1. Take a picture of your passport, Visa, driver’s license and credit cards and email them to yourself. If anything is lost or stolen, you can retrieve the information from an internet cafe.
2. Make a list of everything in your checked luggage and take a picture, so you have something to show the airline and insurance company if your luggage is lost. Also, take photos of your suitcases, photo equipment, and phone and email them to yourself.
3. Make an emergency contact list and include your doctors. If you were injured or sick in a foreign country, officials need to know who to contact.
4. Packing cubes will change your life. They organize your suitcase or backpack and protect your items from bugs. Make sure to pick up a couple of wet/dry bags too for wet things.
5. Travel lightly. You don’t need more than one outfit for every three days. Pack breathable, quick dry items.
6. Don’t underestimate compression socks for tired, swollen, travel-weary feet. They are especially useful for long flights.
7. Don’t dress like a tourist. Make sure you research the country you are going to and dress appropriately. What is acceptable in one country may not be acceptable in another.
8. Pack a nylon nail brush, not only does it work well for cleaning dirty nails but also for scrubbing stains out and cleaning muddy shoes.
9. Always carry a packet of tissues. You never know when you will need to blow your noses, wipe a blurp off your shirt or need toilet paper.
10. Carry a compact keychain flashlight. Whether you are coming home from a nightclub or tiptoeing in a hostel, a tiny flashlight will save you from stumbling in the dark.
11. Pack peppermint and lavender essential oils. Lavender kills lice, bedbugs, mites and repels insects. It’s also great to add the bath for aching muscles. Peppermint is useful for headaches and indigestion as well as giving you a lift after a travel-weary day.
12. Carry currency in small denominations and don’t stash all your cash in one place. If you are pickpocketed, you don’t want them to be able to take all of your money. You also don’t want people to see how much money you have when you open your wallet to pay for a coffee.
13. Don’t take more than two major credit cards and don’t keep them together. That way you have a back up if one is stolen. Also, beware of skimming machines at ATMs. Stick to the ATMs at banks.
14. Take Airborne or Zicam, and antibacterial wipes with you to combat the airplane ickies.
15. Take extra ziplock bags, they can save your phone or camera on a boat trip or in a downpour. You can also slip them over muddy shoes too. (Showercaps work for shoes too.)
16. If you are serious about wanting to minimize jetlag, skip the booze, coffee, and sodas on the flight. Water is your saving grace, drink lots of it.
17. Never take jewelry you are not prepared to have stolen or lose. Neither one of those things may happen, but you might regret it if it does. Taking your grandmother’s heirloom wedding ring is just a bad idea. Wear a temporary wedding band, especially if you are a solo female traveler. It will ward off unwanted Cassanovas.
18. Take a business card or matchbook from the hotel you are staying at and keep it in your wallet. Also take a photo of the front of the hotel. That way if something happens or you get lost, you can show it to a cabbie or clerk to help you get back to your hotel.
20. Check with your cell phone carrier to see what the best options are for international travel. Options vary significantly from carrier to carrier.
21. Buy travel insurance. Travel insurance has many coverage options including medical, evacuation and cancellation protections. It’s like fire insurance for your home, it only takes once to pay off. It’s expensive but worth it, especially if you are going for an extended stay.
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What are your travel tips? Where do you plan to go next?