Read these 25 Travel Packing Checklist Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Travel Insurance tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you are taking prescription medicine you probably wouldn't forget to add it to your international travel checklist. However, you should also pack any over-the-counter stuff you take too. Sure, there are pharmacies all over the globe. However, over-the-counter medicine differs from country to country. Even if it is made by the same company. Dosage levels could be stronger. Side effects could be different. So rather than risk a bad reaction it's probably best to bring what you know makes you feel better.
Aside from the language the next biggest change you encounter when traveling is time. It's also the part of the trip that takes the most getting used to when you first arrive. Of course, keeping track of it can be a bit tricky. Especially if you are backpacking through Europe. The solution -- a digital watch. Look for models that can tell time in different places as well as offer an alarm. They usually don't cost too much and they can handle most types of travel situations without damage. If you know you'll be doing a lot of outdoor activities you might want to make sure it is also water resistant.
-Passport with required visas (passport should be valid for at least six months from start of trip). -Visas for entry into countries to be visited, including those which you will transit. -Health book (record of immunizations). -Airline tickets (many countries require round trip ticket for entry). -Drivers license - State (i.e. Indiana). -Drivers license - International (available from AAA). -Camera or photo permit, where required. -Fax, telex or letter stating that your visa will be available upon arrival for countries who do not issue visas outside their country. (ie UAE, Oman, etc.). -Alien registration card (green card) or valid visa for re-entry into the USA - non-US citizens. -Traveler checks (exchange for local currency as needed at a bank). -Major international credit cards (ie American Express, Diners, and VISA/MasterCard) -Airline frequent travel cards. -Telephone numbers at destinations and addresses in countries to be visited - may be needed for landing cards. -Copy of your passport (photo and vis
-Count your cash before leaving in an inconspicuous location. -Get export papers from US Customs for computers, video cameras, etc. to make US Customs clearance easier when you return. -Check in early and go through security immediately. -Stay away from windows, trash bins, etc. -Never agree to watch someone's luggage. -Report unattended bags and packages. -Note the location of exits. -Move away from disturbances. -Take care of personal needs before boarding since long delays and waits are common.
-Your itinerary with spouse or friend. -Copy of your passport (photo and visa pages) and other travel documents. -Unneeded credit cards. -I.D. and membership cards (i.e. office cardkey). -Expensive and religious jewelry. -Penknife or anything that looks like a weapon. -Company logo items. -Pornographic magazines.
Shoes can be a bit of a problem when it comes to packing luggage. Chances are you will be going to a variety of places that require a variety of outfits. Some casual. Some fancy. Because of this you will need to pack a variety of shoes (sneakers, loafers, slippers, thongs, etc.) The problem with this is that shoes are not the cleanest clothing item. It's not like you can chuck ‘em in the laundry either. Soles of shoes are especially a problem. There's all kinds of dirt that can be wedged into ‘em. Which in turn they can pass along to your clean blouse in the same suitcase. The best thing you can do is keep your shoes covered. Put your pair in a zip lock storage bag or an old pair of socks. Anything that will prevent the dirt from the shoes from getting on everything else. If you have other pockets on the bag you might want to consider placing your shoes in ‘em.
No matter how many times you ask you can never be too sure if a hotel will actually have a hair dryer. What if that's the one room with a broken one? What if it's not powerful enough? Aside from that there are plenty of other little electrical conveniences that we can't leave our homes without. However, when packing for an international trip it's important to pack smart. Take only what you need. The lighter the packing the more room you will have to bring stuff back. So if you are looking to bring any electrical items like a curling iron, hairdryer or an electrical razor make sure they are portable. Also, keep in mind that US outlets are not the same throughout the world. So chances are your hairdryer might not plug into where you are going. To help, you should probably pick up a variety of International electrical outlet adapters. Do a search engine search to find out which stores carry them.
Years ago if you were planning a big trip you were planning to bring lots of film. Which meant devoting an entire shopping bag to holding the film. Then of course as you used up a roll you would need another bag for the used film. Thankfully digital cameras have done away with that added hassle. Today, you only need to worry about packing teeny-tiny little plastic pieces know as memory cards or sticks. These memory items are used by the camera to store pictures. If you know you will be taking a long trip you might want to invest in a big card like a gig. If that is still not enough you could also purchase a memory reader. A device that you can empty the pictures into so you can free up the card for more picture taking. Another thing that will help you prepare for travel is a tote bag. Buy one that's big enough to hold your camera and extra memory cards and batteries, but not too big that it will be cumbersome to carry around to the zillion sites you want to visit.
Packing can also present its own pitfalls. One of which is the leak factor. If you are packing for a long trip you will try and cram as much stuff in your bag as you can. This can be bad if you are packing any stuff that can leak like shampoo or liquid soap. If the top is flimsy it could open and the shampoo could spill all over everything. An easy way around this is to buy a smaller travel version of your favorite shampoos. They usually have a screw top that can be tightly sealed for travel. If you can't find a mini version of your shampoo you can always buy an empty mini bottle. Then you can fill it with whatever you want like soap or shampoo. Remember, to buy plastic bottles instead of glass to eliminate shattering.
-Prescription medicines in clearly labeled containers. -Small first aid kit. -Card listing allergies and medical conditions. -Plain, nondescript luggage. -Business cards (pack in checked luggage). -Foreign language/English pocket dictionary. -Alarm clock, battery or wind-up. -Adapters for electrical items (most overseas locations have 220 volts, 50 Hz electricity. -Personal appliances (hair dryer, etc.) - 220 volts. -Flashlight, smoke alarm, door stop, etc. -Family pictures (this may reduce homesickness). -Photos - black and white passport size - approx. 20. -You may need a photo to obtain passes, permits, etc.
Backpackers beware. Walking into a youth hostel is not like walking into a four star hotel. It's a place for backpackers to spend the night. Usually, you get the room basics. There are beds, but they might not be pest-free. So it might be best to bring your own. A sleeping bag. True, these bags can be cumbersome to pack. Though, buying them overseas can be pretty expensive. However, you can buy a sleep sack. This is basically 3 sheets sewn together. You would sleep in it much like you would a sleeping bag. Though, the difference is it's made from lighter material. So it won't take up a lot of room in your knapsack.
Chances are after a nice 8 to 12 hour flight you won't be bright eyed and bushy-tailed. Plus, if you are also new to the country and don't speak the language you probably can add shell-shocked to your list of emotions. To help you might want to prepare a mini-reference list. It could have hotel phone numbers & addresses. Plus, helpful phrases in that country's language like...
How much will it cost to take me to the hotel?
Plus, any other phrases you would need upon arrival. The one thing you should avoid putting on this list are credit card and conformation numbers just in case your list becomes lost.
It never fails. As soon as you get to the airport to board the plane going home you suddenly remember all of the gifts you were supposed to get. An uncle. Cousin. Co-worker. A neighbor getting the mail. You're then stuck running from store to store in the airport buying overpriced & oversized pens that no one will want. To avoid last minute gift-shopping make a list of all of the people you want to get gifts for. If you can, carry it with you during the trip. Maybe even jot down what you think they'd want from where. So you can gradually fulfill your gift list and not have to worry about pillaging the airport gift shop 5 minutes before take off.
Most airlines will only allow you 44 lbs of luggage you don't have to check. Most people see this as a challenge. How much can I bring so I can still bring it on the plane. You think that if you can bring it on with you then you'll have an easier time getting out of the airport. Though what about all of the time leading up to that?
- Going through security - If there's something that beeps in your bag you have to open it all up.
- The transfers - Dragging heavy bags around might not be the best move if you are trying to move quickly through the airport to make your connecting flight.
In the end checking your bags is probably the best way to go – literally.
When you're backpacking through foreign countries your luggage is your life. It goes where you go. Though, it's hard to keep an eye on it all of the time. Especially if you are sleeping on a train. Then you're at the mercy of pick-pocketers. For this reason you should never keep anything of value in the outside pockets. It's the first place everyone will look. If you have something of value (like a passport) keep it in a money belt. Anything that is of value that you don't need right away pack it inside your bag. As an extra precaution you can hide the item in a shoe, sock or shirt.
When packing for a trip it's not too hard to get overwhelmed. Basically you need to plan ahead which can make you nuts. The best thing you can do in this situation is create a checklist. Though, before you create the list you should factor in a couple of questions like:
- How long are you going for?
- Where are you going?
- Are you going to be doing extreme sports?
- What kind of weather is that country having now?
Once all of these questions are factored in then you can create the list. If you are having trouble writing the list you can check the internet to find sample packing list travel tips from people who have visited that certain country.
Going overseas on a big international trip is almost like a kid walking into a giant toy store. There's so much to see the brain overloads and you don't remember what you came in there for in the first place. The last thing you want to do is fly hundreds of miles there and back without seeing what you wanted to see. The best thing you can do is make a list before you leave. It's probably easiest to organize it by countries you will be visiting. Under each one write the museums and sites you want to visit. You should also rank them by importance. That way if you don't have the time you know which ones you can ditch first. Also, make a lot of copies since something that small and paper-thin might become invisible as soon as you pack it away.
Visit the State Department's website (http://travel.state.gov) for answers to the following questions and more: -Where do I get a passport application? -Where are the instructions for filling out the passport forms? -I have a life or death emergency. What should I do? -I am traveling very soon. How do I get a passport in a hurry? -How do I renew my passport? -How long is a passport valid? -My passport was lost or stolen. How do I report it? -I'm renewing my passport. Do I get the old one back? -How do I find out about the status of my passport application? -How do I get information about my child's passport? -How do I get a certified copy of my birth certificate? -What do I do if there is no birth record on file for me? -Who should maintain a valid U.S. passport? -What if there is an error in the passport I just received? -How do I change my name on my passport?
Most gadgets today don't run on 60 D batteries like their clunky ancestors. Usually AA or AAA will do the trick. Though, you should keep in mind that you will probably be using these tech-toys a bit more than usual, since you will have more down time. Hence, the reason for a vacation in the first place. The best thing to do is throw an extra pack of batteries in the bag. This way if the batteries fade you have back-up power. If you want to save money buy ‘em at bulk or discount stores as opposed to buying them at the airport at the last second. Also, check the type. Some new battery brands offer longer lasting versions of their batteries. They also design them for certain electronic devices – like digital cameras.
Depending on where you are going you might not be able to be sure you will be getting all the comforts of home, like running water. If you are traveling to a 3rd world nation this is a luxury, not something every place has. So if you are packing to go to a place like this you should pack disposable. Try not to pack to many things that depend on water like razors or contacts. Get their disposable version counterparts. If you do need to use water to rinse out something (like a toothbrush) use bottled water. Even if the place has running water there is no telling if it is pure enough to drink.
International travel usually requires a passport. Most countries also require a visa and possibly even a work permit if you will be conducting company business for an extended period of time. Visas, which allow you to enter and leave these countries, usually consist of special notations and stamps which are added to your passport by government officials.
Many tourists traveling overseas for the first time have questions about how and where to apply for a passport. Listed below is useful information from the U.S. Department of State that should answer most of your passport questions. For more information on passports, visit the U.S. Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov. When traveling abroad, you will need a passport and possibly a visa, depending on the country you are going to visit. Travel documents, after September 11th, have become extremely important and the U.S. is now issuing new state-of-the-art passports. The new passport incorporates a digitized image with other enhanced security features that make it one of the most secure travel documents produced anywhere in the world. Getting these more secure passports into circulation will help minimize the misuse of American passports by criminals, terrorists, and others.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|