Things to Pack for Your Next Big Trip

  Alright, I have a confession to make…I have the travel bug… bad. I have traveled to 6 different countries and 39/50 states. Yet, I’m still constantly looking for places to travel any chance I get. In my travels, I have seen some of the most amazing views, from the Great Wall of China to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.  However, I have also encountered many different situations, ranging from funny to unfortunate. With these experiences, I have been able to develop some great tips and tricks on how to make sure you’re always prepared for whatever life throws at you. 

But, before I list some tips for both short and long-distance travel, I feel that it is really important to give out some basic safety tips, a lot of which I have used. Safety should always be your number one priority when traveling, no matter where you’re going!

Safety Tips: 

  1. Travel in groups and with people you trust 

When I went to China, I found myself traveling with only one other person that I could call a friend. Yes, the other people I knew, but I didn’t know them well enough to where I felt I could live with them for over 12 days. Luckily, the 17-hour flight gave us plenty of time to get to know one another. However, especially when you want to do something like Study Abroad or a Travel Study program, getting to know the people that you’re going to be traveling with can play a huge part in not only enjoying your trip, but safety as well. I highly recommend getting to know what allergies people have, where they’re from, and remember to ALWAYS stay in pairs. 

  1. Make copies of important documents and keep the originals at home. And make sure to tell someone back home your travel plans!

This is one of the biggest things to remember when traveling somewhere new. You should always keep important documents (like your birth certificate, social security card, list of medications you’re taking etc.) in a safe space at home, and should NEVER bring the originals with you on a trip unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead, pack copies and keep them in an envelope or email the copied documents to yourself.  You should also consider telling someone you trust what your trip will look like. Tell them where you’re staying, the hotel’s number and tell them your flight numbers. You never know what might happen while on a trip. Remember to check in with them as well, by either texting or calling to let them know you’re ok!

  1. Plan your spending by day, using cash envelopes or Visa gift cards. 

Budgeting is always a great idea when you are planning a trip. It is even more helpful to plan your spending by day, helping you to make sure that you stay on budget and a great way to avoid the possibility of running out of money while on your trip. Budgeting by day and only carrying that day’s money is a great way to stay safe in the chance that someone was to gain access to your money. When you are sight-seeing or just around town, remember to never pull out an excessive amount of money in front of people; to try and plan for prices of tickets and meals beforehand; and to always look for deals!

  1. Be careful connecting to public WIFI, you can get hacked!

This is very important to remember when abroad, but should also be thought of when on the state side. Connecting to public WIFI is the easiest way for someone to hack your phone and potentially gain personal information. When public WIFI asks for things such as an email address or for you to sign up for an account with them; it is best to not use that network. This gives them access to more information than they should need for a public WIFI service. It is tempting to give in and give up that information, but it is best to take a step back and think about the possible consequences. 

  1. Be aware of the state of illnesses spreading in that country or state, along with any political election dates that might bring trouble. 

This is a safety tip that I recently came up with since the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, I would have never thought about this or how it would affect me. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the USA Presidential Election taking place in the same year, we saw a lot of change and unrest. I feel that since then, just being aware of important dates of the place that you are visiting is a good idea, and a great way to make sure that you don’t get caught in a situation you don’t want to. 

Now, here’s my list of top 5 must haves for when I travel both domestically or abroad. 

Things you should always pack that I have learned from experience: 

  • Neck pillows and portable charger are a must. 

I’ve forgotten my neck pillow a handful of times and trust me when I say that I didn’t sleep at all when I forgot it. If a flight is long enough, a plane might provide a small pillow, but most won’t. Overall, even if you think you won’t use it, pack a neck pillow. It is also important to remember to bring a portable charger with you! It may seem silly at first, but you are never guaranteed an outlet when waiting for your connection flight!

  • Pack travel size tissues, hand sanitizer and toilet paper 

Hand sanitizer and tissues are a great way to make sure you stay healthy when traveling, especially when you have long flights. This COVID-19 pandemic has opened my eyes to how dirty public places can be, making this an even more important item on my list. If masks are still needed, make sure to pack a few of those as well! Airplanes are full of germs, and so are public places. It’s always best to wash your hands with soap and water, but if you’re in a situation where that’s not an option; hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Toilet paper is another thing you may want to consider bringing. When I was in China, bathrooms did not provide toilet paper, as it was expected that people bring their own. Even traveling on the state side, some places run out and when they do, it’s better to be prepared and have your own then be out of luck!

  • Mint gum and a light snack 

Mint gum is helpful in more ways than one! As someone who gets motion sick easily, I have found that mint gum helps calm an upset stomach. It is also helpful for after those overnight flights when you can’t brush your teeth. Remember to pack a few granola bars in your backpack before leaving as well. Most airlines will provide snacks and meals if the flight is long enough. But it’s always a good idea to have something light on you in case you get stuck in traffic, lose your bag, and need to wait; or haven’t found a place to eat your next meal yet. 

  • Reusable water bottle 

Now, it is important to remember that not all drinking water is safe in other countries. It is best to buy bottled water when visiting another country; but I highly recommend pouring that water into a thermos type water bottle to keep it cool! Let’s be honest, no one likes drinking warm water. 

  •  Tylenol, Advil or Ibuprofen and Dramamine (you never know when you might get motion sick) 

I learned the hard way that it can be EXTREMELY difficult to find painkillers when abroad. The names that we’re used to back home (like Advil) don’t always translate the same overseas and may not be the same dosage as back in the states. It’s best to pack the stuff you normally take, especially when going abroad. It’s also a great idea to pack a travel size Dramamine for those times you might be on a bumpy flight or car ride. Motion sickness can happen to anyone, especially when flights or car rides get bumpy.  It’s always better to be prepared with your medication than not. 

Overall, travel is one of the best things that someone can experience. The tips above are only a few of a list that could go on and on. Remember that everyone has different preferences, and that everyone travels at their own pace.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: