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What you pack, as well as how much you pack, will be largely determined by the type, destination and length of trip you take. But we can help you through the frustrations of planning with the following, useful checklist on the bare necessities.


*Since September 11, 2001, airlines have imposed strict regulations on the sizes and the amount of luggage passengers may check. Travelers who fail to check size requirements before their flights may be charged with hundreds of dollars in fines in order to bring the bag on board the aircraft. To avoid such issues, consult with your travel expert in our office or with the individual airlines' Web sites or Customer Service line. And now the new guidelines for packing checked baggage, once the US Transportation Security Admininstration agents begin screening all bags, are that bags should NOT be locked, and food and undeveloped film should NOT be packed in checked luggage. Pack footwear on top of other items in checked bags.


THE BASICS: WHAT YOU WILL NEED


TRAVELERS' CHECKS-Bring a mix of traveler's check, a credit or debit card, an ATM card, a few personal checks and some cash. Bring American dollars for situations when you want to change only a few dollars and not an entire traveler's check.

PASSPORT (if necessary)-A passport, driver's license, and medial alert cards and one credit card can be kept along with paper money in a belt around your waist or in a fanny pack (worn in front) leaving your hands free to take pictures or handle merchandise. Keep a copy of your passport and list of credit card numbers elsewhere.

VISAS (if necessary)

PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP & IDENTITY-If your destination does not require a passport, you must have proper proof of citizenship and identity such as an ORIGINAL state issued birth certificate with a raised seal PLUS a government issued photo ID. Married women also need a copy of their marriage certificates.

HIDDEN MONEY BELT-You could lose everything except your money belt (or bra safe), and the trip could still go on. Be sure your moneybelt is fastened securely or it could slip off unnoticed. In addition to threading the belt through the D-rings, knot it.

COMB, BRUSH, OR PICK (the smallest you have)

TOOTHBRUSH AND TOOTHPASTE

SMALL BOTTLE OF ROLL-ON DEODORANT

SMALL BOTTLE OF SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER-look for sample/travel size toiletries, or squeeze your regular products into small plastic bottles. Square bottles fit together well, taking up less space. Don't fill bottles to the top if flying because air pressure may cause the contents to expand and explode. These should all be packed in a heavy plastic bag in case of leakage.

SOAP (bar or liquid)

RAZOR (with spare blades or cartridges stored elsewhere)

SMALL MIRROR

LIP BALM-a must for long, dehydrating flight and severe temperatures.

ONE LIPSTICK/ONE EYE LINER/SHADOW if necessary. Try for trial sizes wherever possible.

SUNBLOCK-Bring a sunscreen that doubles as moisturizer

ROLL OF DENSEPACK TOILET PAPER

TAMPONS-all feminine products (even many of the same brands) are sold all over the world, but it's easier to figure out how many tampons, pads, or panty shields you'll need in advance and bring them with you rather than having to buy a large box in a foreign country.

PLASTIC ZIP BAGGIES-use large ziplock bags or mesh bags to keep items separate and visible, and to keep together what you need together. Also great for saving a little lunch from the breakfast buffet, leftover picnic food, containing wetness, and bagging potential leaks before they happen.


CLOTHING

IN GENERAL, every piece of clothing should match at least two other items or have at least two uses. Certain items are specific to destination, temperature or season. Use common sense and limit yourself to the bare necessities in these instances.


OPTIONAL ITEMS


SPARE EYEGLASSES, CONTACT LENSES,

SUNGLASSES

SUNHAT-not just a visor...save yourself a headache, or worse, sunstroke.

GUIDEBOOK

LANGUAGE DICTIONARY/PHRASE BOOK

MAPS-rip out appropriate chapters from guidebooks, staple them together, and store in a zip-lock baggie.

CAMERA-If you're not a professional photographer, a couple of throw-away cameras will do. If you are, put a new battery in your camera before you go. Bring a protective and polarizing lens, midrange zoom lens, cleaning tissue and a trip's worth of film. Store everything in a low-profile nylon stuff bag, not an expensive-looking camera bag. Too much camera gear mark you a a typical tourist, giving con artists the idea you're helpless. With one bag hanging on your back, you're mobile and in control-and less likely to have your luggage and camera get lost, broken or stolen.

MINI BINOCULARS & MAGNIFYING GLASS

2AA FLASHLIGHT, with spare bulb and batteries.

SWISS ARMY KNIFE WITH CORKSCREW-great for peeling fruit or whatever else might arise. PACK THIS IN YOUR CHECKED BAGGAGE...NOT CARRY ON.

MINI SEWING KIT-try on your outfits before you leave to make sure no buttons are missing and things still fit. But bring a needle and thread and a couple of safety pins, just in case.

MESH OR NYLON BAGS-when deciding what to take with you, anticipate articles that you may want to purchase at your destination. And always include a collapsible nylon tote bag that will fit easily into your luggage to accommodate new purchases.

WHISTLE-for scaring away possible thieves or getting the attention of those you are traveling with when in busy, noisy areas.

INSECT REPELLENT

WATER BOTTLE
MINI UMBRELLA

JOURNAL AND PEN-a tiny notepad in your back pocket is a great organizer, reminder, and communication aid, and an empty book filled with the experiences of your trip will be your most treasured souvenir. Keep a traveler's check and expenses log in the appendix.

MINI ADDRESS BOOK-use it to send postcards home and collect new addresses, though just a square of paper with these addresses will take up less space.

ENVELOPES

SMALL GIFTS SUCH AS POSTCARDS FROM HOME

WALLET-daybags and fanny packs are also popular, but some women prefer the type of bags that look more like a purse, which sling across your body for safety, and are easier to access than a daybag on your back.

ONE SMALL CANDLE AND MATCHES

SLEEPING BAG-along with inflatable pillows for more comfortable napping on trains, planes and beaches.

SLEEP SHEET-hostels require one. Bring your own (sewn up like a sleeping bag), buy one, or rent a sheet at hostels (about $5 per stay). It doubles as a beach or picnic blanket, comes in handy on overnight train rides, shields you from dirty blankets in mountain huts, and will save you money in other dorm-type accommodations, which often charge extra for linen or don't provide it at all.

PAPERBACK BOOK/CASSETTE OR MINI-CASSETTE PLAYER-there's plenty of time on a trip to just kick back and relax and enjoy some good reading/music along with the scenery.

BATTERIES

FOAM EAR PLUGS for noisy train rides or hotels.

RUBBER BANDS-roll and rubber band clothes to minimize wrinkles.

HAIR DRYER-essential in the winter and for those with long or thick hair, and it doubles as a sock dryer! To save money, buy a compact travel hairdryer with a built-in voltage converter rather than buy a converter for your regular hairdryer. Remember to bring a plug adapter. For international travel, it is advisable to take along an electrical adapter kit for your hair dryer, shaver or travel iron. Most European countries run on 220 volts rather than 110. Your adapter kit will not only convert the voltage, but also accommodate foreign plug designs.


HOW TO PACK IT AND HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE IT BEHIND:

Limit yourself to 20 pounds in a carry-on-size bag. A 9" x 22" x 14" bag fits under most airplane seats.

If you have to force your luggage to close, remove a few items to prevent broken hinges or zippers along the way.

You may want to consider the "interweaving method" of packing for your trip. Drape longer garments such as dresses and pants across the suitcase with the ends hanging over the sides. Then fold shorter items such as jackets, shirts and blouses around the longer garments so that the clothes cushion each other. Placing a piece of tissue paper between each layer of clothing will also help prevent wrinkling.

Always carry your travel documents, medications, jewelry, traveler's checks, keys and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Items such as these should NEVER be packed in luggage that you plan to check.

If you plan to fly with skis, golf clubs or other special luggage, check with the airline to see whether special containers for these items are available. Many airlines provide this service free of charge; but the item will count toward your luggage count and size and weight allowances must be considered to avoid extra baggage charges.

A small nylon daypack is great for carrying your sweater, camera, literature and picnic goodies while you leave your large bag at the hotel or train station. Fanny packs (small bags with thief-friendly zippers)are a popular alternative but should not be used as money belts.

Include a copy of your itinerary with your business address and your destination in your luggage in the event you and your bags get temporarily separated. This information will help minimize any delay in retrieving lost luggage.

Pack tightly. Packing loosely wastes precious space and causes clothes to wrinkle.

Keep makeup to a minimum and skip perfume.

Tight and restrictive clothing makes heavy activity difficult and uncomfortable

Leave your heavy purses and wallets at home.

Accessories are unnecessary.

Leave your valuables and good jewelry behind.

Heavy, molded luggage is a burden to carry around. Opt for softer, yet durable luggage with wheels.


For additional information, visit these Web sites:
Packing lists for cruises, safaris, business,etc (travelsmith.com)
Rick's Packing List (ricksteves.com)
Women's Packing Tips (ricksteves.com)
How to See the World (artoftravel.com)
Backpackademia: How to pack for Europe (ricksteves.com)
Items prohibited in carry-on baggage (tsa.dot.gov)


We hope you find this helpful for your next GREAT ESCAPE!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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