Your packing starts at the booking of your trip. Each airline you travel on could conceivably have a different luggage limit.
How much is included with each ticket?
Check each airline and each sector, and ideally have it included on your travel itinerary so that you have something in writing to state your case if someone disagrees.
Regardless of how much you are allowed to take…
How much can you comfortably lift?
Let’s be real. There’s no point in having a bag that you can’t manage by yourself.
What combo of bags to buy?
What combo is best? Matching wheelie luggage is lovely,but it’s quite hard to control 2 sets of wheels at once.
My ideal is one medium sized suitcase and a decent sized back pack that you can swing over your shoulder (with a lot of pockets).
What style of travel is your trip?
A Resort holiday or Cruise?
A multi-stop Tour
A Luxury escape or a Business Trip?
Walk through your trip in your mind with your bag in hand and that will soon tell you what sort of bag will suit the style of your trip.
What suitcase is best?
For soft adventure: Soft sides with 2 big inset wheels and an extender handle for dragging and a side handle for lifting. Adventure companies need soft bags because they pack better into luggage compartments.
2big wheels are easier to drag up flights of steps at train stations etc. andover rougher terrain like old cobbled streets.
For tourist travel itineraries or Resort Stays & Cruises: Hardsides with 4 wheels that can move freely in all directions on even surfaces.
Hard sides keep out the rain when bags are left on the tarmac before being loaded onto the plane, and the 4 wheels make it easy to manoeuvre with little lifting required.
In both cases,initial suitcase weight is an important factor when you buy it.
Perhaps a document pouch you can wear over your shoulder through airports and the whole flying procedure.
And/or a Day pack as a small lightweight cabin bag. It can be packed in the main suitcase,if not needed until the destination. It can hold your water bottle,travel diary, camera, mini-med kit, and stuff you would need on daily outings.
Packing List: 7 headings
My packing generally starts a month before my trip, as I compile my packing lists.The lists are always the same 7 headings (but the items differ depending on the trip).
Use an app on your smartphone or a written list is fine,
tick off during the week leading up to departure.
A list is essential if you lose your bag and need to make a travel insurance claim.
Your insurance relies on a "paper trail", so treat this list as a valuable piece of evidence if you need to claim.
Make sure you leave a copy of the list at home! If it is on a phone app, take screenshots and email them to yourself.
· Cabin bag
· Toiletry bag
· Main med kit (goes in checked suitcase)
· Mini med kit (goes in cabin bag)
· Document pouch
· Wearing on the day of travel
· Checked suitcase
Always assume that your checked luggage will go astray (it's unlikely, but good to be prepared), and it’s always a pleasant surprise when you see it on the carousel.
Pack your cabin bag as though you need enough gear for 72 hours.
Your Cabin bag should contain: Toiletry Bag, underwear and socks, light change of clothes, Mini-med kit, Phone, camera, laptop and chargers, money and credit cards.
This goes in your Cabin Bag. All liquids, aerosols and gels are in bottles or containers of less than 100ml capacity. All of them fit in a 20cm x 20cm ziplock bag that is inside your toilet bag. At airport security screening, you can quickly take out the ziplock bag and stow it again with ease.
Main Med Kit
Travel Agents aren’t Doctors or Chemists. All we can do is tell you what we take in our kits
Diastop, immodium or nodia (For a dodgy tummy)
Gastrolytetablets (To help rehydrate you during and after your dodgy tummy)
Panadol (non-serious pain relief)
Sticking plasters (to cover minor cuts & scrapes)
Antihistaminetablets (for food or insect bite or plant sting reactions)
Antihistaminecream (for insect bite or plant sting reactions)
Antiseptic cream (to clean cuts to try to prevent infection)
Topicalantibiotic cream (for infected cuts)
Micreme(antifungal cream) (for heat rash of fungal infections)
Broadspectrum antibiotic tablets (see your doctor) (for external or internal infections)
Mosquito repellent (to keep the biters away)
Seasickness tablets (if you get sea or motion sickness – take them before you need them)
Coldrextablets (helps compact the symptomsof colds and flu’s)
Vitamin c(1000 mg) (helps against beingsusceptible to colds and flu’s)
vitamin B (helps against being susceptible to colds and flu’s)
Mini Med Kit
The mini med kit has a dose or two of each of the above, and is small enough to carry in the Cabin bag and day pack.
You can call a Travel Doctor for vaccinations required
It can also hold your Money belt or Neck safe until you need to use it.
Money Belt and/or Neck safe
For document safety, I always carry my passport in my money belt or neck safe,along with the bulk of my foreign cash, and my back up credit cards. Ideally Money belts and Neck safes should be made from breathable material and ALWAYS be worn out of sight. Their security value is based around the fact that no-one knows that they are there.
One of my two Travelex Currency cards is generally hidden in the lining of my suitcase,and the other is in a hard to reach pocket on me.
In an easy-to-reach pocket is a limited amount of "cab and coffee cash" that pick pockets are welcome to if they want it.
When at my destination, and wandering the city (especially at night) I leave my passport and the bulk of my funds and most of my back up credit cards in the hotel safe.
Wearing on the day (on a plane)
On a plane, temperatures can vary greatly depending on the airline. Often Airlines will keep a plane at low temperatures to keep people sedate, and huddled in their chairs. A warm jersey or jacket is a must for night time flights.
Conversely,an unscheduled extended stay on the tarmac may mean that Air Conditioning systems are off to conserve power, so you need to be wearing Light clothing underneath or you will cook.
My recommendation for flights: Light non-crease clothes,in dark colours to hide potential food stains, loose shoes (because your feet swell), a warm jersey or jacket. And all smart casual, just in case an upgrade is offered.
There are a few tricks to having you suitcase clothes arrive in the best possible condition at your destination.
Roll your clothes. This avoids some creasing.
TravelCubes (or Packing Cells) are great for keeping items from getting mixed up in your case. You can also collect dirty washing in one to make it easy to sort when it comes to laundry time.
They keep items in place in the suit case, and can be moved to hotel drawers easily if you are sick of living out of a suitcase.
Still some space? Special Item #1
Power board: Generally I only have one power point adapter for each country, but often more appliances that need charging. Pack a multiboard in your suitcase, and ideally one that has a USB point included. When traveling in the USA and Canada, their power is the half the strength of ours, so our appliances charge slowly, and will more than likely need all night to get a full charge.
Still some space? Special Item #2
A cover up outfit: Ladies should pack a light shawl and light ankle length skirt. You never know when you will be required to cover up for religious or other reasons.
Still some space? Special Item #3
Powerade & Bottles of Water: If you have plenty of space and weight left in your checked bag, pack 1 or 2 bottles of Powerade or water.
In most countries you will visit, the general tap water is not as good as ours, and often not suitable for drinking at all! Packing a couple ofbottles will give you a head start in the on-going search for good drinking water.
And on that note – a mention about Hydration
Hydration: Kiwi’s don't drink enough water in NZ, and we carry this habit through to the super-hot or super-humid destinations that we travel to.
Water only maintains your hydration, but if you get dehydrated, you actually lose essential minerals and salts that are required to hold the water in.
To remedy this you need to lay down a layer of these salts before filling up on water, or else the water will just go straight through you.
In hot or humid conditions, I start the morning off with half a bottle of Powerade(Gaterade / Pokari sweat / Isotonic ade...whatever), then through the day top that bottle up with water, so that the solution becomes weaker and weaker.
This is especially necessary if you become dehydrated through a stomach condition.
Proper rehydration is vital.
Now…Some general Travel Tips….
Copies of documents:Be prepared to have some of your precious things lost or stolen, then if you don't it will be a wonderful surprise.
Take copies of your passports, credit cards, visas, tickets, travel insurance and email them to yourself (or put them on your cloud google drive). If you need them, you will need them in a hurry, and your email will generally be the quickest thing to access.Print a copy to keep in your suitcase, and leave a copy with a family member.
Have phone numbers saved for who to call if you need to cancel a credit card.
Photos of precious items: As a rule, don't take expensive jewellery on your trip.
The chances are that it won't be covered for the full value by your travel insurance. What jewellery or expensive electrical equipment you do take, make sure you take photos of it, and leave photos at home.
Jewellery valuations prior to travel are a great idea as well.
Laptops/tablets/smartphones:Beprepared to lose them, then it’s great if you don’t.
What is your security like on them?
Can someone easily enter them and steal your identity?
Makesure your passwords and PIN numbers are random and meaningful only to you. Not a date of birth. Not a live pets’ name. Not your name or a relatives name.
Makesure that your phone contacts are stored in the cloud rather than on your sim card or in your phone. (An IT tech can help u do this if you are unsure).
Makesure that any precious documents are stored at home as well. Travelphones/laptops/tablets need to be treated as "replaceable items".
Protecting your identity: Identity theft isn't the stuff of James Bond, it’s simply a means of finding enough personal info to crack your passwords or more simply,to convince an inexperienced phone banking teller that they are you, and you have lost your password and bank sign in.
Keep your personal info locked at all times!
Backing up your photos: Lost or stolen Camera’s can be replaced with a good insurance policy, but the photo’s you took will be lost forever.
Periodically during your trip,copy your Camera (and/or Phone) SD card onto an external Thumb drive, or into your Cloud account. Losing those memories would be unfortunate.
Travel insurance: The only people who should travel without Travel Insurance, are those who have enough wealth that it does not matter what they have to spend to sort out a travel problem.
If that's not you – you need to make sure that you have good Travel Cover.
Do proper due diligence on your Travel Insurance. Make sure you are covered for what you need. Always travel with a copy of your Insurance policy and wording,and save your Insurance Companies emergency number into your phone.
The most unexpected things happen when you are away from home. Make sure you are ready for them!
It the unexpected happens, keep receipts. If you fall ill, get a doctor's certificate to back up your claim.
Insurance companies won't pay out without proof.
BaggageTags: Tags on your bag have two necessary functions.
They provide a unique thing for you to watch out for on the Luggage carousels, and they also provide the Contact phone of the person who owns the bag.
Make sure your mobile number (with complete country code) is on the tag.
Lost Bags: It happens, and it’s never pleasant, but know what to do if your bags do not turn up when you do.
Most importantly, do not leave the airport without filing a lost baggage report. This is not only pivotal for letting the airlines know about the problem, but it is a necessary piece of the paper trail required by your Insurance company.
The airlines will need your full contact details of where to send your bag to when they find it.
Luckily you remembered to put your itinerary inside your suitcase like we recommended earlier, so you will get your case back.
Missed connections and delayed flights: Airlines do their best to get you there on time, but even so, delays still often occur
Contrary to popular opinion, the airline is not always responsible to make good costs that you incur because of their delay.
If your flight is delayed, and enforced stopover costs are going to be incurred, or you miss your connecting flight and the next one will cost you extra, this is something that you can claim back on your insurance (check your policy though).
Once again though – you must provide a paper trail. Ensure that you get a note from the airline that verifies the delay, and the reason why it was delayed. You will also need receipts and boarding passes to verify the new travel that you undertook to rectify the situation.
Airline lounges: You deserve a little extra comfort!
Priority Pass is an annual membership programme that you join, which gives you access toover 1000 airport lounges worldwide.
An annual membership fee of around USD$99 gives you access to “pay as you enter” airport lounges around the world.
Each visit costs around USD$30.00 per person, per entry, and you can take guests at the same cost.
Weblink to view Priority Pass: https://www.prioritypass.com/en/airport-lounges
Priority Seating: Charging to select your seat???
Many airlines are now charging to allow you to pre-select your seat. Whilst this sounds like just another attempt to grab more revenue from customers, it also has the advantage of allowing you to book preferred Seats that used to be unavailable until check-in.
Specifically,Exit row seats with huge amounts of legroom, bulkhead seats with no seat in front to lean back on you, and those romantic two seats right at the back of the aircraft.
Wheelchairs: The fastest way through the airport
The distances between terminals are growing, so transferring from terminal to terminal can sometimes be compared to a Marathon event!
If you struggle to walk long distances, then consider a service that almost all airlines offer free-of-charge. A Wheelchair transfer (often in an electric buggy) will speed you and your baggage across the concourse to your waiting flight.
Please ensure to book this with your agent well in advance of your flight
Baggage Covers& ID Straps: Make your bag stand out!
On any airport baggage carousel many of the bags will look the same. There is a real danger that you will grab someone else’s bag, or worse
– they will grab yours!
Luggage scales: Am I over or under?
A cost effective set of Travel scales can save you a fortune in Airline excess baggage charges. I always carry them with me.
Cab ‘n coffee cash: Never arrive without it
I always try to make sure that I have the equivalent of NZD$100 in the local currency at whatever airport that I arrive at when entering a new country.
Don’t leave it to when you arrive and expect to find an ATM with no queues! If you can’t buy it at your bank or travel agent, at least try to get it at the airport that you are departing from.
Travel Phone & Tablet apps: Welcome to the future!
Try out some of my favourite Smartphone travel Applications .
Google translate - Speak into the phone and it will convert your text into another language
Digital World Clock – Keep track of time zones in a number of countries at the same time.
Viber & what's app - Phone & Text and VideoText over the free Wifi.
Weather -Keep track of the weather in multiple world cities
Tripadvisor -Makes suggestions of things to see and places to visit that are near to younow (tracks you via your phone GPS)
Torch - No need to bring a torch. It’s on your phone now
Uber -Cheap/fast worldwide on-line taxi service
Don't joke with customs and immigration:
Border security is a serious business. These people are here to protect their country, their ecology, and their people from undesirables.
Never,ever joke about bombs, or drugs, or guns, or poisons at an airport. Even a small hint of a threat is taken very seriously.
Always declare your food items, even if you think it is allowable. Better safe than paying a fine!