What I’ve learned from my international travels

Pack all medications and a complete change of clothing

Wear compression stockings for long flights

Bring your own water bottle onto the plane

If you will be changing airlines, check to see how your baggage will be handled

If you will have a long layover, check to see if there is a Yotel in the airport

Realize that other countries use different power, so make sure you have an adapter that will handle it. If you don’t have an adapter, the hotel will most likely be able to provide one free of charge.

If you won’t be able to use your cell phone in another country, make sure to pack it where you can find it easily upon your return to the States

Be prepared for currency exchange rates

Do NOT go souvenir hunting when you are tired- you are likely to pay much more than you planned or wanted

Learn some words in the language of the country you are visiting. Just make sure that when you use those words, they are appropriate to the situation!

If you are allergic to smoke, be aware that many countries still have smokers

Even if you have no metal on your person, it is possible that a security screen will beep anyway

Make sure to tell your bank and credit cards if you will be traveling out of the country. Otherwise, they will see what looks like suspicious activity and possibly freeze your access and assets.

There are TSA approved locks for luggage. They keep your luggage secure, while allowing TSA access. You will be able to see if TSA opened your luggage if there is a red dot on the lock- as well as any postcard they may leave inside!

Skype is a wonderful way to stay in touch with people, either by phone or by video call. Determine the time difference and pre-schedule a time for calls.

If you have to wash clothing in your room without detergent, shampoo works better than soap.

Make sure to sit in an aisle seat on long flights, so you can easily get up to stretch and walk.

It helps to have your own earphones if you want to watch an inflight movie. Yours may be much more comfortable than those available on the plane.

Take time to write about your day every evening, so you will have a record. If you are on a long trip, it will be easy to forget what you did or saw if you don’t write it down as it happens.

Your family and friends will appreciate “coming” along on your trip as they read about your travel adventures.

Make sure to stay in daily touch with at least one relative or friend via Skype. It will help you avoid feeling lonely or homesick.

Don’t pack more than you can or will actually wear during your trip.

When you are counting out how many vitamins or pills you need, make sure to multiply the days you will be traveling by the number of pills you take in a day. You don’t want to be caught short. Having to FedEx a renewed prescription is very costly.

Even warm climates can get cold at night. Make sure to pack something warm to wear.

A good pair of slippers is a real relief after a long day of standing.

If you are good to the housekeeping staff, they will usually be very good to you.

A Kindle or a Nook is a treasure if you are an avid reader. Many books are free or less than $1 or $5, so it is very affordable. In many cases, you can also borrow books from the library. Just make sure to power it up before you travel.
Make a list of all of the people for whom you would like to bring back a gift, so that you don’t overbuy or overlook anyone.

Schedule with someone to give your house a good cleaning before you return from a long trip.

Send your clothing to the hotel laundry before you travel home, so you arrive with clean clothing.

If you want to keep your clothing relatively wrinkle-free, roll them up together. Lay down pants, then long sleeved items, then other items. When they are all lying on top of each other, roll them together and then fold the sleeves flat across the fold.

Put your clothing and papers into plastic garbage bags. That way they won’t get wet if your luggage sits out in the rain.

Carry a sheathed sharp knife in your non carry-on luggage. That way you’ll be able to cut up fruit in your room.

Make sure to bring an extra pair of glasses if you rely on glasses to see!

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