1. For the habitual traveller, there’s nothing more exciting than planning and packing. Yet for others, organizing for that long-awaited trip becomes a stress-filled ordeal. The trick is in knowing what to pack that will cover every imaginable social function and climate change. The seasoned traveller has learned, by trial and error, that it’s often the ordinary household articles tucked into the bottom of the case or a shoe for that can turn into a lifesaver. Wise travelers have discovered how to make clothes do double chores.
2. For instance, for women, the now fashionable pashminas can be worn over a coat or jacket for extra warmth, or on their own for evening on coolish nights or chilly restaurants and also double as a great blanket on the plane.
3. If insomnia is your problem buy an eye mask since these once freebies are not being passed around as they once were – a cost saving device for the companies. Don’t laugh, I even carry a pepper mill. I can’t enjoy a meal without the freshly ground stuff and small mills are available.
4. One of my all time travel favorites is a long oversized T shirt which I stuff into my carry-on. It’s a just in case sort of item. Just in case- the luggage gets lost and I’m going to a beach, I have a cover up. Just in case- I’ve forgotten my nightgown or sleep wear, voila, the perfect item.
5. And along with these strange must-haves, is my invaluable invisible tape or even more practical is double sided tape which is perfect for that hem or cuff that suddenly drooped and the answer for a leaking lotion bottle. In a pinch it also takes off lint and if you break a nail, it’s a fast fixer upper. There’s more to tape. For instance if that front piece of curl just won’t stay down, use transparent tape a few minutes and you’ve mastered a hair do. You can depend on tape.
6. For people with chronic neck aches, I find that a down-filled neck-roll pillow is very useful and easily stuffed into your carry-on, especially if you’re traveling in economy. It’s not unusual that some flights don’t offer them or often run out of pillows or blanket e.g.. the above mentioned pashmina.
7. Carry-on necessities should include eye drops and facial mineral water spray for the dryness on the plane. I know a very social woman who never leaves home without an easily fold up silk dress and necklace, fresh underwear and a scarf- an entire day’s wardrobe- which she packs in her small carry-on bag. She tells me that she actually managed for five days interchanging the pant suit she was wearing and the carry on outfit when her luggage was lost.
8. With the demands of removing shoes at security stations, wear shoes that slip on easily. For women, ballerinas are the answer, for men loafers can do the trick. These shoes are also easily removed during the flight.
9. And being practical, I always take plastic zip closing bags, one with damp towelettes to wipe the drop down table which isn’t always cleaned or for your face and hands. The other empty plastic bag could be for whatever usage I may need it for e.g. a wet bathing suit. And if I don’t have any major use for it, it’s perfect for your foreign coins. And it’s no big deal if they are not used at all. Just keep a few in you luggage for the next trip.
10. And don’t leave home without a pen that’s placed where you can get to it at all times. These days there are more forms to fill out then every before.
11. A good tip is to remember your passport number, the date it was issued and expires. Saves you from having to dig around in your seat which may be to narrow for squirming.
12. Since luggage handlers don’t have the time to worry about your name tags, it’s important to have your name, address, country, phone number, email address taped inside your luggage. It could even be stuck on the inside side of your bag.
13. I’ve learned as a woman who often travels alone to do a few very important things. Wear a wedding band, don’t make eye contact and in countries where women aren’t usually visible without a guardian, it’s wise after 5PM to eat at the hotel, or a nearby restaurant only after the concierge or receptionist makes a reservation with the information that you’re on your own or go to one of the local market during the day and purchase your evening meal. It’s fun, informative and a learning experience.
14. Make sure that your luggage stands out. Tie a bright bow onto it, or if you’re purchasing a new piece, stay away from black. They all look the same on the carousel.
15. Make sure that you photocopy your passport’s first page and also the back and front of all your credit cards. Carry one copy with you and place the other in your luggage. It can come in handy if you happen to be near a pickpocket. They won’t go for a piece of paper but will aim for your wallet.
16. Although I once had a double duty watch that told me the time of my destination and that of my home city. But now I just set my watch to the time of the country I’m visiting and try to remember to eat at that time shown on the watch, take any pills that are prescribed when you usually take them and try to sleep.
17. And talking about medication…always, and I emphasis always, carry your meds with you as well as an extra pair of glasses.
18. On long trips consider wearing travel socks that ease the plane’s pressure factor and don’t take for granted the on-flight advice in every in-flight magazine, about exercising your legs and body. Almost all flights have a few pages of how and what to do.
19. It goes without lingering on the subject. Drink water since your body will dehydrate at twice the normal rate. It’s suggested that you avoid caffeine (for me that’s a calamity) and liquor. At least try to resist and continue to drink H2O.
20. If you need to make a connecting flight, don’t rush off to the gate that was given on your boarding pass before you left. Gate changes happen so check as soon as you land to avoid any upsets and extra walking.
21. It will save you energy and aggravation if you download, on- line, your boarding pass and even make seat changes if necessary, at least 24 hours before departing.
22. If you happen to find that you’ve either lost or left you money somewhere and can’t find any cash, then there are usually bank machines at the airport but there are charges or wait until you get to the hotel . Be prepared to pay for all transactions.
23. Most countries won’t allow entry unless there’s 6 months left before the passport expires. Get a new passport when you get close to that time.
24. Always make sure there’s one blank page in your passp0rt for officials to place their stamp.
25 Although you can’t take water through security, it’s a good idea to have a small empty plastic bottle which is light and doesn’t take much space in your carry on. You’ll be happy to have it during your days of touring especially in third world countries and if you’re flying economy, the air attendants will refill it during the flight.