Sharing favorite On-the-Road Travel Tips

By Randy Keck
This item appears on page 53 of the January 2020 issue.
Randy, with his Totto backpack, and his dog, Princess.

It is always a good time to compare travel tips with fellow travelers, so this month I will invite readers to each share their favorite On-the-Road Travel Tip to my email address following this article. 

To try and insure clarity, it seems appropriate to have a few ground rules. On-the-Road Travel Tips apply to anything that makes your travel experience work better for you while actually traveling. Please do not send travel tips related to any aspect of pre-tour planning or booking strategies and procedures. That is a topic for a different column. 

I will share as many of the submitted travel tips as possible over one or two issues of ITN. Please make an effort to be as parsimonious as possible, keeping your submissions to a maximum of 150 words. If you feel compelled to share two tips instead of one, feel free to do so, but keep to 150 words total.  

On-the-Road Travel Tips may include such topics as choice and type of luggage, clothing, footwear and any equipment item that makes life on the road a better experience for you, but be sure to explain how it does so or describe its merits. In some cases, a tip may have to do with how an item of equipment is creatively utilized.  

Your travel tip may involve a mode of transportation or perhaps accommodation. It may be related to eating or imbibing in foreign environments. It may concern the use of technology while traveling, including the choice to limit such. (It seems, more and more, travelers are beginning to ask how much is too much in this regard.)

Your particular travel tip may apply only to a certain type or style of travel and is not likely to apply to all travelers. It may be something you learned about from another traveler as opposed to being your own creation. Borrowing is no crime when it comes to sharing travel tips, as everything is up for grabs for the common good. Please do share where and how you learned about a borrowed tip. 

The main thing I am looking for with any submission is a tip that can be of practical value to, ideally, as many travelers as possible, as opposed to something that has a very limited application.

Coming out re my backpack love affair

By way of example, I will share one of my top travel tips, acknowledging it will appeal only to some travelers. 

While on a group tour in Scandinavia in 2015, I learned about the hands-free liberation of using a backpack as a carry-on from our tour director, who  wore a backpack instead of lugging a bag or dragging a wheeled carry-on. 

Four-plus years later, my user-friendly and compact but surprisingly roomy Tamulo Backpack, by Totto (, serves as my carry-on both when I am leading groups and traveling independently. It’s so comfortable, it feels like part of my body. 

Weighing only 1.26 pounds, measuring 15.75"x11.02"x6.30" and with a capacity of 17.92 liters, it is big enough to accommodate the paperwork I often must carry while leading a tour as well as the emergency clothing needed if traveling point to point on a flight with a checked bag that goes missing. It can also hold a 10-inch laptop and two water bottles in side pouches. 

After more than 30 trips, my precious Totto shows virtually zero wear. 

Randy sporting his Totto backpack and hanging out with Princess.

Unfortunately, Totto backpacks are not readily available in the USA, not even through their website. I bought mine in a small luggage store in San Sebastián, Spain, for about $50.

If the idea of converting to hands-free travel appeals, you can make a fun project out of finding the perfect comfort-fit backpack for you. As for the size, I recommend a capacity in the range of 18 to 20 liters to help insure your carry weight remains body-friendly. Of course, any recommendation must take into consideration the size and strength of the wearer. 

In any case, user-friendly, highly comfortable padded straps are a must.  

Bring it on

Many ITN readers are in possession of a wealth of practical travel knowledge, including valuable On-the-Road Travel Tips resulting from years of travels. While this is not always acknowledged or appreciated by most family or friends, it is overtly so within these pages by your fellow globetrotters. 

So, readers, please communicate with me via email and share one or two of your prized travel tip gems for publication and posterity. F

Contact Randy at 80 America Way, Jamestown, RI 02835; 401/560-0350,