A little ingenuity goes a long way when you’re a long way from home. That’s one of the things I like best about travel. Your bag of tricks is just a suitcase and your imagination so you have to be resourceful.
On a ski trip in Colorado my son was very sick, and when he was finally able to eat it was midnight. We were in a hotel without room service and there were no stores or restaurants still open in the resort area of Snowmass. I found an AM/PM that had frozen bagels and brought them back to the room where I thawed and toasted them to a gentle bronze with the hotel hair dryer. The hair dryer turned the bagels into something soft, warm and delectable and I credit them with launching my boy’s recovery. But moral of the story – don’t ever be caught without food when you’re traveling with children. The blander the better.
While touring four European cities for a magazine round-up, the buckle on my only pair of walking shoes broke off from the strap. I used the awl on my Swiss army knife to punch a new hole in the leather and used dental floss to sew the buckle back on. Then I superglued the whole thing with the superglue I always carry with me in case I’m way out in the middle of nowhere and need to “stitch” a nasty gash or cut (as if!). Moral of the story – always take a sewing kit, but dental floss (or duct tape) works well in a pinch.
Lunch at the top of the mountain in just about any ski area is frightfully expensive so I often pack a lunch when skiing with the kids. But on another trip to Colorado, I forgot the plastic boxes that keep sandwiches from getting punched and pummeled in my backpack on the chairlift. I happened to have individual breakfast cereal boxes on hand – perfect sandwich protectors. A little embarrassing when I took the turkey sandwiches out of a mini Frosted Flakes box at the picnic table at the mountaintop restaurant in tony Aspen, but hey, it saved me $40, which I later spent on beers, milkshakes and an order of truffle fries at a chic outdoor cafe at the bottom of the mountain. Moral of the story – Buying pizza and hamburgers in the mountaintop restaurant is fun, but sipping a refreshing beer while people watching at the end of the day is better if you’re on a budget.
The kids’ dirty socks were getting ripe in the suitcase laundry bag….and I’d forgotten to pack laundry soap for handwashing. Desperation drove me to try the hotel shampoo, and it worked just as well as the Woolite. Now I never bother to pack laundry soap, but instead suds up with the shampoo in the hotel sink.