1) Put your telephone number and name of your destination on both the inside and outside of your luggage. Then, if you and your bag are separated or lost, they can quickly find them.
2) Always pack as little as possible. Take what you will need, not what you think you will need. Keep in mind that suitcases are heavy and you may have to carry your own.
3) Lost air tickets cannot be replaced on the spot. You might have to pay for a second ticket, and go through channels to get your money refunded on the lost ticket. However, do not wait to report it lost. Contact the airline immediately and arrange for the appropriate paperwork. You may have to wait as long as six months for a refund. Refunds may have a handling fee deducted from the total.
4) Keep a photocopy of your passport data page separate from your money and travelers checks. Even if you lose your money and ID, you can still prove your identity to the authorities. It’s also great idea to take along photo copies of your traveler’s checks serial numbers, as well as your credit card numbers so you can quickly alert the authorities in the event the original items are stolen.
5) Beware of foreign country’s customs and laws. You don’t want to be caught spitting out your chewing gum in Singapore: It’s a criminal offense. (To be sure check out the State Department’s Traveler Advisories).
6) If you’re planning a Caribbean cruise from June through November you should know that you will be cruising during hurricane season. Why would you choose to cruise during hurricane season? Price is one reason. Typically your best deals are during the fall months from late August to mid-December.
7) Buy insurance, whether through the cruise line or an independent provider – and make sure that the policy covers disruption in case of weather-related events. If the cruise is actually canceled, you will get a refund. However, it’s very rare for the cruise lines to cancel a cruise.
8) Drink only bottled water and use it even when brushing your teeth. Eat only cooked food and avoid leftovers. Avoid areas where mosquitoes tend to be active. Make sure you are protected against local illnesses. This is especially important going away from the big cities and into some of the rural areas. You never know when an airline may lose your bag, and not having to buy clothes immediately saves a little trouble while waiting on your bags. Take a change of clothing and sample size toiletries in your carry-on bag.
9) While in any country that you can’t read the language … and you are using your charge card to get the best currency rate … write on the charge slip right away the amount, items, date, and place of purchase so YOU can read it when the statement comes at the end of the month. Makes for a lot easier bookkeeping. Many times the ink is so faint; you can’t read what it says in any language.
10) Things are going to be different in each new place you visit. Relax. Go with the flow. After all, isn’t that the reason you are going on your vacation in the first place? If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair- finding an optical shop could be tricky without your glasses. If you take prescription medicine, bring more than you expect to use and include the refill prescription, just in case.
11) Before you leave for an overseas trip, be sure to let your credit card companies know where you will be and when. This will lessen the chances of having your credit card purchases in foreign countries declined. Be sure to leave your itinerary with friends or relatives. This way they can contact you if there’s an
emergency back home and it’s always good for someone to know where you are.
12) Check your batteries in your cameras before your trip. While film is readily available, it may be difficult to find exactly the right battery for your camera.
13) When traveling to a destination where I know I will do a lot of shopping, I pack a collapsible suitcase or duffel bag in my checked luggage. It doesn’t take up much room and when returning home, I fill it with my dirty laundry and pack my new stuff or any breakable items in my regular suitcase. Or you could just pack your things in a medium suitcase that fits inside a larger suitcase – either way you will have two suitcases available and only have to carry one to your destinations.
14) Pickpockets gravitate towards busy public areas where unsuspecting tourists congregate: bus stops, train stations, airline terminals, popular tourism sites, etc. Be aware of the people around you, and make sure that all of your possessions are stowed away safely somewhere under your clothing.
15) Since 9-11, security for all modes of transportation has increased dramatically (especially for air travel). If you are confused as to what you may or may take with you when you travel, you are not alone. Use common sense. For example, anything that looks like a weapon is prohibited in your carry-on luggage: gun-shaped lighters, toys, paperweights, etc. Everything in your carry-on must be searchable. Therefore, gift-wrapped items are not a good idea. If your luggage is searched, all gift wrapping will be removed. Plastic ‘picnic’ forks, knives, etc. are ok – but similar metal utensils are taboo.
Of course, the prohibited list includes box cutters, razor blades, sharp pointed metal scissors, and all metal weapons. Add to the ‘no-no’ list baseball bats, golf clubs, flare guns, hammers, or anything else that could be used to inflect injury on another person. Flammable items such as lighter fluid, fireworks, and spray paint may not be transported by air – either in your carry-on or checked luggage.