Headlamps, Giftwrap, Expenses, Mongolia, Dental Floss and Pillowcases


Packed a bandana? A white ‘turtle’ bike light? Then leave your headlamp behind. When you need hands-free lighting over the camp stove, roll up your bandana, wear it like a hair band then loop the turtle light into the bandana at the top of your head. Don’t worry how it looks—it’s dark anyway, right?


Looking for a beautiful way to wrap gifts? When I travel to countries with different alphabets, I pick up a couple of newspapers to bring home with me and use as gift wrap. It’s a light, packable and ecologically friendly wrapping option—use it for souvenirs from your trip, or keep it for the next birthday that comes up. Metallic markers are a nice touch for writing on the newspaper. You may not have any idea what the headlines say, but they’ll speak loudly to your international flair!


When backpacking with a group of friends—new or old—keeping track of who paid for group expenses like taxis and groceries can be confusing. Instead of trying to work it out on the fly or after the fact, try this tip. Appoint someone in the group as treasurer and at the beginning of each day, or as needed, have everyone give him or her a modest amount of money. The treasurer can then use the group cash to pay for any communal expenses, no calculators required!


If you’re travelling to Mongolia and want to visit the Tsaatan people in the taiga, try the Tsaatan Community and Visitors Center (TCVC). It’s a dynamic facility that’s jointly operated by the Tsaatan community and Itgel, a Colorado-based non-profit, and it serves as a centre for economic, educational and tourist activities. Offerings for visitors include on-site lodging, full meal service, information on hiring guides, cooks and horses, and handicraft exhibits and sales. For more information, visit www.itgel.org.


When travelling through crowded areas known for pickpockets, tie any zippers together with dental floss. This does a great job of deterring casual thieves, and is easier to use (and lighter!) than locks.


A pillowcase is a handy item to have on your travels. It can be used to cover less-than-appealing hotel or hostel pillows or it can be stuffed with clothes to form your own headrest. It can also be used to keep items, such as clean clothes, together in your backpack.

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