Packing for a vacation? Here are some suggestions

Prepare a vacation packing list

Packing for a vacation can be a maddening experience. You spend hours digging through your closets, chests of drawers, and other storage spaces looking for all the right clothes. Then comes the fun part: Trying to pack it all into a suitcase while staying under the weight limit. You surely don’t want to get socked with a surcharge once you arrive at the airline ticket counter.

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Throughout that maddening exercise, it’s easy to overlook some very important steps that can help make your vacation go smoother, especially if you suffer a loss. Create a vacation packing list (or checklist). Here are some suggestions for your list. (I include others in this column.) Note that I include both items and actions.

1. Buy a backpack. Talk about versatile baggage. Forget that small piece of luggage that comes snuggled inside your main suitcase. A backpack has multiple storage compartments that secure with a zipper, and it easily stores in the overhead bins. Best of all, you can sling it over your shoulder for easy transport.

2. Store valuables in the backpack for flight. This will keep them in sight, but also protects them. A 35mm SLR camera and a handheld transceiver (H-T, to you ham radio ops out there), bit the dust on separate trips because I stashed them in the suitcase. Even though I wrapped them in clothing, they still got jostled enough to break. A very costly learning experience, indeed!

Another bit of advice from a travel agent: Place a book or other thick object at the bottom of your backpack. That will stymie thieves who try to slice open the backpack while walking behind you. Some thieves are smooth enough to pull that off without the tourist knowing it.

3. Make photocopies of your passport. Leave one copy at home or with a trusted friend. The others are stashed in your room safe. (If you don’t have access to a safe, hide the paperwork in rolled up clothing.) If your passport is lost or stolen, the sooner you can provide the consulate or embassy with a photocopy, the faster you’ll get a new passport.

Consider, also, scanning the main page and emailing that file to yourself. If you lose your passport, you can retrieve that file using any device connected to the Internet.

4. Copy medical records. Store those along with any prescription information.

5. Record the lost/stolen phone number of your credit card company. Include the first four and last four digits of your card number to help them find your account. Keep a copy in your room safe and hidden in your suitcase.

6. Leave identifying information within easy sight in your suitcase. Don’t rely solely on the hang tag provided by the airline or tour company. Those tear off easily. Stash a couple business cards inside your luggage (ditto for your backpack).

7. Buy a money pouch. These are great for storing cash and documents, including your passport. They are inexpensive and available in lots of places. If the airport has a full-body scanner, mention the body pouch to security. You may be asked to show the pouch, which can occur in privacy.

For related reading, see “Escape with your family now” and “How to stay safe while traveling.”

This isn’t intended to be the ultimate trip packing list, but it should get you started. Do you have any additional suggestions? Feel free to comment below. If you enjoyed this column, could you do me a favor and share it with others? Thanks.

Las Vegas Feb. 2 001


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