Hi there! This post marks not only the inception of my blog, but also my first series - entirely dedicated to travel! I believe that planning and organization are the keys to a smooth and enjoyable trip, so in this series I will be sharing the tips that I have learned through my travels both domestic and abroad. In this first installment, I will be discussing general tips for traveling abroad - from what to expect upon entering your destination country, to how to pack your carry-on and checked bags. Future installments in this series will include my specific experiences in different destinations and recommendations for others who will be traveling to those locations. I will also be breaking down exactly what I pack when I travel depending on the destination, length of stay and the purpose of my visit.
Now, let's jump right into today's tips. Happy travels!
What documents should I prepare before I leave?
- Make at least 2 copies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, driver's license, etc.) Bring one set of copies with you on your trip and keep them in a safe place separate from your actual documents. Put the second set together and leave it with a friend or family member.
- For all of your destinations, find the closest U.S. Consulate (or Consulate for your home country if you don't live in the U.S.), make copies of the Consulate addresses and phone numbers and keep them in a safe place.
- Print out the address and phone number of your hotel or other overnight accommodations. Also print out any maps and directions that you need to have in order to get there. If you are taking a cab from the airport, make sure you have the address in the native language of the country so the cab driver can read it. If you are taking a bus, train etc. from the airport, know before-hand where you need to go to catch it, where you buy your ticket, and how much it will cost. Keep all of this information with you in your carry-on.
- Before going through customs, you will be given an incoming passenger card which you will need to fill out with your personal information, passport number, length of stay in the country, your date of departure, the address and phone number of where you will be staying in the country, your flight number, and any items that you want to claim. Make sure you have all this information with you in your carry-on. Before you leave, also be aware of any items that you are prohibited to bring into your destination country. For an example of what this card will look like, check this link. (Remember, these cards may look different depending on what country you are entering).
What should I bring in my carry-on?
- All documents you will need to board the plane, enter the destination country, and re-enter your home country (Passport, I.D., Permanent Resident Card (if applicable), etc.).
- Any other documents you will need upon arrival in the host country (maps, addresses, phone numbers, bus/train/subway schedules, etc.)
- Laptop (if you are bringing one) and any other electronic devices you plan to use on the plane.
- In the event that your checked luggage is lost, I always suggest packing a change of clothes and a few essential toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash and shampoo). Just make sure that any toiletries you plan to bring on the plane adhere to the TSA regulations. If you live in the U.S., you can check this link for more information.
- In the event you want to sleep on the plane, it is a good idea to bring an eye-mask, travel pillow, and a small blanket.
- If you are choosing to travel with any valuables (jewelry, for example), these should also be packed in your carry-on in the event that your checked bag is lost. However, in general I suggest not packing very valuable items unless they are a complete necessity.
- The most important tip I can give is to pack the bare-minimum that you will need, especially when it comes to your carry-on. Pack only your important documents and other essentials. Leave everything else at home, or place it in your checked luggage if you know you will use it while you are at your destination.
What should I include in my checked luggage?
- I suggest packing your luggage as light as possible, opting for clothing that is versatile and can be worn multiple times in different ways. Always bring layering pieces so that you will be prepared for both warm and cool days. For shoes, bring a comfortable daytime option and a nighttime look.
- Bring travel sized containers all of your essential toiletries, and if you are bringing make-up and other beauty products, try to edit it down to your absolute essentials.
- The most important thing is to know your destination. Research what the weather will be like while you are there and pack accordingly.
- If you will be shopping while at your destination, don't pack your luggage completely full. I usually pack my luggage between a half and two-thirds of the way full, depending on how much I plan to purchase.
- Think about what you will be doing while traveling, and pack accordingly. If you will be sight-seeing and doing a lot of walking, pack easy comfortable clothes and flat walking shoes; if you will be shopping, clubbing and dining out, pack dressier options. Critically analyze what you will actually need while you are there, and pack only those items.
- Create a checklist for everything that you will need to prepare before you leave so you are sure not to forget anything. It is also helpful to have a "morning-of" checklist - in other words, a list of everything you need to do the day you are leaving before you head to the airport.
- Before you leave, it is also important to create a budget for yourself. Know how much money you can spend in total and then decide how much you will allot to shopping, dining, transportation, accommodations etc. Also, be sure that you understand the exchange rate between the currency of your home country and your destination country.
- I also suggest carrying different forms of money. Bring credit cards, travelers checks (if you choose) and always have some cash on you (it is also a good idea to have some "emergency cash" stashed in a safe place.) Furthermore, be aware of your location and whether or not you will be able to use your credit cards. Also know where to find international ATM's in the event you need to withdraw more cash (in some countries, ATM's that work with foreign cards can be nearly impossible to find, so know this information beforehand).
If you have any tips that I didn't mention, please share them in the comments :)
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for future installments!
My name is Pear, and this is The Daily!
Stay tuned for new posts coming soon.