The amount of luggage you are permitted will depend upon airline restrictions. Excess baggage charges can be very costly and are at your own expense, so consult your Passenger Services Representative to determine which regulations govern your trip.
Experienced travelers try to limit their luggage to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person. If you have a travel companion and you plan to take more than one suitcase, share suitcase space so that if one bag goes astray, you'll both still have several changes of clothes. Remember that by packing compactly and using fewer pieces of luggage, you will reduce travelling concerns and have greater mobility. In the event that you have to carry your own luggage, if only for a while, you'll be able to do so with relative ease.
What to Take
Plan your travel wardrobe around one or two basic colors, using multi-purpose coordinates that can be worn for a variety of occasions. Conservative styles are far more versatile, and solid colors and darker shades will look clean longer. Grey, black, navy, brown, burgundy and khaki are suggested colors for sport jackets, slacks and skirts. Shirts, tops, sweaters, ties and scarves can be colorful strips, plaids, checks and prints which complement and coordinate the colors of your basic wardrobe pieces.
Multiple uses are the key, and every item you pack should mix and match in several different ways or serve more than one purpose. For example, take a robe that can double up as a beach cover-up. If you can wear something only one or in only one way, leave it at home.
Avoid bulky or heavy garments that occupy a lot of luggage space. Take clothes that can be worn in layers and added or removed as the weather changes. Layers trap air and insulate; a T-shirt or turtle neck under a shirt, topped by a sweater, then a blazer and a lined raincoat are very warm.
Try to restrict your clothing choices to crease-resistant and permanent press fabric garments which need no ironing and can be easily hand-laundered. This permits you to carry fewer items and avoid expensive dry cleaning bills.
Knit fabrics, as opposed to woven fabrics are more crease-resistant. For cooler weather, pack heavy cottons, tweeds, woolens and blouses and shirts of synthetic blends. For warmer weather, cotton blended with Polyester, Dacron or Orlon travels well. For really hot destinations, try to take 100% natural fiber clothing that absorbs moisture. In tropical climates, synthetic fibers don't "breathe– and can cause chafing and irritation.
Pack a comfortable pair of weather-proof walking shoes. Preferably, a pair that has been well broken-in as opposed to a new, stiff pair that may cause blisters or abrasions. Sometimes, even a familiar pair of shoes can become temperamental when worn in excess of their normal usage. Be prepared by packing soft, thick socks and some Mole Skin (found in the foot care aisle of your supermarket) or adhesive bandages.
Most important, all your travel clothes and especially your shoes, should be previously worn and comfortable. Shoes should have low, wide heels and be well broken-in. Try everything on before departure day to ensure that all coordinate, fit well, and are in good repair.
It is suggested that you not bring or pack any expensive or sentimental jewelry. Opt instead for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that these items can't be lost or stolen because they're safe at home!
How to Pack
Place heavy items, such as shoes and books, near the suitcase hinges to prevent them from crushing clothes once the suitcase is upright. Pack belts, film or other small items inside shoes to help them retain their shape, then place shoes in a plastic or cloth bag to keep them from soiling your clothes.
Fold your clothes along creases and natural curves, as few times as possible. Wrap each item in tissue paper to prevent wrinkling and put extra tissue between garments to further protect clothes. Zip skirts and slacks, button jackets, dresses and tops. Sleeves should be folded to the back of the garment, then, depending upon the length of the item, fold it once (at the centre or waist) or twice (at the bottom and again at the centre). A roll of socks will help a neckline keep its shape.
Pack items that are worn together, such as slacks and a matching jacket, next to each other in the suitcase. Also, pack clothes in their reverse order of use. The clothes you need first should be packed on top. In this way, you can leave items in the suitcase until they are needed and, by placing nightwear in last, it will be readily available when you arrive at your destination.
Put large and heavy garments in the bottom of the suitcase, and place the bulkiest part of each garment (waistbands and collars) nearest the outside of the suitcase. Alternate the direction that clothes face in order to more evenly distribute bulk along all sides of the bag.
Undergarments, pajamas and bathing attire can be folded in thirds and rolled to fill up any spaces. The rolled clothes will cushion other items and prevent shifting.
Don't worry if an item of clothing becomes wrinkled during your trip. You don't need to pay pressing charges or carry a travel iron if you hang clothing in the bathroom, run hot water and allow steam to remove wrinkles.
Transfer all grooming aids and cosmetics from glass to lighter weight, unbreakable plastic container. Or, you may wish to purchase these items in miniature sizes. Be sure to take only as much as you'll need. Avoid aerosols that may not travel well. As an extra precaution, put all toiletries in plastic bags to prevent leakage onto your clothes.
If you use prescription medicines, bring an adequate supply and pack them in your carry-on luggage in their clearly marked containers. This will identify them as legally obtained drugs and help you avoid possible customs delays.
Don't pack any cigarette lighters or matches. Do not pack butane curling irons or replacement cartridges. These are considered "hazardous materials– by the airlines and are not allowed on board.
Similarly, anything valuable or items you "can't live without" should go in your carry-on bag.
Your passport, visa and travel funds should be on your person at all times.
Pack some of your travelling companion's clothes in your bag and vice versa. In the unfortunate event that one of your bags is lost or misrouted, this will leave you prepared with a change of clothes in the interim.
Finally, leave some room in your suitcase for the inevitable souvenirs you'll collect during your travels, or take along a fold-up tote bag to use on the return leg of your journey. If you pack souvenirs in a separate bag, all items will be easily accessible when you clear customs.
Make a detailed list of all items that you've packed. Make two photocopies. Leave one copy at home with a relative or neighbor; take the other with you in your carry-on bag with your important travel documents.
Make two photocopies of your passport. Leave one at home with a relative or neighbor; take the other with you in your carry-on bag with your important travel documents.
Most likely, you may not need to refer to these photocopies again during your trip. However, in the event or a lost or stolen bag or passport, the few minutes you spend on this preparatory effort will pay off in perhaps hours saved if you need to fill out a lost baggage report of file for a passport replacement.
Place a photocopy of your itinerary and a card with your name and address, both in America and where you're staying abroad, INSIDE your luggage. Also, carry an extra set of luggage keys, perhaps in the care of your travelling companion. If your luggage does not have a built-in lock system, invest in a small padlock and a luggage strap.
It is strongly suggested that you secure travel insurance for your own protection. Also, your personal health insurance must be valid worldwide or you should purchase Health/Accident travel insurance coverage. Without proof of insurance, some doctors and hospitals overseas require payment in advance of treatment. Please be sure you have adequate baggage insurance; this is a personal item and loss or damage is not covered by your trip price.
It is recommended that you take an adequate supply of the prescription medicines you use regularly to last throughout your trip. Carry them in the original containers to identify them as legally obtained drugs and pack them in your carry-on bag.
To guard against complications in the event of loss, carry duplicate prescriptions written for a generic equivalent of any regular medications and your eyeglasses with your important travel documents.
It is a wise idea to carry telephone numbers of immediate family members or emergency contacts as well as your physician's name, office address and telephone number.
Jet lag is defined as a delay of bodily functions following a rapid change of time zones. Your body maintains its habitual biorhythms according to the accustomed time zone at home. Your sleep is disturbed, you feel tired and your digestive processes do not function on their normal schedules. You feel a need for sleep during the day, and you wake up hungry in the middle of the night. The effects of jet lag differ according to whether you're flying westward with the sun, or eastward, against it. Travelling to the east, you want to sleep later in the morning and are able to stay up later at night. Travelling to the west, it's just the opposite.
The following are tactics to take to help minimize the physical effects of jet lag for those first few days of your trip:
Before you leave home
• For a few days preceding the flight, try going to bed earlier at night and getting up earlier in the morning to get a jump start on acclimating to the time zone of your destination.
• Don't eat in large quantities and avoid fatty foods
• Cut down on your intake of alcohol, coffee and tea, all of which tend to dehydrate the body.
• Engage in a bit of exercise to stimulate your circulation.
• Keep your skin well moistened with body lotion.
On the airplane
• Wear loose, comfortable, layered clothing that you can sleep in. Get a pillow and blanket as you board the aircraft.
• Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
• Avoid eating red meat, fatty sauces and creams, alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
• Eat low-fat foods, a lot of fruit and vegetables in order to keep your metabolic rate at a high level.
• Take your shoes off, put a pair of warm socks on and try to elevate your feet, perhaps by resting them on your carry-on bag.
• Put on your headset and select a soothing music channel on the audio program.
• Try to get to sleep as soon as possible after the meal service, and for as long as possible. (Yes! As tempting as it is, opt to avoid watching the in-flight movie!)
Upon Arrival at Your Destination
• Try to adapt to the new time zone and the routine of the day. As best you can, avoid the powerful urge to take a nap. If you simply must lie down, do so for on 30 minutes. A short nap really does compensate for lost sleep. As a matter of fact, in a state of sleep deprivation, following the first 4 minutes, a 30 minute nap can make up for about two hours worth of deep sleep. If you sleep longer than 30 minutes, you'll get a sluggish feeling that will be even harder to overcome for the rest of the day!
• Go outdoors in the sunshine or fresh air as soon as possible. Take a short walk or engage in some exercise.
• Try to stay up until a normal bedtime for your new time zone.
The Next Day
• Get up at a normal waking time for your new time zone.
• Don't skip breakfast and include coffee and/or tea.
• If you need a nap in the afternoon, again, take only 30 minutes.
If you've taken every measure to combat the effects of jet lag and after the first full day, your body still seems to be slow to recover, don't despair. It's perfectly natural. The body takes one day to adjust to every time zone that has been crossed.