Packing for an International Trip

When it comes to making up for packing mishaps, it’s one thing when you go for just a weekend away or even a longer stateside vacation. You know that if you’re missing something or need to pick up a sweater (I didn’t plan on Chicago being be cold in June!) you can easily find what you need. It can be a little more difficult if you’re in a foreign country or if your trip takes you to in several destinations with climates that vary. Not only is your packing space at a premium, you’re trying to account for different scenarios that may come up. Here are some packing tips for international trips:

  •  First things first; check the luggage rules for the airline and your final destination. Many smaller planes that will get you to remote places have baggage restrictions. My husband and I were fortunate enough to take our honeymoon in South Africa and the plane that took us to Kruger National Park for the safari would not have been able to handle an oversized suitcase. Thankfully we had checked ahead of time and had packed appropriately so we didn’t have to leave anything behind because of a small plane.
  • Most hotels will provide hair dryers and we have experienced several that provide you with the international converters for other electronics. This can really help save space in your bag, so call ahead and check or ask your travel agent to help make sure what you need is at the hotel.
  • Remember that it’s best to pack items that can be worn a few times and with different pieces. This not only cuts down on packing a lot of clothes, but it gives you options depending on the weather and occasion. Layers will be your friend, especially in the fall and spring, depending on your destination. Also, if you know you’re going to have something laundered while on your trip, try and pack items that don’t require special treatment. Depending on where you are, you’d hate to have your favorite designer piece come back ruined because of a language barrier.
  • Make sure to research local customs and any dress restrictions especially if you’re going to any religious sites. While visiting Thailand, I was sure to bring longer capris and skirts to wear when visiting the temples, as women are asked not to wear shorts and be a little more covered.
  • If you’re going to be checking your luggage, be sure to bring any medication, jewelry, or any other irreplaceable items in your carry-on. My husband uses specific contact lens solution that was very difficult to find while living overseas, so that was something he always had in his carry-on. If his luggage was delayed or even lost, that was one less thing to deal with.
  • Depending on the length of the flight, I’ve often packed a change of clothes for when I landed. After several 14-16 hour international flights, being able to change made me feel refreshed and I was usually flying in something more comfortable so I could sleep on the plane. It is also a good backup in case you have an issue with your luggage.

These tips will help you make sure you have the right items in your bag, leaving you plenty of room to bring back those special souvenirs.