Hot Summer Travelers & Troubadours; Travelers Tips

   Before I set out traveling I watched a gzillion YouTube videos that are available online. They are produced by avid travelers of all kinds, younger and older. Most offer great advice for young backpackers and middle aged vacationers. The older crowd seems to join various organized group tours. In any case I took notes and am slowly learning what really works best for me.

   Sadly musicians have offered pretty much nothing for advice on the road unless you're a traveling band. IF any of the musicians out there are reading this, PLEASE offer some good advice for the solo traveling troubadour. I've pointed out a few tips below that I have learned so far. Much more is needed and welcome.  

   First of all for the older traveler I highly advise taking it slow. Rent an Airbnb (apts, homes and rooms for travelers), stay somewhere for a while and enjoy what interests you at a normal daily pace. Airbnb's have bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and more. It's like a home away from home. Hosts are usually very kind and available for help and advice. For me, an older solo traveler, it's nice to have the company too. I've also just discovered that they have a listing of suggested "experiences" that you can tap into for a pretty fair fee. I'll be telling more about that in another blog.

   Spare time? Honestly, traveling can be quite grueling, frustrating and even, believe it or not, boring. What do you do in those "spare" hours of "down" or waiting time? The answer? Be prepared for it. What do you like to do? Surf the web, read a book, practice music, people watch, shop (not advised unless you're rich enough to pay the extra luggage fees!)?
 
   Summer touring in South Korea, for me, has taken shape. It may sound trite and, in your eyes perhaps even a waste of time, but in this hot & humid weather I've returned to my natural state of being - night bird! I have taken to sleeping-in, taking the morning slow and writing!!! I've found some really wonderful evening and nighttime activities including nighttime historical tours! It sure beats sweating it out under the hot sun. I have a beautiful slow morning with breakfast, coffee, some stretches, searching the next adventure and then writing.

   Writing is not easy. It takes many hours including proof-reading and edits. I've taken to writing spontaneously after an experience - while it's still fresh. Then I may leave it sitting for a bit. I'll go back and reread it again and again tweaking here and there, changing or adding bits and pieces -- the essential editing -- and finally add photos. When I feel it's ready I will post/publish it. Posting links is time consuming as well. Nevertheless I am quite enjoying the entire writing process. It also helps me review and process the events and experiences to put them all in perspective. I am learning about and honing in new aspects of myself. The school of life. Love it! If you're enjoying these blogs then it makes me happy!

   So you can see that writing is a great activity for travelers! I would like to offer a few words about some brilliant travel survival tools that are working well for me so far.

1) Water & Female Urinal!!! Drink it!!! Lavishly!!! Then be sure you can find a restroom, ha ha. If you can't then try this amazing new gadget for female travelers: the female urinal. I chose P Style. I've used it once so far. Baruch HaShem. A lifesaver!
2) Dr. Bronner's Castile soap. This was on just about everyone's list. As you can see (if you've clicked on the link) this soap is simply miraculous and a must for every traveler. I chose the bar form rather then the liquid. It's easier to pack.
3) Microfiber & Quick-drying stuff: This is also on everyone's list so I went for it. Got myself a towel and some undies. I looked for quicker drying clothing  Also advised is lightweight, wrinkle-proof, quick-drying clothing. Search around. It's out there. I want to thank my dear friend, Minna Leah, for my new wardrobe. If you're looking for the best seamstress ever, please contact me and I'll connect you. She's one heckuva cook too!
4. First Aid & Sewing Kit: Glad I have this with me. Bandaids are definitely useful. Ace bandage for the ankle sprain. Aloe vera. Mosquito repellent. Mouthwash (especially on the plane!). A small travel sewing kit (haven't used it yet but soon will when the clothes wear out some more!), safety pins, and elastic bands (I didn't believe it but they're all useful).
5. DUCT TAPE & Carabiner Clips!!!  Yes, especially for musicians. Everyone will find that your electronic cables, battery packs & chargers and all that nonsense is going to take a beating. Just wrap duct tape, or maybe electric tape, around all that stuff and they'll last longer. I had no idea what carabiner clips were when I first started preparing but they sure are useful.
6. WIPES, Hand-held Fans, Hat & Umbrellas: Yes! These are mandatory. Not just for the times when there's no toilet paper or even a sink to wash your hands. They are soooooooooo refreshing in this hot & humid weather to wipe the sweat off your face and offer a soothing wipe around your neck. Don't forget to bring and wear a hat! Koreans are using electronic hand-held fans or cute paper fans. Umbrellas are useful under the hot sun as well as in the rain.
7. Nuts, Protein Powder & Hydration tablets: Sigh. I take these food supplements everywhere. You can easily add protein powder to water and have it with a handful of your favorite nuts (some nuts are more recommended than others). This will get you through many hours of travel or hold you until you can find a restaurant, grocery/convenience store, fruit/vegy stand and/or a kitchen to cook your own meal. I recently learned about Hydration tablets (thank Yona!). I tried one yesterday after a long and sweaty day of walking. Yes, I recommend them! I couldn't find the exact link to the brand I bought in Israel. Do a search on line or ask at the local pharmacy. Here's a photo.


8. Travel adaptor: You had better have this on hand unless you plan to live off-the-grid.
9. Shoes: Oh, the shoes. I'm far from being a shoe connoisseur but I've learned that you must have a few choice items. I ended up with SEVEN! These include: Flip-flops of sorts for the unfamiliar bathrooms & bath habits. Walking shoes. Sandals (I love my Berks and now I love the outdoor sandals by SOURCE that my daughter insisted I have. Thanks again Inbal!) Slippers (if you must remove your shoes at the entrance). Dress shoes (one pair should do it). I also invested in old style over-the-shoe rain covers/galoshes/boots.
10. COMPRESSION SOCKS & Ergonomic Gloves: OMG. This was recommended and boy, do they make a difference when you're traveling for hours on the plane. My ankles used to swell up and it would take a day to get back to normal. I tried these socks this time and WOW. No swelling at all. Get some! While I'm at it I highly recommend ergonomic hand gloves by Handeze. I've been using these for years since computers became our mainstay. My son uses them too. They're simply amazing.
11. Packing Cubes & Foldable Lightweight Day Pack: These are the latest trend. Are they worth it? You don't need to spend money on fancy new trendy bags. Be creative. I have a few multi-sized laundry bags. You can use different sized plastic bags too. The main benefit of these is that your belongings are better organized. Check for weight though. Packing into cubes can lend itself to packing more than you might otherwise. As for a daypack, I found this one for $12 somewhere. Here's the link online. Great little pack.
12. Lightweight EVERYTHING: Everything you buy and use MUST be lightweight. I've now learned that lesson. Schlepping around with my two suitcases (one for clothes & stuff and one for the musical gear) and my guitar is AWFUL. Not to mention a little crossover purse for easy access to passports, credit cards, cash and maps. My first choices for luggage were weighty. I immediately went out and replaced them. It doesn't matter which brand. However, it's very useful to read the reviews to check how well made they are and if they will stand up to the wear and tear of traveling. Note also the wheels. I love the spinners. Much easier to to walk around with as long as you're on fairly even terrain. So far so good (blee ayin harah, knock on wood, tfu tfu).
13. Travel Medical Insurance: Just get it. I've used HAREL in Israel. I'm using IMG/Patriot everywhere else.
14. TSA locks are apparently the mode. 
15. GOOGLE TRANSLATE!!!! Or some gadget that offers conversation in your language and theirs. These days these things are available and sure make traveling a lot easier!

MUSICIANS





   I have not yet mastered the art of being a traveling troubadour, female or not. I managed to find one site with some good advice. Can't find it again, sigh. Most of it is about being prepared musically (goes without saying) and about electronics and equipment (read and research what works best for your musical needs) and a lot is about actual domestic ground/road travel for bands (as opposed to air travel abroad for solo artists). It would also be nice to have a listing somewhere for solo artists to be able to book performances around the world. Maybe it exists already? I've come across some sites but they're really not very helpful. We need real contacts, names, numbers, emails etc. Recommendations from fellow traveling musicians would be a huge plus!!

   So I've picked and pulled tidbits here and there but am having to play it by ear for the most part. I found this article with some good tips. This article is advice from pros. This article offers a few good tips on traveling abroad - except for the single carry-on. I guess he doesn't bring any equipment with him? This video is pretty good! Air travel advice here.

   Below are a few tidbits I've gathered. Someday I'll have better advice. OMG - - in the midst of writing this blog I just found THIS!!! I'll have to check it out. In the meantime, here is my list so far:

1. ‘Travelling is exhausting so get some exercise beforehand,’ he explains. ‘Eating well is also crucial to avoid illness during travel. (source)
2. Electronic compatibility: Be sure before you buy and set out abroad that your equipment and electronics are compatible and/or convertible to 110V vs 240V. These days most stuff is however it's best to check. 
3. TSA locks
4. Clothing, Accessories: Needed for on the road and performance. Mix & match, lightweight and all that. A few accessories for decor. I forgot to bring them. Bought a few now on the road. 
5. Travel amps: First of all, if you're singing and playing, you'll want to be sure the amp you choose has TWO inputs - instrument AND microphone! Many of these little amps are just for the instrument and some have an AUX input. I'm not well versed in this so I can't say if the aux input will work well for a microphone. Anyone care to comment?  am traveling with a VOX Mini Rhythm. It's the smallest and best I could afford. I love this amp. It's got an input for vocal and instrument. Runs on AA batteries and power. It's got some nice effects for guitar. The beat box is not so great - more like a toy. It's not overly heavy. BUT - - I'd love something smaller. They exist but are VERY costly. Someday....
6. Microphones, stands, tablet holders and music stands: Oy vey. So much stuff. Foldable, lightweight and durable. It took me a long time to find Airturn products. They're great but a bit heavy. 
7. Insurance: Can someone please point me to a good company that insures musical equipment??


That's it for now. Thanks for reading! Any advice, comments, and links are welcome. 


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