Packing and Travel Tips

For International Travelers

I offer a few ideas to assist you along your way. You will need to decide for yourself what will work best for you and your circumstances. Remember that the airlines have rules about number and size of carry-on pieces and checked pieces. Begin by asking yourself a couple of key questions:


How much time and effort do you want to give up to spend packing, unpacking, and handling luggage?


Every moment you spend with your hand on your suitcase(s) is a moment you're not spending seeing the sights, shopping the shops, or enjoying the ambiance. Every bit of angst you spend about luggage is a bit of enjoyment you're giving up at a sidewalk cafe, a library, a museum, a beach, and so on.


How many emergencies and contingencies do you need to plan for?


Are you travelling alone and/or responsible only for yourself, or are you responsible for a partner, children, and/or a group? Do you have a health problem that may require medical intervention? Will you be part of an event requiring special items, such as a wedding? Will you be involved in activities requiring special equipment, such as photography, art, or athletics?


How available are items to purchase, if you need to?


Will you be in a large, world class city, or in a small rural village? If you forget something or need something, will you be able to obtain it easily? Are you part of a group, and can potentially borrow a needed item?


The answers to those questions will help you determine what to pack and how to pack. Keep these things in mind, as well:

Don't take more luggage than you can handle alone.

 You'll need to carry all your stuff through customs all by yourself. Plus, most foreign ports of call do not have sky caps hanging around to help you out. You'll be pretty much on your own.

Do carry the really important items with you no matter what.

Prescription medications (in their original containers), passport and other documents, a change of clothes in case your suitcase is delayed, and any irreplacable items should be carried with you.

Never, never, NEVER carry unknown items or items from someone you don't know.

There are serious penalties for breaking the law. Ignorance is no excuse. You are responsible for everything you carry. Don't carry anything on the airplane that might be considered a weapon.


Check out these links for more ideas:

For tips about pre-travel planning and preparation, safety considerations, traveling with children or pets, weather considerations   For step-by-step planning, including destinations, transporation, accommodations, money, health and safety, communications
For weather information For currency information
For maps For cultural information or language help
For information about specific countries For more travel tips and links


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Pauline Nuhring, Program Associate, UMD Continuing Education
Phone: 218/726-6361 Fax: 218/726-6925

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of the page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.
Last updated 11/28/01