Sunday, November 4, 2012

Top 3 Travel Items

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my traveling and what I can absolutely not leave the house without when I'm going on a trip. How do I decide what to bring, and what to leave behind? I try to always carry these three things when I'm traveling and I have no doubt that when you find out what these items are, you’ll always carry them yourself.

1. Identification Papers
No big surprise here. I always carry my passport (duh), my credit cards, and even my drivers license. In addition though, I carry paper copies of all the documents with me just in case AND I leave a copy of the papers at home with my family. Here's another idea, carry a flash drive with copies of all the info in your toiletry bag too. You may think, "yeah, but I don't need that many copies" and let's hope you don't but what if you did? Would you rather have extras or be stick in a Morocco without it?

I can’t stress this enough -- this is your most important possession while traveling. Imagine losing your wallet at a bar one late, debauchery-filled night in your hometown. Now picture yourself -- instead of being at home the next morning -- in Nairobi, Kenya, no ID and probably only a hazy recollection of what happened the night before. No bueno.

2. Cash and Credit Cards
I carry a significant amount of cash with me when I travel. This is my preference. Now that I’ve let the cat out of the bag, jinxed myself, and will be mugged on my next trip, let me tell you why I do this.

I hate getting hit with charges from my bank when using ATMs in other countries. My bank in Germany always charges me 5 € for each transaction I make in another country or at another bank within Germany. 5 € if I take out 10 € in cash and 5 € if I take out 1000 € in cash.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I’ve also heard of incidents with cash machines eating debit cards in big, scarily overwhelming cities. Waiting for the machine to spit your card out can turn your stomach not leading to a good trip. I then spread my cash out throughout my baggage and keep track of where I hid it and how much money was there. I did, on my trip to Poland misplace about 150 € though and was pleasantly surprised to find it on my next trip.

But, of course, I also bring credit cards as a backup. They're accepted nearly everywhere and in an emergency, they can be a life saver.

3. Sunglasses
I never leave home without my sunglasses. Enough said. Well, that's how I would like it to be, but I always forget them. I didn't even pack any when I moved to Germany but sure enough, I have bought my share of sunglasses while here. Hopefully I won't make this mistake again.
Honestly, as long as you’re not traveling to Antarctica, North Korea, Burma, or Cuba, you can buy anything you need abroad. Sure, I have my favorite jeans, pajamas, t-shirt; and I always try to pack my toothbrush... But I don’t absolutely need it. And personally, I feel comforted to know that I can get on a plane with these three things and I’ll be pretty much set.

1 comment:

  1. Sunglasses. The most easily forgotten and the most important for my wee little sensitive baby peepers. I squint anyways when I'm not wearing glasses, regardless of sun brightness, but seeing the world through half closed eyes is not how I want to remember it. Also, seeing the world through tinted lenses adds a dark, James Bond vibe to how I remember things.