Do you ever make lists and wonder where on earth you put them? I’m currently in that process right now of finding a list that seems to be non-existent. But I am one of those people who like lists to help me remember those things I need to remember. That’s kind of a funny sentence.
Anyway, moving on…. So did you know that we have a trip getting ready to leave the good ol’ United States and heading to Curaçao? I thought now would be the perfect time to a) learn how to spell Curaçao, b) keep reminding myself how to pronounce it, and c) Write a list on Foreign Travel Preparations.
10 Tips for Foreign Travel Preparations:
- Bags. I always joke that you can stuff me in a bag, I’ll even pay the bag overage charges, just take me with you. I wish I could say that was a total joke… but it really isn’t. I love to travel, but keep in mind your luggage. 1) the obvious, don’t leave it unattended. But 2, weight. That carry on… you have to drag that through the airport. Don’t overweight it… but your checked baggage can only weigh so much too. Just keep in mind what you’re taking.
- Travel in the heavy stuff. When I am getting ready to head to some exotic location (aka vacation) I like to start watching the weather sometimes even a month out. Obviously that gets weather before I’ll be there but usually you can get an idea of what to pack for for that time of year. I really like to have a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt on me just in case so to save room in my suitcase, I wear the jeans and carry the sweatshirt if I’m not wearing it. Denim takes up a lot of room while packing and you never know how warm or cold it might be on an airplane. If you are going somewhere that requires heavier clothing, carry that coat.
- Dual purpose garments. Pack clothing that has multiple uses. Put this pair of pants with 3 different shirts since pants take up more room than shirts do. You’re on vacation, no one will notice you’re wearing the same pants 10 times… or 3, whatever. Obviously when we go diving, we spend a lot of time in a swimsuit so keep that in mind when packing your clothing. Clothing is really only needed for a few hours a day. Pack light weight garments that are dual purpose.
- Odd necessities – things you can’t live without (i.e. meds, regulators, etc). Remember to keep your medicines in your carry on no matter what. That way if your luggage gets lost on the way, at least you have those important meds! Also, jewelry, make sure you keep that on you too. Also have that dive computer, your regulator, and dive mask handy in your carry on. It helps it from growing legs and possibly walking off. Just better to be safe than sorry. Think of those other things that might be handy too like hand sanitizer or handy wipes. Finally, in a carry on you’ll want to carry a swimsuit (if you’re going to a diving destination) and a change of clothes. That way if your luggage is lost, you’re still able to dive because isn’t that really what’s important here?
- Passports/Visa. Some countries just require passports while others require a visa as well. Make sure you research your country and have the correct paperwork. You’d hate to get there only to be deported which just puts you on the next plane home… or so I’ve been told. I’ve never experienced that….
- Potential Vaccinations. So not all countries require you to get special vaccinations, but it is always something to look in to and be aware of. You’d hate to go on vacation and come home with something because you weren’t prepared.
- Credit Cards/Debit Cards/Money. Different countries have different outlooks on credit cards, debit cards, and currency. If you plan to use credit cards and debit cards, make sure you contact the bank and credit card company to make them aware that you are going out of the country and the dates you will be gone so when they see these come through they aren’t flagged as fraud and closing your credit cards. It’s also best to make sure you have the numbers off the cards so you can contact the company should your credit card get stolen or shut down due to fraudulent charges so that you can contact them to get things straightened out. Keep a photo copy hidden somewhere in your stuff so if they were to get lost you have all the information at hand.
- Phones. Not everyone has the same service providers, but one thing you’ll want to do prior to leaving the country is check in with your service provider to see what it would cost you to use your phone in a foreign country. Then you need to decide if you are going to keep it available or not and if not, get your number of your hotel to your friends and family should a problem arise.
- Personal Business. Make sure you have all your I’s crossed and your T’s dotted, or something like that. Basically, make sure you have someone to check in on your house, your animals, your mail, contact the post office to hold mail if you prefer, etc. Just make sure that while you’re gone on your vacation you have all things accounted for.
- C-Card. Your c-card is necessary to be able to dive. Don’t forget it! That proves that you are a certified diver and a dive shop will allow you to dive in their equipment (usually, i.e. tanks but if you don’t take your gear).