travel postcard: Malaysia & tropical tips

travel postcard: Malaysia & tropical tips travel postcard: Malaysia & tropical tips

One of the perks of living in China is relatively easy access to the rest of Asia. So, when Dear Husband was called to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for work meetings last week, I decided to tag along and make a long weekend of it (more on this next week).

Since I don't always do so well in hot climates and life can be unpredictable, I've put together a list of travel tips that I've discovered (usually the hard way).

What I pack:

1.     Bandanna.

2.     Packable sun hat. It’s relaxing to not give a crap about how you look, and travel is supposed to be relaxing.

3.     Wet wipes. Lots.

4.     Alcohol wipes, or other disinfecting wipes. Some times a wet wipe just isn’t enough - like when you’re on the Delhi metro and the person holding the handrail next to you has an active case of pink-eye.

5.     Sunblock cream AND spray.

6.     DEET travel towelettes – available at camping stores. Easy to carry, and reduced risk of bug repellent leaking in your luggage.

7.     Camphor-based cream (e.g. Tiger Balm white) - Use for sunburn, muscle aches and strains, and also works as a decongestant in a pinch.

8.     Prickly heat powder – available at pharmacies and dispensaries around Asia, this stuff helps keep you cool and prevents the weird skin rashes that afflict polar peoples in the tropics.

9.     Water-proof first-aid tape for blisters and flip-flop related tragedies.

10. Cortisone topical cream in case your DEET wipes don’t keep you from being eaten alive by bugs. Also useful on horrible sunburns.


1.     First thing in the morning, apply a shot-glass-worth of sunscreen cream - especially the tops of your feet (if you’re going to wear flip flops) and your ears.

2.     If you’re going to be walking a lot, powder your feet before you put on socks. Short hiking socks are a great choice. Thin cotton socks may seem like a good idea, but they tend to get damp quickly and then there’s friction inside your shoe, and pretty quickly you have blisters that will be thoroughly incompatible with sand.

3.     Wear something on top of your head at all times.  A peeling, blistering sunburn on your part line is the gift that keeps on giving dandruff. Depending on how much sun you’re going to get, a neck bandanna and sun hat can be a great combo.

4.     Every time you eat or start a new bottle of water, re-apply sunblock and clean your hands with a wet wipe. Sunblock spray can be a godsend when you don’t want to rub white stuff all over yourself in public – just don’t get it in your eyes.

5.     At happy hour, wash off sunscreen with soap and put on moisturizer.

6.     Break out the DEET wipes.

Rinse, repeat.  Individual mileage may vary.


What are your best travel tips?