Here are a few travel tips to prepare for a safe and enjoyable trip:
Always pack 2 days’ worth of clothing in your carry-on. If your luggage is misplaced, you’ll have clothes to wear. Also, pack the following in your carryon: toothbrush, toothpaste, prescription medications, and deodorant. You may require access to these items while you are waiting for your luggage to be delivered at your resort, hotel, or cruise ship.
If you are checking two bags, pack half your items in each bag. (If a couple is traveling, half your clothes in each other’s bag) If one gets lost, you’ll both have clothing until your bags arrive.
PACKING FOR A TROPICAL CLIMATE
In the tropics, even with air conditioning your room can be humid. I recommend buying DampRid. You hang it in your room and it reduces the moisture! This stuff is amazing.
CHECKING LUGGAGE ON YOUR FLIGHT
Using your cell phone, take a picture of your luggage with your luggage tags clearly showing. If your luggage is misplaced, the first thing you’ll be asked is “what does your luggage look like?”
BOARDING THE PLANE
About 40 minutes before your plane is set to depart, the agent at the desk will announce that boarding is beginning. Arrive at the airport 2 hours in advance for domestic flights and 3 hours in advance for international flights. Check-in lines are long, security lines are long and slow, and you’ll want to be at your gate 40 minutes prior to boarding for this announcement.
ON THE PLANE
Make sure you have what you need for the flight with you before you sit down, and that it’s not in the above bin. It can be difficult to get it while you are in flight.
Drink a lot of water. The dry air aboard the airplane will dry out your system. If you are not well hydrated, the jet lag will be worse or you may become sick.
ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER YOU ARE ON VACATION
It’s not that time really stands still in other countries. Things may not always happen as quickly, or as precisely, as you may be accustomed to. This characteristic varies from destination to destination, and each country seems to have its own “unique” set of clocks. It drives many visitors crazy the first few days. No doubt about it, the laissez-faire attitude of locals can be frustrating. Slow down. After rushing to put things in order at work, dashing around to shop, and then to pack, and hurrying to the airport, you can arrive at your destination in warp drive.
If locals don’t respond as promptly or as efficiently to every request as employees or service personnel do back home, there are only two ways to deal with the situation: either adapt to it, or fight it. Yes, your visit is on a time budget. You want to fit in as much as you can but you also want to enjoy every activity as much as possible. Complaining, or getting angry and frustrated, may end up wasting precious vacation time, and changing nothing.
My advice is to decompress from Western-style living and do nothing the day of your arrival except have something to drink, eat, explore a little, and go to sleep early. You should wake up in a more relaxed mood. If you arrive tired and stay tired, your vacation may turn into a sour one.
This article first appeared on April Powers Travel. Main image: Bigstock.