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Packing for International Travel... A Few Quick Tips

This is not intended as a comprehensive list of packing ideas for international travel. Rather, here are some of the more unique and worthwhile overseas traveler's tips that we've seen.

Scan passport, travel ticket.  Scan your passport, travel tickets, travel health insurance ID, credit card contact numbers, and other important travel information. Store this information in an email saved in your web-based email account. By doing this, you will always have fast access if needed.

Small bottles, carry-on travel bags  Use small clear bottles to repackage lotions, toiletries, shampoo, etc. This saves space and is especially useful for any items in your carry-on travel bags (due to security regulations).

Make carry-on travel possible.  Some places now ban all liquids from carry-on bags. Solid shampoo bars and tooth powder (instead of tooth paste) can be easily found on the Internet and make carry-on travel possible in this age of liquid restrictions on flights.

Split cash, travelers checks.  Split your cash, credit cards, travelers checks into different pockets or bags. If one is lost or stolen, you still have money. Use a money belt or other safe place to keep valuables securely on your person.

Pack, zip-lock bags  Pack with clear zip-lock baggies, divided into items such as socks, underwear, t-shirts, shorts, etc. This cuts down on rummaging when you need an item. In addition, if you have to unpack at customs, instead of a pile of loose clothes, you simply lay out 5 or 6 large, clear plastic baggies.

Roll clothes rather than fold.  It seems that bags will hold more if the clothes are rolled rather than folded. (This also makes clothes easier to place into plastic baggies.) If you roll in tissue paper, the clothes will also get less wrinkled.

Extra plastic baggies while traveling.  Extra plastic bags - zip-lock and draw string - always come in handy while traveling overseas. Keep toiletries from leaking, keep dirty clothes separated, use for garbage and even as a make-shift umbrella.

Travelers, don't over-pack.  Over-packing is the bane of all travelers. Pack only what you know you will use and if you are traveling for more than three weeks, plan to wash on the road.

Travel item with batteries.  When packing a flashlight or any other item with batteries, turn the batteries around, so if the item is accidentally turned on during travel or transit, it won't drain the batteries.

Place shoes inside old socks.  To help everything else in your bags stay clean and odor free, place the shoes inside old socks and then inside airtight bags.

Experienced world travelers.  Carry half a roll of toilet paper for emergencies, with the middle crushed and flattened to save space.

Local travel information.  Sometimes, the best source of travel information is local. Check out small, local tourism offices for unbiased advice on the best hotels to suit your needs. Sometimes such small offices are staffed by volunteers anxious to please foreign visitors. Of course, use caution in countries or large cities where you feel the information may not be as unbiased.

Travel health, medical insurance.  Make several copies of your international travel insurance ID or confirmation page and keep in several locations so you have a copy handy at all times, especially in the event of a medical emergency. Your travel insurance company is a good source for medical assistance and referrals. In some cases, you are required to contact your insurance company prior to scheduled surgery, outpatient testing, etc. A good rule of thumb is - if in doubt about a medical situation, call your insurance company collect ASAP.


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