1. Invest in a light bag with good wheels to check in and a small light bag on wheels to take on plane – be mindful some airlines very strict about the weight of the carry-on bag.
2. Call your bank so ensure your credit card does not get blocked when they see overseas transactions
. If you are away for a week or more put a hold on your mail.
3. Travel light – you may need to run to a train or bus with your luggage.
4. Wear black and take things that don’t need ironing – pack light items that you can do a quick wash in your room and can layer – take two scarves to create a mood – one for evening – one cotton one for day.
5. Sensible walking shoes and good socks are critical. Also, get compression socks for the flight.
6. Purchase in a money belt for passport/money and credit card. Have a photocopy of these documents at home with a friend or family member and take a pic on your phone.
7. Don’t wear your best jewellery – leave in the safe at home /or your bank?
8. Take your eye mask and ear plugs with you and on flight will help you sleep – if you forget ask the crew nicely – they have spares on flight. Noise cancelling headphones are expensive but make a huge difference on long haul flights.
9. Be careful with your holiday pics on social media, distribute to close friends only not public, you don’t want to advertise you are not home.
10. Water bottle – s’well traveller is great – triple stainless steel and the wider top to get ice in.
11. Neck pillow for flight, my favourite is a micro bead pillow from Muji in japan and if you suffer from back issues – taking you own hot water bottle on flight is ok (just empty before security and airline crew will fill with hot water on board).
12. Of course, a rain shell and layer with a merino base for colder weather.
13. Call your phone provider before leaving – setup international roaming, or purchase a sim when you land. However remember if you are on a cruise ship the charges can go crazy away from land.
14. For long flights in your hand luggage have a large t shirt and leggings and when at Gate about to board – get changed and then closer to arrival put on your “fresh clothes” again – seriously pleasant and so simple.
15. Allow plenty of time for transfers – e.g. International flight transfers – allow 2 hours LAX and US customs perhaps 3 hours and trains I usually allow an hour as well (especially if using small trains to get to the faster more punctual connections) – tight connections creates stress.
16. Put a bright ribbon on your bag so when tired and jet lagged you can identify your black bag and always wheels rather than back pack or carry bag.
17. Pack some snacks (not fruit) you never know when food can be in short supply also carry toilet paper or tissues and good tea bags– and if you can a small hand sanitiser.
18. Carry a facecloth if heading to Europe (many small hotels do no supply) and don’t forget a small knife in your checked luggage comes in handy.
19. Investing in a sealable plastic luggage bags with “condense your luggage” and then you can get more things in the suitcase. Packing cubes work really well.
20. Never leave home without your head lamp and driver’s license – overseas some places want ID to use credit card, Internet café or museums (if getting head phones) you don’t want to carry your passport so the Driver’s License helps!
21. I like to travel with a stainless-steel coffee thermos flask – you get it filled up with our favourite coffee at a station and then have hours of happy drinking - the coffee carts on trains are always disappointing and you can always use the flask around your neck as a weapon in case you are about to be mugged. Yelling place names of little local towns near where you live will frighten off any would-be mugger as they will think you are completely out of it. Ok this might not be for everyone.
Final note: I love the app tripit it keeps your travel plans organised on your android or apple mobile device. Just sent your email confirmations to tripit and it organises everything chronologically including flights, hotels, rental cars even activities. All your confirmation numbers in one spot, just dont lose your phone!
Remain calm and do not panic – things always go slightly crazy/unforeseen it’s all part of the joys of travel!