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When you travel, you need to pack the right things and not forget anything. This handy checklist helps to avoid missing something important. I'm not saying "You need to pack all these things", especially as the checklist I'm showing is derived from a list I used for my own purposes and some of it is specific to my own requirements. Yours will inevitably be different. However I have some good ideas, and the checklist is good, as there may be things on it you haven't considered! What I suggest is that you make a copy of the list for your own purposes and then cross off things that aren't right for you.
The original checklist was just a list and didn't have explanations, but I've added them to explain what the things are and why they were included.
As a bit of background to the list: I am travelling to countries on backpacking tour type routes booked by STA Travel, to visit tax havens with a view to finding somewhere I can emigrate to! I am one person in poor health, visiting tropical destinations, carrying a high-tech set of equipment and all the stuff I need to survive, including various medicines for a variety of illnesses. I am physically quite weak and have poor stamina, so the weight considerations are to save myself rather than simply to fit the baggage restrictions. As you may know, I run an Internet business, and this influences my choice to destinations and other things.
This might not be your own travel situation, but the travel checklist may still be useful, and you can adapt it to your own purposes. When you've created your own list from it, you can then cross off items as you pack them, to make sure you've got everything you need. When travelling up a creek, pack a paddle.
Here is the list:
Passport: Essential. Needs to be with at least 6 months of validity remaining. If your memory is good enough to remember your home phone number and your best friend's phone number, you can memorise your passport number. This comes in very handy for filling numerous forms during travel, on flights, in hotels, etc. Plus, if you are unfortunate enough to lose your passport, the remembered number will help to expedite emergency renewal and recovery.
Also, if it's a criminals-help-yourselves-to-identity modern contactless passport with no safety switch, you might want to take a passport RFID-safe case to stop various nefarious persons stealing your identity by remote-control.
Tickets: Must be acquired, checked, and packed. Make sure the names and destinations all cross-check properly.
Flight booking references: Worth learning the flight numbers and times and which terminal in advance. Then arrive three hours before take-off.
Lonely Planet Guide: It's a good idea to get a Lonely Planet travel guide to the countries where you are going to travel. These are written by people who've already been there and seen the places at their worst as well as their best, and the guides also have learnéd contributions by historians, geographers, and other experts.
MAP: Yes, get a MAP! Most bookshops have surprisingly good geography sections where you can get reasonably detailed maps of whichever region you are going.
Itinerary: Knowing where you are going, including a schedule of times, places, etc. Check you have any "gaps" bridged. Remember details in advance, such as which airport terminal you're going to.
Actual HOLD Luggage: Something practical, not too heavy, but strong. Luggage should be preferably something that doesn't look expensive or worth stealing. (Baggage for the hold has to be strong, as there appears to be a tradition among baggage handlers in some places in which every item of hold luggage has to be ritually dropped from a height of about 3ft). Also, the hold luggage should have something distinct about it so you can recognise it when it's going round on one of those carousel things at airports! When I bought my luggage I looked at various supplies. There were some nice items at Argos, but I chose to buy something rugged that looked like an old kitbag, from Millets. You can shop around for luggage and choose something that is right for you for whatever circumstances you're likely to be in. This is a good point also stressed by the travel experts at Essentials 4 Travel
Hand Luggage: When buying hand luggage, it has to be big enough to hold everything, but if you are flying it has to fit in the regulation size hole. I have seen tragedy at airports where a passenger's bag won't quite fit in the gap. (I'll try to find out the official size dimensions to add here). I've avoided laptop bags as they weighed nearly as much as the official weight limit even before adding the stuff. My chosen hand luggage bag is an inexpensive item from Poundstretcher, very lightweight, but big enough to contain the travelling laptop and a large amount of other stuff. As airlines and airports haven't yet started weighing the passenger and their pockets, I travel wearing an outfit with a great many pockets. This includes a Vest of Many Pockets, which was actually bought from Machine Mart as an electrician's waistcoat.
Medical Bag: Medical survival stuff is (or was) exempt from passenger luggage weight limits, so in my own situation I've used this to my advantage by packing all the pharmaceuticals in a separate bag, usually a basic carrier bag that's slightly larger and stronger than usual. There's quite a lot of medical stuff I have to carry. All the diabetic stuff and all the coeliac stuff, and other things. As a diabetic I'm insisting the emergency chocolate to save me from hypoglycaemia goes in the exempt category. (Other exempt items (check with airline) include an umbrella, newspaper, camera, etc if carried).
Divider: It's a piece of cardboard carefully cut out to fit in the hand luggage to keep the laptop separate from all the other stuff.
Travelling laptop: Designed to work anywhere. Runs on 110 volts or 240 volts or on internal batteries. Has both Linux and Windows. Has wifi and a phone modem. Weight versus price is an important consideration, so you may wish to visit places to buy computers which includes Laptop Shop and other places who specialise in laptops. Another thought: What about an EEP!? (eee-pc)
Camera: When I went travelling I bought the best camera I could reasonably get. The logic is that it makes sense to take thousands of high-resolution pictures when you can, to capture scenes as you go, and some of scenes you see are unrepeatable. Mine's a Canon EOS350D. However, although it is (or was at the time) an expensive snazzy high resolution digital camera, I deliberately disguised it and adjusted it to make it less snatchable. I got rid of the branded Canon camera strap and replaced it with a rough strong strap with two locking doglead clips on, added a chandelier chain hand lanyard, and by the second trip the lens cap had been replaced with the lid off a pickle jar. So, although it is the same excellent digital camera, it now looks at first sight more like an old-style chunky film camera.
Camera USB cable: For connecting the digital camera to the travelling computer.
Camera bag: It's actually a basic bathroom bag, of the type normally used for carrying soap, flannel, toothbrush, etc. As such, it's almost completely waterproof, but more importantly it helps further to disguise the camera as something which is not expensive.
Spare camera battery: only required if there is doubt about the number1 camera battery.
Charge up camera battery: This is just a reminder to make sure the digital camera rechargeable power pack is fully charged prior to the start of the adventure.
Spare camera memory: In case the main CF card goes into "error" state it can be returned to base and the lost photos recovered by data recovery companies and meanwhile the photography can continue.
Camera lens/body back cover set: The lightweight protective covers, packed just to insure against the eventuality that security personnel might class the large camera as "a bag", it can be disassembled into lens and body and the parts put into pockets. Thankfully this has never been an issue and I have always been able to persuade everyone that the rule is that a camera and medical bag are exempt items.
Mini Tripod: This is a very lightweight camera tripod about six inches high. Very handy for long exposure shots and for self-timer mode. Available from ASDA for £1 last time I checked.
Torch/pen: This particular item is a special from the old Radiocommunication Agency, and is useful for writing in the dark.
Replacement torch battery/bulb: Do you need these, or will you chance it?
Saccharin: If you like sweet tea but have problems with sugar and with a variety of the stuff classed as low-calorie diabetic-friendly sweeteners around the world, saccharin is a good portable alternative. Not everyone likes it, though, so find something you like and pack it.
Prescription medicines: On my original travel checklist these are all listed separately and are quite specific to my own medical requirements. I'm not including all of these details here on the public version of the list, but I recommend you make your own amendments to include all of the prescription items you require to take with you. Depending on where you are going, you may need to make some alterations to your medicinal schedule, as some drugs are illegal in some countries even though you are ok taking them in your home country. Some of the more reasonable destination countries have a sensible compromise, which is that you are ok to have the items for your own personal use if you carry documentation.
Medical documentation: A doctor's letter stating that you need to have all of the things on your prescription. This is relatively easy to get if you ask nicely.
Medical documentation 2: A pharmacist's prescription sheet listing all of the items that you have on prescription, with the doses and amounts. This normally comes as standard with the prescription, but if not, you can ask for a prescription printout from doctor's surgery. Remember to pack it.
Medical documentation 3: Receipts for anything you've bought to take with you from online pharmacies. Although this doesn't prove you're taking the items with the consent of a doctor, it at least proves you have ordered the items for yourself.
Driving licence: Most countries accept each other's issued driving licences as proof of driving ability, but there are exceptions. Check in advance.
Insulin and syringes: If you're a diabetic, as I am, you need to pack enough insulin and syringes for the duration of the expedition, and if you're flying, inform the air crew. There is normally no problem with the security aspects about the injection syringes if you're up-front about it, but oddly there have been instances where diabetics have been disallowed from carrying ice to keep their insulin refrigerated. Don't worry, as vials of insulin can survive travelling at room temperature for quite a long while. Also, although we the travellers can't do much about the recent anti-terrorist security nonsense, it's important for us to realise it has nothing to do with actual terrorist threats, and is an unfortunate knee-jerk reaction by governments whose meddling in other countries' affairs has brought trouble upon themselves, and rather than admit that, they have cynically tried to shift the blame and made life difficult for us all.
Vitamins: A set of over the counter full-range vitamin tablets. Helps keep the dreaded scurvy away, and various other vitamin deficiency related diseases. I've found there are some quite good full-range ones available from Holland and Barrett
Pain relief tablets: in case you get any problems with pain. Incidentally, the side effects also help to alleviate diarrhoea (which is known to be a problem for travellers to places where the water is unusual).
Phone adaptor us/uk RJ11-BT: This and various other telephonic gizmos allow plugging into networks around the world
Immunisation Certificates: It's important to make sure you are vaccinated against the diseases which are a problem in the places you are going. These days you can be vaccinated against diseases which have notorious names and have been the death of huge numbers of people in the past. Medical science has made progress and many of the great killers need no longer be a problem to you, if you get the vaccinations in advance. Also, it's best to keep the vaccination certificates and carry them with your passport. Yellow fever is a particular example, as you need to pay for the immunisation, and if you can't prove you've been immunised, some countries won't let you leave. Please don't ask me for specifics. Instead, buy a Lonely Planet guide for the countries you are going, and read up on the exact situation for the precise places.
Bank statement: If you're not poor, a bank statement can help to prove things to people where necessary. It's like a financial passport to places. To be used sparingly!
Paper: Blank drawing paper, for jotting ideas, drawing inventive diagrams, etc.
Tissue: For a variety of hygiene and mopping-up purposes.
Radio: a very tiny item, available from the typical Pound Shop. FM scanning. Includes batteries and headphones. Weighs a negligible amount but is interesting for exploring what VHF FM channels are broadcasting in the area. It's also a torch.
Check radio works: on the checklist as battery contacts can corrode, so it's best to test before packing.
Spare batteries for radio: do you need these, or will you chance it?
Nailvarnish: in black and also in whichever vivid colours match the hair colour and/or outfits.
Half a towel: No need to pack a whole towel. This idea was picked up from another helpful site, whose writer I intend to credit when I've located that site again.
Book / Diary: This is a physical book for writing as a Diary with a pen. Even if you write your diary on a computer, having an additional channel of a physical book is a good idea as you can't always rely on electricity. In terms of choice of book type, I'd go for something that doesn't weigh much but has a big enough page size. So, a compromise. Last year's A5 diary, about the thickness of a paperback, is reasonable. (day dates are ignored, as per the page about writing a diary). However, if security personnel breach your personal human rights by reading it, your disclaimer is that it is a set of dramatised notes for fiction authorship purposes. You could be writing a spy thriller for all they know. It doesn't have to be true.
Pen: For writing in the book, and for other purposes.
Spare pen: never tell airport security that it's mightier than the sword. Also keep it in the scabbard during take-off and landing.
Additional spare pen: In case the first spare pen runs out or is lost.
Torch: For writing in the book in the dark, and for a great many other purposes. The torch needs to be lightweight, and the batteries easily replaceable or rechargeable.
Watch: It's for telling the time, not showing off. A great variety of watches are available, some less expensive than others.
Solution to problem with bangles slipping over watch: OK, admittedly not everyone's problem, but I have found it easier to have on a lot of metal jewellery that won't come off and know I'm going to have a good reason to set off airport metal detectors, rather than try to explain why I set off metal detectors anyway because of having titanium under the skin. Note: This does not apply to everyone. It's just included here for completeness.
Cash: - in different currencies and methods. Almost every country has either a preference for UK Pounds Sterling or US Dollars or Euros, plus their own local currency. Some currencies aren't internationally traded, so it's a good idea to have some of the other stuff packed away, discreetly, in several different places, where thieves aren't likely to look.
Cheque book: Cheques (checks) work internationally, and they are as good as your standing with your own bank. As far as I know they can be paid into accounts even if the currencies are different, although you may end up having to pay the tourist rate.
Connect Card: That's a Barclays cheque guarantee card. Also it's a VISA debit / credit card. Most banks have an equivalent. Useful not directly for paying for things, but more to reassure hotels that they are not going to be left with unexpected claims on their insurance policy! Also, a small tin (from cigars or Elastoplast for example), to save yourself from the RFID problem associated with contactless technology.
Extra Tissue: Well, you never know when it might be needed.
Crossover cable: RJ45. This doesn't weigh much and could come in handy for connecting the portable computer up with other computers.
Business cards: In my own case these are not actually made of card, but are just pieces of paper (of various colours) cut from a printout of my online business card in bulk. These are a huge understatement and are great fun to give away in VIP lounges, hotels, and even swimming pools! On my international travels, giving away business cards helps to improve the fame (or notoriety) of my website! Here, have a Zyra business card !!
Brass-rubbing kit: Yes, I'm serious about this. When travelling, you can record what you see with a camera, and if you have a motion picture camera you can also record sounds. But with a brass-rubbing kit you can record tactile items onto paper. Often non-ancient objects come in for this kind of treatment; hotel room door numbers, public signs, power sockets, inspection covers, engravings, surfaces. I have only seldom been caught brass-rubbing a lift panel when the doors opened! In terms of value-for-weight, the tiny piece of material used for tactile capture is well worth packing.
Diabetic testing strips: If you're not a diabetic, don't worry about this! If you are a diabetic, it's worth calculating how many of each type of test strips and which kinds of testing kits you'll need to take along.
a spare plastic bag or two: These take up almost no room, weigh almost nothing, are free, and can be used for carting away things should the opportunity arise.
emergency Chocolate: spot the diabetic.
additional chocolate: spot the paranoid diabetic!
Fluid: I regard this as an essential of life, and I regard the imposition of daft rules about it as a serious imposition. I'm a diabetic, and I have the diabetic thirst, which means I need to drink huge amounts of sugar free fluid, and I feel seriously at a loss if I can't keep enough supplies of fluid at hand. However, hope is at hand as I have found a way around the stupid situations of inconvenience about fluid at airports, which draconian governments have brought upon themselves by their arrogant foreign policies. The solution is to carry a set of small bottles, say 500ml, full of water, and if security officers bother you about it, drink it, but insist on keeping the empty bottles. There are, as far as I know, no official rules about carrying empty plastic bottles, and you CAN fill them up again on the other side of the security before getting on the plane.
Fan: It's a USB powered mini fan. I hope I don't ever need to find out whether it would work as a mini outboard motor for a boat.
Imodium: An unfamiliar diet in tropical places may lead to the requirement for this.
Make-up: Foundation, powder, eye-liner, eye-shadow, mascara. Sensibly small packs to keep packing weight low, but capable of application to an industrial quality level of make-up. (in Zyra's original tax haven quest, for cultural testing purposes).
Nivea: Ubiquitous, useful stuff.
Portable Food: Chocolate, cheese, fruit, stuffed into pockets. Various items to get around the fact that in-flight meals tend to be small portions.
Multipurpose knife: Something with plenty of useful tools included, something of the "Swiss Army Knife" style. Into the hold it goes.
Knife: A machete would be useful, but it would be awkward even in the hold luggage.
Scissors: A real pair of scissors. They go in the HOLD luggage. Useful for cutting paper, cardboard, plastic, for a variety of ingenious purposes, as well as for trimming the nails.
Compass: Unless you're doing some serious navigation, a toy compass will often do, and weighs a negligible amount. If there's no sun, it's still possible to tell whether a street direction is north-south or south-north, just with this basic item and a map. Some parts of the world are less well signposted than you might expect!
Bottle opener: Although these are widely available, it's important to avoid being stuck without one. I strongly advise against being in a situation where you're tempted to try to use your teeth, as this is a feat like tearing a phone directory in half, and only a very few people are able to do it, and then only after being well-practiced at the art. Besides, explaining to a travel insurance company why you've got a dentist's bill from somewhere exotic, could be tricky? Best to pack a bottle opener.
Can opener: As with the bottle opener, this is often part of a multipurpose knife, like the ones available from Millets
Malaria Pills: At least a month before you set off, go to a chemist and get your itinerary checked versus a world malaria map. Some parts of the world have malaria, and some don't. The chemist will be able to recommend the right kind of antimalarial for the places you're going. Make your choice and then pay up. It's not expensive, and could save your life. Incidentally, in some countries (UK for example), you have to get your doctor to rubber stamp your antimalarial prescription as there are controls on the pharmaceuticals involved. That's despite the fact that you are paying, and you can't get antimalarial pills on the NHS. Other things worth knowing: Malaria pills have to be taken regularly, usually starting before the adventure does. Sometimes there are side-effects, different for different antimalarial pills. This is another good reason to consult with the pharmacists, who are experts on this.
Small Screwdriver: This can be very useful. (pack in hold luggage)
Sewing kit: A useful recycled hotel giveaway, plus a heavier duty needle and some extra thread. For repair of outfit.
Dental floss: It's not used for the teeth, but as a multi purpose extra strong thread. Very useful for a wide variety of purposes. Comes in 100 metre packs which weigh only a few grammes. To see the finesse of this, get some and see if you can snap it. Batman would use it if he could get it in black.
Water purification tablets: Just in case of being stuck somewhere and having to drink pondwater, river water, etc. A week before setting off I did an experiment using some home pondwater to make sure I could cope and wasn't made ill by it. I have found I can cope with the iodine type diehard stuff and quite like the taste, even though the mosquito larvae in the water did not like it and had died. A less drastic alternative is the chlorine type, which tastes no worse than drinking swimming pool water. Not great, but better than suffering from the thirst. Your own tastes may differ, so try the stuff before you travel. Available as small bottles of pills from Millets
Extra Tissue: It's a bog roll, a roll of toilet paper, bathroom tissue, whatever you want to call it. A cheap but soft variety which doesn't weigh much. Hopefully you will not need this and may feel slightly silly returning with a toilet roll that's travelled thousands of miles. However, if you ever DID need it, you had better make sure you have it! Toilets around the world do not all have toilet paper. Plus, it is reasonable to assume that at some point on your travels to interesting and exotic places you will have that problem travellers get where something in the diet upsets the insides. You will thank yourself you packed a bogroll!
Pencil sharpener: Mainly for sharpening the eyeliner kohl pencil.
Clothes: various mix-and-match items to give a greater variety of outfits than the quota of garments would suggest. Having diverse style yet minimising the total weight. (If you are curious to see what kinds of weird outfits Zyra wears, see Zyra Photo Gallery!)
Spare clothes: As getting wet is a certainty, the sets of outfits are chosen to be interchangeable, so it's always possible to find something dry to put on when going to the restaurant.
Jewellery: gaudy, showy, attractive, but nothing worth stealing.
emergency extra Cash: a reserve fund, kept somewhere safe.
disposable razors: just the basics.
Umbrella: keeps the rain off the hair colour
hair brush: standard item
Spare plastic bags: lightweight plastic carrier bags from supermarkets
Tea bags: Curiously, tea is not as ubiquitously international as the British taste might assume. So, if you like tea, pack some tea bags. I have packed tea bags on every one of the exploratory trips I have made, apart from the one to Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon, world famous as a tea producing nation!).
Lemon tea powder: an alternative to carrying tea bags. For travel, use a plastic pot, not a heavy glass jar.
Computer modem phone cable RJ11-RJ11: computer lead.
Sample capture tubes: It's a Space Age tradition to collect soil samples from interesting places! Pyrex culture tubes are good (test tubes with screw-caps).
"Pint Pot": Although referred to as the pint pot, it's somewhat bigger than that. This is a lightweight travel version of Zyra's teacup, but instead of being a gallon, it's about one and half litres. Made by surgical adaption of a plastic two litre Asda lemonade bottle. Weighs almost nothing and takes up no volumetric space of any consequence as things are packed inside it. If you prefer a more official LARGE CUP, there are some near-indestructible Kevlar camping cups available from Millets. These don't weigh much, and can contain as much as a pint.
AA rechargeable battery cells: Several sets of these, to keep the various pieces of electronics running and to have spare batteries when they go flat.
Weighing scale for weighing luggage: Although this is an item of fishing tackle, it's being packed for a purpose other than angling. It's for weighing the luggage. The luggage is to be weighed by the wise traveller in advance of the outward trip and in advance of the return trip, to make sure it's within limits. This is greatly preferable to the horror of being put on the spot at a desk in an airport and being given the no-choice option of paying for ludicrously expensive excess baggage or jettisoning valuable items. The spring balance weighing scale should weigh almost nothing itself, should be capable of weighing the expected weight of the luggage or the weight limit whichever is the greater, and should be packed in the hold luggage after use.
Check baggage weight limits: Ask your travel company before you travel, what the specific luggage weight limits are, for each leg of the journey. Beware of tickets where the return trip allows a lesser weight! (for practical purposes, you are more likely to require a heavier return payload than your requirements for your outward trip. (Souvenirs often weigh a deceptively large amount, even if chosen carefully with weight considerations in mind)).
Portable heating element: 110 volts or 240 volts, it's not fussy. Turns almost any container into an electric kettle.
Electrics!: - multi cable adaptor junction box. This is a special electrical interconnection device I have made so I can plug everything into one AC international mains adaptor.
Lemonade: It's been found impractical to pack actual lemonade, so instead a set of fizzy calcium tablets are packed which turn water into something more like a gin & tonic!
Power adaptor: for US/EU/UK power sockets. A general purpose travelling item. Again, Millets
The travelling laptop's PSU/recharger: a bit of a nuisance that Philips used a non-standard power connector rather than a standard euro lead, but nevertheless it has become part of the electric wiring rig which is carried.
Camera battery charger: Standard, came with the Canon digital camera, with standard figure-8 connector.
Spare camera battery charger lead: A backup in case the electrics fail or the camera needs to be charged up in isolation.
AA battery cell recharger: works on 110 volts and 240 volts. Specially modified to work with the junction box and/or a basic figure-8 lead.
Earrings: I pack several different sets of earrings, but not the best, in case they are lost. For international travelling, the pair of tiny globes of the world are good, as earrings, although not so good for navigation!
Glue: mainly for gumming acquired items into the diary/book.
Sticky tape: Useful for patching up a variety of situations.
Blu-tack: Amazingly useful, and surprisingly not available worldwide!
Spare luggage locks: with keys.
More Business cards: an additional wad of the things, in the hold
DEET: Insect killing / insect deterrent spray. Used mainly to keep mosquitoes away. I'm travelling to tropical places where the mosquitoes are a potential threat to life, so I'm using a top-of-the-range (almost 100% DEET) spray which I bought from Millets. Worth paying the money as it's a matter of life and death!
Mosquito killing machine: Unlike modern mosquito killing machines which come as sets of micro robotic fighter aircraft that do aerial combat with mosquitoes, the types of mosquito killing machines in the zero-zeros decade were basic but effective insecticidal nerve gas emitters with heating elements powered by electricity. Small, neat, deadly. They smell a bit funny though.
Mosquito killing tablets: Not to be taken. These blue pills go into the cartridge slot in the mosquito killing machine.
Mosquito killing Coils: I did not pack these, because when I experimentally burnt one at home one night in line with my policy of testing equipment before it's needed in action, I was nearly killed by it myself! So, I'll just have to make-do with the mosquito killing machine, the mosquito killing tablets, the DEET mosquito repellent spray, the mosquito nets, and the antimalarial tablets.
Files and Computer Data: Various software items which may be needed during the trip. I always pack my own website, my general scratchpad address book file, info on stuff I've got for sale, my itinerary, contacts I need to be in touch with, computer programs I have written and use regularly, camera software interface, this checklist, and a few other things. Your data checklist may be quite different, but if you can compile your own list and make sure you have everything you need. Remember that not everywhere has Internet, or at least not at a reasonable price, and that your own personal data on your own computer at home is something which you might need.
Place being guarded: Make sure you have some security measures for your home while you are away. Ideally, have a houseminder living in the place, someone you can trust! At the very least make the place look as if it's being lived in. Electric segment time switches help to keep up the pretence by switching table lamps and radios on and off at different types of day. Keep it mostly a secret that you are going away. Cancel milk, newspapers, etc, and get the neighbour to tidy things that are left stuffed in the letterbox. For more advice about pretending you are at home when you're away, ask the police or Crimestoppers. See crime fighting
Secure drive: This is an extra paranoid measure to secure your private data at home.
Standby circuits OFF: Things such as the electric blanket, battery charger, electric keyboard power supply, should be turned off before setting off. Saves electricity and reduces fire risk.
Verify accommodation: a final check to make sure the accommodation at the destination is ok, available, booked, and that the food is compatible.
Clear Gaps: This is a checkover to ensure the habitability of the houseminder's habitat within the house!
Verify itinerary: Plane times and routing, which airlines, flight numbers, etc, checking for survivability of long transits and accessibility for short transits. The timing of meals is examined, as well as any unreasonably early getting-up times, and anything which could be potentially a desperate rush. In practice, the itinerary is learnt several steps ahead so as to be able to step around any difficulties before they happen.
Chocolate biscuits: I'm a coeliac, so I have to pack my own chocolate biscuits. Normal biscuits, whether chocolate or not, are made with wheat, which would make me ill. If you are a coeliac, be wary of in-flight biscuits. Even well-intentioned airlines who have got you a special gluten-free in-flight meal may neglect to check if the in-flight biscuits are gluten-free. If they don't say "gluten free" on the packet, I give them away to another passenger (after making sure they are not coeliac!).
Bread: It's impractical to carry enough gluten-free bread for the entire trip, and it can be assumed impossible to get any during the trip. However, it's still possible to pack a considerable quantity to start off with.
Discs: Software to give away. It's my software I've written myself, and I have been known to give it away on discs. In practice these days it's easier to put it online and remember the locations.
Transfers: Are transfers included? Find out! Ask the travel company. (Transfers are pre-booked journeys between the airport and the hotel). Find out where the hotel is. How far is it in actual distance from the airport? If you have no transfers, you will have to haggle with taxi drivers at your destination. Keep calm and don't get pushed into a situation. Always negotiate and agree the price before the taxi journey commences. If you have transfers, make sure the taxi driver is from the right company specified in the transfers documentation and not an impostor!
Book(s): What? To read while on an adventure? I don't think so. ...except during decompression when diving, perhaps!
Digital movie camera / mp3 player: a small multipurpose unit. Discreet, inexpensive, all interfaces generic, works in Linux as a bulk storage device, all solid-state (no tapes or discs).
Headphones: A pair of stereo earphones or headphones for listening to the mp3/ogg-vorbis player, computer, in-flight entertainment, AND (would you believe it), doubling up as a microphone for Skype or other VOIP. Just plug it in the mic socket and it should work, as all speakers are microphones (with a pair of stereo headphones, the left earpiece is the mono microphone).
Aeroplane adaptor for headphones: Converts aviation type twin mono 3.5mm plugs into single stereo 3.5mm.
Prepare snack to take along: Mine's a stacked-up multi-layer set of sandwiches similar to of the style of snacks eaten by Scooby Doo, but with bread of a size as per Spinal Tap. This is all to do with the gluten free status.
Various small tools: keep the toolkit lightweight, and pack the items in the hold. A pair of tiny snips or pliers is useful, and possibly a scalpel (which should be safety packed with a cork). Pound Shops are good for acquiring the kit, as in the worst case you can afford to lose the items on the return trip.
Tell DLA: If you're on Disability Living Allowance or some other benefit, you are supposed to inform them if you are going to be away for more than six weeks.
K3B and CD recorder plus a set of CD-R discs: the idea being to create a backup of the photos and other data acquired.
CD-RW: data transit medium.
Vaseline: (in a small jar). Helps in case of parasitic attack by the bot fly and other things we don't talk about at dinner time.
Toothbrush: For your teeth.
Other toothbrush: For multiple purposes other than for your teeth. make sure it's a different colour so you don't get them mixed up.
Language course: a CD and small book so you can learn a language appropriate to the regions you are travelling to/through.
Contact numbers: Phone numbers such as the hotel, travel company, travel insurance company, consulate, etc.
House keys: You don't need to take these with you if you've got a houseminder looking after the place. However, if you decide to take a set of your house keys with you, don't put a label on them with your home address! Instead put "if lost please return to... " and then the address of your local police station.
Window seat: How to get a window seat on a plane? If you're photo mad, as I am, the best way to improve your chances of getting a window seat is to arrive three hours early for the flight, not two hours early, then ask nicely at check-in just before your seat numbers are allocated. Or, if you would prefer an aisle seat, again arrive early and specify this. However, if you're going to go to sleep or read a book, let someone else look out of the window!
Currency: This needs to be ordered in advance from the bank. Ask for more smaller denomination notes and fewer large ones. If it's GBP Pounds Sterling, include plenty of fivers and £1 "gold pieces". If it's US dollars, I advise against carrying 100 dollar bills, as 100 dollars is more than several months' wages in some countries. Carry plenty of one dollar bills, and scrumple them up a bit so it doesn't look too flash. If you are unfamiliar with United States banknotes and the fact they are all the same size regardless of denomination, learn the mugshots of famous American presidents on the notes, or you may at some point accidentally tip someone a 100 dollar bill and make yourself look like a fool!
Pack currency: Make sure you pack the money! Goes in the hand luggage, preferably in a generic looking pack, not a snazzy fat leather wallet, and definitely not the handy fancy cardboard wallet provided by the bank, which might as well say "steal me" on it.
Travel insurance: Yes, you should get some travel insurance. It is not worth chancing being caught out without it. Travel insurance is relatively inexpensive, whereas becoming sick or injured while travelling can be very expensive. Besides the increased risks of accident and illness on an adventure in comparison to being at home, there is also the fact that medical treatment on location has to be paid for as private medical treatment, sometimes emergency private medical treatment. Look after your health! Travel insurance policies typically insure you for worst case scenarios with costs in the millions and/or emergency repatriation. However, for most eventualities the uninsured unlucky traveller is more likely to have to pay out a few thousand to have their life saved. You can take the risk, but if you would prefer to let a company take the risk for you instead, get some travel insurance
Pack insurance documents: This is a note to make absolutely certain the insurance documents (with insurance company phone number and official policy number) have been packed in the hand luggage.
Establish contacts before going: It's easier to get the info before setting off, so you know who to meet, where places are, etc.
Special requirements to be booked in advance: Travel companies are often very helpful in being able to organise up front any special requirements you have. I have found STA Travel very helpful to me!
Portfolio: As per a Model Portfolio, this includes documentation required for business at the destination.
GPS: You know where you are with a GPS! OK, but do you really need to carry a Global Positioning System with you? Sat-Nav is all very swish, but a town map and local knowledge is often more practical.
Mobile phone: Consider carefully whether you should take a mobile phone with you, or whether you should make a positive decision to avoid taking such a thing! The phone calls can be fearfully expensive, and you may end up receiving SMS messages (which you can't avoid) and having to pay for them!
Hair dye: Maintaining vivid hair colour when travelling isn't on everyone's travel checklist, but it is on Zyra's. As well as the original blue/orange dye on the actual hair, there was also a backup of a scary party wig, including an inventive solution to keep it on when underwater!
Mobile phone card: - to be configured. Useful for data transfer as an emergency backup, but expensive. However, well done to Orange Mobile for giving away the international access laptop computer card free! (I think there were Linux compatibility issues though, last time I checked).
WI-FI: Computer wi-fi wireless Internet to be configured before setting off. If you decide to go wardriving, do so responsibly!
Laser: a Pound Shop special. Useful for an enormous number of diverse and unusual purposes, especially at night or underground.
Clingfilm: Not just for wrapping food up to keep it fresh!
CD player: but only if it's light in weight and you're sure it's required even after the computer and portable digital mp3 gadget have been included.
Wheels for trolley: a set of luggage carting wheels from a "granny trolley" are a good idea if the main baggage has those tiny wheels which on any terrain rougher than an airport concourse sooner or later fail, come off, and leave you having to drag your bag along scraping the floor. This problem was averted by choosing a strong bag with sturdy wheels.
Check anything else which might be a good idea: Check the expedition equipment supplies at Millets, and quiz a few experienced travellers you happen to know, to see if they can name any good travelling tips. I would guess the travel experts at Essentials 4 Travel may have a few things to suggest. Also, see what Magellans have to offer. They are travel supply specialists. Plus, in-flight equipment suppliers Passengers Only may be some help.
That concludes the travel checklist. For your own purposes, your requirements being different to mine, you should adapt the list and decide which things to include, which to delete, and which extra things you'll need. The purpose of publishing this list is to give a starting point for creating a travel checklist for yourself.
In case you are looking at this list and wondering if I needed to have a mule to carry all this stuff, I'll tell you up front that the hold luggage including the bag and contents weighed 17Kg, the hand luggage weighed 5-6Kg including the laptop, the medical bag weighed 2.5Kg including the chocolate, and the Vest of Many Pockets (from Machine Mart) with all the pockets full of stuff weighed 2Kg.
Copyright: You are welcome to print or copy this page for your own use, but please don't copy it for publishing on another website! However you may reference it from your own site by adding a link to the full page address (URL). This entire site has a Reliable Deep Linking Policy and will be here for the foreseeable future. Helpful constructive suggestions are welcome and may be included in the list as time goes on. Does this help? Also, would you like a Summary List (with just the headings) as well?
Following the success of this helpful list for travel expedition purposes connected with Travel, another page has been created as a checklist for expenses as part of How to Get Out of Debt. I wonder what other checklists might yet be created at this site?! You can contact me if you like.