For extended trips, however, travelers are likely to pack more, ultimately forcing them to check in some of their luggage.
It is important, therefore, to know what to keep with you at all times when you travel, and how to pack a case that must be loaded into a plane’s cargo until you arrive at your destination. In the event your luggage should be lost, it is necessary to keep the most important items with you at all times.
Your passport, your driver’s license, any and all picture ID cards should remain on your person. When you pass through airport security you will be required to have identification ready for inspection, and it is important that is stays with you and is not packed away in a case that won’t be readily at your disposal. If you are traveling abroad and are using a passport, be sure to make copies of the identification page in the event your passport is lost or stolen. Keep one copy with a relative or friend at home, and keep extra copies with you in different places so you will have one ready if needed.
Insurance cards are also necessary to have on you, in the event of a medical emergency or accident (especially if you are renting a car for your trip).
This includes paper, traveler’s checks, and credit cards. In this age of electronic transfer, you might not think it necessary to carry traveler’s checks, but they are good to have if you are going abroad. Always remember the possibility that foreign ATMs might not accept American bank cards, same with certain stores and restaurants. A short supply of paper currency (no more than a hundred dollars) is good to have also for immediate money exchange once you reach your destination.
It always helps, too, to have a few euros handy for tipping. Keep a few euros in your pocket to pass over to a clerk or valet when needed. This prevents you from having to dig in your purse or wallet in a crowd.
Itinerary: Know where you need to go quickly. Have a small map, itinerary, or direction sheet with you to expedite the arrival at your hotel. Whether traveling domestically or overseas, you want to appear confident and inconspicuous so as not to catch the eye of any possible scam artists who prey upon out of towners. If you are unsure of where you need to be, seek assistance at the first information booth immediately.
Consider the trip, the places you plan to visit and the length of your absence from home. How many changes of clothing are necessary, and what types of clothing can you expect to wear? Sometimes, you might find you have packed too much for a trip, resulting in wrinkled clothing upon arrival. Or, you might find you have packed too many formal items for a trip that didn’t require it.
Before you open your suitcase, determine exactly what is on the itinerary. Consult weather reports for your destination and, if possible, research attractions and restaurants for any dress requirements. If you are headed to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, you might find all you need is your swimsuit and one nice outfit! Check with your hotel in advance, too, to determine what laundry services are available or nearby. You may be able to pack half as much if you have such access.
Do you really need to pack an iron? Can you live a few weeks without your laptop? Despite the gadgetry designed to make our lives easier, it is not difficult to find that too many gadgets on a short trip will prove to be aggravating. Thankfully, as hotels evolve even the economy, accommodations offer enough amenities so travelers need not pack everything and the kitchen sink. Coffee makers, irons, hair dryers, and other home necessities are made available, though it is always a good idea to check with your hotel to see what is offered and what is not. For those traveling overseas, if you need to take electrical appliances, make sure you have the proper adapters so the plugs will fit.
When we forget things like soap and shampoos, those little bottles at the hotel are a blessing, yet you might not feel there is enough to suit your needs. Does this mean you should pack economy size bottles of everything? While the large bottles are nice, they are not always necessary for a trip, and sometimes those bottles can prove dangerous. Packed with clothing, there is always the risk of damage, and opening your suitcase to find every outfit soaked with mouthwash and smelling minty fresh.
Determine what essentials you need to pack, shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, etc. and pack in a suitcase with a separate compartment. Medium size plastic bottles, no more than ten fluid ounces, is a good gauge. Make sure the bottles are not completely filled, in the event of temperature changes in cargo that may cause the plastic to expand or burst. Better yet, pack all bottles in an extra plastic bag to help ensure protection from leaks.
Knowing what to pack and how much is beneficial to your enjoying a vacation. The less encumbered you are by luggage, the less worry of damage, theft, or loss.