Monday, August 3, 2009

Travel Tips Part 2: Don't leave home without it!



The old slogan remains true-don't leave home without your American Express or whichever credit card of choice you possess. By the way, that wasn't supposed to rhyme. LOL. Beyond the plastic, here is a list of items you won't want to travel without!


Before I leave for any trip I ALWAYS write out a list of what I'll want to bring (maybe a little Type A but hey that's me, I like to be prepared). I usually start it about a week before I leave so I can edit it or add to it and make a quick run to a store if necessary. Remember, anything will almost always be cheaper in your home country so buy it before you depart.


Travel Must-Haves


1. Passport-If you haven't travelled in a while, I'll fill you in-you need a passport to travel now when leaving the U.S. Before it used to be that you could carry your driver's license and birth certificate. That is no longer in effect as of this year. Make sure before you travel you give yourself enough time to go an apply for your passport along with get a photo made. In most cases it can be expedited for a fee if you're really pressed for time. Also, if you haven't travelled in a few years, check the expiry and make sure yours is still valid-don't assume.


2. Camera, Batteries & Memory Cards-Sometimes the most obvious things to pack are the ones that somehow slip our minds. This happens to me all the time at the grocery store, that's why lists are so important. If your camera takes rechargeables or has a battery charger-bring it with you! You can always buy disposable batteries if needed but the rechargeables are cheaper in the longrun and of course better for the environment too. :) This all applies to your video camera too. Be sure to bring extra tapes or memory cards. This past trip I brought nearly 3GB of memory card storage and it wasn't enough. The prices in Europe were horrific so I deleted a few not-so-important ones to accommodate. It's always better to have too much than not enough when it comes to precious travel memories.


3. Sunscreen and Aloe- With summer here bring a high SPF sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, and be sure to also pack some aloe too in case you do happen to get a little more pink than you had hoped for. This will save you shopping time and likely extra cash. By the way most people only use a sunscreen with UVA protection which means you may be reducing your chances of a burn but increasing your chances of photo-aging which means dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It's a good idea to use a waterproof sunscreen even if you're just touring a city-in really warm climates you'll sweat and it will wear off quicker, be prepared.


4. Money-Once again this may seem obvious but a lot of people solely rely on credit cards. If any type of emergency or unexpected expense were to occur, you want to be prepared. Also, a lot of places only accept cash. ie: subways, streetcars, street/shop vendors, tips for bellboys and cabdrivers, taxis, etc. Just be sure to have it tucked away safely-a waist belt is a good idea when travelling in foreign countries. I just came back from Rome where two people I spoke to had friends there that were pick-pocketed-No fun!


5. Cell Phone-While it could become costly to make calls out of your home country due to roaming charges, in some cases it could be a life saver as an emergency tool. Be sure to check the rates and inquire about all charges that would apply before leaving so there aren't any surprises.


6. Voltage Converter/Plug Adapter-These only apply if you are travelling outside of North America. If you are planning a trip to Asia, Europe, etc., you'll want to pick up a set of these. Other countries operate on other voltages and the converter will make sure your electric gadgets will work. Also, different plugs are uses so the outlets are different and your hairdryer, cell phone charger etc will not work unless you use these devices. A good set containing everything can be found for around $15. Cruise ships are generally the only exception. On my last cruise I discovered that they had outlets that catered to European and North American travellers.


7. Maps/Travel Guide Books-Many times if you are staying in a nice hotel they'll provide you with a map. It's always a good idea to pack one of those beforehand if you can. That way you can plot out what you'd like to see beforehand. I like to check out travel guides from the library to cut costs when travelling abroad. I was able to score one for every country we were travelling to. They usually have great advice on hotels, restaurants, shopping and what to see.


8. Comfortable Shoes-I'm a girly girl at heart and I LOVE cute shoes, especially pumps but they are not at all practical for travel other than a fancy dinner so I pack a lot of flats and a pair of running shoes for the gym. You'll want to have a few different choices. Flip flops are great for the beach and a casual walk, but not for an all-day hike, excursion or tour of a city. Your toes are forced to hold the shoes on and you can get pains in your shins-not worth it! I highly recommend some cushy ballet flats, walking shoes or running shoes and a pair of water shoes if needed like some cute slingback, ballet flat crocs. I hated crocs until I found these. It's not fun to get blisters halfway through your vacation. You can glam it up for a special event or a fancy dinner.


9. Vitamins/Prescription Meds-If you take medication or herbs and vitamins, don't forget to pack those as they'll be essential to how you feel while away. Many people ditch their multi and it is the precise time you'll want more energy as jet setting can be fun, but exhausting too.


10. Bathroom Stuff- Okay, so I called it bathroom stuff because this encompasses not only toiletries but also small appliances and female products. I made the mistake of not bringing my own female products on my honeymoon as I shouldn't have needed them but realized later I calculated wrong and did in fact need them! We were in Fiji at the time and I was stuck with buying tampons there that were uncomfortable and I was frustrated. It put a bit of a damper on things.Bring your own!


I don't know about you but I am not a fan of hotel shampoo, it leaves my hair feeling sticky and dry. If you're like me do pack your own 3oz sizes of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and don't forget your razor, toothpaste/brush, hair brushes and of course your own mini dryer and curling iron if need be. I'm not suggesting you should be a diva and pack loads of stuff but rather mini versions. I like using a curling iron for formal occasions and my hairdryer is tiny and light enough to not be a problem. I've been to hotels before where the dryer didn't work, it's nice to be prepared and have your own!

Here is an awesome packing tool that you can use to determine exactly what you need for your trip and it will even e-mail you the list!

By the way, if you missed my post on packing a carry-on bag-here is the link to Travel Tips: Part 1.


Happy Travels!

~Karla


1 comment :

Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)

Warmly,
Karla

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