Smart Travel Prep

PACKING

While heat of the moment decisions and common sense are pivotal, the old saying “prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance” proves true time and time again. When packing for a trip, it is often wise to include old/shabby clothing that you no longer want – after a few days of use you can toss them, eliminating the need to wash and freeing up space in your bag for souvenirs, new clothes, and other goodies. It is also wise to pack only one color scheme (preferably a dark scheme as dark colors hide stains better), which allows you to maximize your potential matching combinations. Instead of folding your clothes, roll them. This will help you pack more efficiently and decrease wrinkling. Additionally, placing a few drier sheets in your bag will amplify freshness and make your belongings smell fantastic. Glasses cases are great for holding cords and cables and a binder clip can be used to both wrap headphones around and keep razor blades sharp – if you clamp the clip around the blade head. It may also be wise to bring a portable battery charger or, if you want to be the coolest person at the airport, a power strip. It might seem commonsensical, but packing your shoes in the bottom of your bag (and stuffing them with socks or other items to maximize space) will keep it from constantly tipping over. Also bring your own food and a water bottle, airport food and drinks are rather expensive.


STAYING SAFE

Looking haggard and/or poor is absolutely beneficial. This might be hard for some, but it is extremely important if you want to avoid looking like a “good victim”. Furthermore, you never want to wear jewelry, fancy watches, or anything else that is indicative of wealth. Its not uncommon for neckless to be snatched in broad daylight. Fingers have even been excised by ring bandits. Ergo, even if you enjoy looking pretty and wearing fancy garments and accessories, know that doing so is at your own peril. And just because you look like a hobo, doesn’t mean you have to smell like a hobo. Colognes or perfumes are nice, but you don’t need a whole bottle and you certainly don’t want to risk broken glass in your bag. Thus, all you need to do is transfer the liquid into a smaller plastic container. Bianca or anti-septic sprays work just fine – insure, however, to clean them thoroughly beforehand.

STAYING SECURE

Investing in a discrete travel pouch that can be worn under your clothing – I would suggest the kind worn around the hips and under the shirt – is a good idea. Getting robbed can happen and is not a rarity. Having your passport get  stolen is a very frightening and uneasy situation. If, however, you place your important items in a secret pouch, and utilize the dummy-wallet technique, you will lessen the likelihood that the important items get separated from you.


It is also important to “diversify” your holdings – don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Use an empty chapstick tube to hide an emergency $100. Be careful though because it can some times be hard to exchange a wrinkly note, so try to keep it as fresh as possible. When you separate important items, you decrease the likelihood of getting completely fleeced and have a backup plan if you find yourself in a precarious situation. Empty sunscreen bottles, deodorant tubes, and other toiletry products can be retrofitted to hide valuables. There are also myriad gadgets and gizmos you can buy to hide and store your belongings (e.g. pocketed underwear, zip-up pocket socks, secret compartment shoes, scarfs, etc.), but Occam’s razor suggests that the simpler solution is always best.


Before you embark, it is prudent to scan and notarize important documents such as your identification card, drivers license, passport, SSN, and birth certificate. This will make getting new ones easier if you loose or get robbed of the originals.

In many countries, proof of onward travel is required before you are allowed to board your exiting flight. This can be easily provided if you have already booked travel plans to your next destination. If you haven’t, though, there are easy tricks you can employ to get in hassle free. One way is to book a flight out of the country, enter using the recently purchased flight, then cancel it (usually flights must be canceled within twenty-four hours of purchase). Even easier, however, is to generate a fake flight itinerary that is sure to convince any airline staffer or customs agent. Yes, you could research flight details, Photoshop, then print a fake itinerary, but there is an even easier way. If you go to Expedia or Travelocity and progress through the ticket purchasing process, you can view your final itinerary for confirmation before payment is required. Print or screenshot this page and you’ll glide by any immigration or airline agent with a smile on your face. You can also use Fly Onward, which lets you rent onward tickets for $9.99.

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