Visas & Passports
If you’re booking travel with me, I’ll give you the lowdown on visas, passports, and important advisories for the places you’re going. But if you want to do your own research, the US State Department is a great place to start.
There are many options out there, I like this one: http://www.xe.com/
If you book travel with me and would like a suggested packing list, I’ll send one tailored to your trip.
Whatever you decide to take and however you choose to pack, there are three things I recommend everyone carry on to the plane when flying abroad:
- Change of underwear and, unless you’re going somewhere tropical, socks. Luggage gets lost or delayed. Even with travel insurance (which I highly recommend) or the protection of your credit card, you still have to go out and buy replacements. If you’re tired or the stores are closed when you arrive, it’s nice to know you can at least change your underpants.
- Reusable water bottle (I like these from Vapur that collapse down nicely). Take it empty through security then fill it at a water fountain or ask at a coffee shop or restaurant. Dehydration is a common ailment on long flights. Don’t wait for a flight attendant to come around and serve you. Hydrate from the start! Then remember to use it when you’re traveling. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is real. The fewer plastic water bottles you buy and use, the less you’re contributing to it.
- A small bottle of mouthwash (less than 3oz/100ml so it meets those ridiculous restrictions we’re still dealing with). The water in airplane lavatories is not the cleanest. And in some airports, it’s even worse. So brushing your teeth might be a challenge if you have a sensitive stomach. If you have water in your bottle that you know is safe, save it for drinking. You can ask a flight attendant for bottled water to brush your teeth on the plane but it may be easier to give your mouth a rinse with a bit of mouthwash. Your seat mates and the folks at immigration will appreciate it. Bonus points if you buy a travel-size bottle then refill it for each trip or, if it’s alcohol-free, use a reusable food-safe bottle like these.
- Bonus 4th item: a sarong. It’s a blanket, towel, dress, skirt, scarf, window treatment, can be balled up into a lower back cushion or pillow, the uses are endless. If you get stuck in a cold airport trying to nap you may just find that a folded sarong keeps you warm enough to doze off. If your luggage hasn’t shown up, at least you have something of your own to dress up an outfit, wear to the beach, sleep in, or otherwise call your own. That and your second pair of underwear.