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What I Take on a Trip

Malcolm Webber, Ph.D.


Here's most of the check list that I use for packing.


What I Take
Why I Take It
Where I Put It
Which Trips I Take It On
Phone card

To call home regularly. Make sure you know know how to call home before you leave. Otherwise it will be very expensive. Alternatively you can always ask the trip leader if you can use his card - an excellent way to increase his stress level.

I usually make sure I have at least 3 different ways I can call home - sometimes one or another of them won't work.

The best thing I've found is to have MCI as your home telephone service provider and sign up for their international calling plan. It only costs about $5 a month and you can cancel it as soon as you return. Then you can call a toll free number in the country where you're going and be connected to the US at relatively low cost.

Do not call collect - at least don't call me collect - it's very expensive. Also, do not dial directly out from hotel telephones in your room (unless you're Bill Gates).

On the subject of hotel rooms, all the nice fruit juice and stuff in the room refrigerator is not free but very expensive - surprise, surprise!

Wallet1
All trips
Cell phone, batteries, recharger (if necessary)
To call within the nation you're visiting. Do not use these to call home.
Carry-on
All
Tickets (use E-tickets if possible)
Always keep this on your person (except when taking a shower). Ignore this advice at your own risk!
Pocket or Wallet1
All
Passport (and Green Card if you're an "alien" like me)
Always keep this on your person (except when taking a shower). Ignore this advice at your own risk!
Pocket or Wallet1
All
Money

Figure out, in advance, how much you'll need and then take extra. Alternatively you can always ask the trip leader if you can use his money - another excellent way to increase his stress level.

Remember airport taxes. Forget tips - mercifully, tipping is not broadly practiced in too many countries other than the US (other than in expense tourist hotels).

Cash is what I usually take. You may get a better exchange rate with traveller's checks or something else but that doesn't mean you'll be able to find a place that will accept them. Then you'll have to borrow money from you know how.

Take new bills (older and worn bills will often be rejected). Smaller denominations are usually easier to change.

Wallet1
All
Credit Card

Take one card. Visa is first choice, MasterCard is second. Get one that will cover your insurance for rental cars. Also some carry travel insurance.

Do not take a Discover Card or something else that is hardly accepted anywhere outside the US. Then you'll have to borrow a card from you know how.

Make sure that someone back home has the contact information for customer service in case you ignore my advice below and lose the card you take.

Always keep this on your person (except when taking a shower). Ignore this advice at your own risk!

Wallet1
All
Driver's License
Take this if you're renting a car. Otherwise leave it at home - one fewer thing to lose.
Wallet1
All
Visas for All Countries
Check what you need long before leave. Remember you may need a visa even though you're only passing through a country.

These are usually in your passport.

Pocket or Wallet1

All international trips
Extra passport photos
In case you need to talke an unplanned visit to another country for whatever reason.
Carry-on
All international trips
Shot card
Some countries require this. It shows that you have received mandatory vaccinations, etc.
Pocket when entering the country. Carry-on when not.
If necessary
Photocopies of Birth Certificate, Passport (and Green Card for aliens)
If you lose your papers, you'll be glad to have these!
Two copies: keep one in carry-on and one in checked luggage
All international trips
Health Insurance information
If you get sick you'll be glad you've got this. Stay out of two-third's world hospitals as much as you can. They're often very hazardous to your health!
Wallet1
All
Trip Itinerary
So you don't miss your plane!
Pocket when travelling. Carry-on when not.
All
Contacts Information

If you show up at a foreign airport without having phone numbers for any local contact person, you deserve what you get (I've done this more than once).

Also be sure to have whatever numbers you need for people back home. Have at least one memorized (surely not too much to ask!).

Wallet1
I print a very small (8 point Courier) list and keep it in my wallet.
All
Frequent Flyer Cards
Take several - you may miss a flight and have to change airlines (happens regularly to me).
Wallet1
All
Family Photo
You might also take a few to give away to new friends.
Wallet1
All
Business or Contact Cards
It's a lot quicker than continually writing it all down on scraps of paper for new friends.
Wallet1
All
List of Future Important Dates
So you know what you're doing in the future when you need to make plans on the spot.
Wallet1
I print a very small (8 point Courier) list and keep it in my wallet.
All
Reading Stuff for Plane

You probably won't need as much as you might think. (I once did a 12 hour flight sitting next to a guy who read the whole time - and it was a book about fishing! Unbelievable but true.)

Carry-on
All
Address Stickers
Put these on the tags on your luggage. Saves time at the check-in counter.
Wallet
As necessary
Notebook, pens, paper, black sharpie pen
Taking notes, writing, marking things
Carry-on
All
Small Calculator
You'll need it for something sooner or later (like changing money)
Carry-on
All
Blank Floppies
Take a couple. Someone may have something to give you.
Carry-on
All
Bible, Devotional Chart
You're a Christian, right ?
Carry-on
All
Small Calendar
For future planning
Carry-on
All
Vitamins
Whatever you normally use
Carry-on
All
Betaine Hydrochloride
Or something similar. Helps digestion, especially when eating odd things.
Carry-on
All
Melatonin

Helps you to sleep and get over jet lag.

For this same purpose:
Drink lots of water o the plane to avoid dehydration.
Upon arrival get out in the sunlight and do some exercise.

Carry-on
All
Neck Rest, Ear Plugs,
Eye Patch.
Helps you sleep on the plane.
Carry-on
As necessary. But always take ear plugs.

1 Or security pouch or money belt or whatever you use. Do not use those silly big pouches that wrap around your waist and hang out the front. You immediately identify yourself as a tourist who has all his valuable papers and money exposed. Personally I would not be caught dead wearing one of those dorky things.

 

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