One of the good people from RelayRides asked me if I had any ideas about travel – tips, tricks, things I must have, or helpful comments. (By the way, if you are traveling in the US check out RelayRides. They pair people needing to rent a car with people willing to rent out their personal cars. What an interesting idea. And, if you have a car you can make some extra money by renting it out. Their website explains it all.)
I have traveled mainly by air and bus, and have recently started to travel a bit by bicycle. There are others with far more experience, and many others who also share their ideas and tips, but maybe this post can pull together a few important points.
It seems to me if you have your passport and credit cards, a sense of humor and some patience, anything else can be solved. But, I also try to be prepared for the “what if’s” so hiccups along the way won’t be so difficult.
I carry a copy of my passport, residency card, drivers license, important phone numbers, airline and hotel reservations, and any other important cards and documents. I also have scanned copies in my tablet, and in my email so I could pull them up from any computer with an internet connection. If something would happen at least I have these copies to show officials, and the important numbers and other information to help me get the documents replaced.
I also have a number of credit cards. It is no fun to go to the store or ATM and find there is a problem with your credit card. If you don’t have another card to use you could be really stuck. I also have scans of my credit cards in my tablet and my email, fronts and backs. If something happens I have my numbers, and also the phone numbers to call and report a card lost or stolen. Also, if you are traveling to another country don’t forget to tell your credit card company so their fraud control measures don’t shut you down.
If there is anything you cannot do without like medicine, contact lenses, any critical item, be sure to keep it with you and not in your checked luggage. I keep a ziplock bag with enough contacts and solution for 4-5 days, my toothbrush and few other toiletries and toss it in my backpack / carry on. With travel size bottles you can have a “survival kit” that doesn’t take up much room, and you can survive lost or diverted checked luggage. I keep anything expensive like a small stash of cash, my iPad, and camera (with chargers and connectors) with me and not in checked luggage. I also carry an empty plastic water bottle (fill it up after you get through security) and some snacks. It never hurts to have a couple plastic bags and cloth or paper napkins, just because, and a pen, a bit of paper, and some business cards for the fellow traveler who wants to check out your blog or share email addresses.
Beyond that, most of the details are personal choice. I prefer to travel as light as possible but have plenty to do to occupy myself. I would rather wear the same 2-3 outfits for a month than struggle with lots of luggage. My iPad (a much appreciated gift from Joel) allows me to bring plenty to do in one compact package. I can work in my blog, listen to or read books and articles, sort and edit photos, play games, and do even more if there is an internet connection. Clothing in layers is good too, with a sweater or light blanket so you don’t get too cold in the air conditioning. We are so acclimated to a hot climate that this is especially important for us. I also like comfortable shoes for hiking through airports and bus stations.
Above all, have fun! Take good care of yourself with enough rest, good food and fluids. Go exploring – talk with the locals, eat local food, experience new places off the beaten paths. Leave time and flexibility in your schedule for new experiences, and a bit of room in your luggage for a new treasure or two.
Any of you who have traveled much probably already know these things, but a bit of review is sometimes good. Now it’s YOUR turn! What good travel tips do you all have to share? What have you found is important to have or do when you travel?