There is so much planning involved in a perfect holiday yet we always feel as though something has been forgotten. It helps to have a checklist to prepare for a big trip away from home, whether you’re going from one city in your own country, to going somewhere internationally. It helps to make sure nothing is left behind or forgotten when your mind is on white sandy beaches instead of the hectic pace of your everyday life.
If you’re traveling with a passport, make sure you’ve scanned your passport photo and airline tickets, and even print extras. By keeping it in an email for easy access, it means that even if your paper versions are misplaced or lost in your luggage that you’ll have the most important documents with you. Another common issue is losing your luggage tags, so it’s helpful to print labels with your address on them to stick to your bags so the airline will know where to send them. You should also find a way of identifying your bags since everyone’s tend to look roughly the same, so tie a piece of colored yarn or use fabric paint on the bags so you can more easily identify them when they’re coming off the plane. You should also split up anything of value like your bank cards, purse and carry on so that if someone does steal one of them, you won’t end up stuck and unable to fix it quickly.
2. Jewelry and Other Valuables
Never pack your best jewelry, and if you must have some with you – wear it on your person. Either opt for costume jewelry or don’t bring it along, it removes temptation and the chance it will be lost forever.
3. Carry-on or Checked Baggage
If you are able to pack everything you plan to use while away into a large personal bag and one carry-on, do it. The benefits are immense, because you can go right to your gate after you check in from a self-serve kiosk, and everything you have remains with you should you need it on the flight. You can also just grab your bag from the overhead and depart the plane and the airport without having to wait on baggage at a carousel, which is such a benefit after a long flight.
4. Wear the Right Clothes
Flight apparel is such an easy thing to get wrong, but with long international flights, a person needs to be comfortable. We have all seen the person carrying around a pillow or blanket, or even dressed in pajamas who doesn’t care what others think of how they look. While we might think it is improper and laugh at their expense, they will easily be more comfortable than the person who is dressed in a tailored suit, wearing high heels and makeup for a sometimes 36 hour trip. That put together look won’t last through to the destination anyway so why not be comfortable? Try to wear sweats, lounge pants, or leggings made of cotton, or a loose pair of old jeans. Choose a t-shirt, and wear a light jacket to adjust to the constantly changing temperatures of the plane. Your jacket can double as a pillow as well, and failing needing it at all, fits great in the overhead compartments.
5. Bringing Gifts
If you plan to bring a gift to your destination or back from the destination to a loved one, don’t wrap it. The people in charge of security at the airports will unwrap it for security reasons, and do not appreciate finding items hidden. If you must bring something back as a gift, keep it unwrapped and bring along the wrapping paper or bag in your carry-on or suitcase, and wrap it before you leave the airport, or just as you arrive where it is to be given to the recipient.
6. Packing Shoes
Shoes are a troublesome thing, and they always smell even if you don’t have smelly feet, they can smell like rubber. If you make some baking soda sachets, you can avoid this. Just use paper towels and string to secure baking soda in the middle, and toss them into your shoes. Place each shoe into a pair of old socks and pack them away, keeping your other belongings clean and smelling great.
Most of us take some variety of medication on a daily basis, and it’s massively important to pack it with you in your carryon or personal bag, along with whatever documentation you might need to show authorities that you have the clearance to use the medication and it belongs to you. Also be sure to wear a med-alert bracelet or to write down somewhere easily found if you are diabetic or have any other medical issues which might cause a problem while traveling so a first responder will know what to do right away. Being at 35,000 feet is the worst time to have a medical emergency but it can be made much easier if people know what to look for. If you’ll be away visiting for a long time, pack extra medication with you in case your flight is delayed, but pack the extras in your checked baggage.
Security checkpoints have made it difficult to carry along makeup, or toothpaste and other liquids that make life easier and more comfortable when traveling and when you get to your destination. Be sure that you’re within the guidelines regarding size and quantity so that you don’t get them taken away from you. A quart size zippered bag is all you’re allowed for them and they all must fit inside them. There is also an additional rule regarding how many ounces of liquid each item can be. Keep in mind that you can always use your checked luggage for full size toiletries but you’re also able to buy them when you land, so it might be safer just to create the extra bag space by not bringing them at all. It also means less chance of having your shampoo or conditioner blow up all over your clothes mid-flight.
9. Space Saving
Almost everywhere sells vacuum packable bags which will pull all the extra air out from whatever is in the bag, and they help to give a lot more room than usual when having to pack a lot of things. It can be easy to go over the bag weight limit when using them however, so if you’re using multiple bags like this be sure that you keep an eye on the total weight of the bags.
10. Roll It Up
If you don’t want to spend the money on a vacuum bag, or they’re not sold where you live, consider rolling your clothes to save space. If you’re worried about wrinkles, you can use gift tissue paper or plastic wrap on both sides before rolling it. Before you unroll them, you can put the rolls into the bathroom while you shower and let the steam help to de-wrinkle the clothing even more. Rolling clothing seems like it would create more wrinkles than laying clothing flat, but it actually helps prevent them the most.
11. Power Charger
Research whether you’ll need a power converter or a special plug adapter before you go, to ensure your laptop and cell phone remain charged and ready if you need them at every stop along the way. Most variety stores will carry a plug adapter at your destination, but don’t buy one at the airport unless you are prepared to spend a lot more than it actually is worth. Also be sure that your power plug to your device can handle increases in power. The USA for instance, uses 110volts but many other countries use 220volts as a standard. Most laptops have a box attached to the cord, and most cell phone charger plugs also have a converter that will allow the power to be stepped down safely for your equipment. Read the writing on these boxes to be sure though so you don’t fry expensive gear. Things like flat irons or hair dryers are not likely to have a converter, and must be bought at the destination.
12. Tipping Issues
Do try to carry some local currency when you’re traveling in coin and paper so you can tip. If you’re at the airport, you can use your home currency but when you leave you may find you need a taxi, and need cash to pay as well as to tip. While the exchanges at the airports charge exorbitant rates, it isn’t too bad to use them for small amounts of money to use until you can change more at a bank locally. One of the biggest tips here, is to ask a local who does not get tips how much is considered to be fair where you are visiting, so you don’t get unduly taken advantage of.
Some airports offer free wifi but most offer a hotspot which can be bought by the hour or the day, so depending on your layover times, it might be beneficial just to sign up for something like Boingo which is the most common wifi carrier in airports so you can enjoy wifi uninterrupted as you wait for your next flight. If the wifi should fail to work for any reason though, be prepared with a book or some magazines to read.
14. Come Prepared
Airline food is not the greatest thing to eat while in the air, so pack health snacks that are not fruit or meats in your carry-on and be sure you drink plenty of water. Buy a bottle of water after you get through security to bring onto the plane. The flight attendants in every airline are happy to refill it for you when it gets empty, and on the same note – try to get a seat near to a restroom, as well as an aisle seat so you can get up to move around, and use the restroom comfortably without climbing over others or waking them. Bring along a small bottle of hand sanitizer to wipe down your food tray and be sure you wash your hands after using the restroom, and at every layover stop in between.
15. Try to Sleep
This may be easier said than done especially with snoring people or babies crying which seems to be in every single flight, but do try to sleep anytime it is possible. There are often spots for an upgrade at the counter before your gate to get coach-plus for some extra leg room, or you can always see if there are any seats left in an exit row for the same reason. Use neck pillows and noise-cancelling headphones to help block out the noise and to keep comfortable, and even consider bringing along a sleep aid to take for the flight.
16. Plan Ahead
Get most of your homework about your destination done before you arrive but be open to the fact that it might change and probably will once you get there. Finding perfect accommodation makes it easy to map out the rest of your trip to Wilderness, and the friendly people who greet you when you arrive are all too happy to point out the many great things to do while visiting. Making a call to them first and getting a rough idea is even better, and they might even have tips on something you can bring that you never even thought of.