On the Road with The Gutsy Traveler, Marybeth Bond

by Chris on January 12, 2011

Six on-the-road tips from Marybeth Bond, also known as The Gutsy Traveler (and my new travel personal guru).

Sometimes I have the privilege of going on the road with other journalists who could be considered giants in the world of travel. For the past few days, I’ve toured Easter Island with one of them: Marybeth Bond, known as The Gutsy Traveler.

Author of 11 books, Marybeth has mucho travel cred. She’s been to more than 100 countries and has stories from the road that would make your hair curl (a full body cavity search at the Tibetan border, anyone?) Yet she’s always ready for a new challenge – last summer she rode her bike across America with her daughters. She’s my new role model.

Throughout our six-day trip to Easter Island, Marybeth dispensed packing and travel tips that I had never considered. Here are six things I learned this week from The Gutsy Traveler:

1. Always pack a clothespin. The lowly clothespin has many uses, Marybeth said. Not only can you hang up your wet clothes with it, you can also use it to pin together the curtains to make your hotel room darker. Ingenious.

2. Bring a rubber doorstopper with you too. One of Marybeth’s specialties is women travel, and she’s written several books on the subject (including one on my shelf, 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways). At times, she seems overly cautious but you’d rather be safe than sorry, right? She always carries a rubber doorstopper, as many hotels in foreign countries don’t have the extra deadbolt lock that women in the US are used to. She also always checks the connecting doors between rooms, as housekeeping occasionally forgets to secure them.

3. Make sure you have plenty of $1 and $5 bills on hand before you leave. I do try to follow this guideline, but it bears repeating. Having small US bills is even more important than exchanging local currency, especially if you’re a more upscale type of traveler. You’ll need them for tips at the airport if you do curb-side check-in, tips for the driver if you have a transfer arranged, porters and bellboys at the hotel, housekeeping in the room and so on. In tourist areas, US dollars are almost always accepted, Marybeth says. Make sure they are crisp if possible; in some Asian countries, locals won’t accept US dollars unless they are good condition.

4. Don’t pet the local animals. “Oh cute, look at the dogs!” I exclaimed as we went into Hanga Roa, the only town on Easter Island. While she agreed they were cute, Marybeth told me not to touch them. Mange, parasites, rabies – you never know the diseases that local animals could carry. I decided not to tell her about all the cats I’ve befriended around the world.

5. Duct tape can fix anything. Wrap it around a broken pencil. Attach the temple back on your sunglasses. Fix a loose sandal stra[. MacGyver your luggage together. Duct tape solves everything and you know that Marybeth always has it on hand.

6. Moleskin prevents blisters from forming. I watched as Marybeth stopped a blister in its tracks by attaching a piece of moleskin to her toe. Make sure you get the thin kind.

Thanks to LAN Airlines USA for sponsoring our trip.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

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