One of the ironies of travel is that the more you do it the lazier you get about packing and planning. As a result of a few forgotten passport type situations and other important items so I’ve come up with a system
- Money two sources of Visa and $100-$200 cash in $20 bills
I do this because no matter if you notify the bank or whatever it seems that somehow they think your card is stolen and will block it. It will take a few hours to work this out and is much easier with cell phones now a day but you still want two sources of Visa. Again that Visa not American Express. Visa truly is everywhere you want be. $100-$200 in $20 will get you out of a lot of trouble. Also United States twenty dollar bills are the closest thing we have to a universal currency in this world. You can even spend them directly without changing if you’re really in trouble. You will of course get a worse rate but still cab drivers will take United States dollars. Make sure they are not ripped or mangled. There is an urban legend in the third world that US banks won’t take USD if they are damaged. As a result a damaged twenty is worth much less or even impossible to spend than a clean undamaged twenty.
- Cloths and Shoes
As little as possible is the rule. I realize that for social situation this is going to vary depending on what type of work you are going to be doing but as still you should fallow the rule as little as possible. For me that means pair of shorts, pair of paints, three shirts, socks, and underwear. Be sure you have a good pair of shoes. I would also get a shoe insole such as Dr. Scholl’s or my personal favorite Super Feet. Any shoe insole is a lot better than no shoe insole.
- Computers and such
Again as little as possible is the rule. For me that means my iPhone. I find I can do most everything with it in a pinch. I’ve gotten some special apps of course such as Apple Pages numbers, dropbox etc to help me do this but I find it amazing how much I can get done with my iPhone. I get the international data plan before I leave. It used to be extremely expensive to get international data but now it’s cheaper than a couple of trips to the internet café. I sometimes bring an iPad or a ultrabook but more often than not this ends up being a mistake. I also bring as little camera equipment as possible. That means one body, one lens, one flash, batteries and memory cards.
- Passport and drivers licenses
Keep these safe. I believe in the fanny pack thing you stick in your paints. I’ve been getting lazier about this over the years and will not use it more often than not. I realize this is probably a mistake so I’m not going to recommend it.
- Toiletries and bag
Again same rule as always applies; as little as possible. You can get travel sized everything at Wal-Mart and your bag should be durable and strong. Costco has good roller luggage for cheap. If you’re going to be walking a lot I would get a good backpack such as an Osprey.
- Don’t stress it
Worse case situation you forget something important and you have to buy something. That’s fine. Then you can say I got this shirt in Paris or something cool like that. It’s a useful souvenir.
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