Start Carrying a Crayon in Your Wallet, Here’s Why
Planning a trip? Make sure you have the essentials in your wallet. Your ID, bank cards, a crayon, foreign currency... Wait, a crayon? Yup, you heard right. Some avid travelers swear by always keeping a crayon inside their wallets. Here’s why.
Crayons can always write. If you need a writing utensil, they don’t need to be sharpened, and they never run out of ink. If you drop a pencil, the lead inside usually breaks, making it impossible to get that satisfying sharp point ever again. Traveling with one could jostle it a lot, meaning you’ll need to be sharpening, and sharpening, and sharpening.
Pens and planes... not a great match. The rapidly changing air pressure in the cabin can cause your pen to burst, oozing ink onto all your belongings.
But why keep a crayon in your wallet specifically? For two reasons. One is that no matter where you go on your travels, you’re probably bringing your wallet along. So keeping anything that might come in handy inside means you’ll always have whatever you need at hand.
The second reason is that a crayon is said to make sure your cards remain intact. A bent or snapped card could be a huge deal while abroad. So, keeping something straight and solid inside your wallet can protect your cards from such accidents. And while pencils and pens are too long to fit in a usual wallet, a crayon is the perfect length.
So, you’re out and about on vacation in a beautiful city abroad. You’ve explored the sights and culture, and now you’re tuckered out. You would really love a warm drink and a cozy place to relax. But you don’t speak the local language. You planned to study a bit on the plane, but well... that onboard movie was too entertaining.
So how can you ask where the nearest coffee shop is? Here’s where the crayon comes in handy. Get a piece of paper and draw common symbols, such as Wi-Fi, a coffee cup, a bathroom symbol, and a question mark. Now, you can point at each symbol to ask a friendly local almost all of the common questions you might need to ask. Warm coffee, here you come.
Flying with a friend? Here’s a clever tip for when you’re picking out your seats. Never select the middle seat. Of course, we all want to sit next to our friends. But try picking the aisle and window seats, with a gap in between. No one likes sitting between two people they don’t know. So, others will be unlikely to pick the seat between you two. You’ll have a bigger chance of getting the whole row to yourselves.
But what if someone does pick the middle seat? It’s no problem. Ask them politely if they would like to switch, so you can sit next to your friend. Most people will be happy to. Win-win.
Want to make sure no one tries to swipe your valuables? If you’re carrying fancy electronics like a camera or the latest laptop, it might help to make them look a bit less appealing to sneaky onlookers. A bit of duct tape can do wonders. Place some tape over a corner of your device. Nowhere that the tape can do any harm, of course. Now, if anyone eyes your expensive item, it will look broken to them. A camera held together by tape isn’t worth stealing, so you’ll have extra peace of mind while you travel.
Whether you’re staying in a hostel, or hotel, or roughing it in the woods, you might want to make sure your toothbrush is well-guarded from touching anything. After all, bathrooms can be notoriously germy. Making sure your brush stays away from suspicious surfaces isn’t hard, though. Just pack a clothes peg, and you’ll be prepared. Clip the peg on your brush, right under its head. Then prop it up on the prongs of the peg. Safe and sound from any muck.
Here’s another trick you can use that clothes peg for. If you’re ever in an airport or train station bathroom and look at the door only to realize there’s no lock, don’t worry. Push the peg into the gap between the door and the ground. If the gap is too small or too large, try the space between the door and its frame. The wedge shape of the peg will stop the door from opening. So you can make sure your privacy is secure.
Who’s up for a road trip? If you’re taking your friends on a cross-country adventure, there are sure to be lots of stops for snacks and sweet drinks along the way. A little mess is to be expected, but you can at least avoid some annoying crumbs inside your car’s cup holders. Pop cupcake liners inside the cupholders before your journey starts. Later, you can slip them out, and voilà, still clean!
Craving a nice, cool treat while on the road? What’s better than an ice cream bar on a sunny day? But as it melts, your treat can quickly become an ooey-gooey mess all over your car. Well, grab some more cupcake liners. This time, take one and poke a hole in its center. Slide the popsicle stick through and hold onto your treat from below. The liner will catch any sticky drops.
If you need to pass some time on a flight or train, playing a game is great. Cards, riddles, charades. But if you want to play your favorite board game, you might run into an issue when you try to roll the dice. One bad roll, and your dice are flying into the abyss under the seat. Good luck reaching them there. And who knows what gross discoveries you might make down there in the dark zone.
But there’s a better way. Pack your dice in a small, clear container. Make sure it’s completely transparent. Now, just shake the container when it’s your turn. Now there’s no chance of any rogue dice. Roll away! Uh-oh.
Turns out you’re heading somewhere very wet, but you didn’t pack any waterproof shoes. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for white water rafting just because of your footwear. Try turning your regular shoes into water-resistant ones with just a candle. Rub the wax all over the surface of your shoes — especially in the spots you know will get wet. The wax will seal in the fabric, repelling water. No soakers for you.
On a long day of traveling, why not stop for a picnic lunch? Nature is beautiful! Well, most of the nature. The ants that are climbing all over your food... not so much. Even if you eat at a table, they can quickly crawl up the table legs.
A good way to stop them is to put a little tray of water under each table leg. The ants won’t be able to navigate the water and will leave you and your picnic alone. Now, all you’ll have to worry about is bees. You try not to, but sometimes, while you’re enjoying the scenery, you can wander away from your travel companions.
Don’t worry. If you’re in nature, you might be able to make a clever whistle from an acorn cap. This is a trick that is easy to learn and very effective at getting attention. Plus, your friends will definitely be impressed with your creative thinking. First, you obviously need to find an acorn cap. Make sure it is not cracked or deformed. Also, the bigger the acorn cap is, the lower the pitch of the sound will turn out to be.
Take the acorn cap in both of your hands. Place it between your thumbs and index fingers with the inside of the cap facing toward you like a bowl. Put your thumbs on the lip of the bowl closest to you. The sides of your thumbs’ knuckles should be lightly touching each other. A triangle of the cap should be showing in the gap between your thumbs. Put your upper lip on the top of your thumbs.
Then pucker your lips so that when you blow, no air will escape out of your bottom lip. This is the trickiest part. But with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to get it. Now, blow! The loud whistle will alert your friends of your location and maybe scare off animals you don’t want sticking too close by. While you’re at it, why not try whistling some show tunes?
If you’re going out on the water, here’s a trick that can help you make sure your keys are safe and sound. Grab a bottle cork and poke a small hole in its center. Now, uncurl a paper clip and thread it through your key ring. Then use it to attach your key to the cork by pushing it deep into the hole you created. Make sure it’s secure.
If your key slips out of your pocket and lands in the water, it won’t sink to the bottom. The cork will keep it floating, so all you’ll need to do is reach down and grab it. Emergency scuba diving avoided!