Small travel tip book is big on ideas

I confess: I suffer from suitcase anxiety.
As often as I have to pack, I still think about it for days, then put it off until the very last minute so I’ll be forced to make decisions — like what to bring, what not to bring, what I can live without and how to pack so everything won’t arrive in a wrinkly mess.
I thought I had learned how to avoid the latter — roll clothes into tubes — but I recently learned that this is only partly correct. According to the newly published “Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips,” ($9.99) a traveler should “bundle wrap” clothing — wrap clothes around a central-core object like a pair of socks or a soft slipper.
That’s not the only wonderful pearl contained within this luggage-tag-look-alike book that measures about 3 inches by 5 inches and contains 105 pages.
“The idea behind the book is that it’s a companion to a guidebook or a mobile phone app, so it needed to be light and small,” said Lonely Planet editor Tom Hall, who compiled the tips from experts and threw in a few of his own.
And since one chapter is dedicated to packing well, “it would be remiss of me to produce something that added to that burden too much.”
Hall decided to create a book of travel tips because although he writes a lot of travel advice about specific destinations, “some questions kept coming up again and again — packing, staying healthy, scoring that upgrade. I wanted to try and come up with definitive answers to those questions. That meant talking to industry insiders and twisting their arms to reveal a secret or two.”
Although Lonely Planet published a travel-tip book in 2003, this one is “100 percent new,” Hall said.
The guide includes information on preparing and packing; using foreign currency, staying safe and healthy; and using in-country transportation, technology and more.
How did Hall decide what to include in this compact tome?
“I decided that following the life of a holiday was the best way to go,” he explained, “from planning to packing to staying safe, getting on a plane (or in a car, on a bike or on a train), finding somewhere to stay and using technology.”
There were three criteria for including a tip:
— Would it make a trip better?
— Would it help even an experienced globetrotter?
— Was it practical and possible to do?
Based on those points, here are a few of the gems contained within the book:
— For the best ground-transport directions for all of Europe, visit www.viamichelin.com.
— Beware of scams, including the “accidental” spills of condiments or other liquids. While someone offers to towel off the goo, someone else picks your pocket.
— Best room deal in many cities is a private room in a hostel.
— Wash your hands before going to bed to discourage rats from licking your fingers while you sleep.
If you’re using that last piece of advice as an excuse not to travel, Hall wants you to consider this: “Travel broadens the mind and enriches the lives of those who do it, and hopefully, those they meet along the way,” he said.
Yes, he added, there have always been barriers to travelling, but the world is opening up.
“We have greater stability throughout the Americas, relatively easy travel in Russia, and visa-free travel to places in Eastern Europe and Africa that would have been complex trips not that long ago.”
Soured on security?
“Just remember,” he added, “that it will delay your journey by no more than a few minutes in all but the most extreme of circumstances.”
As for the cost of travel, “hopefully this book has a few suggestions that will save you money.”
To purchase the book, visit www.lonelyplanet.com/us and click on the “shop” tab.

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