Three times that saving a dumb piece of paper made my travel less painful

The toll booth slip

A few weeks ago we had an incident.  We were shopping for a couple of cases of beer for a party we were hosting.  Alcohol is strictly controlled in this state of India and our driver had figured out that a place a little south of us had slightly cheaper prices for a case of beer – about $3 for the box of 12 big bottles.  It is just past the toll gate south of us.  So we went just past it and bought some but as we passed back through the toll gate, a police officer flagged us over.  He saw the two cases of beer plainly displayed in the back seat and told us that we were breaking the law.

A few hours south of us is Pondicherry – a small city within a very small “state” that pretty much just includes the city.  Alcohol tax and restrictions are much lighter so some bootlegging occurs.  The officer probably just wanted a bribe.  My driver pulled out the time-stamped toll booth receipt which showed we clearly hadn’t made the trip to Pondicherry.  I’m sure the officer knew any way.  He didn’t bother to open the boxes to see if the Tamil Nadu tax labels were on the bottles.  Instead he made up some statement about how we’re only allowed to transport two bottles at a time.  A short wait while he made, or pretended to make, a phone call and they waved us on.

The taxi receipt

Kevin made a trip to China while I was visiting Pepper there.  The second week of his visit, Pepper had to be at work so we were able to explore Shanghai a little.  We got around using taxis.  One of the places we went was the museum of propaganda where they have a massive collection of communist propaganda posters.  We spent time there and walked around a little.  We took a taxi looking for a place to eat I think.  At some point Kevin realized he didn’t have his GoPro.  We found some very helpful coffee shop employees that spoke English and with the receipt from our taxi ride we were able to call the company and identify the cab number.  The GoPro was slipped down in the recess for the seat belt, this had to be at least an hour after we had the ride.  We tipped the driver well and laughed at our good fortune.  Kevin later left that GoPro near a flower bed in Trondheim, Norway.  Dang those small cameras!

The ATM receipt

During a bit of wandering in Cuzco, Peru I used my ATM card.  Five hours later and lots of walking I decided I should stock up on soles because I was getting on a train to Machu Picchu at 5:30 in the morning and didn’t know how available an ATM would be in the town below that I would stay in.  My card was gone.  I didn’t know if I had left it in the machine or somehow dropped it in my walking.  I ended up having to do a bunch of things to track down the card — but quite critical in the process was that I had the receipt from a balance inquiry and withdrawal.  I was able to find the bank and get my card back by mid morning the next day.

That experience made when a machine sucked up a card while we were in Guatemala on our honeymoon much less worrisome (but no less stressful!)

So there you have it.  When you travel, it is probably a good idea to keep those stupid scraps of paper, admission tickets, receipts and other items for at least a day.  You never know when some information on it will keep you out of trouble with the law, bring your possessions back or  make it so you don’t have to cut your trip short because you can’t access your money!

zieak (2207 Posts)

Ryan "Zieak" McFarland dabbles. Beards. Making things. Travel. Genealogy. Frugality and excessiveness. Fitness and fatness. He's a PE teacher in India, usually calls Alaska home and is a happy father to two boys and the husband to a suddenly crafty wife.


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