Last week, we published the first iteration of WOAF’s Printable Travel Packing Checklist in hopes of better equipping readers with industry’s favorite gear for traveling light and traveling smart. This week, we are following up with some complementary preparatory reminders, in no particular order:
Leave a photocopy paper trail of your passport and applicable visa(s) with your family or a contact at home so that you can be reached in case of an emergency or if you lose your identification abroad. Leave copies of credit cards (front and back) and all correspondence related to your itinerary (e.g., guest house arrangements, rental car agreements, etc.) Place all previously mentioned information on a flash drive and keep it with your valuables while on the road. Emailing this info to yourself is convenient but use caution – email becomes less secure the second your personal computer leaves your home.
Gather embassy information in your home town or city and also in the area in which you will be traveling to. It is not necessary that you check in with your embassy when abroad, but you should have the information on hand in case of an emergency.
Get the Hep-B vaccination. Even if you aren’t a high-risk candidate for Hep-B (i.e., use needles, participate in high-risk sexual activity, etc.,) it is a good idea to get this vaccine should the slim chance arise that you need a blood transfusion while traveling. Transfusions are a very common method of Heb-B transmission around the world.
Check your medical coverage and buy travel insurance. You never know when you may need medical attention overseas. Ask your existing insurance company if your policy extends abroad. If so, find out if you will be covered in case of medical evacuation. If you are not covered for medi-vac, insure yourself with a supplemental insurance policy. Travel industry pro’s prefer Travelex Travel Insurance.
Check electronics’ capabilities in advance. Plugging high-wattage tools into ill-equipped outlets may cause your tool to fry, particularly during electrical storms. Always unplug electronics when not in use.
Alert your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling in advance to ensure that there is not stoppage of your service. Most financial institutions have a simple online tool in user services that takes less than a moment to complete.
A few best practices while on the road:
Two practical applications for inconspicuous navigation review – in other words, attempts at not looking like a tourist while on foot! Fumbling through navigation tools is the quickest way to draw attention to yourself, making you a more likely target for petty theft and other tourist-targeted crimes.
- Load your mobile device with maps. If you choose to carry a paper map, fold it into a small square that you can easily look at but that is no larger than a standard piece of notebook paper that can be held with one hand.
- Photograph bus and train schedules. Easy access and storage for future review! Handy!
Don’t freely hand off your credit card to merchants to go and swipe elsewhere (such as inside a restaurant while you are sitting on the patio.) Your card number could easily be poached and lenient usage rules don’t always require a signature or other verification info. Guard your card!
Get the most out of what you pack. Bring things that have multiple uses. A great example is a handkerchief. A handkerchief shields your skin from strong sun (getting burnt while traveling is no fun!); can become a tourniquet, a washcloth, or used as a fly swatter. Use it to wrap up loose items, like receipts or souvenirs, to safely cart home. Use your noggin as you prepare, and think of how to maximize use.
What did we miss? Please leave a comment below. We think, the more info for our readers, the better!
Have safe and happy travels and remember to escape your comfort zone and try new things along the way!
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