Handy little travel extras to ease your journey

TRAVEL GADGETS

Collapsible bottles
One of the hassles of the new security rules is the ban on taking water bottles in your hand luggage when flying.

A good way around this is provided by Platypus Bottles which roll up to next-to-nothing in your luggage but can hold a litre of water, are surprisingly tough, and fit into the standard backpack pockets.

Having had to cram two fat bottles into my luggage for a trekking trip to Nepal, I reckon collapsible bottles are a great idea.

Platypus bottles are $15.90 for the one-litre and $12.90 for the half-litre from www.travelcomfortable.com

Luggage strap
Because I usually travel with a small black case that looks like all the others on the airport conveyor belt I've long intended to buy a luggage strap that would make for easier identification.

This one is ideal. It's covered in red tiki (or brown kiwi or green maps of New Zealand) to make it distinctively Kiwi. It also has a combination lock for better security.

The strap is available to Herald subscribers for $27.95. The non-subscriber price is $32.95 plus $4 handling charge. Phone 0800 633 377 or visit www.ReaderRewards.co.nz


TRAVEL BOOKS

Voyageur by Robert Twigger
Phoenix, $29.99

Obsession may not be a good quality in a travelling companion but it often produces great travel books.

Only someone utterly obsessed could have carried through a plan to follow in the footsteps of Canadian explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who in 1793 crossed the Rocky Mountains in a birchbark canoe.

No one had emulated that feat since, and it's easy to see why, since most of the journey consists of paddling against the current up the mighty rivers flowing from the eastern Rockies. Then there is a portage across the top and a death-defying swoop - including through the appropriately named Death Canyon - down the western side.

As if that was not enough, Robert Twigger also had to overcome angry bears, crazy alcoholics, trackless swamps, polluted food, bloodthirsty insects and lack of money.

But, fascinated by canoes and inspired by Mackenzie's journal, which he came across in a secondhand bookshop, Twigger set out to overcome all obstacles. And, in three summers, he wore out three sets of companions, but realised his dream.

The account of his obsessive journey makes for an inspiring travel story, sometimes terrifying, often funny, frequently insightful and always fascinating.

Long Cloud Ride by Josie Dew
Sphere, $49.99

She came, she cycled, and she conquered New Zealand in 10 months. Or did she?

Author Josie Dew certainly did the legwork, but despite the plethora of stories about her two-wheeled journey she might just have missed the country's heartland and its people. That's not to say that Long Cloud Ride isn't a good read, but you can't help feeling her plane may have taken a wrong turn and dropped her in another land, because she certainly didn't come to grips with the country.

Llamas and Empanadas by Eleanor Meecham
Penguin Books, $30

Is it only me, or is cycling around a country, or continent, the only way to be adventurous these days?

This is the fourth of its kind I've read recently all of them following the familiar pattern of cyclist versus the elements, dangerous mountain crossings and crazy drivers, but having amazing experiences along the way. This time globe-trotting Kiwi Eleanor Meecham launches herself into a 5000km South American cycling odyssey via Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

It's not a bad yarn but you can have too much of a good thing.


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