Travel Tip: What to Pack
So… what do you pack for a trip around the world?
I’m not sure this applies to every trip, but here’s what I’ve got on my list for our upcoming honeymoon, which will take us around the globe…
** In a small rolling suitcase I’ll carry on the plane with me, I’ll put my laptop, camera, a pillow case, and a few other things I’ll get to below. (I have a camera bag and a laptop bag, but I prefer to pack them in my checked baggage than lug them over my shoulder through airports. It’s easier to simply put the equipment in that rolling carry-on.)
Now, into that pillow case I mentioned, I’ll put:
** Toothpaste chewing gum (I like Arm and Hammer’s gum the best. You can find it in the toothpaste aisle at your local grocery store.)
** My ipod (I download audio books and sometimes language CDs for listening to on the plane. I also store my travel documents on the ipod in case of emergencies — a copy of my passport, itinerary, and emergency contact numbers. You can also download audio walking tours. I couldn’t find any for the cities I’m heading to on my honeymoon, but I know they do exist (and are easily found online) for D.C., New York, Paris, and other larger U.S. and European cities.)
** A contact lens case filled with Vaseline on one side and tea tree oil on the other. I’ve written about this before: http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/?p=163
** A granola bar (or two) in case the in-flight meal service is either late or simply not available.
By stuffing all this into a pillow case, I can easily reach in and grab the sack before I store my bag in the overhead compartment. Then I have the things I need in-flight close to me.
The pillow case has other uses too. I’ve written about these before, here: A Straw, A Pillow Case and a Garbage Bag Twist Tie
Also in my carry-on I keep a spare set of clothes and my travel documents. My co-worker, Terry Frank (not to be confused with my husband, Terry Allen), uses a receipt file to keep her travel documents in order. I’ve never tried this but I’m going to give it a shot on this trip.
A receipt file is just a small accordion file with a rubber band or a snap to keep everything inside. You can find them at any office supply store or Wal-mart. Here’s an example: http://tinyurl.com/yus3qa
I suspect this will come in handy on my trip as I’ll need to keep each country’s hotel reservations, airport transfers, and “what to see” lists separate.
Even if you’re not traveling to multiple cities, though, you can still use this filing system. Terry uses it to store her passport, hotel reservations, extra currency if she’s traveling outside the U.S. and doesn’t want to carry both currencies in her wallet, traveler’s checks, emergency contact numbers, etc. It’s convenient to have everything in one place.
Here’s a list of documents and essentials I always bring with me on overseas trips:
** Copy of my health insurance card and emergency contacts for both me and my husband
** Credit card numbers and bank accounts (I’m actually not carrying this with me. Instead, I’ll send a copy to my mom and I’ll just call her if there’s a problem).
** Our AAA card
** Serial numbers from our traveler’s checks
** The address of the U.S. Embassy
** Our passports
** Obviously, our flight tickets
** Confirmation emails from hotels
** Confirmation emails from train tickets and tours already scheduled
** Copies of the travel insurance policies on our credit cards and life insurance plans
Not only will I carry these with me but I’ll also give copies to my parents or co-workers in case of an emergency.
In my suitcase, I’m packing my clothes, my laptop and camera cases, plus:
** Plenty of Ziploc bags for collecting things and compressing clothes
** A lightweight, nylon duffel bag in case we buy something and need an extra checked bag
** A garbage bag twist tie (I’ve written about this before: A Straw, A Pillow Case and a Garbage Bag Twist Tie)
** Imodium, vitamins, and some kind of stomach settler, like Pepto
I’m also considering a stop at the post office to see if I can get a big bubble-wrap-lined bag to stick in the bottom of our suitcase. I think I might want to mail a few of our purchases (or clothes we packed but aren’t wearing) back to the States at some point.
Then, the gadgets we’re bringing:
** Cell phone (we have GSM service from Cingular)
** A small LED light — the same one I keep attached to my camera bag for seeing the dials and menus in the dark
** A small pocket knife
** A headset so we can use skype.com to call home
** Our cameras and extra batteries and memory cards
** Our Photo Tip Cards in case I forget something
** Chargers and adapters for our cell phone, camera batteries, and laptop
** Laptop (We went back and forth about this but decided to bring it for picture storing, movies on the plane, writing, quick Internet access in hotels with WiFi, and last-minute travel research on the cities we’re exploring.)
** And, of course, the ipod
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]