By which I mean other things you may want to pack, but, because I want to enjoy the pun, I also am referring to food uneaten.


Not every restaurant abroad will know what you mean when you ask for a doggy bag. In some countries you just cannot convince waitpersons to help you carry food away. In some places it is considered uncultured. A small Tupperware kind of container allows you to scoop up the leftovers for later without stumbling through some weird cultural thing (if you're in the mood for a weird cultural thing, go ahead and leave the Tupperware at home and go for it).

Digression: the term “Ugly American” is totally screwed up. It comes from the book The Ugly American and refers to an American engineer assigned via a Peace Corps-like organization to help the local people in a fictional Southeast Asian country improve their irrigation and agriculture. The title derives from the fact that the engineer is unattractive to look at, though he is the most culturally sensitive of all the characters in the novel (the American Embassy staff are portrayed as jerks and fit the stereotype as is now commonly referred to as an “ugly American”).

So, you'll need to find a better term to refer to the fellow traveler wearing a Hawaiian shirt and trying to order “le cheeseburger” in some posh place, though he is just as likely to be ugly I guess.

It is an interesting read. Click here to purchase it on-line if you'd like.

Now, back to the more generic “leftover” things you should consider taking along:

Large Plastic Bags

A couple of large trash can liner size bags hold wet clothes, or can be unattractive but handy rain coats to avoid wet clothes (neat, huh, if you remember to bring the bags with you your clothes stay dry while if you forget them in the room they can hold the wet clothes you got because you forgot the bags in the first place when you went out. Synergy.). The bags also can hold other stuff you acquire, or can keep your bottom dry when picnicking on wet ground if you arise early for a outdoor breakfast on the beach. They can wrap and warm a child's cold feet on a long train ride.

If you buy those big orange trash bags that fill up with leaves in the fall and look like jack o' lanterns your kids will love you even more and be more likely to spoon feed you oatmeal when you're old. They also make it much easier to keep track of where your children are at any time if they are worn as raincoats.

Toilet Paper

Not every toilet in every city in every country has toilet paper, so bring a small roll along (we just grab a roll at home when it has been used enough to create the proper size “mini-roll”. This also is a silly but sometimes fun way to get everyone thinking about the upcoming trip while still at home). You can get to the same place with a couple of packets of tissues. Some places use really thin paper that tears apart in use, or use paper that is kind of waxy and does more smearing than wiping. In such instances, that packet of tissues is well-received.

Foil/Plastic Wrap

If you'll be eating a meal or two in the hotel room, save the last couple of feet of a roll of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and use it to store leftovers. The foil especially is heavy so only take a small amount.

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