Traveller talk: October 2016

Day of the death. Sugar skulls. Shallow depth of field

Sugar skulls for Day of the Dead celebrations © Chepe Nicoli / Shutterstock

Curious housekeeping dilemmas, and travelling in Japan and Mexico are hot topics this month for our Thorn Tree community. Here are the moderators’ top picks for October.

Day of the Dead celebrations

Overwhelmed solo traveller Kristieanne is reassured about her week-long trip to Oaxaca City. ElPelon says the city is ‘Mexico’s best tourist destination’ and ‘very walkable and perhaps best explored without a set agenda.’ Recommendations are made and a discussion about the correct way of saying Day of the Dead – ‘Dia de los Muertos’ or ‘Dia de Muertos’ – follows. Kristieanne’s trip was due to coincide with these celebrations – we hope she reports back!

GCstar asks for help with a budget adventure honeymoon itinerary that packs in hiking, romance and Mexico City. Meanwhile, keithmur asks for help planning a trip around Mexico City for a ‘walking-challenged person‘. TT-ers help by ruling out the hillier areas, with alterigor suggesting Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, and some of the small towns of southern Queretaro State.

Don’t mention bedbugs

This month Thorn Tree-ers also shared some hygiene, health and presentation issues. Rlonlp is insistent there must be a topical application to ward off bedbugsAltona advises thoroughly inspecting accommodation while others suggest various liners (including those made of silk, reputed to have bedbug-repelling super powers, according to TravelVoyage).

Other suggestions include covering exposed areas and even dousing your liner in bedbug spray or an insecticide such as pyretheim. Julie_l and mclarjh point out that itchiness could also be due to ‘harsh laundry soap’ used on the sheets, and not bugs.

Tokyo’s frequently changing skyline seen from the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower.

Tokyo’ skyline seen from the Mori Tower  ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet 

Japan tips

Upageya and Giora have been trying to find a PAYG phone but have been struggling due to red tape and lack of choice. Japantraveller explains the ‘authorities clamped down on easy availability of PAYG voice call SIMs, after a spate of crime using the anonymity of PAYG’. Meanwhile, Muruk shares their obsession with Nikka whiskey and TT-ers help nail down an itinerary in the north including Japan’s Hell Valley with its hot springs and sulphurous streams.

Getyourgun is happy to have some child-friendly options suggested for a family trip to Otsuka. These include an earthquake simulator and the Arakawa tram line. Jbong wants to know whether Tokyo is baby friendly and TT-ers respond with a resounding ‘yes’. Glenski recommends opting for a Japanese style Tatami room, ‘because you’ll all sleep on the floor and can’t fall out of bed’. He also offers some useful phrases such as ‘aka-chan yo no isu ga arimasu ka?’ Do you have a baby seat?

Ironing?

‘What?’ was the refrain to _Traveljames_‘ query on how to iron his clothes while travelling SE Asia. ‘Just because I’m travelling doesn’t mean I want to look rough, even if everyone else does. (no judgement on others),’ he says. Lucapal says that in 30 years travelling they have never ironed and Mp63 adds travel irons ‘have no logical place in a backpack.’

Meanwhile Dale164 and mooseintransit suggests choosing clothes that stay crease free and Friendly_checkingirl and Giora point out that laundry services are common in Thailand (and probably in Cambodia and Vietnam) which will usually include ironing.

Solar-powered fridges

Icelander’s pressing problem is whether they can buy eggs individually in Germany during their road trip and how to keep them fresh – as their fridge runs on the car engine. PixelQuiz responds first with a link to a solar-power gadget to keep the fridge running while the engine is off. Many including richiavo suggest refrigeration is not needed and tempelton suggests Edeka supermarkets and farmers markets for single eggs.