Friday, July 29, 2011

The REAL top ten

Allow me to let you in on a travel myth: rolling your clothes instead of folding them when you pack does not prevent wrinkles.  Some travel writer just came up with this little gem to pad out a top ten list of travel tips, and it’s since become part of travel lore.  Well it’s bullshit, and I am throwing down the gauntlet.  I will buy a ticket to Milan to get a new shirt custom tailored for the first person to show me a shirt pulled from baggage rolled and wrinkle-free.

Here’s the real top ten travel tips:

  1. Laundry.  Fuck.
  2. Eurail passes are a rip-off.  It isn’t hard to buy a train ticket in Europe.  It’s harder to buy a bloody lottery ticket.  You still have to book a seat regardless.  Just save your money.
  3. Flying makes you fart.  It does.  The body is pressure-sealed (or your lungs would deflate) and just as your ears pop, so do your intestines.  Everybody is either suppressing or releasing, which is either uncomfortable or embarrassing.  And there’s nothing you can do.  Just don’t eat sauerkraut or sit next to Germans.
  4. You still need to do that laundry, and the hotel wants to charge you €4.50 for one shirt.
  5. The next myth to be invented is the secret to stylish backpacking.  I’ll preempt it: either travel with sherpas or prepare to look like a goose.
  6. Mobile phone: use it sparingly just to book hotels and for emergencies.  If you need to use it seriously, buy a pre-paid SIM card in the country you visit.  And data over the air for your iPhone?  Forget it.  There is no affordable solution but to use Wi-Fi.  Which is everywhere.  Except Seville.
  7. Your priority of transportation in Europe for comfort should be:
    1. train
    2. ferry
    3. car
    4. walk
    5. dragged behind a tractor through blackberry briars and rose bushes
    6. bus
  8. Jet lagged?  For crying out loud, you can put up without alcohol for 12 hours.  Don’t drink on the plane.  It’s a bitch for jetlag.  Brits in particular are shocking for taking this as licence to get shit-faced.  Drink water, all the time.  And then when you arrive, don’t sleep until it’s dark.  Next day: no jet lag.  Voilà.
  9. For every week, allocate half a day to doing laundry at a laundromat.  Unless you’re in Greece, Turkey or southern Spain, where there are no laundromats because it’s so cheap just to drop it off and have it done.
  10. Create a budget and stick to it.  When you get back, you will have only spent triple.  Be grateful.

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