Passports and Packing and Planning, Oh my

Make traveling easy with a travel essentials list

Picture this: you’re standing in your closet doorway. An unzipped, empty suitcase is sprawled out on your bed. Your flight leaves at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Sound familiar?

Traveling can be stressful, especially internationally. Think about all the different clothes, medications and forms of payment you utilize on a daily basis—it’s easy to forget something. So, we created a list of travel essentials to help guide the packing and planning process. We have broken it down into four categories: the 4 M’s, if you will, of travel necessities that go beyond remembering an extra pair of socks.

Medical: In case of an emergency, it’s important to have all i’s dotted and t’s crossed concerning your health. First, make copies of any prescriptions—the last thing you want is for airport security to dispose of any medications. This will also allow you to refill medications in case they’re lost. Second, bring your insurance card; this can save you thousands of dollars. Finally, remember to get any required immunizations for international trips.

Money: First and foremost, call your credit card company and inform them you’ll be out of the state; you’ll avoid any suspicious activity calls. For international travel, remember to order any foreign currency. It’s much easier to handle this before departure, and as a AAA member, there’s no fee in-store or online. For extra security, carry a credit card with a chip—this extra protection can go a long way for your peace of mind. Last, if you struggle to budget during travel, fund a set amount on a AAA MemberPay Visa® Prepaid Card. You’ll enjoy your vacation, without fear of overspending.

Miscellaneous items: Everyone knows to pack a jacket, or an extra pair of shoes, but there’s several other items to think about when packing for a trip. Bring a portable charger—your phone is essential for emergency calls, translations, photos and its GPS function. When traveling abroad, most countries use different electrical plugs than we do, so bring a converter/adapter. You should also consider any specialty clothing, such as head covers for Italian cathedrals. Other cultures have different clothing standards, and these should be respected, so ask your travel consultant if you have any questions. Lastly, make copies of any important documents: travel insurance policy, driver’s license, visas, passports, and more. Items are misplaced during travel, so have a backup ready.

Make arrangements: A little preplanning is always a good idea when taking a vacation. Stop mail and newspaper delivery; not only is sensitive information kept in your mail, but it’s a red-flag to thieves that you’re out of town. You should also check that your passport is valid for six months beyond your scheduled return; if it’s not, renew it. Many countries will deny entry upon arrival, so just be safe. Last but not least, pre-book tickets to any attractions to avoid long purchasing lines. It’ll save time and possibly money—a win-win.

Traveling doesn’t have to be difficult: Skip the stress and utilize a list of travel essentials when planning for your next trip. 

Safety Tips for Your Next Trip

  • If you’re bringing a suitcase, make sure your luggage is labeled with your name and phone number, but not your home address. Would-be thieves look for opportunities to know when you aren’t home, which means if your bag is somewhere else, you probably are too. Keep it safe and just list your phone number, or maybe an email address, so you can be contacted easily and reconnect with your lost bag.
  • Consider buying a luggage lock. These come in a variety of colors and styles. Make sure whichever one you purchase is TSA-compliant, should there be any issues with your bag. Many bags come with locks already installed on them, too!
  • Be sure to notify your credit card company that you are traveling, along with where you are going and the dates you will be gone. They can monitor any suspicious activity on your account and help ensure you won’t go without a way to pay for something while out of town.
  • Consider purchasing RFID protection for your wallet and passport, particularly if you are traveling abroad. Keeping these valuable items safe is important as technology increases. Thieves no longer have to rely on pickpocketing to steal your information – they can simply come near you with a handheld scanner and grab your information without your knowledge.
  • Protect valuable items on your person by purchasing a slash-proof bag. These come in a variety of styles, colors and sizes, so you can find a bag that fits your budget and needs, all while keeping your valuables safe no matter where you travel.
  • Many travelers purchase travel insurance to ensure coverage if anything unexpected happens on their trip. There are many options for every kind of trip, so be sure to ask your travel agent about adding this insurance on to your vacation for peace of mind.
  • While traveler’s checks are no longer available at your AAA store, there are other alternatives to help you access your money while you’re away. Consider a AAA Visa® TravelMoney card, which is reloadable and works similarly to traveler’s checks to ensure you are never without cash when you need it.