I only bring a carryon and a backpack to avoid checking it in unless it is a straight flight. I hear stories of luggages getting lost and I do not want to deal with that when I get to my destination. Also, I always pack a foldable or packable duffel bag that is lightweight. With this if I decided to do some shopping, I can check that in going home. I am not worried about checking in luggages going home but losing a luggage when you get to your destination is more stressful.
You do not need to pack too much specially toiletries because usually there will be stores around your hotels. If you are specific you can simply buy your toothpaste, shampoo/ conditioner, lotion, etc… but usually your hotel will provide most of these things including shaving kits. Shopping for big ticketed items such as purses, clothes, shoes, etc… are tax-free for tourists specially in Europe. The salesperson will let you know the process.
Fold or Roll Clothes:
I usually mix it. If you want to bring more shirts or undershirts and leggings, then I would roll it because it gives me more space. For underwear, I use the compression packing cubes. I also bring 2(two) pair of jeans. One I wear already on the way to the destination and one I can fold and put it on top of my rolled clothes or I can simply roll it too. I bring 2 (two) jackets. One I can wear already, preferably, puff lite jacket and the other one waterproof. I would just fold this and put it on top of my rolled clothes as well. One set of pajama is good enough or any old clothes you can use as pajama and you can simply toss it after your trip and that leaves more room in your luggage for new things you want to take home. I also put dryer sheets in between clothes to keep my clothes smelling fresh.
Must wear the most comfortable ones for you. I just use one and for me it is the Blundstone Chelsea waterproof boots. Next to that is any waterproof Ugg boots. Then I pack 1 trail/walking/running shoes or sneakers and I prefer white in color because it can match any clothing. I wrap each shoes in a disposable shower caps so I do not dirty up the clothes in my luggage.
I usually put my little messenger purse in my backpack for easy access in the airport to get my passport, money, etc.. I also put in my little toiletry bag my toothbrush and toothpaste so I can brush my teeth before landing (using bottled water from asking the flight attendant) or in the airport bathrooms. Sanitizing wipes/spray, facial moisturizers, lip balm, vitamins, headache & stomachache meds. You do not need to pack bottles of these meds. Just put it in a small ziploc bags separately (enough for your trip and couple of extras) and just mark the bags. I also pack my scarf as my blanket. Neck gaitor so I can put it over my nose and mouth while sleeping so no one can see my wide opened mouth while asleep. Couple of pens. One in your purse and one in your backpack so you do not have to borrow when filling out documents. Plus, it is more sanitary that way. Cough drops for itchy throat to help avoid coughing in case you need to go museums or shows.
I usually book a long layover somewhere I have not been to on the way to my final destination. I pick at least 15 hours layover so I can go out and explore and see if it’s worth coming back to for a full tour in the near future. You may go to the visitor center and ask about scheduling a free quick day tour. They will give a tour, free museum passes and even free food. Transportation is provided and they will bring you back in time for your next flight. The visitor center is usually located right outside the immigration area. It is free because you are the country’s guest and want to host you. All you need is give a tip to the tour guide. I know Japan, South Korea and Turkey offers this kind of service. Plus, having a long layover is usually cheaper to book than shorter flights. With this, I see it as “more bang for your buck” trip.
Airplane Vent Fan:
I make sure it is on and facing towards me. With this it adds extra layer of protection from germs in the air. Is it 100% true… not sure but it does give me peace of mind.
Cleaning and/or Sanitizing:
Flying – as soon as I get to my seat, I put my carryon luggage right away on the stowaway bin. Put my backpack on my seat and grab my sanitizing wipes. I wipe all the areas I know I will touch. Armrests, seatbelt buckle, all buttons, tv screen and the folding table. Then if my seat is leather then I wipe the headrest and the rest of the seat. If it is fabric, I spray it with the sanitizing spray and I also spray the floor, specially the floor under the seat infront of me where I will put my backpack on. Then I wrap my backpack with backpack cover to keep it clean. Of course, this is by preference.
Hotel – as soon as I get to my hotel room, I wipe everything I know I will touch. Door knobs of your room door, bathroom doors and shower doors. I also wipe all the light switches, faucet knobs, window/curtain handles and the room phone. I try to avoid using the phone but if I must then I use the speaker option. I also, sanitize spray the curtains, the bed and pillows and couch/chairs. I pack my own travel blanket and sheet. Then I always wear the hotel slippers. Again, this is just by preference
Traveling to a different country, it is important to learn their general words. This shows not only you are trying to immerse yourself in their culture but also it shows respect. This truly makes locals excited and more happy to help you out of what it is you are trying to do. These are the main words you need to learn to at least get by:
- hi or hello
- thank you
- how much
- where is the bathroom
You may YouTube or Google it. Make sure to download the google translate app on your phone. It may not be 100% accurate but it will help you get by. Also research a translator app popular in the country you are going to.
Appreciation Gifts to Flight Attendants:
On the longest haul of your flight to your destination, it is loved by Flight Attendants receiving surprise gifts such as your local delicious chocolates or candies. I do this to show appreciation for their hard work assisting us. This is totally optional but well appreciated by them. I do not expect anything in return but they do remember you and sometimes they’ll give a glass of first class’ wine or snacks. Again, do not expect anything in return and you are doing this from the goodness of your heart and spreading kindness.
When touring or walking around, I avoid using a backpack purse. Instead I use a small messenger purse that can carry my passport, small wallet, a pen and hand sanitizer. Messenger purse is always infront of my body and I can also wear it comfortably under my jacket. I also avoid using the safe deposit box in the hotel. Only bring 2 (two) major credit cards and your driver’s license. I take pictures of all my cards/id (front and back) and my passport and I send it to myself via email. So if you lost it, it is easier to report it. Also, when walking around, avoid people trying to hand you a flower or bracelets. These are scammers. Just be cautious and be fully aware of your surroundings. Stay polite, kind and always smile.
Credit Cards/ Cash:
When traveling, I usually just bring 500-1000 cash in the denomination of the country I am visiting. I usually order this ahead of time from my bank. If I forgot, I get it from the airport but just enough to pay for transportation or at least a 100. When I get to my hotel then I just ask the hotel for the nearest local bank because the rates is usually better and it is safer than going to random foreign exchange stalls/stores. Credit cards are usually accepted everywhere in the world. I only use 2 credit cards. American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve. These cards are the best for traveling.
Here are my links if you do not have it yet and want to apply for one:
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
American Express Platinum:
If you have the above credit cards (amex and/or chase), one of its perks is having lounge access in most of the airports in the world. If you have long layover and cannot get out of the airport, it is nice to be able to hang out in the airport lounge. Lots have more rooms, comfortable seats, free food, snacks and most important of all, free coffee and cocktails/wines. Reserve wines and other moonshines got fees but there are plenty of good free choices. There are times it can be crowded as well during rush hours which at times between 10AM – 2PM. Depends also which and size of the airport. Some lounges even got clean showers. I love it so much because you can freshen up. This sometimes needs to be scheduled to accommodate members. If you do not have the above credit cards or any credit cards that offers lounge access, you can buy a day pass at the lounge entrance if it’s available.
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck:
These are also perks of the credit cards above. Possibly too, credit cards you have on hand may already be offering this as well so check on it. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee can be reimbursed when you use the credit card above once you signed up. I love this because you can skip the long TSA lines. Plus, when you get back home, you can also skip the long immigration lines. Here is the link of how to apply and the process. I’ve had mine for over 6 years and truly a game changer.
Global Entry/ TSA PreCheck: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply