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Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's the little differences

The first time I went to Italy, I was surprised to discover face washers/flannels/cloths didn't make an appearance in any of the hotels where we stayed.

In the US, it was shower caps - stay in a nice hotel in Australia or Europe and you'll inevitably find a shower cap among the amenities in the bathroom. But in the US, not one of the nice hotels we stayed in had a shower cap. Perhaps Americans wash their hair more often than the rest of us?

The other thing I found with hotels in the US was that they almost always had a coffee maker (mostly one that uses pods), and although some of them also had "tea pods" you can't use a tea pod to make a weak cup of tea - it's road tar or nothing, peeps.

Since then, I always carry a small cellulose sponge, which are not just great for removing facial cleanser, but also for sponging down anything you may spill on a suit if you're traveling for work (lint free, so they don't leave little bits on your pants) and for making body wash go further - a tiny squirt on your sponge creates a massive amount of foam. I've added a shower cap to my travelling toiletries bag - they weigh almost nothing, and take up no room - and a small suction hook, which comes in handy if there is nowhere handy to hang your shower cap to dry. And if I'm going to the US, the travel kettle I got from Bag World (cheapest price for the kettle and free delivery) comes with me.

I don't like drinking from a plastic cup, so I bought a ceramic latte cup, which fits inside it perfectly and saves me from having to buy constant cus of tea. I stuff the cup with tea bags (don't forget to declare them at Customs in the US) and wrap it in a little bit of bubble wrap before putting it in the kettle. I also change the kettle voltage to US voltage before I leave, as this needs a screwdriver, which I don't generally take on the road!

Have you been surprised by what hotels do or don't have in other countries?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Food (not so) glorious food

Work travel sometimes seems to be all about food. It's not always particularly good food, but there's an endless round of lounge food, hotel food, sandwiches and cakes, breakfast meetings and lunches, dinners with colleagues...

Sometimes by the end of a three or four day work trip I feel like I've eaten so much I might bring the plane down!

There are a couple of thing I've started doing to try to avoid feeling like a sluggish sloth after a work trip.

First, I take my breakfast with me. I like eggs for breakfast, so a couple of hard boiled eggs in an insulated lunchbox with a reusable ice block (like the ones you use in an Esky), plus some fruit snaffled along the way somewhere (or when traveling to a state where they're serious about quarantine, I pop into a supermarket) and my travel plunger (French press, for our American friends) and a mini bag of coffee means I get a satisfying breakfast with enough protein that I don't feel tempted to binge mid-morning. If you eat cereal, even easier - and most hotels will bring you a jug of milk to your room if you ask for it for your tea/coffee.

Second, I try to go for a swim. My bathers, goggles and swimming cap fit neatly into a medium sized Eagle Creek pack-it sack - http://shop.eaglecreek.com/packit-sac-medium/d/1098 - they're water resistant so stop my bathers getting everything wet once I've used them, if they don't have time to dry.

A zip-lock bag would probably also work. What doesn't work for me is carrying sneakers and gym gear - it just takes up way too much space in my bag, and since I'd prefer to do pretty much anything other than waste time waiting for luggage - especially when Qantas premium tags seem only to work on a random basis - there's no way I'm checking luggage. So a swim is exercise I can do without packing a heap of stuff.

I'm currently sitting in the Qantas lounge in Brisbane on my way back from a two night stay, and despite a full schedule I managed to swim both days, so I'm feeling good about the exercise and less bad about the chocolate brownie I just ate!