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Dollar Stores A Traveler's Best Friend


A plastic sheet...

You know those thin colored plastic tablecloths sold in the party supply section of the dollar store? They have a multitude of uses and are definitely light enough to pop into your pack. Pick your favorite color, pay your four quarters and you now have a tablecloth to cover your hotel bed as you snack and watch TV. Or, use it to lie on while sunning in the park or to protect yourself if you're caught in a surprise downpour.


Let there be light...

The supply of electricity we experience in North America and Europe is not the same everywhere in the world. In developing countries, you must always be prepared for power outages. I found a funky little key chain ($1.00) that supplies enough brightness to help you see something very close to you. Use it to locate the two, short fat candles (2/$1.00) in your bag. Presto. Let there be light!


Save money in your diary...

Transform a one dollar notebook with a thick cardboard cover into a great place to hide your emergency money. To begin, make this scribbler your official trip diary so that anybody looking for valuables will most probably bypass it. Now tape an emergency credit card plus $100 dollars on the inside back cover of the notebook. Once that's done, you move on to the tricky part. Camouflage your stash by stapling a fake itinerary to the cover (be sure to staple all sides). Voila, your savings are out of sight and safe. I've even left my notebook back at the hotel in one of the drawers. The housekeeper might have read my diary but she certainly didn't take it. My life just isn't interesting enough!


Yes, I have a husband...

This creative one dollar solution is perfect for the solo woman traveler. Pick up a tiny picture frame and fill it with a photo of a huge man. In some countries you will be constantly challenged with direct questions like, 'Are you alone? Where is your husband?' When that happens you can smile sweetly, pick the frame out of your bag, flash it, and say, 'This is my husband. I'm going to meet him right now.' End of problem.


Souvenirs from home...

Finally, it's always good to have a few souvenirs from home to hand out along the way. It promotes good will across cultures and most important of all, you're sure to get a big smile from the recipients. Before travelling to Japan I bought these attractive black, white and red pens emblazoned with Canadian flags. They were listed at 3/$1.00. At that price I could afford to stock up, even if I saved some to give away next trip.

Travel more and spend less ...

If you found this article helpful, here are a few more posts that will keep cash in your pocket and your feet on the road.

On the road eat well for less

50 ways to stretch your travel dollars

25 cheap and cheerful restaurants around the world
Dollar Stores A Travellers Best Friend
25 Cheap Eats Worldwide
Eat better for less



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