Packing isn’t the most glamorous part of traveling. But if you do some careful advanced planning, it can make your life on the road a lot easier, saving you time, money and frustration in the long run. Consider this list of often-overlooked—and infinitely valuable—items to pack before your next major trip.
These babies always make the list of things people often forget to pack. Now that the TSA has a new rule requiring travelers to turn gadgets on at security checkpoints, pack your chargers or power packs in your carry-on bag or handbag in case you run out of juice at the airport, lest you be forced to leave essential electronics behind. And don’t forget the power adapter if you’re traveling internationally!
If you can, consider bringing compact gadgets instead of the full-sized ones to make it easier for you to get around. For example, use a tablet instead of a laptop or ditch your digital camera in favor of a good photography app on your smartphone. They’ll save big-time on space—and charge time.
For the ultimate move to save money on communication costs, bring an unlocked phone with you. Use an old phone or buy a cheap outdated phone. You’ll be able to use a local SIM card no matter where you go, so you can say goodbye to roaming fees.
Before you leave home, make multiple paper copies of your passport. Don’t just rely on digital data, because you may lose your gadgets and find yourself with no way to access cloud storage.
A printout of your passport may be your only ID if you ever find yourself mugged in a foreign country. It can help embassy officials process your new passport more quickly, and if you need emergency cash wired to you, this photocopy of your passport may be able to act as proof of your identity.
Extra Reservation Printouts
Most airlines and hotels should have details of your reservations, but mistakes happen and printouts of your reservations can easily solve these problems. Additionally, if you place a printout of your itinerary in every bag you check, it could help the airline staff forward any lost bag to you.
Account Info and Contact Details
If your wallet goes missing, your biggest worry would probably be misuse of your credit or debit cards. The longer it takes for you to block these cards, the more opportunities there are for people to use them. Prepare yourself by making a list of the contact details for each of your bank accounts, so you can cancel your accounts in a hurry if necessary.
If you break a bone or contract malaria, are you covered? Understand your insurance policy so you’ll know what to do in case something happens when you’re out of state or out of the country. You probably don’t want to read through insurance papers to figure out your coverage details when you’re supposed to be tending to the emergency at hand. Make notes to remind yourself who to contact for medical issues.
A Packing Inventory
Make a list of everything in each of your bags. If you lose a bag, you’ll know exactly what to replace before you find yourself in dire need of it. This is also useful if you want to claim compensation from your insurance company.
Take photos of everything you don’t want to lose: bags, gadgets, kids, etc. If you do end up losing something, the photos can help the police or security staff immensely, especially in non-English-speaking countries where you may have difficulty communicating with them.
Hide some emergency cash at the hotel or on your body—in your shoes or in a money belt, for example. If you get mugged, you’ll at least have some money for cab fares, food and other essentials. If you have multiple credit cards and ATM cards, store one or two with this emergency stash as well.
Traveling in winter? A compression bag can reduce the volume of bulky jackets by up to 80 percent. For all other things, packing cubes can do wonders to help organize your belongings.
You’re usually given tags for your bags when you check them in. Mislabeling happens. Make sure that you’ve removed all tags from previous trips and that the new tags correctly identify your destination airport. Keep the checked luggage receipts with you in case you need to prove that they’re yours. And always be sure to attach a tag or a sticker on each bag with your name and contact info.
Flying in coach gets less and less fun by the day. But you can make it a little more comfortable by bringing your own blanket, seat cushion, travel pillow, or even inflatable foot rest. For long flights, pack a pair of slippers or thick socks so you can walk around the cabin comfortably.
Seated next to a crying baby? Get your much-needed rest by packing noise-canceling headphones or pressure-relieving ear plugs.
Interested in more ways to save money and travel cheaply? Visit NomadWallet.com and follow along as Deia B offers regular advice and resources for ways to do just that.