Choose convertible clothing items that can be adjusted to fit the conditions you will face. Clothing should be appropriate to the season and to your expected activities. Zip-away sleeves and pant legs let you pack a single item that can be used for warm or cold weather. Pack more than one swimsuit if you plan to be in the water often. This will allow your wet suits to be laundered or to dry without interrupting your itinerary. Pack shoes in plastic bags or their own case to keep from contaminating your clean clothing.
Take along sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from UV radiation. Keep in mind that you will need these in most areas, but particularly at high altitudes and near the equator, where there is greater intensity to the rays of the sun. Bug sprays are necessary in any tropical region or if you plan to camp or venture out from your lodging at night. Airport safety regulations may affect how much you are allowed to carry and how it must be packed. Check with your airline for the most updated information before you begin to pack.
Pack a medical bag. Include all of your prescription medications, doctors' notes, spare prescriptions, an assortment of over-the-counter medications and a basic first-aid kit. Include a note with emergency medical information, insurance details and contact information for family back home. See your doctor at least one month in advance of your trip for recommended regional and local shots or medications.
Traveler's checks used to be the best way to carry money without having to carry cash. Today, credit cards have become far more convenient.
Be aware that your credit (or debit) card may not work outside the country. Call before you pack your card and verify that the card can be used in your destination country. Inform the company you will be traveling so that a sudden change in your usage pattern does not cause your card/account to be frozen. Get a number to notify the company in case your card is lost or stolen while you are away. Credit card issuers may be able to provide you with a card specifically for use on your trip. If you are looking for a new card, investigate several to find the lowest amount of combined processing and transaction fees. Also, carry a calling card to avoid having to make international calls for a large fee per minute.
Leave heavy gear at home to save on the cost of shipping it or carrying it with you. If you can verify you will have access to good rental equipment at an equal (or lesser) cost, simply pick up gear locally. Even if you do not save money, you will save yourself the hassle of packing the gear in, concerns over poor treatment by baggage handlers and the potential of carrying an invasive species back home. Pack only essentials or items you rely on. Donate anything you ended up needing to buy along the way on your trip that you do not necessarily want to bring all the way home.
Article Written By Alice Moon
Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.