I got a call from Pepto Bismol yesterday.
Apparently, I’m on some travel writing marketing list. I get a couple of press releases a day and a couple of phone calls a month about new products, books, and events.
Anyhow, Pepto is synergyzing with the Travel Channel, specifically the show Bizarre Foods with host Andrew Zimmern. The nice Pepto lady asked me if I read the press release, which I hadn’t. So she resent it. The release includes travel tips from Andrew, half of which involve Pepto. I’ve pasted it below the cut.
I’ve never used Pepto once at home or while traveling. This is for two reasons:
1. Their commercials freak me out. I don’t want my stomach slowly coated with pink paste.
2. I don’t eat like an oinker and therefore don’t require stomach meds. I’m either a-okay or experiencing the subject of the previous post.
If you could be sponsored by a drug what would it be? Me, I would be sponsored by Coppertone Sport SPF 30. I have albino tendencies and can hardly leave the house without it.
10. FIND A STORY LINE… To become a traveler, not a tourist, look for stories and plan trips around them. Sitting on a beach doing nothing can be part of a relaxing vacation, but it’s not traveling. Book trips with story lines that allow you to walk in history’s footsteps. For example, take a train from St Petersburg to Venice on the Orient Express, bike through French wine country or drive the Pacific Coast Highway.
9. EAT LOCAL… Local chefs practice smarter food handling of familiar products, so in China, eat Chinese food; in Italy, eat Italian, and so on. Eating American-style buffet options can be less safe than eating goat’s heads soup in the Djemma al Fna in the same city. Also, remember that going local means saving money.
8. THE HAPPY FACE RULE …Finding a great restaurant is no secret. My friends are always amazed that I can find the greatest restaurants when we travel together by simply sitting on a street and observing which restaurant has the most diners with smiles. Eat in restaurants with lots of happy customers. Web sites like chowhound.com or andrewzimmern.com are also great communities with which to compare notes.
7. SAFEGUARD YOUR STOMACH… Whatever my stomach problem, whether it’s nausea, heartburn, indigestion, an upset stomach or diarrhea, Pepto-Bismol has worked for me for 40 years. It is the only stomach product I carry with me. Because of different security rules around the world, I keep the chewables in my carry on. To help prevent major problems, common-sense food safety practices like washing hands and using anti-bacterials are musts.
6. SPEND SMART…Museum passes, train passes, pre-purchased theater or sporting event tickets work for traveling and sightseeing in cultural capitals around the world. They save time and money and often mean skipping long lines. Also, try booking weekend stays in business hotels, which see lower occupancy rates at that time.
5. STAY PROTECTED…Give photocopies of your credit cards, passport, driver’s license, etc. to a close trusted friend, or keep them in a safe place in your home. Always travel with local embassy, hospital and police numbers at your fingertips. I also like to keep a fake wallet in my travel bag, an old billfold with $20 and an expired credit card that can be handed to a mugger without any second thoughts.
4. GO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK…Be adventurous and flexible, it pays off in many ways. Everyone who yearns to see Europe looks at Italy and France, and most also end up there. Look instead to the next country. I like Belgium for example, a country that I have visited three times and keep returning to because it is easier to navigate minus the crowds. Ditto Malaysia, Vietnam, Ecuador, Czechoslovakia and the Dalmatian Coast.
3. THINK AHEAD WHEN PACKING FORKIDS …Bring car seats, sippy cups and plastic sandwich bags – for snacks as well as for soiled diapers when there’s no place to throw them. And don’t forget Children’s Pepto…looking for a kid’s stomach remedy in a foreign country is a buzz kill.
2. ENSURE PEACE OF MIND…I book restaurant reservations in advance and arrange for car services, tours and the like – most of which can all be cancelled with lenient terms up until the last minute. I also keep extra travel insurance in case of a major accident abroad, which only costs me about a hundred bucks a year, and always keep a doctor’s number handy.
1. BE PREPARED…That’s the number one tip and the most important. The extra five pounds that I schlep around everywhere (everything from Pepto, to an extra book, to the ‘other’ pair of shoes) is worth it – knowing that when I need something, I have it.