The best holidays usually begin with carefully packed suitcases. Create a list beginning with the following items and add to it depending on your individual needs. If you travel often, make a copy and revise it before each trip.
You will never leave home again without your passport or travel insurance card!
Passport, driver’s license, and ID cards
Photocopy all documents. Carry the photocopies with you and store originals in a hotel safe or other secure place. Never keep originals and photocopies in the same location.
Travel insurance policy and information
Review your travel insurance before you go so that you are aware of what your policy covers and what it does not cover.
Original prescriptions for medications and eyeglasses
Be sure that you photocopy prescriptions and keep the originals with your passport. You should store all medications in original containers. Do not transfer to smaller bottles or zip lock bags.
Prepare a list of emergency numbers for every stop along the way. The list should include medical facilities, police, ambulance, coast guard, or whatever is appropriate for your personal situation and the specific location.
Maps, guidebooks, Internet printouts, and pamphlets
Remember to include the information you will need to navigate around your destination. Good street maps are especially important. If necessary, you can purchase a map at your destination; do so as soon as possible after arrival.
Carry a pen with you at all times. It will be useful for signing credit card slips and filling out forms such as customs declarations.
Department stores and pharmacies usually carry small first-aid kits. These kits will help you to cope with small cuts and abrasions, bug stings or bites, diarrhea, indigestion, etc. Add to it if necessary. For example, if you have allergies, add anti-allergy medication or an auto-injector, depending on the severity of your allergies.
Hand sanitizer or baby wipes
Viruses and bacterial infections can attack any unprepared traveler. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer – 100 ml/100 grams (3.4 oz) or less – and follow current transportation guidelines for packing liquids. Alternatively, pack individually wrapped single-use sanitizer gel-packs or anti-bacterial baby wipes. Use wipes to clean your hands or dirty eating surfaces.
Power converter kit
In many countries, you will need a special adapter before you plug in your razor or curling iron. If you will be traveling to several countries, a multi-unit kit is ideal.
Plan to take along your MP3 player, headphones (airline headphones are usually poor quality), books, magazines, or whatever you will need to keep yourself occupied for the duration of the trip. If you have children, be sure to include their favorite games and toys.
Digital camera with extra memory card(s) and batteries
If you have an expensive digital camera at home, it might be wise to pick up a cheaper model just for your vacation.
Hotel alarm clocks do not always work and may be tethered to a location that is not convenient for you. If you like to wake up during the middle of the night and see the time or if you do not trust wake up calls, an individual travel alarm solves the problem.
Season- and location-specific clothing
Prepare for all applicable weather conditions, including rain, snow, heat waves, wind, and anything else you might encounter. Even in the tropics, a sweater comes in handy.