The most important items that you take on a trip are a passport and some means of paying for stuff. When you think about it, that’s all you really need. You can buy clothes and toothbrushes and bandaids and cameras – you can buy it all. Without proper identification and a credit card (or cash or travelers cheques), you can’t go far. We have created a list of documents, just so we don’t forget something important. It is now posted on the page called “Important Documents” under the Packing Lists menu item. Let me explain a few of the items.
Murray and I both carry different credit cards. We usually only use one – the Visa with Avion Points, but we both have cards as backups. Murray also carries an AMEX credit card as it allows him to cash personal cheques if needed. Murray will talk about credit cards vs cash vs travelers cheques in a later post.
Copies of Important Documents
We each carry photocopies of birth certificates and passports hidden inside our luggage somewhere. In case our passports go missing, we have these copies to help get replacements. It also is a good idea to have photocopies of prescriptions, credit cards, entry visas and driver’s licenses. I usually carry these copies inside a bag of various bags I have in my suitcase. Instead of carrying photocopies, scan and email the copies to your gmail email account (or other web accessible sites).
Extra Passport Photos
Depending on where we travel, we take extra passport photos with us. Researching entry requirements for each country will tell you if you are going to need photos when you arrive.
Words to Learn in the Local Language
After being in Vietnam and China, we put together a list of words to learn in the local language. This list is on its own page also. It’s amazing the reaction you get when you say “Waitress, the bill please” in Mandarin. As I have some food “issues”, our list contains food items that are specific to me. If you use this list, it should be modified.
Travel/Medical Insurance and IAMAT Cards
Always carry your Travel/Medical Insurance Cards. These cards will supply phone numbers to call for information on where to find English speaking doctors. We required a doctor in Belize once, and our Travel Insurance provider was able to provide us with one. IAMAT has a list of doctors available that are western trained.
Plane Tickets/eTickets/Hotel Reservations
We carry paper copies of all eTickets and hotel reservation confirmations. We also keep all these in my gmail email account, in case we loose the paper copies. This sounds like lots of backups of backups, but planning for the unexpected will help greatly in keeping the stress down if the unexpected happens.
Copies of City Maps
We added this item to our list last year after our trip to China. We were carrying around the very thick Lonely Planet book just to use the map. For the Bhutan trip, we will photocopy, and perhaps laminate the maps of the cities where we will be going. These will fit into a pants pocket when we want them out of sight.