The Vacuum Pack

(Frequent Flyer, part 2 of 6. In preparation)

Documentation

28 .. If you intend to drive whilst abroad, apply for an International Driver’s Permit (check countries of validity, as this is not accepted universally)

29 .. Print and bring spare passport photos (for any additional identification cards or applications)

30 .. Scan and print a copy of your (photo) passport page, special visa pages, your credit cards, accounts, insurances, and itinerary (including hotel phone numbers) and carry separately from your passport, so in case of emergency, you have all the relevant information on hand

31 .. Duplicate documents should be stored in two bags, so if laptop, phone or even one bag is stolen or lost, you will still have a copy of this important data

32 .. Leave a printed copy with a trusted staff member, relative or friend in your home country

Finance

33 .. Carry a credit card which is commonly accepted in the countries you will frequent: AmEx, MasterCard and Visa (USA) / JCB (Japan) / UnionPay (China)

34 .. Use a credit card with a microchip which requires a PIN

35 .. A bank card in the Global Plus network can be used worldwide to withdraw cash from any ATM with the Global Plus symbol

36 .. Notify your bank and credit card issuer of the countries to which you will be travelling, without reducing any fraud detection protocols

37 .. Use a credit card which earns frequent flyer points

38 .. Use a business credit card and/or keep receipts of all items eligible for reimbursement or tax assessment as legitimate travel expenses. One or more zip-lock bags are useful for collating these

39 .. Buy a RFID scan blocker and put it in between your credit cards, to mitigate against electronic pickpockets skimming your card in busy places. The frugal traveller may use aluminium foil instead

40 .. In many countries, cash is acceptable for most transactions. To acquire cash from your bank before leaving, allow sufficient time to prepare the amount of foreign currency you will need. This will often deliver a better rate of exchange than an airport Bureau de Change

41 .. If carrying large amounts of cash, a concealed money belt is advisable. Separate currencies (and your local travel proximity cards) in small transparent zip-lock bags

42 .. To calculate exchange rates between an extensive range of currencies, use a online site or app, such as: universal currency converter

baggage

43 .. In order to avoid time-consuming carousels and the potential for lost luggage, I prefer carry-on baggage only. Check your ticket/s for maximum carry on items, dimensions and weight

It is possible to travel for extended periods like this. I recently spent several months in winter and summer cities across three continents, with just a cabin-compliant case and small backpack

44 .. To avoid excess baggage fees, weigh all check-in items

45 .. Make your baggage easily identifiable with a unique and not easily removed item (e.g. green zipper pull tags)

46 .. A waist pack is useful for carrying small items which you may want accessible in your aircraft seat. (e.g. eyeshades, earplugs, money, lip balm, moisturising spray, hand sanitizer, mints, tissues, toothbrush, toothpaste, passport, pen, pre-completed arrival card, inflatable neck pillow, if required)

47 .. Consider what computer device you will require on your trip: a tablet with keyboard or laptop

A 13″ MacBook Air laptop is an ideal size, as it fits on an aircraft tray table and in a hotel room safe

48 .. If using any cameras using lithium batteries, place in a transparent plastic zip-lock bag and top pack or place in an external pocket, so that they can be easily removed for X-Ray scanning

49 .. If concerned about potential confidential data loss, consider a secure data drive, like the Datashur secure memory stick (which has high security measures, if hackers attempt to unlock it)

50 .. Unless staying longer than a few days in one country, arrange data roaming with your cellphone carrier

Apparel

51 .. Download and check weather apps for your destination/s and select suitable clothing for your planned activities

52 .. The frequent traveller may select colour coordinated garments for greatest flexibility 
(Note: layers allow flexibility, and black IS the new black!)

  • overcoat, scarf, woollen headwear (if travelling through cold climates)
  • gloves (to use handheld devices in freezing weather, purchase gloves with touch-sensitive fingertips)
  • formal jacket and a casual water resistant jacket with zip-out fleece lining
  • lightweight long layer thermal garments (adventure stores are best for ultra-lightweight garments, as by necessity, climbers are exceptionally weight sensitive)
  • Pashmina wraps provide businesswomen with lightweight warmth and colour variation
  • 2 pairs of slip on / easy tie shoes (some airport security scans still require shoe removal)
  • 3 sets of underwear
  • 1 non-metal belt (to eliminate the need to remove for X-Ray scanning)
  • swimsuit / gym gear

53 .. The two best methods for ensuring compact packing are:

  • vacuum packs (in which you place clothing and squeeze out air) to reduce volume
  • rolling multiple garments or single items to maximise the use of space within a suitcase

54 .. In most airports, liquids are only permitted in containers of 100ml or less. Pack any cosmetic liquids in one or more separate transparent waterproof zip-lock bags, for rapid customs inspections

55 .. If you are taking any medication/s, ensure that you have sufficient for your trip (and any potential delays). If travelling for a long time and taking a large amount, carry a photocopy of your prescription with the same details as on the labels on containers

*Be aware that some countries put a limit on the amounts of certain organic, healthcare and pharmaceutical products which can be exported or imported

56 ..If you wish to actually hear in-flight movie dialogue (and not just view the action), pack noise-cancelling headphones

I currently use compact, lightweight Sony MDR-EX750NA noise-cancelling in-ear buds

 

 

.. continue to part 3

 

The Itinerant Itinerary
(Frequent Flyer, part 1 of 6. Logistics)

The Vacuum Pack
(Frequent Flyer, part 2 of 6. In preparation)

The Nearly Terminal
(Frequent Flyer, part 3 of 6. Before departure)

The Forty Hour Wednesday
(Frequent Flyer, part 4 of 6. In the air)

A Degree in Airports
(Frequent Flyer, part 5 of 6. Upon arrival)

The Dust of Two Deserts
(Frequent Flyer, part 6 of 6. In transit)

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