Ever wondered why they drive on the wrong side of the road over there? Well, if you have, here is a short history of Right and Left Side Driving
Throughout history most countries have driven on the left side of the road in accordance with left-side laws kept by each country. In fact, there is evidence of left-side driving as far back as the Roman Empire. The left-side driving rules even extended deep into the Middle Ages in Europe where drivers kept to the left so that they could easily reach for their weapons or extend a friendly hand to any passerby on the other side as needed. So how did some countries begin driving and travelling by the right side of the road?
During the 1700s, in the United States and France, drivers began using the right side of the road for all travel whether by horseback, carts, or any other means. At this time there were no laws for driving right, but both teams were possibly forced to switch driving sides and become right-based due to large wagons that were driven at the time. These wagons were hitched to teams of horses and the driver sat on the back left-hand horse. Some people believe it was easier for drivers to steer their horses if they kept them to the right, while others say that due to the large size of the horse teams and wagons it was easier to see whether or not you were too close to others if they drove on your left side and you stayed on the right.
By the 1800s right-side driving was passed as a law in the United States and up through Canada. At the same time, although France had once again started adopting left-side driving, Napoleon quickly declared laws for right-side driving and spread them in the countries he conquered such as Germany, Italy, and Spain. Countries that were not conquered such as England, Russia, and Portugal chose to stay left-side driving.
After World War I even more countries began making the switch to becoming right-side driving, but countries such as England and India have largely resisted. This is why today most countries throughout the world drive on their right-sides, but there are still some countries that drive on their left-side.
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Here are some more contributions from the Smarter Travel 'tell us the worst thing that you ever lost when traveling' competition.
- I was with my daughter and family in China this past summer. They were adopting two Chinese children. We landed in Shanghai first to pick up our little boy. We went shopping and I found a beautiful hand fan for myself to remember the trip. It had panda bears (which I love) and pink flowers made of bamboo. Well, some where a long the way I lost my fan. I am so upset because I can't find another one on line and I will not get to go back to China to purchase another one. I know this is not much but it meant a lot to me. Thank you for reading my sad story.
- As a 5 year old, I was the ultimate girly girl who treasured my Beauty and the Beast purse. I would take my purse everywhere with me because it made me feel like a grown up! I kept as much stuff as I could fit in it, from my cherry flavored lip balm to stickers to my life savings of a whopping $11. One day, my dad took me to a huge toy store while on vacation and I was fascinated by the bright lights, colorful displays and walls of shiny new toys. Towards the back of the store, there was a kid’s arts and crafts table where you could draw and try out some of the toys. I happily sat down and started drawing at the table, while my dad chased after my younger brother who liked to take off whenever he got the chance to. I took off my purse and sat it right next to me so that I could draw without the purse strap getting in my way. Before I knew it, my dad came back and told me it was time to go. I proudly showed him my creation and then reached over to get my purse, but it was gone!
I was so absorbed with creating my masterpiece that I didn’t realize someone stole my beloved purse. I felt like I lost everything and immediately started crying. My dad tried his best to console me, but it was no use – I was too upset. We wandered around the store talking to different sales employees, trying to find my purse, but we never found it. I remember that day like it was yesterday. The horrible feeling of having your personal belongings taken from you without you knowing is something I would never want to experience again. I was taught a hard lesson and to this day, I am always protective of my purse. I make sure to hold it in a certain way so that it is securely against my body when I walk and I never leave it unattended when I sit down at a restaurant or in a public area.
- This may not be the worst ever in terms of how everything worked out in the end. It is a true story. My boyfriend Darren was on a small Thai island on December 26, 2004. He was backpacking and had just off-loaded on the beach with his backpack case. Long story short, the tsunami came and swept Darren out to sea. Thankfully, he was able to cling, fight, swim (you name it) and managed to get back onto land. He lost everything, including his shoes. All his travel documents including US Passport were swept away. Amazingly, some 8 months later, his local congressional office contacted him that they have found his backpack case (san content) and arranged to send it back to Darren, but I digress……. Darren was able to call me from Southeast Asia (I was back home in San Francisco) and I was able to help arrange emergency provisions for him, as wells contact the US State Department on his behalf. Darren was more battered and bruised then anything, but IS completely recovered. Darren did lose everything in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and well, I can make the case that had Darren been wearing the Clever Travel Companion boxer briefs (too hot in Thailand for long johns J), then all his important stuff, including passport would have been on him, and not easily lost.
When considering these stories and in choosing your winners, I hope you will find Darren’s experience compelling. Better yet, if you do chose Darren’s story as a winner, please consider awarding an extra pair to his girlfriend, who submitted it. J
- Prior to a business stay at an upscale hotel in downtown Philadelphia, I always traveled with my passport as a backup means of identification in our nation’s increasingly security conscious travel environment. Shortly after returning from this trip to the City of Brotherly Love, I was on the phone making an international airline reservation when the agent asked for my passport number. I reached for my briefcase to retrieve it from the compartment where it was always kept only to find – to my utter amazement – that it was missing. I put the reservation on hold and began a mental review that ended up back in that Philadelphia hotel, where the passport was definitely in my briefcase. I’m not one to make wild accusations that I can’t support, but I’m absolutely certain that the passport was in my briefcase at the hotel and was missing just days later. A call to the hotel management was met with sympathetic concern, but nothing more. Realizing that it was unlikely that my passport would be found and returned, I went through the time consuming process of reporting it lost or stolen. I was under added pressure because my upcoming international trip was just weeks away, necessitating payment of an additional fee for expedited service. In the end I learned a valuable lesson that has stayed with me to this very day: I only travel with my passport when I actually need it, and I make it a point to secure it in the hotel room safe, or, at minimum, in a locked compartment of my briefcase or backpack when no safe is available. And while it might be overkill, I have avoided staying at any of the hotels in the chain to which that particular Philadelphia property belongs.
- On Why I Need Idiot Strings on Important Belongings
Usually I don't travel with anything that is irreplaceable – grandma's ring stays at home, I have an extra eyeglass prescription on hand, and fancy handbags don't fit with my style of travel. After a week in Papua New Guinea, someone took from my table at a restaurant a friend's small digital camera I had borrowed. The camera itself wasn't a huge loss to me. I had a larger SLR with me, but it hurt to lose the photographs I had taken with the small camera. Its diminutive size allowed me to be casual and inconspicuous. Just before losing the camera, I had been invited to play a game with some local girls where we were staying in Kimbe. I do remember their smiling faces, but gone were the photos that would have filled in the details. Gone, too, were the shots of the airstrip tableau with the tiny plane that carried people, newspapers, and baby chicks to the further-flung reaches of the islands. Disappeared were the shots where the guide had us paint our faces in traditional patterns with red clay at hot springs. I am sure that the traditional patterns he showed us could be translated to “gullible tourist” but it was also one of the rare times my husband let me commit to “film” him looking incredibly foolish. Lost was the evidence of that escapade and with it my ability to bribe him and mortify him in front of our children.
I did manage to get some good photos with my other camera, but they lacked the spontaneity of the ones from my point-and-shoot. Regret may be a useless emotion, but I still felt it intensely as I mourned the loss of the photos from the small camera. I also had to endure my husband's chiding about losing something that wasn't even mine. I did feel bad, but it meant I would be getting my friend a new one, one a few model years newer and so a huge upgrade. Hell, I had done her a favor by losing her camera! But I couldn't get back my images, and my memory is in need of the occasional jog, and now I haven't got the photos from that camera to do it for me. That kind of loss, keys to memories or mementos, is the worst kind.
What’s traveling if you don’t do anything while you’re at your destination? Not much. The costs for all those activities can certainly add up and, depending on where you are, can leave your bank account and (hidden) pockets empty. Why not keep a little more cash on you by using some simple tricks to get discounts on tourist attractions? It will allow you to do more and still spend less on your trip.
Purchase a city pass for your destination city. If you want to do a lot of popular touristy things when you go on vacation, search for a city pass. Most large cities have them and can save you up to half off on a long list of sites you probably already have on your itinerary. Search CityPASS.com, SmartDestinations.com and Visiticket.com for cards in the U.S.
Plan some museum visits on your trip. There are a lot of museums that are free to the public or offer free or discounted admission on certain days of the week or month. In Europe, you can gain free entry to a huge list of museums, like the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Musée Bourdelle in Paris.
Look for discount coupons on the attraction’s website. Sometimes the only discounts available for places are on their website. This is true for Universal Studios, where you can get a better deal on admission if you buy ahead of your trip than you can at the gate. It also lets you print out your ticket before you leave and not have to wait in line at the ticket booth
Use your AAA or credit union account. Often, you can save a percentage on attractions if you flash your AAA card or you can purchase tickets in advance through their travel stores. The same goes for your credit union. Both offer discounted Disney park-hopper tickets that can save you big time if you are planning on visiting for three or more days.
Go to the nearest hotel lobby. Many hotels have a brochure rack that also has flyers for nearby attractions. More often than not, there is also a discount coupon on these that can be anything from a buy one, get one free admission to 10% off admission for your whole group. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to use these either. If you’re staying at a timeshare or similar lodging, they may have exclusive discounts better than what you can find on these brochures. You just need to ask at the front desk.
There are hundreds of dollars in discounts to be found for attractions on every trip you take. You just need to know where to look. Making a plan before you leave home can be the difference between saving big and spending much more than you anticipated. If you also find some free activities to mix with paid ones, your dollar will go a lot further as well.
Nobody likes security lines at the airport. It seems like every other day there is some new outrage over TSA and their “rules”. Since things aren’t likely to change anytime soon, it helps to work together to make the process less stressful and anger-inducing. Being prepared before you get in line should be your number one priority. Some of the best ways to ready yourself can be easy and also help other people in line, too.
Have your boarding pass and ID in-hand. You can’t get through security without these things, so have them ready to go when you step in line. The TSA agent will check to make sure your name and face matches to let you into Phase 2 of your wait. After you are approved to stand in line for the x-ray machine, you can put them away.
Put all your liquids and gels together. Sometimes you see people in line that make you wonder if they’ve never been to the airport before, because they look confused by the 3-1-1 rule and just have their shampoos and lotions thrown in their bag. While they are trying to dig everything out and argue about how they need their full-size conditioner, people in line are fuming. Make sure all your liquids – lotions, gels and creams included – are in a one-quart zip-top bag before you get to the airport. If you put it on the top of your carry-on, it’ll be easier to just toss in the security bin.
Make your laptop accessible. Large electronics are screened separately, so if you’re bringing a laptop or netbook, have it easily accessible in your bag, so you can pull it out and put it back fairly easily. You don’t want to be wrestling with it while you are also trying to take off your shoes and get change out of your pocket.
Empty your pockets. While Clever Travel Companion pieces aren’t a problem for normal security, it will be for those full-body scanners if you have anything in those pockets - so in that case empty also your hidden pockets. If you are only passing through regular metal detectors, just make sure you aren’t stashing coins or anything else that could set off the alarms. It’s easiest to put these items in a zip-top bag before you get up to the conveyor belt and toss it in your carry-on until you are through screening.
Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to have to remove them at the majority of airports you pass through, so try not to wear ones that will require a lot of extra work. If you can’t easily slip them on and off, think about wearing a different pair, because you will see people giving you the stink eye if it takes you 10 minutes to undo your laces.
These may seem like a lot of rules, but with a little practice, they can become second nature. Not only will you get through security as quickly as possible, the travelers around you will also be happy that you didn’t take forever so they can get on with their own trips. They may even learn a thing or two from you.
We just discovered the site Trailblazer girl and it is really sweet. Not just because tehy gave the Clever Travel Companion some excellent critique but because they ahve some great conetnet and beautiful photos. Like how about this; touchscreen compatible gloves. If they work, that is really great for all of us up north trying to read the map whilst freezing. Anyho, check them out!
2012 has been a great year! We have had customers and emails and stories from all over the world. Just the last month from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, France, Mexico, Brazil.... So in sum there are fellow travelers all over out there with their valuables safely hidden away!
We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your trust in the Clever Travel Companion, for testing our products and for your nice, sweet feedback. Please keep it coming!
To all of you, from all of us: we wish you a great 2013!
Johanna, Steve, Pascal, Lisa
Clever Travel Companion
Yep, the list includes the Clever Travel Companion's gear! We are happy to announce that we made Smarter Travel's best travel product list for 2012! Not bad, eh?
From Smatrter Travel:
Clever Travel Companion
"We loved this product line so much that we featured it in multiple giveaways this year. What is theClever Travel Companion? The line features clothing with built-in zippered pockets to keep your valuables safe. Rather than deal with a traditional bulky money belt, the Clever Travel Companion's underwear, shirt, long johns, or other clothing items are actually comfortable. Says our tester, "With the Clever Travel Companion, pockets are sewn into your underwear or tank top, giving you (but not thieves) easy hands-free storage for your valuables. The pockets on both garments (there are two on the underwear and one on the tank) are the perfect size to hold a passport, credit cards, and some cash. The best part: There's no way a mugger is getting anything out of these pockets unless they're really determined. And you definitely won't get pickpocketed in these." (Prices start at $24.90.)"
Janine over at the blog J, the Travel Authority recently hosted a giveaway, asking travelers to related their pickpocket / travel loss stories. Here are a few entries!
My Swedish husband always keeps his hand on his wallet while traveling abroad. Here in the USA, he never thought having his pocket picked would be a problem, but sure enough, someone stole his wallet at the Copley mall in Boston. It was a bunch of kids who made noise to distract them, while a comrade came up from behind. They took money but threw away the wallet with his license and green card. Someone found it and sent it back to us. My son's son encountered pickpockets in China, and they were very sophisticated. They came up close with razor blades and cut the pockets. Sounds more dangerous to me than losing one's papers and identity cards!
A young guy tried to pick my husband's pocket in Bari, Italy, several years ago. My husband quickly reverted to his native language (English), spewing swear words and chasing the guy -- who was eventually picked up by an accomplice on a motorcycle. Later, we both wondered, what on earth would he have done if he'd apprehended the bigger and younger would-be thief.
Your story is outrageous. I've never heard of a bird poop scam before! I'm lucky to not have had unfortunate experiences being pick-pocketed while traveling; the one time I was when I was on line at a department store in my town.
On a recent trip my daughter left her iTouch in our rental car. Of course, we were already at the airport when we figured that out. I went back to the rental place to get it. Kudos to Hertz--the bus driver radioed ahead and the iTouch and another item we'd left were waiting for us. I never even got off the bus, the items were waiting for me and I made my flight on time.
I was visiting a friend in NYC and decided to buy flowers before I took the train. I bought the flowers and heard the train coming, I decided to quickly put the wallet in my top coat pocket (instead of in my pants pocket) and run for the train. There had been a short thin man standing slightly behind me when I bought the flowers. When I ran for the train I felt something brush lightly against my shoulder, when I sat down in the train I checked my pocket and the wallet was gone!
Mine is a brag about beating the pickpockets, actually. I was in Brugges, roaming around a lace shop and noticed two girls who looked like college student age, carrying packbacks, dressed kind of scruffy. They seemed to be one in front of me and one behind me all the time. Then one stepped so that she crowded me into a narrow aisle. I'm sure her partner was trying to get something out of my bag--but it was under my arm and the wallet was deep in the bottom where it was not easy to reach. I left the lace shop, wandered on, stopped in a Christmas store. There were the same two girls. I didn't want to tip them off as to where my money was, so I went up to the clerk and said, "I would like to buy this, but you see those two girls? I think they're pickpockets and they're following me. So until they leave, I won't get my money out." Unfortunately, the clerk, said, she could not do anything if they didn't actually try to lift something from someone. And fortunately, they left so I could make my purchase.
My story is more of a reflection of my own disorganization than anything else! I was 20 years old, living on my own for the first time, for a summer in Paris. I went to the movies, placed my bag under my seat, and a few hours later realized my camera was gone! It was only an inexpensive point-and-shoot, but at the time I considered it very valuable. AND it was a going away present from my parents!! I felt so foolish, I spent my food money on buying a replacement and lived on bread for weeks. Well, lo and behold, when it came time to pack up to return home - I found the stupid camera in the back of a drawer! So I had 2 cameras, and missed out on some great French meals. ;-)
These clothes are a perfect solution to the problem tourists have with pickpockets. And they look attractive to boot.
Leslie (Downtown Traveler):
Fortunately I have never been pick pocketed, but we did have a their snatch a camera charging chord from my backpack when it was checked at the airport while we were on a RTW trip. The charger had very little retail value, but it was incredibly frustrating because they didn't sell Cannon camera accessories anywhere in Brazil at the time! We had to wait in Rio for a few weeks while a family member shipped us a new one. It took so long, we left Ri, traveled around Brazil and came back to the hotel later to pick it up.
I've never been pick pocketed, thank god, but I am going to Madrid in a few months and am definitely leery. I did lose something while traveling though: my iPod! I left it in a rental car on accident, and returned it. By the time I realized it, they'd already given it to another renter! I don't know what happened to it... but it's gone. Had to get a new one.
On the first night of my first trip to Istanbul, I was walking with my guide (who I’d hired via the internet) when four gregarious young men seemed to appear out of nowhere. They approached me and with wide smiles and loud tidings (I’ve no idea what they where saying) they energetically shook both my hands and patted my shoulders and back. Within moments they began to close tightly around me, and what I thought was the welcome wagon became a group grope as two continued vigorously shaking my hands and arms while I felt unseen hands up and down my body. As I struggled to detach myself, their friendly frenzy seems to intensify as they shook, bumped, and accosted me in tight formation. Just as I was about to yell for help, all four dashed away into the night. I felt me back pocket, which was now wallet-free.
Exasperated I screeched to my guide, “I can’t believe I just got mugged by four Turkish teens!” With a sneer he informed me, “They were Kurds.” Like that somehow made a difference to me.
I have had the good fortune to have never been pick pocketed. I’ve experienced more than a few attempts, but each time, luck was on my side. (Long may it last.) However, I guess you could say what I “lost” while traveling in questionable areas was the freedom to bring along anything I wanted. You never know how safe you feel in a city until you’re there, so packing correctly can be a challenge. Suddenly, not being able to tote around the purse or backpack you brought because it can fit your phone, wallet, passport, jacket, and camera (etc.) means you can’t bring those items out with you. I once walked around Barcelona for eight hours in a too-heavy jacket in springtime because my friend had just had her passport stolen and I needed the largest zipper pockets possible to carry everything I needed. Not only was it uncomfortable, it looked ridiculous.