Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Group's Travel Rules 101 - 5. Leave Your Comfort Zone (But Bring Along Your Creature Comforts)

Or, How To Make Sure We're Still Talking To Each Other At the End of the Trip - 5

We travel to get away from it all. Well, not quite. Travel always takes us away from our comfort zone no matter how luxurious our hotel/resort accommodations may be. It may be the Four Seasons, but it just isn't home. A little unsettling may occur along the way. If we're in a tiny hostel, or in a remote island, the unsettling may be major.

Some people embrace new situations with wild abandon, immersing themselves in the environment as if they had lived there in their past life, while some are able to sleep in a hotel room only by their third night there. 

Our group believes that part of the thrill and learning that occurs whenever we travel is brought about by this new-ness, the change, and the difference from our accustomed lifestyle, and how we cope with it. Not that we've waxed philosophical about it; we just know better than to leave home without some creature comforts. 

All of us are creatures of habit in some way, so there's certainly nothing wrong with bringing along a few creature comforts. If you want your coffee as soon as you wake up at 6 and the hotel does not start serving until 7am, then you'd be a lot happier if you bring along a handy electric water heater and sachets of instant coffee, like Mats does. 

Or, if you insist on eating your breakfast eggs with tomato catsup and nothing but, just tuck a foil pack of catsup in your bag, as Nancy does. Trust us, so many places in the Philippines stock banana catsup only.

If you're like Millet who likes to read in bed before sleeping, bring along a small reading light (the type that you clip on to a book or e-reader) that can also act as a flashlight. Not all hotel rooms have reading lamps and side tables. 

Some people, like Tony, want an extra pillow, and this may be hard to come by in budget hotels, so the best thing to do is to bring along a small pillow or neck pillow. It works for the head, back, butt, legs and..oh yes, the neck.

Scared of cooties in hotel towels? Get one of those microfiber bath towels that sell for P100 each at SM; they're very light but absorbent.

Scared of cooties in hotel sheets? Or roughing it up and not sure if there's privacy in the beach/forest/tent? Bring along a malong/sarong so you can cover up. 

Photo from

Not sure if the hostel/dorm has hot water in the showers? Bring along a portable water heater and ask the hotel for a pail and dipper. 

Bring all chargers for phone, camera, tablet, and such. Check beforehand not just the voltage output (110 or220 volts) in use in your destination, but also the type of electrical outlets used. Some Asian countries, for example, use a three-hole outlet, so you will need to bring a 3-pronged outlet adaptor like this for your electricals:

All this stuff is lightweight and don't make a dent on our 7-kilo carry-on baggage allowance, but they certainly pack a punch in terms of making for happier trips. 

We have another secret stash of creature comforts. After a day of "feeling-like-20" trekking and exploring, nothing soothes "so-feeling-like-55"  tired muscles like a  rubdown using any of our group's preferred "perfume of the night" (all kinds of liniments and salves). Take your pick!

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". - Unknown

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