Worried about toilet travel trauma?
There's nothing like a little potty humor to make you crack a smile. ("Crack"! Get it?!) But in many parts of the world, bathrooms are a most serious business. According to the CDC, 25% of the world's population does not have access to adequate sanitation. Inadequate waste disposal systems are a contributing factor for everything from cholera to trachoma. These illnesses are no laughing matter.
I can certainly appreciate why some travelers hesitate to go anywhere without a modern flush toilet. Serious illnesses bear serious concerns. And, let's face it, 'crappy' toilets can be really unpleasant and uncomfortable. What kind of vacation involves toilet trauma? But if you want an ironclad guarantee of particular standards and services when you travel, well, you won't go very far.
Nearly all of our favourite destinations brought a bit of toilet culture shock. And sometimes it took a while to adjust. But we haven't let a throne, commode, or outhouse cast a stench over our travel dreams and neither should you!
Sometimes in travel it all goes a bit sideways... When I was feeling a bit blah, I still found quiet, cozy things to do in Lake Placid
If you've ever woke up feeling like you have a horrible hangover, yet you had nothing to drink the night before, then you know exactly how I felt on day two of my trip to the Adirondacks. There was the headache (without the fun of any red wine the previous day), there was the sore stomach (was this the universe getting back at me for eating both pasta carbonara AND tiramisu?) and then there was the unmistakable shake and sweat of a low grade fever. I was SICK. Sick in the land of outdoor adventure and Olympic legacies and super healthy people. SICK.
There was no way I could join in the fun as my friends toured wineries and set out on epic hikes. Time for a change in plans! Fortunately by the time I arrived in Lake Placid, I was feeling a tiny bit better and was able to make the best of a queasy situation. Here's how I spent my lazy visit finding things to do in Lake Placid that were lowkey.
Welcome Home! What's the First Thing You Do?
On my last trip to Bulgaria, I awoke at 3:00 AM after a very short, very fitful sleep to meet up with a driver to bring me from Plovdiv to Sofia for an early flight to Paris, where I spent a blissful day walking and eating and walking some more. Scooting back to the airport, I caught my flight to Montreal and from there I just made it onto the train to Ottawa. Pulling into the train station, I dragged my luggage to my parked car to retrieve my parking stub, headed back inside to pay my balance, and drove home. It was SUCH a long, full, incredible, exhausting day. When I arrived home, I was greeted by an equally joyous yet exhausted doggo. Oliver himself had recently been on an adventure -to the doggy hotel as Ryan too was away that week - and a friend had kindly picked up him before closing time and dropped him off at my house so I could reunite with him without delay. With a quick walk (for Oliver) and a bite or two of macaroon (for me!), it was time for bed.
What followed was the BEST SLEEP IN THE WORLD! For both of us, actually, as Oliver was blissfully flaunting all the rules and sleeping in the bed next to me. There are no words to describe that moment before you drift away in what you know will be the perfect, jet lag busting sleep, your final day of busy chaotic travel behind you and your body swathed in soft, fuzzy, sweet scented pajamas. Sure, Bulgaria and Paris were wonderful. But reuniting with my own bed and my beloved fur boy was SUBLIME!
As much as I love to travel, I'm always anxious for the last 24 hours of a trip to pass so I can return home. As luck would have it, some of my most aggravating delays have corresponded with my final flight home, putting my fuzzy pajamas tantalizingly out of reach. Not every travel day goes as smoothly as my return from Bulgaria did. So frustrating! There's nothing so nice as sleeping in your own bed, on your own sheets, wearing your favourite pj's - you know, the impractical fluffy flannel purple polka dot ones that you never take on the road. Throw in a long, hot bath, some homemade food, a cuddly pet or two, and you have a one outstanding homecoming!
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Everyone I know who is passionate about travel is also passionate about returning home, connecting with the people and things they love as they re-calibrate from their latest adventure and adjust to 'normal life'
Find out what other travel bloggers think is the best part of coming home!
It's time to sound off on snoring
The first thing my father said about me after I was born was that my ears looked "interesting". Gee, thanks! Fortunately, my otolaryngologist disagrees and tells me my ears are both perfectly healthy and utterly unremarkable in appearance. But sometimes I wonder if my 'interesting' ears aren't hearing just a little too acutely, as it seems impossible to drown out the sounds around me and get some decent sleep when I travel.
I've slept in some mighty interesting locations and situations, all in the name of value travel, from 5 star resorts to the filth covered floor of the Nairobi airport. But some recent trips have been less than restful and I'm noticing that where I'm sleeping is less important than what I'm hearing.
In London, my favourite hostel became a nightmare when a dorm-mate snored so loudly she actually drowned out the police sirens coming from nearby Kings' Cross. On an overnight trip from Singapore to Sydney, the most luxurious flight of my life was almost ruined by a man who snored so loudly that his buzz saw cacophony boomed through my foam ear plugs, which I had covered with noise cancelling headphones, which were in turn playing loud music. I'm not exactly proud of this, but I may have, um, oh so gently kicked the man in the head. And still he snored on.
So how's a girl to find a good night's sleep in a noisy world?
Travel Foot Care 101
Climbing nearly 400 steps to reach a hostel in Northern Italy, running around the Paris zoo during my first marathon, doing back to back to back walking tours in London - without a doubt, I explore the world with my feet! And I bet a lot of you do too! Walking (or running, or climbing) is a great way to see a city's hidden nooks and crannies and explore the natural wonders of the countryside. But all that roaming can really rough up your feet and few things can ruin a trip like sore, peeling, swollen, blistered feet. Here's how to keep your most valuable travel asset happy and healthy before, during, and after a trip.
Beat the Mosquitoes - And The Bank!
Malaria is the most probable serious illness a traveller will face. It's hard to imagine a worse travel experience than being seriously ill with malaria when you are far away from home. I'm talking the how-can-I-find-a-doctor-at-3am-in-Cape-Maclear kind of horror that ruins a trip and can even make you fear for your life. This mosquito driven infectious disease, which the World Health Organization estimates affects nearly 220 million people each year, does not discriminate and thousands of travellers are stricken with malaria each year.
Fortunately a traveller can limit their exposure and lessen their risk - but it all comes at a cost. Like many specialty health care items, malaria prevention products, devices, and prescriptions can be very expensive. The information below is NO substitution for a physician's advice, but I've done my best to provide you with the information needed to beat both the mosquitoes AND the bank!
A Maritime Menu Spells Danger For Us.
Hampton, Virginia is known as "Crabtown" thanks to James McMenamin developing a revolutionary method for sealing steamed crabmeat in airtight containers during the 1870s. Exporting shellfish became the backbone of Hampton's economy, while consuming shellfish became the foundation for the city's finest restaurants - a tradition that lasts to this day.
Locals may heartily debate which restaurant serves the best crab cakes in town but that's one discussion we won't be weighing in on - Ryan is allergic to shellfish! So in a town so famous for shellfish it revolutionized the crab industry, what are the best options for the shellfish-adverse?
Ladies - these travel tips are just for you!
Every week, I am proud to co-host the #girlstravel twitter chat - the only twitter travel just for female travelers.
For the week of March 11, the theme surrounds "women's issues" - you know, the kind of things only women have to deal with when they travel! (Caution, male readers: hormones are involved!).
It made me think about how most people bring a bit of an emergency kit with them when they travel (first aid, sewing kit, matches). Maybe the prudent female traveler needs some decidedly feminine backup as well when she travels!
Do you really need to pack a first aid kit?
Probably everyone reading this already has a mini first aid kit they travel with. You might use a zip lock bag with some band aids and gauze, or you might have a deluxe kit from a survival shop. But is it worth the space and weight in your pack?
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