SCOUTING REPORT 2010

Expert Advice: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

We asked the globe-trotters who contributed to our feature "Best Places You've Never Heard Of" to share their time-tested strategies for packing, coping with emergencies, and approaching the locals.

Top row, from left: Adam H. Graham, Alex Robertson Textor, Marcella Echavarría, Rupert Barrington. Middle row, from left: Amie O'Shaughnessy and son, Beth Whitman, Michael Guerriero. Bottom row, from left: Greg Witt, Andrew Zimmern, Leon Logothetis, Christian Pucher.

WHAT MEDICAL PRODUCTS AND GEAR ARE ESSENTIAL?

Before going to a third-world country, where there may be unsanitary water, I fill a prescription for Cipro. It's a broad-range antibiotic that zaps many dangerous forms of stomach bacteria. —Michael Guerriero

Rehydration salts. I find that you sweat a lot within the first few days of arriving in a very hot place—before your body gets used to it. The salts help! —Rupert Barrington

Baking soda—it increases the body's alkalinity, which neutralizes the acidity of many local foods.You just put a pinch of it on your tongue when you're not feeling so great. —Marcella Echavarría

A SteriPen water purifier. I drink the tap water in India after purifying it with the SteriPen. I did this for two monthlong trips and never got sick. —Beth Whitman

I have cheap Irish skin, so I always pack the highest SPF lotion I can find. I also bring a little mister of water for the plane. Cabin air quality is insanely dry, not to mention downright filthy. I hear it's recycled over a dozen times on short hops. —Adam H. Graham

WHAT ARE YOUR PACKING STRATEGIES?

Cotton, denim, and wrinkle-free microfiber clothing is the way to go. If a wrinkle-prone item must be packed, then, when you arrive at your destination, hang it in the hotel bathroom, turn on hot water, and close the door. —Michael Guerriero

The bigger your luggage, the more you'll bring. So choose a smaller piece of luggage—remember, laundry can be done all over the world. —Christian Pucher

I never check a bag on the way to my destination; I pack my clothes in a carry-on using a compression sack. When traveling to India, I usually only take one change of clothes and purchase locally made shirts and pants when I arrive. This cuts back on the amount of things that I have to pack and helps me blend in a little. I buy a duffel bag for souvenirs once I'm in-country and then check a bag for the flight home. —Beth Whitman

I always take packets of Werther's Originals. When you are tired, the sugar hit is good. —Rupert Barrington

Before your trip, as you're packing, put all of your clothes and all of your money on your bed. Take half the clothes and twice the money, and you'll be fine. —Greg Witt

WHAT DO YOU WEAR AND BRING ON THE PLANE?

I wear comfortable nylon warm-up pants, silk boxers, flip-flops, and a longsleeved T-shirt. You cruise right through the security lines and are as comfortable as possible on the airplane. —Michael Guerriero

Wear flight socks to help prevent swelling of your feet on long-haul flights—they might even save you from blood clots. But sweatpants are a no-no: Let's bring some civility back to air travel! —Christian Pucher

Any flight longer than four hours means super-baggy comfy clothes. I load my iPod with movies and TV shows, bring snacks because airline food is awful for the most part, and fully charge my laptop. —Andrew Zimmern

Levi's, a T-shirt, a dark oxford shirt to disguise any accidental spills, and a gray blazer I had custom made for cheap in Hong Kong. It has seven pockets, including a secret one for valuables. I've come to really love the lack of Internet on planes, and my creativity and wanderlust peak then—so I always carry a thin paperback atlas to dream about traveling, even while I'm on the road. —Adam H. Graham

HOW DO YOU COPE WITH JET LAG?

If I've flown into a place in the early morning, I permit myself an hour nap. If I arrive after mid-morning, I push myself to remain awake with coffee and plenty of physical activity so that I'm completely exhausted by nightfall. —Alex Robertson Textor

Swimming helps reset your equilibrium and body pressure. I swim any chance I get after flying. I tend to not drink or eat a lot on planes, and never take sleeping pills. —Adam H. Graham

For every week I'm away, it usually takes me a week to get over jet lag. During the recovery, I try not to schedule anything too important or something that I might have a hard time staying awake for, like the symphony. —Beth Whitman

HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH SICKNESS OR EMERGENCIES ON THE ROAD?

I've had the misfortune of being sick in Europe, Asia, and, most recently, Australia. It is essential that your medical insurance covers you where you're traveling. After a particularly trying misadventure in Thailand in which I considered being evacuated by helicopter, I now get MedjetAssist for remote travel, which is relatively inexpensive compared with the costs involved should you need to use that kind of service without coverage. —Amie O'Shaughnessy

EXPERTS' FAVORITES

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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