Before You Go...
The Proper Documents
- Make two copies of your passport, drivers license, tickets, itinerary, visas and other important documents. Leave one set at home with a relative or friend and keep the other with you in a separate place from the real documents.
- If staying abroad in one country for several weeks or more, register with your country's embassy or consulate.
- Get your shots: be sure you have the required vaccinations for the countries you are visiting. Your doctor, travel agent or the embassy can help you determine what you need. Also, contact the Center for Disease Control at 404/639-3311 for updates on current epidemics.
- Keep a card with your doctor's name and contact information and a list of your medications and allergies with you at all times. Take 2 prescription bottles with you: one for carry on and the other in your checked luggage.
- Leave the valuables at home. The less you worry about something being stolen or lost, the more enjoyable the trip. Travel with fake jewelry and have more fun.
- Invest in a fanny pack or money belt. You'll feel safer and be safer if your money, passport and other valuables are strapped to your body and not in a purse or bag, especially when in a crowd.
- Use wheeled luggage. Or, take one of those compact luggage dollies.
- Pack light: use trial size toiletries or ones provided by hotels.
- Ask the hotels if they provide hairdryers and irons—you may not have to.
- Start with minimal hand luggage, checking as much as possible. You can (and probably will) add delicate hand carry on items as you go.
- Always carry valuable jewelry and medicines with you, not in your checked baggage.
- If you can't carry all your bags by yourself, you've got too many. Porters are not always available in all countries, nor are carts, so you be may left holding all the bags yourself.
- Now more than ever, the airlines are requiring all hand-luggage fit within their allowable dimensions. If your items are too large, they may have be shipped in the cargo hold, which can be risky for fragile pieces. Ask the airline what dimensions are permissible.
- Use luggage tags on every piece, including carry-ons. A bright yarn ribbon or sticker will help you (and others) distinguish your bags from similar ones. This can also be helpful in foreign countries where English translations are difficult—as soon as one bag arrives with your day-glo orange tie, the porter will be able to look for all the others.
- Save time in Customs by packing all the new purchases in one bag and keeping all receipts together.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
This page modified February 2007