You may have seen plenty of To-Do Lists to help you prepare for travel. This list is different. It has both what not to do, as well as what to do, based on a wealth of (yes, personal) experience. Because some of the best strategies and systems are not so obvious.
- DO take photos or make copies of all your cards when preparing to travel. Driver license, passport, credit and debit cards. If you have a reliable point of contact who is staying home, leave a copy with that person. And take a copy or store photos of the items on your phone. No matter how careful you are, mishaps occur. For instance, I lost my driver’s license and debit card on my last trip to Cardiff. I tucked them away carefully in an interior pocket, not realizing the pocket had a large hole. Thankfully, I had photos of my driver’s license and online banking access that could assist me. And luckily, I found them the next day when I retraced my steps. Having the copies saved lots of stress and downtime. That said, always feel free to call your embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting if you lose important documents. They are more than happy to assist and give comfort.
- DON’T drink to excess the night before you pack/leave.
Not beer, cocktails, spirits…nothing. No “bon voyage” glass of wine with friends. It makes your thinking fuzzy, your body dehydrated, and, chances are, you’ll feel extremely tired for your trip. General fuzziness, dehydration, and fatigue lead to poorly packed bags, or too much or too little packed. For example, if you forget your passport, you are out of luck at the airport, and depending on your ticket class, you may be forced to rebook or cancel.
- When preparing to travel, DO write down a rough itinerary, and plan out clothing needed, and then pull out those items and reality-check the amount of baggage you really need.
Yes, you can pay an excess baggage fee to carry more luggage, but why would you want to? Less is more. And remember to account for any clothes-shopping planned. For example, my colleague Susan and I landed in Milan on an epic journey through Italy. I knew I would find at least one new outfit in the fashion capital of Italy, so I deliberately under-packed so I would have plenty of room! And on a related note…DON’T be afraid to re-wear clothing–make your clothes multi-task! You can always launder items if needed. And don’t worry about people noticing you’re-wearing outfits – most people truly don’t notice, and if you are traveling around, no one person will see you in the same outfit twice.
- DO leave some room in your bag for the inevitable souvenirs and remembrances.
Whether you decide to buy a jumper, jacket or other clothing, or perhaps music or reading is your thing, you will want some room for new items. And less packed is less weight to carry, whether in a backpack or suitcase. A great way to make room in your luggage is to pack old underwear and socks and throw away a pair a day – making room for souvenirs and purging at home at the same time!
- DON’T panic when unexpected things happen, or you forget an item (unless it’s your passport or bank cards – then you can panic a little).
Assess, accept, adjust, adapt. Again, almost anywhere you travel, you can find toiletries, clothing, medicines…ask your Dragon In Your Pocket guide, or the locals, and you’ll have the additional adventure of acquiring that forgotten item as you venture around your destination(s).
- DO consider purchasing most of your toiletries at your destination.
– especially if you are considering carry-on only. And remember to put all the liquids that you carry from home in 100 ml (3.3 oz) or less containers, and all those containers into a quart-sized bag.
- DON’T carry too many shoes, but….DO carry shoes you’ve worn and broken in.
Blisters are no fun at all. Carry a small supply of moleskin for blisters just in case. BONUS: When you travel on one of our adventures, your Dragon In Your Pocket guide will always have a complete supply of necessary medical and comfort supplies with them.
- DO research your destination when preparing to travel.
You’re reading this, so you’ve already started looking. We at Dragon in Your Pocket can help you with important details about great destinations in Europe – just ask. It’s a true blue drag to show up in a town wanting to visit one particular venue just to find it’s closed on the days that you’re there.
- DON’T forget to carry a couple of downtime items.
Yes, you can “sleep when you’re dead”, but building in a rest day or two is invaluable. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself later. Rest time (and sleep!) will allow new experiences to become cemented into memories – and allow your body to rejuvenate!
- DO put identification information both inside and outside every piece of luggage (including carry-ons). Label with name, email address, and phone. A client removed her identifying information before travel, the airline misplaced her bag, and almost $2,000 of gear was nearly lost forever. Dragon In Your Pocket helped retrieve the luggage formerly known as lost, but having at least surname and telephone number inside and on a firmly attached tag outside will facilitate and speed reuniting owner and items.
When you hire Dragon In Your Pocket to assist with planning and booking your travel, you are assured of having every detail considered and planned for – contact us today!
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