Travel Tips

what-to-pack

You can vacation like a pro with the tips from our travel experts!

Deciding what to bring on vacation is almost as challenging as trying to pack it all in one tiny bag or two. We have compiled these tips to make this your best vacation ever.

  • Always try to travel light and pack only what you can carry. If you are having difficulty lifting your suitcase then you have probably packed too much. A good rule of thumb is to take half of what you think you will need.
  • Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in your hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to conceal them in several places rather than putting them all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets – they are easy targets for pickpockets. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are better. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
  • To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep any medication in their original labeled containers and bring copies of your prescriptions. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics you should bring a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first.
  • Never check any of the following: your toothbrush, prescription medications, your deodorant, your pj’s.
  • Pack a set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside each piece of luggage, and wherever possible lock your luggage.
  • Consider obtaining a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from your overseas destination(s). If you have an unlocked cell phone you may wish to bring it along and purchase a local SIM card.
  • Flights within North America almost never provide meals, so for these trips you may want to pack snacks in your carry-on luggage (in case you’re stuck in a long security line and run out of time to buy anything in the departure lounge). The food selection on the aircraft is limited and they may not sell anything you find suitable to eat.
  • It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
  • And, most importantly, get plenty of rest the day/night before your departure.

What to leave behind when travelling abroad:

  • Anything you would hate to lose.
  • Valuable or expensive-looking jewellery.
  • Irreplaceable family objects.
  • Unnecessary credit cards.
  • Social Insurance card, loyalty cards and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet

Before leaving home:

  • Research your destination and learn as much as you can about the customs and culture you will be experiencing. There is so much information accessible on the internet, or pick up a guidebook like the Lonely Planet or Fodors.
  • Take two credit cards only in your wallet or purse. Leave all other cards at home. Write down your credit cards numbers and place this information elsewhere in your luggage in case your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. We also advise that you note important phone numbers of people to contact in case of any emergency (family, doctor, pharmacist, credit card companies etc.) and place this information somewhere else in your luggage. This information can be life saving!
  • Find out what is appropriate clothing for the destination you will be visiting and if you require any special clothing. For example, if you are visiting a Muslim country you should be aware of the dress code for women.
  • Have your affairs at home in order. If you leave a current will, insurance documents and power of attorney with your family or a friend you will feel secure about travelling and will be prepared for any emergency that may arise while you are away.
  • Do not leave home without out-of-country health insurance. If you have a policy you should familiarize yourself with the policy coverage and bring the contact information along.

On the aircraft:

  • Try not to sit with your legs crossed as this is not good for your circulation.
  • Do not stay seated for the entire flight. Get up and walk around every few hours.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeinated beverage intake.
  • Consider bringing an inflatable pillow, slippers and eye mask.

Warm weather tips:

  • If you are prone to sunburn you should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • If you are going to a tropical destination you may want to consider wearing lightweight, long-sleeved garb and a hat.
  • Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake as both are a source of dehydration.
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