on your feet a lot.

A couple of binder clips — these are good for organizing documents, of course, but they’re also good as clothespins if you’re hanging something up on the over-the-tub clothesline, and they’re great for clipping the curtains shut so you don’t get that gap that lets in light.

My tablet and bluetooth keyboard — I bring this instead of a laptop when I travel. It works as an e-reader and as a computer for Internet access. I haven’t tried to do heavy-duty writing on that keyboard, but the keyboard is nice for making social media posts.

Earplugs — I use the silicon putty kind that you stick on the outside of the ear canal, since the kind that stick in the ear are uncomfortable and tend to fall out. They’re good for dulling the usual hotel noise of the ice machine, people in the halls, plumbing, etc., but I can still hear the alarm clock and fire/smoke alarms.

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