Not that long ago, air travel was a pleasant part of going on vacation. These days, with long lines to security check, luggage restrictions, tiny seats, and costly but minimum service, flying became the dreaded medium that gets you to your destination. With no room for mistake, it is a cause of anxiety and frustration. Packing the right way may help to lower the stress.
My approach to travel, especially flying, is to anticipate problems and have a solution handy just in case. Before packing, I make sure to check latest security policies on carry-on and my airline’s luggage weight and size restrictions.
Packing Your Carry-On
Packing right carry-on items is the most important part of you preparation for travel. Before you leave, make sure that all items from that list are leaving with you. During your trip, they should always be within your reach.
Passport and/or drivers license
In addition to originals, I suggest to pack printed copies of both. For added protection, I also have picture copies stored on my OneDrive cloud easily accessible from any location in the world where internet is provided. Through OneDrive, I also have an access to my passwords to banks accounts, credit cards, and loyalty programs.
Cash can be lost or stolen and it is not replaceable. Debit cards do not offer the same protection as credit cards do, so credit card are essential for travel.
Do not forget to notify your bank that you will be travelling, especially abroad. Also make sure that your cards have no foreign transaction fees.
Having a credit card is important if you are planning to stay at any reputable hotels and absolutely necessary if you are renting a car. In most cases, you will not be able to rent a car without a credit card.
Take at least three cards. It is a always a risk that one of them would be blocked by your bank for some unforeseen reason.
(Last year while I was in Greece, my car rental company put a temporary damage deposit charge of $1000. My bank immediately blocked this card thinking it was a fraudulent activity).
Also keep in mind that cash is not accepted for any kind of purchases on a plane. (Check out my favorite, IHG Credit Card , that gives you a free night annually.)
Cash and debit card
As much I do not like cash, I realize it is essential to have it on you, especially when traveling abroad. Do your research before you go to see how widely credit cards are accepted and calculate how much cash you will need. Have a debit card with you in case you need additional cash. Debit card banks also need to be notified about your travel.
Keep your medication with you all the time. Take some extras and pack them separately just in case your main supply is lost.
Health insurance card
Hopefully you will never have to use but do it is important to have it.
Travel insurance protection documents
Travel insurance is design to help us financially and otherwise in stressful and unexpected scenarios. Coverage may include both costs incurred before your trip, such as nonrefundable event tickets or hotel stays, and during your trip, including travel interruptions and medical expenses. I recommend Allianz Global Assistance Insurance, especially when traveling abroad where your U.S. health insurance may be not recognized. For as little as $26 per trip you can buy a peace of mind.
I purchased Allianz insurance twice and filed a claim once. While in Costa Rica, my young adult son needed a medical attention for a sunburn. He used a taxi to get to the clinic and there he received a treatment. My health insurance company did not cover these expenses so I turned to Allianz. I submitted a hand written bill from a taxi driver and a hand written bill from the clinic, both in Spanish. Allianz issued a reimbursement check within a week. The whole process was smooth and the customer service was outstanding.
Printed copy of your itinerary
Again, do not count solely on electronics, they may fail! If your itinerary is complicated, like mine often is, have a printed copy with you all the time. I use Tripcase where all my flights, car rentals and hotel reservations, including addressed and phone numbers, are listed. I can access it online too but prefer to have it handy in print.
Your electronics – cellular phone, tablet, laptop and their corresponding chargers plus a voltage convertor if needed
There is no doubt that we became slaves of electronics and there is no going back. To keep these devices organized while flying is a difficult task. For me, this problem was solved when I received a complimentary Ricardo Beverly Hills carry-on suitcase, Roxbury 2.0.
What sets it apart form my previous carry-ons is a mobile office compartment designed specifically for all office and travel essentials. My laptop fits there perfectly and it is protected by a generous padding and hard-shell high-impact material. Other office items can be put into two smaller sleeves or larger zipped utility mesh pocket.
For clothing, there are two additional zipped dividers. This carry-on is small enough to pass any airline’s size restriction. Also because of its smaller size and light material, it is easy for me to lift it overhead without asking for help. I like its appearance too – professional but feminine.
I am not a big fan of taking photos with my phone. As a travel blogger, I prefer to have two cameras just in case one fails. This is why I am so thrilled with my new toy received as a promotional gift from Panasonic, Travelling Mom’s sponsor, a Panasonic – Lumix DMC – ZS60. Designed specifically for travel, this camera is small and sturdy and, at 11 ounces, it won’t weigh me down.
The camera can capture even the finest details of your travels. Its exceptional low light performance ensures crisp, clear and natural results with minimal noise. The ZS60’s big new feature is support for 4K/UHD video, which allows users to easily extract high quality 8MP stills from video.
Check-in luggage – for everything else
Basically, your check-in luggage is for everything else you need, but if these items get lost or their arrival is postponed, it will not ruin your trip. Losing your bag is obviously a big deal but clothing and shoes are replaceable. Remember to put at least one set of clothes in your carry-on in case you will not be reunited with your luggage upon arrival.
Learn about packing approach for my 12 hour layover in Barcelona.