Running around the world in a high pressure, high stakes race is tough work, especially if you don’t have the right essentials in your Amazing Race Canada backpack.
Obviously the basics, like water, clothing and some sort of matching team headband are already covered, but we’re talking about those little extras that might come in handy while on the road or in the middle of another tough Detour.
After watching these Season 2 contestants race around the world for half a season now, we have a few suggestions on simple items that might make travel slightly easier. The good news is that these items can translate to your everyday travel essentials too—if you put them to good use!
It seems like a totally random, perhaps useless object … but is it? Carrying around a few tasty morsels not only keeps any potentially angry canines at bay, but it also stops them from stealing your human food. Plus if a fellow competitor really gets under your skin you can always try to paw them off as some form of beef jerky. Revenge tastes so sweet, doesn’t it?
For the real traveller: It’s probably a bad idea to feed stray dogs you encounter. But if you’re couch surfing and the owners happen to have a pooch? Well it definitely comes in handy to bring Fido a snack. It will endear you to the host that you thought of their baby, and maybe land you an extra night or two for free.
This stuff is gold, especially for the team that’s forced to endure a 16 hour flight, a night sleeping on the floor and the crazy heat of another sweltering country. Throw in some physical challenges and no time for laundry, and suddenly a small spray bottle is your best friend.
For the real traveller: When you’re on the road for a long time, laundry mats can be hard to find. Hanging your sweaters and jackets up in your hotel room overnight and giving them a quick spray will help keep them fresh for longer. The extra bonus? It takes the smell right out of a musty motel room or hostel.
A basic outdoor survival guide
The U.S. edition of this Race heads to some pretty exotic locations, but the Canadian version is as much about traversing the world as it is about exploring our own backyard. Believe us when we say a book like this comes in handy. Just ask Mickey and Pete, certified “bushwhackers.”
For the real traveller: You never know when such a book will be good for a camping or RVing trip, plus it gives you extra reading material during those long downtimes or flights—if you’re travelling an extra long way to reach your campground. Simply heading to an exotic country for a little sightseeing? Frommers and Lonely Planet guides can also be your best friends as they offer basic word translations and must-see spots.
Sure, there is a lot of action to be had on the Race, what with country hopping and Road Blocking and whatnot, but there’s some downtime too. In order to keep things friendly but competitive, why not bring a game or two along. Just make sure that it’s travel friendly, and easy to actually understand. Otherwise you and your teammate might not even make it to the next pitstop intact.
For the real traveller: An unusual game works wonders at an all-inclusive spot (Cards Against Humanity is one example). Not only do they bring a crowd together, but it’s an easy way to make friends without having to have complex “first date” type talks. They also double up as an excellent way to spend time at the airport between flights or during unanticipated delays.
A trinket from home
Absence might make the heart grow fonder, but there’s no reason to get too lonely on those long days and nights away. Smart teams will consider bringing something small and motivating along with them, whether it be a special hair piece, a picture of a loved one, or even a participatory medal from the third grade.
For the real traveller: Having something small but practical not only helps to keep you from growing lonely on a long business trip or solo trek in Asia, but depending on the object it can also be a cool conversation starter when trying to explain your Canadian lifestyle to the locals.
Extra breath mints
If you’re not a fan of mints any hard candy or even gum will do. When you spend long hours on planes and other modes of transportation, you never know when your pucker is going to need a little freshening up. Then there’s always that time you wind up randomly kissing a fish …
For the real traveller: Having gum on the plane is a 101 for seasoned travellers since it helps to quell the ear popping during takeoff and landing. Plus it doubles up as a breath saver for those weird times when you find yourself without drinkable water, which is a must for most people when trying to brush their teeth.
When you’re not being asked to slurp back snake venom or digging into your flight food, there are times when you’re going to need a protein bar or two, but there’s just no time to stop for a bite. Not to mention that on this Race, you never know when you’re going to go “hungry.”
For the real traveller: It’s never a bad idea to have some basic granola bars or roasted nuts when you’re away from home, especially if your stomach doesn’t tend to adapt too easily to exotic food. Sometimes it’s better not to chance it–especially if your tummy is already a little queasy.
The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.