Spotting that particular shade of green in the shoe closet resulted in a scream. My cousin had just been on a family vacation and could not believe she had forgotten the loot – a pair of comfy slippers from a heritage hotel.
This is not an unusual topic of conversation in our home – the ‘little return presents’ you come home with. Since we are a family that loves to travel, the ‘pick-ups’ by the end of the year can be piled into a tall tower – and then, everyone gets a pick. We take soaps, shampoos and conditioners, toothbrushes, shaving kits – and once, an emery board. This ‘kleptomania’ as it’s called is selective and wonderful – small, travel-sized goodies that come in very, very handy are closeted away.
Often, these knick-knacks make it to other travels, as well. Once, when I was in a tiny hotel with a wonderful view of the Kangchenjunga – the third highest mountain in the world in Darjeeling, it was only because I am blessed by the kleptomaniac curse that I could keep clean and smell tidy. [It was a bare-bones establishment which boasted running water – and the vistas – as its main attraction. What would we do without our handy little slivers of soap?]
When we returned from our holiday that had the emery board takeaway, I forgot I even had it – until a friend broke a nail and needed one pronto. An eye-mask from a plane ride has become a helpful tool in keeping the fabric of relationships from tearing – light can produce such a blade of anger when you are trying to nap.
There is also the ease with which you may furnish your own guest with a quick slap and dash delivery of a toothpaste tube that’s sized just right for a couple of days’ use or a pair of slippers that you won’t miss too much if it’s muddied or taken away.
If convenience is key to a good holiday, it’s these gifts that make the vacation perfect.
There is of course an issue with going overboard. If it’s a case of linen and wipes and soft furnishings, I’d strictly advise against a carry away. Not only for the embarrassment caused if you are caught - even though the Indian family caught ferrying goodie bags from a hotel was mortifying – but because that’s not the point of a hotel stay. A souvenir yes, a heist, not so much. Oh and if that’s not enough to deter you, think about the excess luggage costs – a first-hand product, bought when easy to transport, may be a better bet.
But those cloud-soled slippers – yeah, I’d say, pack 'em away.