How to steal from hotels – A comprehensive guide from a leading newspaper

The Sydney Morning Herald is the oldest continuously published newspaper in the southern hemisphere. It is the Sydney equivalent of The Age, which I have already written about.

So what sort of cutting edge journalism are they dishing out? How about this article, published online in May, detailing all kinds of useful tricks to steal from or defraud hotels. After all, hotels are made of money. They can afford to have people steal from them.

The travel tip nobody will tell you

Travelling overseas? There are a million books and websites filled with an amazing range of travel tips,but I want to share the one thing I’ve discovered that is not in the books:

Carry a ukulele.

A ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn, and it is incredibly portable. You can get a cheap Mahalo brand for less than $30. It is one of the few instruments that is so cheap that will still sound good. It sounds even better if you throw on some Aquila strings (about $20).

Why travel with a ukulele?

  • They are cheap. Cheap enough that if they get damaged or lost it doesn’t matter
  • They are a fun and happy instrument. You can’t be sad when you are playing a ukulele.
  • They are easy to learn. You can be playing basic songs in 15 minutes. And they sound good, not like someone learning violin!
  • They are portable. Easy to stuff in a backpack and carry anywhere, and they fit in your carry-on luggage
  • They are a great way to meet people. In my experience, when you have a ukulele people will come up to actually talk to you, not just sell you trinkets. They seem generally interested and love to have a go at it. It’s a great way to make momentary friendships with those many random people that pass through your life as you travel.
  • Protection from monkeys. Probably not a big concern for most people, but it was an effective tool for keeping away aggressive monkeys at the Old Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali.
  • Crime prevention strategy. Unfortunately I don’t know if there is a causal effect, but I carry my ukulele everywhere and I have never had troubles with being attacked or robbed, even walking in the dark streets of developing nations alone at night.

So there you have it, take a ukulele when you travel.

For the last and best word on ukuleles, let’s ask Amanda Palmer.