Travel Tips for the International Kinkster

Right now I’m at the start of a couple of months of active traveling around the U.S. and Canada. At the same time I’ve been lucky enough to host Hishi Karo of the Shibari Dojo Vienna for a week in my home, which led to many interesting conversations about the differences in various countries. I also have a good friend about to embark on a kink tour of Australia, for which I’m envious about everything except the spiders.

Seems like a good time for a “top ten” list of travel lessons, most learned the hard way.

  1. Learn the Art of Waiting.

    Delay is a traveler’s companion; whether it’s a bus or a visa or another delayed flight, figure out how to wait gracefully. Sitting and being angry won’t make things any faster, so whether it’s meditation or an audiobook or writing smut in you notebook, you need to cultivate the ability (in the words of Chase Blackwood) of turning the Gates of Boredom into the Shrine of Patience.

  2. Know where you’re going and who you’re staying with.

    That sinking feeling when the border agent says “ Who are you staying with? ” and you realize that “Cocksucking Smutkitten” is probably not her real name. They will also ask where you are staying, so have an address ready along with a legal name. A corollary to this tip is that you have several ways of communicating with your contact – it’s a rude shock to realize that your phone doesn’t actually work or that the internet is down at your destination.

  3. Have some local currency. 

    Do you know how much this costs in Australia? Maybe you should.

    Do you know how much this costs in Australia? Maybe you should.

    On one drive up into Canada I had planned on getting local scrip from an ATM crossing the border; I literally had no cash on me, in either U.S. or Canadian. That meant that when I hit the $3 cash-only toll, I had to turn around and find an open cash machine about five miles back in the U.S. It was a silly delay that would have been easily overcome with a few bucks in both currencies in my pocket. It’s also a good idea to get an idea of what things cost in the country you’re heading towards – such as the tools of your trade (like lube) to a bacon cheeseburger. And do they bacon cheeseburgers where you’re going? Fortune favors the prepared traveller.

  4. Dress up to travel.

    There is a wealth of writing on why this is a good idea. Most imply that you’ll get things like free upgrades and such, which has not been my experience. What I can tell you is that coming off a plane after an uncomfortable flight and having a sexy attendant say “Lookin’ sharp!” puts a nice spring in my step, and taking a few minutes in the restroom to get squared away before meeting my connection helps me maintain a professional persona inside and outside.

  5. Have a personal hotspot/wifi connection.

    One of the differences between traveling kink presenters and business folk is that they usually don’t have the sites they use blocked for moral reasons. Panera, for example, has great food, great coffee, and free wifi – that blocks sites like this one, Fetlife, and more. If you arrange to have your own source of internet access – a hotspot device or tethering of some kind – you can avoid being subject to the censorship or (worse) variable speed of the “free” wifi.

  6. Talk to the Source.

    In any situation, get the information from primary sources whenever possible. For example, if you’re waiting on a hotel shuttle at the airport, don’t just accept the front desk’s estimate as to time of arrive. Insist on getting the drivers’ number and calling them for the eta. The hotel staff are busy with people who are actually standing in front of them, and will sometimes just make up estimates to shut you up.

  7. Be Prepared for Any Audience or Venue.

    If you’re going to a place for the first time, you have an idea of what it looks like in your head. Think of that like a fantasy of a good date – the reality may be better or worse, but it’s almost certainly different. Make sure your class or presentation will work whether you have an audience of two people or two hundred, with or without a microphone, a projector, or a whiteboard. Can you deliver a presentation if your luggage was lost an you have no equipment? These things happen.

  8. Have a Wing Person.

    Most kink presenters I know, myself included, really want to be of value to the people at our classes. This means spending time at the end of a presentation talking with attendees, answering questions. Hopefully these are simple and straightforward, but occasionally there are people who basically want to tell you a long story and occupy your attention for longer than your energy (depleted by the class) will allow. Have a friend nearby who knows the Signal. Something subtle (Hishi Karo draws her thumb across her neck in a throat slitting gesture) that cues them to come up and make an excuse that will provide an escape.

  9. Have a Supply of Food & Drink.

    You know how the first thing you do when stranded on a desert island is to find a source of fresh water?* Same thing with your new surroundings. Make sure you know where you can find food (including the hours they are open, as kinksters tend to keep different hours than most). If there is some beverage you need to survive (coffee, in my case) find out where it is available and the cost (see number 3). Always have a minimum supply of rations in case these things are not available – in my case it’s usually a bag of almonds and cranberries and a few packets of VIA coffee for emergencies. Traveling will deplete your body faster than you expect, and it’s much easier to deal with challenges when you’re fueled up.

  10. Have a good story to tell.

    This could also be called the Don’t try to follow Murphy Blue rule. He was at an event telling one of his epic and entertaining stories (I believe this one was about tying up five women in a tornado)** and when he finished, he gestured towards me and said “ Now you tell one, Gray! ” My muse squawked, hitched up her skirts and left immediately, and I realized that I didn’t have any really good stories prepared. I have good stories, mind you, but I wasn’t really prepared to tell them in a group setting. Lesson learned: always have a “ No shit, there I was… ” ready to go for when you might be asked that “ So, what’s the strangest things that ever… ” question.

Those are my top ten tips for traveling kinksters. I’m positive many other people have other suggestions, so lay ’em on me: what’s worked for you, and what do you wish you’d known before you ever stepped out the door?

 

* You didn’t? Well, now you do.
** This is not even remotely an exaggeration.

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