After losing my passport a couple of weeks ago and learning that I did not have any photocopies of it, my aunt, a travel agent and veteran traveler, thought it prudent to send me a list of the travel tips that she gives to all of her clients. I found it so useful, that I decided to post it here to share.
I hope you all find this as useful as I did!
1. Make two copies of your passport. Keep one in your luggage and one copy at home, so that someone can fax you a copy if needed. If you passport gets lost or stolen, this makes it much easier to replace.
2. Always purchase excess medical insurance. Keep the policy in your luggage and a card in your wallet with the insurance policy and phone number in case of emergency.
3. Keep any prescription drugs in your carry on luggage in the original containers. Also, keep vitamins in their original containers as well, or security may think you are trying to smuggle drugs.
4.Get a prescription from your doctor for Dukoral. Dukoral is an oral medication taken in two doses. You take it approximately 2 weeks before travelling. It prevents traveller’s diarrhea and is good for 2 years.
5.Get a prescription for Sipro. It’s a general use antibiotic that’s good for infections and has a shelf life of 2 years.
6. Thieves have come up an electronic scanner that can scan the numbers of your passport, credit cards, and debit cards while they are still in your wallet or backpack. To prevent this, wrap your passport, credit cards, and debit cards in tin foil, and the electronic scanners will no longer be able to read them.
7. Always carry $30 USD in one-dollar bills when arriving in a new country. When you first arrive in a country and do not have the local currency, you may need to tip taxi drivers, porters etc., and US dollars are accepted around the world.
8. Take the oldest luggage you have. Expensive luggage is a target for airport and hotel employees. One of the best bags is a hockey bag on wheels. They are a lot stronger than regular luggage, and cheaper too. To further safeguard your luggage from thieves (this tip is for both men and women) buy really, really large ladies underwear (not the bikini type) and soil them with dirt or coffee and put them on top of your clothes. This will deter anyone from going further into your bag.
9. Take a first aid kit packed with pain killers, stomach remedies, a Swiss Army Knife, wipes, antibacterial hand sanitizer, cold/cough medication, bandages, a piece of folded tin foil, string, and wooden matches.
10. Carry a bandana. You can use it to keep the sun off your head, for wiping or washing things, to wrap around a cut to stop the bleeding, and, if it’s big enough, you can use it as a sling for your arm.
11. NEVER pack any valuables in your checked luggage.
12. Pack your clothes in large Ziploc bags and remove the excess air. That way, I if your luggage happens to sit outside for any period of time, your clothes will always stay dry.
13. Take an extra passport photo with you, you may need it for an emergency visa, permit, etc.
14. Reconfirm your return at least 72 hours prior to departure. Airlines have major schedule changes twice a year and often flights.
15. Make sure you have a local number where you can be reached.