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A Great Way to Rescue Your Phone from a Polar Bear

Updated: May 25, 2023

They say everything comes in threes, and I agree. Here are three essential travel must-haves that can make your life easier on the road, in the air or anywhere...including a tundra.

Be a travel "Survivor"

Carry a Buff™ or similar multifunctional bandana. Why? These circular bandanas serve as a hairband, headband, sweatband, hair-covering, ponytail wrap, cleaning cloth, tissue, temporary bandage, and more. My husband, Mike, and I have carried one of these for decades on all of our trips. I often wear one around my neck for warmth; it came in handy on cool mornings riding in an open safari vehicle in Botswana. On the roads of Indian national parks, Mike and I used Buffs™ as masks against the ever-present dust. These days, I've used the bandanas in a pinch as a makeshift Covid mask as needed.

The original Buff™ bandana is still a good bet; however, there are other options and brands to choose from as well.

Everything is better with duct tape During your travels, carry a flashlight and wrap duct tape around the handle. A flashlight comes in handy if there are power outages (when your phone isn't charged), to help navigate dark corridors or streets (can also be used for protection), or to just find your way to the bathroom in a strange room at night. We've found duct tape to be invaluable for everything from patching torn suitcases, which unfortunately can happen A LOT, to a temporary repair of a ripped pant seam to plucking cell phones from the tundra under the watchful eye of a polar bear. (Read the story in Beyond the Sunset: Expanding My Horizons.)

Shawls, it's not just for grandmas

WAIT, before you scroll past this, hear me out. Shawls can be very utilitarian during your travels. Of course, much like your grandma's primary use, a shawl can serve its primary purpose as a wrap in the evening or on cool days. But, I've found many other uses. I always carry one on the airplane or on long car trips for warmth--to throw over my shoulders or cover my legs. Similarly, I've used my travel shawl as a throw when lounging in a hotel room. Tucked in a backpack or knotted around the strap of my purse, I've carried the shawl on our jaunts around Italian hill towns and used it to cover my head or shoulders before entering a church. Scrunched up, it can stand in as a pillow when I want to nap on a bus drive. I usually carry a lightweight, inexpensive shawl, so I don't mind when it may suffer some travel abuse along the way.

Still not convinced about the shawl?

A packable jacket may suffice for most of your needs as well, if you're not the shawl-type, as it can fold or crumple into a few small inches of fabric and easily stow in the small bag that comes with it.

These tips for travelers are from Author Sherry Knowlton's travel memoirs, Beyond the Sunset: Volume 1 & Volume 2. Buy the book, in Kindle or paperback, today!

Also available at Sunbury Press or wherever most books are sold.

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