Here is a list of travel-related suggestions which I follow and could be useful.
Essential Checklists: Undoubtedly, checklists are vital. As human beings, it’s common for us to forget certain things when in a hurry, especially during last-minute packing. To combat this, I’ve created a Word document with distinct checklists for both domestic and international travel. Each time I realise I’ve forgotten an item, I add it to this living document. It serves as a comprehensive and ever-growing reminder of what I need for each journey. It also reduces pre-departure tension on what to remember to pack!
Packing Extra Clothes: I always ensure to pack an additional set of clothes, even for brief trips. This practice has come in handy in several instances such as unexpected trip extensions, flight cancellations, or overnight stays.
Intelligent Distribution of Clothes: I remember the one time a few years ago when my baggage got misplaced and I ended up at the hotel with no clothes other than what I was wearing. I had a conference the next morning and while the airline assured me that the bags would be delivered around midnight, I could not be sure. I went out to a Gap outlet and bought some clothes – just in case! It is also when I realised I should distribute my clothes across all my bags, ensuring to carry a set or two in my hand luggage.
Medication Kit: I always travel with a small pouch containing around a dozen common medications from India. This way, if I feel under the weather, I am not left stranded in a new city, attempting to locate a pharmacy, and deciphering the local equivalents of what I require. It is especially useful when one is travelling in non-English speaking countries.
Pack a Travel First Aid Kit: Apart from usual medication, I now carry a small first aid kit for minor accidents. I started this after I had a fall in New York on my last trip.
Stay Hydrated and Healthy: Air travel can often lead to dehydration, so make sure to drink enough water. It’s also advisable to pack some healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up during long flights or layovers. I am never sure about whether I will get an acceptable Jain meal, so I always keep some Indian food in my carry-on baggage.
Travel-friendly Lunch Box: Given my dietary restrictions, carrying food while traveling is non-negotiable. I also bring along a small lunch box and disposable cutlery (which can be replenished from any Starbucks or equivalent). This way, I’m always prepared, especially when the availability of Jain food is uncertain.
Multi-Currency Travel Card: If you are traveling internationally, a multi-currency travel card can be a convenient way to carry and manage money. It can also save you from fluctuating currency exchange rates. I use Thomas Cook’s Borderless Prepaid card. This is very handy because Indian credit cards sometimes don’t work everywhere. (At times, the fraud detection algos stop first transactions in new cities.)
Travel Insurance: Always have travel insurance in place. It’s an extra expense but can save you from high costs in case of emergencies or unexpected incidents such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost baggage.