I recently went out of the country for the first time in ten years. That was enough to have me questioning what I needed but throw COVID in the mix and I was nervous about forgetting something important.
I knew I would need the obvious like clothing and my phone. But, I decided to compile a list of things that were beneficial for international travel (and things I thought would be, but were not) to have with me:
1. Passport Book, but not the Passport Card.
I took both in case I lost the book somehow. The book is for air travel and the card is for travel by sea or land. I guess coming back from Mexico could have resulted in crossing by land if needed. But, it ended up being unnecessary for me to take the card. I also 100% recommend a travel wallet to hold everything- including the passport book- for quick and easy access around the airport. Mine was also the right size for holding my boarding passes. I normally would toss them in my bag and scramble to find them again, but this time I felt prepared.
2. I traded my purse for my beach bag for traveling.
I knew I would need something for the whole trip but did not want to call attention to myself with a “nice” bag in Mexico. I also wanted a bag large enough for snacks on the flight and towels by the pool. My bag ended up being THE bag to hold several people’s belongings throughout, which was fine by me! Honestly, having one big bag that everyone kept an eye on gave me more peace of mind than if I had been the sole user. I recommend that you consider this for your travels regardless of the destination.
3. Only take the debit/credit cards you intend to use.
I took an extra in case but was terrified the whole time that I would lose it. Be mindful that it is easier to refute any charges on a credit card than it is a debit, so that may be something to consider. Also, do not forget to notify your bank that you are traveling so that they do not assume fraud and lock your card. Nothing worse than not having access to your finances when you need them!
4. My $23 phone charging brick from Amazon was used so many times- and not just by me!
This was a hot item on my last trip, so I knew I would need it for my international one. Thank goodness for it! I kept it in my bag with my cord. Having a charged phone meant safety for myself and my friends while in random places- like a taxi where the driver couldn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish. It also kept my phone able to take photos and videos whenever I needed it, like out on a boat where I normally wouldn’t be able to do anything about a dead phone. I charged my phone (and others) so many times with it and literally will never travel without one again!
I took Tylenol and Dramamine for random headaches due to pressure changes and motion sickness during flights, taxi rides, or boat rides. While I didn’t use the motion sickness meds, several others needed it and I was happy to offer them some of mine. There's nothing worse than getting a sudden headache and not being able to enjoy your vacation. Pain medication is an absolute must for preventing this!
6. Thanks to COVID, a mask was still necessary as of June 2021.
Even with loosened restrictions and proof of a negative test, there were still times a mask was required to enter a facility, but then able to be taken off. Many places are requiring them for logistical purposes still. I recommend taking a couple for backup, though there was often the option of purchasing a new one everywhere we went.
7. Good shoes to travel in!
I am super smart and traveled in my beloved flip-flops, which was not a problem… until it was. On our way back, I found myself click-clacking through the airport as we ran to catch our connecting flight. They slowed me down and were a pain in my feet and legs! Be smart, wear the less desired shoes, and be prepared to run if needed.
8. **BONUS ITEM:
I bought these cool waterproof phone pouches with lanyards -that float- because I knew I would be getting into the ocean. While my phone is waterproof on its own, I knew that *my* luck would be that I would drop it into the depths never to be seen again. I grabbed several for my friends as well. While the touch features were difficult at times, they enabled us to take some awesome photos and videos of the reef and fish around us! I was so glad that I brought them and would recommend them if you plan to be in an environment where they could offer you some peace of mind like they did for me.
Each of these things made my life so much easier and if I were leaving for more international travel tomorrow, they would all be my trusty companions again! What trips have you taken and what items did you find handy (or not) to have with you?!