Heading on vacation this summer? Heading out of the country? Here are some essential organizing and planning tips for traveling abroad as smooth as possible!
Make a packing list.
No matter where you are traveling or for how long, you should always make a packing list. List everything from clothing to chargers to toiletry items. This ensures that you won’t forget the most forgettable items – i.e. chargers.
Keep all pertinent travel information in one place.
Keep your hotel information, flight information, embassies, contact numbers in one place. Ideally, have it written down or printed out. We have technology at our fingertips, but sometimes it fails, having the information close to you in another way is crucial when traveling abroad.
Contact your credit card companies.
No matter where you are traveling you should notify your credit card companies. If your credit card company sees purchases in an area outside of your normal, they may shut off access and decline all purchases to protect your funds. If you are abroad, it may be more difficult to contact them after it happens. Do this before you leave.
Carry a photocopy of your passport – in a different location than your passport.
You should always carry a copy of your passport with you (and keep one at home). If your passport is lost or stolen, having a photocopy if it to bring to the embassy can save time in the process.
Know the climate of where you are going.
Even in the summer, you could be traveling somewhere that has colder temperatures. Don’t assume that since you are traveling in the summer that you need shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits.
Make sure someone who is not traveling with you has your travel information.
Someone back home should always have your flight and hotel information. Whether you are traveling with your family or solo, make sure a friend or family member has the info.
Roll your clothes in your suitcase.
Rolling your clothes seriously creates more space in your suitcase. I was recently traveling for 10 days (attending two different functions – meaning two different types of clothing needed), and I rolled my clothes in my suitcase for the first time. I could easily fit everything I needed to bring and have leftover space. When I just folded my clothes, I ran out of room quickly and couldn’t fit everything.
Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on.
When you are checking luggage, always have a change of clothes in your carry-on. Sometimes our luggage doesn’t always want to start our vacation with us!
Learn some basic phrases (write them down!) if traveling to a place where they speak a different language.
Learn some basics before you go so you can be friendly and polite when traveling abroad. Learn how to say – “do you speak English?” I found that when I was in Rome, I wanted to speak Italian to the natives, but once they realized I could speak English, they wanted to talk to me in English to practice! It will be different everywhere you go, but you don’t want to get lost in translation.
Pack in flight essentials in a separate pouch.
Keep the things you need for the flight in easy access. When we put items in the overhead compartment or underneath our feet, we tend to disturb the person sitting next to us when we need something. Pack what you need – headphones, phone, wallet, ipod, book, glasses, etc. – and use on the plane in a pouch or small bag that you can easily pull out and keep with you during the flight.
Pack a small medical kit.
Have a small medical kit with you when you travel packed with band-aids, neosporin, pain relievers, itch relief ointment, antibiotics, ear plugs, OTC medicines for various ailments. You are exposed to so many different things when your travel – in route and in the new place you are traveling to. You want to have the medicine that you know will make you feel better if you get sick.
Pack dryer sheets.
Pack a couple of dryer sheets in your bag so that your luggage stays smelling fresh through your travels – especially as you start to have more dirty clothes than clean ones!
Bring a laundry bag.
Bring a small bag that you can put your dirty clothes in. It makes it easier when you are in the hotel to know what you have that is clean, and it creates a barrier in your suitcase from the clean clothes. If you actually used everything you brought (first: celebrate!), you won’t need the barrier but it will keep your dirty clothes away from the other items in your suitcase.
Have a great trip!