23 Things to Make Your Travel Easier
Save yourself a lot of trouble by following the ultimate pre-travel checklist before you travel. I have done every single one and offer up my experienced advice to help you have a smoother travel experience on your own journeys. Some of these tips you may know and some you may not. I shared these to get you started. Let me know which ones work for you and which ones don’t. Or make a comment on this article to let me know of tips you don’t see listed here of things you actually do before you travel.
1. Don’t eat a full meal the night before a flight. Jet flying at high altitudes cause bloating as the pressurization in the plane expands gas in the body.
2. Don’t buy a black suitcase – everybody has one making it difficult to spot yours or for it to be mistaken for another. Sure you can add a colorful strap but those can come off. Better to go with a unique piece of luggage.
3. Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes or new ones that need breaking in. Wear tried and true comfort shoes. Be kind to your feet especially if doing a lot of walking on hard streets.
4. For the flight wear compression knee-hi socks. Not the kind your grandmother wore either. Nowadays there is a variety of travel compression socks for both women and men. You can try Footsmart to see what you may like.
5. Bring small 3 oz. size hand lotion and hand sanitizer. Lotion comes in handy for flights that dry your hands out. Hand sanitizer when you can’t get to a restroom to wash your hands. Bonus is to pick a scent that makes you feel good as a sort of pick-me-up to keep your mood feeling great.
6. Bring a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. Most people don’t pay attention to this one detail that can cost them plenty of money usually from 1-3% per each foreign transaction amount. Depending on the rate exchange for the country you are travelling to it can add up significantly when you get back home to reconcile your bank statement.
7. Notify your bank and/or credit card company of travel plans. Usually can be done online or you can call. The reason for this is so that when you are overseas somewhere and start using your card it doesn’t suddenly get a freeze put on it by your bank who might think your card was being used fraudulently.
8. Check your card ATM fees for withdrawing cash from a machine outside of your cards network in another country. Look at the symbols on the back of your card that are accepted networks. Look for nearby locations where you are staying by using the site map ATM locator on their website.
9. Check if Uber is used in the country you are going to. Often it is less expensive than a regular taxi. Download the app on your phone before going. Sign Up and get your first ride free (up to $20)
10. Bring adaptors and a converter for your cell phone, laptop, and camera. Adaptors allow the plug end to match the socket type of the country you are going to. Converters change the electricity voltage to match the standard voltage of the country you are in. Oftentimes you only need to use an adaptor and not a converter. So bring 2 or 3 if you have a lot of electronic devices.
11. Check your cell phone plan before you leave for any discounts that can be applied to dialing from another country back to the U.S. Also check local in-country rates. Don’t buy a SIM card unless you have another unlocked cell phone to bring. The problem with buying a SIM card overseas is that the process of setting it up in another language you might not be familiar with can be problematic. However should you be needing to frequently dial local numbers a SIM card can be advantageous.
12. Bring a foldable, stowable duffel bag that comes in its own pouch. Eddie Bauer has a great one I use a lot. It comes in handy if you buy souvenirs or clothes or an extra pair of shoes gets wet.
13. Travel with only one suitcase with 4-wheels. Makes it easier to maneuver through crowded airports and railway stations. I recommend a standard 21” piece of luggage but that isn’t always practical especially in winter months when warmer clothing such as sweater and coats are needed. Then it might make better sense to bring a larger 24-28” suitcase for the bulkier items. The caveat is the heavier your suitcase the harder it is to manage over curbs, in and out of taxis, and up many flights of stairs.
14. For women: Bring a small cross-body purse instead of a big heavy one. The cross-body holds your essentials and can be kept close to the body for safety from pickpockets.
15. Bring a laundry bag such as a plastic grocery bag. They squish up nicely into a ball but carry items when you least expected to need to carry items separately.
16. Bring a couple extra Ziplocs in case a liquid item leaks in the bag and replacement is needed.
17. Bring band-aids and blister band-aids for the feet. See #3.
18. Bring your favorite over-the-counter medicines (i.e. headache pills) in case you can’t find a suitable alternative. But don’t bring more than can fit into a standard Ziploc baggie. Chances are you won’t need more than that.
19. If bringing a backpack carry it in front of your body if on a metro system or bus. Carrying it on your back makes it easier for pickpockets.
20. Make an image copy of your passport using a desktop scanner and save to your phone and/or laptop as an image.
21. In a pinch, use your cell phone camera to take image photos of your documents that you normally would print out. This saves carrying paper around. You can always find a printer (such as in a hotel) if you really need to print out important documents.
22. Buy medical travel insurance unless your regular home-based medical insurance covers you overseas. Medical travel insurance is not expensive. Usually with medical insurance you pay for services rendered and get reimbursed later. A great site to compare products is Squaremouth
23. Travel insurance can also be bought to protect the costs involved with the trip. Make sure you understand what is covered and what the deductible is. Compare both medical and travel insurance on Squaremouth
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