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Travel Talk: Last-minute tips before your trip

Strange, but it always seems that the week before a big trip we (okay . . . mostly me!) are scrambling to get last-minute things done around the house and pick up a few last items. True, frenzied list-making and urgent-bordering-on-crisis shopping drives Bud bonkers and makes me want to go back to biting my nails. But here we are . . . again! We’re leaving for Burma this weekend (as you read this we are hopefully in the air) and I am tearing around Concord and Bud is glued to his computer. How did we do?

Hot weather clothes: It will be in the 90s almost everywhere in Burma, so I needed some ultra-lightweight pants/capris, T-shirts and over-shirts. Having the right duds can mean the difference between a day of very hot but enjoyable touring and a sweated-out day of torture. And you don’t have to be going to Burma. If you’re headed on safari in Africa, on a Caribbean cruise or a trudge around Disney World, you’ll want to be comfortable and as cool as possible. Clothes like these are easy to find in high-end travel catalogs – but . . . too late! Not to mention too expensive. I remembered a successful trip to EMS on Fort Eddy Road five years ago when packing for a safari and headed back. Bingo! Their hot-weather “Compass” pants not only fit great, but the legs button up to capri length and a teensy bit of stretch makes them ultra comfy. Best? They’re 40 percent off. I bought two pair. For tops, I found their Techwick T-shirts and “Excursion” safari shirts for 50 percent off. I bought three tees and two shirts. Bud found similar deals at EMS, and also had luck at Dick’s Sporting Goods on Loudon Road.

Wet weather solutions: As much as you like to think it won’t happen, it can rain (yes, and even pour) when you’re on vacation. Staying dry is a particular priority of Bud’s, and while packing Bud found that our lightweight rain jackets seemed to have lost their waterproofing. Not wanting to buy new jackets, even on sale, he surfed the internet and found Granger’s One Step Wash & Waterproofing, under $13 on Amazon. It’s formulated especially for “technical” (ultra lightweight, wicking travel gear) to restore repellency. It got great reviews, was delivered to our door in two days (via Amazon Prime membership) and Bud did three jackets with about half of the 10 oz. bottle. We tested the results with our kitchen spray, and I do believe we’ll be dry in a monsoon! The jackets double as windbreakers, something you might want to consider on a cruise almost anywhere, any time of year. Those upper decks can be breezy and chilly!

Technology problem/solutions: Last week I wrote about the incredible usefulness of my iPad on a house hunting trip to Florida. But would it work for emailing to family and friends and posting entries on my blog ( After three hours on the phone with Apple, the answer was “not exactly.” Without getting overly geeky, the iPad’s photo file structures don’t mesh with my word processing app or the app version of I use. The result – I am taking the iPad and the trusty laptop that has seen me through the past seven years of travel. Meanwhile Bud had last-minute worries about charging all our tech “stuff” and found a Simran three-outlet power strip and surge protector designed just for worldwide travel (, about $14 with two-day Prime free delivery). Maybe now we’re ready?

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