It Came In the Mail: Booklet of Travel Tips for Women

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Booklet of travel tips for women

AIMED AT: Not-stay-at-home femmes


BUT IS IT HELPFUL? Crank up the estrogen: "101 Tips for Women Travelers" was created by a woman (Harriet Lewis, co-chair of Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Travel) who compiled suggestions from women (past travelers, trip leaders, program directors, etc.) for women. You go, girls.

Some of the advice is drivel, having been retrieved from the Duh Barrel. Such as "don't get drunk and invite strangers to your room" and "remove all valuables from your rental car." However, a large proportion of the 101 hints, which are divided into such categories as Money Matters, Beauty and Traveling Solo, are inventive and, yes, helpful. Take, for example, Melba Fiscus's contribution: She uses shower caps as shoe covers and to protect cameras on rainy days. Karen Hansen deodorizes luggage and musty rental cars with fabric-softener sheets and suggests tying one to a belt loop to repel mosquitoes. And Eugenia Gwathney goes MacGyver with her duct tape: "Wrap it around a pencil to about 1/4 -inch in diameter. That way, they'll always have a pencil handy, too!"

Unfortunately, some items made our Susan B. Anthony coin flip. Sandra Galbraith returns to the Dark Ages by advising women to take their packed suitcase for a test walk so that "you won't be overburdening another male travel mate." Others elicited a mix of horror and grrrl power glee, such as the one about investing in a female urination device (hey, if men can go standing up, why not women?) or carrying a soft paper cup as an emergency latrine.

The back of the book features a list of terms in four languages, a clothing size chart, a guide to local specialties, film and book suggestions, and an empty space in which to inscribe your bucket list. That's bucket, not paper cup.

-- Andrea Sachs

To order the booklet, contact Overseas Adventure Travel at 800-873-5628,

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