Thou Shall Always Roll
If you don’t do this in your suitcase now, then shame on you. JK, but really rolling all your clothes, and I mean ALL of them, is infinitely easier than folding. It saves space and everything should stay, more or less, wrinkle free. If you are super, SUPER organized then roll by outfits to make life so much easier when you reach your destination.
Thou Shall Make Lists
I am the guilty over-packer. I like to have options, ok? But, I have found that making a well-defined list of everything for your suitcase and carry on is a blessing in disguise. This way you will not over-pack and not forget anything super important or well needed. Extra credit if you only cross off the things you wrote down when you actually have packed them.
Thou Shall Never Put Valuables in Your Checked Luggage
Close your eyes for a couple of seconds and think of all the hands that touch your checked luggage especially if traveling out of the country. Crazy right? So on that note always carry anything of value (money, jewelry, technology, etc.) in your carry on to always have an eye on it.
Thou Shall Have a Photo Copy of Your Important Documents At All Times
This means passports (if traveling out of the country), credit cards, drivers license, insurance cards, etc. For passports especially, this could speed up the new-passport process at the Embassy. Having copies of everything can be critical in an emergency setting. I always like to make three copies of my passport when leaving the country and having a copy with someone in the states. Bonus points if you email it to yourself or have it in Google Drive.
Thou Shall Have a List of the Places You’re Staying With Phone Numbers and Addresses
This is especially important when traveling out of the country where you don’t know the language. If you are lost, it is great to have the location and phone number of the place you are staying. It can help out a lot if there is a language barrier.
Thou Shall Do Your Research
Does your destination avoid eye contact? Is it cold during November? Do the natives eat with the fork in the right or left hand? Is it rude to completely finish your plate? Cultural things like this are crucial to know before going to your destination. It can help not create awkward and uncomfortable moments. Also, it is great to research what the tourists like to do and what locals love to do.
Thou Shall Have All the Right Medications
This might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you have all the proper medications with you in your carry on for your trip. Some countries don’t have certain medicines that are commonly available in the US. Also, some medications are legal in the US and illegal in others. Talk to your doctor just in case.
Thou Shall Warn Your Credit Card Company
Call your credit card company a couple days before your trip and tell them when, where and for how long you will be out of the country. This way the company won’t freeze or, dare I say it, terminate your card. Nothing is worse than being out of the country without any money.
Thou Shall Budget Your Money
It is so easy to blow your next rent paycheck on souvenirs, and even though the “when in Rome” mentality is a true statement, your credit card can sometimes state otherwise. Coming up with a daily or weekly budget can help the next month’s bill not be so alarming.
Thou Shall Charge Every Device Before You Leave
Toothbrushes, phones, laptops: It seems like everything has a limited battery life. The night before you go, make sure that everything that needs to be charged IS charged. Airports are sometimes unpredictable and don’t always have a ready outlet. If your phone can’t carry a charge for very long, invest in a pre-charged bank to carry you through unpredictable layovers.