Having done a lot of traveling through the years, I have developed a checklist for my pre-travel preparations. Maybe it will help you get ready for your next trip.
- Photocopy my driver’s license, medical insurance card and credit cards. Leave a copy at home or with a friend so that if I need any of these while traveling you can call or email the friend for a copy.
- Make 3 -4 copies of your passport and put one in each suitcase that you are taking and also leave one at home or with a friend. I typically scan and email one to a friend so they can email it to me should I lose my passport while traveling. It is easier to replace a passport if you have a copy to work from.
- Buy a cell phone in the country in which you are traveling. In Guatemala a cheap cell phone can be bought for about $15 which includes about 100 air minutes. Buy more minutes as you need them. This is a much cheaper option for calling back to the States than using your cell from home. And you have a cell phone with you for emergencies.
- Before leaving on a trip, I always send myself an email with phone numbers of people at home that I might need while traveling. I also include website passwords that I might want to access while traveling because I know I won’t be able to remember.
- Check out travel forums, such as Lonely Planet, for the country you are heading to so that you can get your questions answered. Whether you need to find opinions about a hotel or shuttle or buses, the travel forums are great!
What are some of my must haves that I always take?
- Antibiotic- in case I get really sick
- Extra memory card for the camera– when one card has a lot of photos on it I swap it out with a new one. Then if something happens to the camera I still have some photos on one of the cards.
- few plastic ziploc bags– I am always in need of a plastic bag when traveling
- small flashlight
- charger for cell phone and camera
- copies of passport
- prescriptions, vitamins, aspirin
- ginger candy mints– to quell an uneasy stomach
- ATM Card, Credit Card
- Driver’s license
- Traveler’s checks– getting harder to find but I still like to have 2 or 3 in case I lose all my cash and bank cards.
- inflatable travel pillow– because many pillows in small hotels in Guatemala are like tree logs!
- wash cloth, fast drying travel towel
This is my list I always refer to before each trip — add to it, delete from it and make it yours. Having a list like this reduces a lot of pre-travel stress!