What things to pack to make interactions easier?

Travel Forums General Talk What things to pack to make interactions easier?

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1. Posted by PHOTOBOB (Budding Member 47 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

What special props and stuff do you take on your travels to make interactions easier?

On my list are

A collapsible small kite
A collection of postcards from our local area. Very useful to show that we live in mud houses, (cob) with straw roofs too.
Small books from our local tourist office
My wife has just added Origami paper

Of course the best prop to travel with is a well-behaved small cute child.

2. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2559 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Since I have no interest in meeting kids anywhere I have no need for toys or other "props" like that.

For every new country I visit I take the time to learn how to say hello, thank you and goodbye. Knowing a few basic numbers is helpful. But most street vendors can get their point across. I may have a small cheap English to "whatever language" dictionary with me in my walkaround bag. (I don't walk around looking at a smartphone every where I go.)

If a new country I look up the currency exchange and what the currency looks like in various denominations. I may take the time to read up various scams I may encounter so I am forewarned.

3. Posted by PHOTOBOB (Budding Member 47 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I think you miss the point. Its not only kids you get to talk to.

Flying a kite puts you in a public spot and makes you approachable. For instance I had a very interesting conversation on Galle Face Green in Colombo with a famous test cricketer and opening bat. As you know Thailand you will know that kite flying is an adult pursuit as it is in Malaya. Showing postcards of my local villages has started some very interesting conversations. I've learnt, from a teenager, a complete breakdown of the wage structure of artisans in Jaisalmer. Fascinating insights which you will not find in guidebooks.

Last year after our meal a Japanese man in Osaka showed us how to make an Origami swan. A charming and convivial way to end an evening.

Talking to local people is a great way of getting local knowledge, like where to eat.

4. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1611 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Always pack curiosity. Asking people questions is a great way to interact. We try to learn enough of the language to exchange pleasantries and to be polite.

I don't pack anything special but my phone has a talking translator on it that is occasionally helpful. I keep my camera around my neck and we've often had people stop us and suggest things we might like to photograph or local sights we might want to visit. These have always been great suggestions.

We've also been stopped numerous times to talk about our matching Tilley hats. They are very practical for us but seem to be unusual to many people. It's fun.

5. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1300 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

We take postcards of home if we think we might meet children, e.g. if visiting a village or local school is a possibility. Not only do they provide something to talk about, they are also much better as gifts (despite what the children probably think!)

Other than that I've not thought of taking things specifically to start a conversation. Like Sally says, taking a genuine natural curiosity and openness should be enough :)

6. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1611 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Speaking of traveling with a small, cute child, I once saw an advertisement for a rent-a-dog. You could rent a small, cute dog to take on your travels just in case you missed your own dog at home. This would be a great conversation piece but you would have to take care of it. It didn't seem like a particularly good idea, but I'm sure someone made some money on it. Certainly taking your own dog would be a good conversation starter.

7. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2559 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Locations overseas (where the dress style is casual) I often bring t-shirts and ball caps with hometown sports teams logos. Out and about wearing hat or t-shirt I do get comments from locals and tourists commenting on my team choices. Either they say good team or they smile and say my team sucks and hope they never win again! Sometimes I meet someone from back home or even a local who has visited the same area I am from.

8. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1300 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting karazyal

Locations overseas (where the dress style is casual) I often bring t-shirts and ball caps with hometown sports teams logos. Out and about wearing hat or t-shirt I do get comments from locals and tourists commenting on my team choices. Either they say good team or they smile and say my team sucks and hope they never win again! Sometimes I meet someone from back home or even a local who has visited the same area I am from.

Actually, yes, my husband has often worn something with our team, Newcastle United, on it and that can prove a good conversation starter, especially in countries with a well known player who has played for that team, such as Senegal or Peru. But sometimes they just want to talk about Manchester United and that's more of a conversation stopper than starter, as far as we are concerned

9. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1396 posts) 3d 1 Star this if you like it!

All it takes is a smile or other gesture to acknowledge each and everyone you meet. Reaching out opens doors.

10. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 460 posts) 3d Star this if you like it!

I travel with a plush wombat. He is a very easy-going travel companion and has often worked as an icebreaker. With adults, that is. Kids usually don't understand why a grown-up person has a fluffy toy and since I have no desire to meet kids, that's perfectly fine with me.