Monday, March 08, 2010

Great Suitcase Packing tips

Packing TipsThe following are packing tips for your next vacation based on feedback we’ve received from the millions of smart travelers we serve each year. Print out this useful document and place a copy in all of your travel bags and suitcases so it’s always handy when you need it.

Use unique luggage or luggage tags so you can easily see your bag coming on the baggage carousel rather than having to check every non-descript black bag that goes by. Another way to “mark” your bag is to write your last name on the handle of your luggage with a liquid ‘white-out’ pen.

Make copies of your important travel documents including passport, credit cards, driver’s license and your Travel Guard insurance policy, and pack the copies in your luggage. Also, leave a set of your copied travel documents with your travel agent or a relative. You can also scan your travel documents and store them in your web-based e-mail account along with emergency “lost card” telephone numbers. If your credit cards are lost or stolen, you will have to call the carrier collect if you are outside of the U.S. since toll-free telephone numbers are only useful inside the U.S. By scanning or making copies of your travel documents, you will have immediate access to all important information if it is lost or stolen. You can even e-mail the details page of your passport to an embassy or consulate when applying for a new one.

Check ahead of time with your airline or travel agent to determine the airline’s baggage policy, including baggage fees, number of pieces you can check and size and weight limitations.

Always carry small packets or bottles of hand sanitizer, so when you are out-and-about, you can sanitize when necessary.

Resist packing items such as full-size personal hygiene products or a flashlight. These items are usually available in travel-size and you will save space. You may also want to check the amenities provided by your hotel, many provide in-room personal hygiene products. An inexpensive LED penlight can light up a room or a hiking trail and easily slip into a carry-on bag.

Separate Bags: Whether packing for a beach, golf or ski vacation, consider pre-packing whatever you might need for particular events in a specific stand-alone bag or separate bag inside your suitcase. When you arrive at your destination, you can grab and go; especially if you are traveling with a large group of people or with kids. This will prove to be a great timesaver!

When packing an LED flashlight or any other item with batteries, insert the batteries upside down so if the item is accidentally turned on inside your luggage, the batteries won’t be drained when you arrive.

DO NOT pack the following items in your checked baggage: Cash, jewelry, laptop computers, electronic or fragile items (no matter how they are protected).

Don’t over pack. Only pack necessary items and clothes you can mix and match and easily hand wash. You can always purchase items along your trip.

Wear the clothes you buy while on you’re on vacation. There is no need to “save” them until you return home. How fun is it to wear the sunglasses or cool new shirt you bought in Maui when you are actually in Maui? Plus, when you get home and wear your new garb it will bring back pleasant memories of your vacation.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens every passenger's baggage before it is placed on an airplane and sometimes security will review the contents of a bag. To avoid the possibility of your luggage lock being cut, purchase a universal lock that can be opened by security officers using a universal "master" key. These locks are available at airports and travel stores nationwide.

Packing shoes. Pack only three pair of shoes - two casual pair and one dress pair. Shoes take up a lot of room and add excess weight in your luggage. You can wear the heaviest/bulkiest pair while traveling and pack the other 2 pair.

If traveling out of the country, verify that any prescription medications you are taking do not violate foreign drug laws. Ask your doctor if international certificates of vaccination are required at your destination.

Wear layers and save space. If you are traveling to a cold climate, there’s no need to pack your bulkiest sweaters. Go with silk long underwear under your shirt and a jacket on top of that. You’ll be toasty and travel savvy.

Hand wash laundry. Soap packets will help give you the flexibility to hand wash and re-wear soiled clothing items. If you are planning a vacation longer than two weeks, you may wish to hand wash your clothes rather than packing more clothing items. Remember, the goal is to pack lighter, which means packing less.

Be sure you are up-to-date on all vaccinations to protect against diseases. If you need vaccinations, it’s best to get them six weeks before you leave. It sometimes takes certain vaccines this long to reach peak protection.

Place the heaviest items on the bottom of your suitcase (shoes, toiletries, books etc). Pack rolled-up socks inside shoes to save space. Also, place your shoes in lightweight plastic bags to prevent the bacteria on the soles of your shoes from contaminating other packed items.

Divide your valuables and clothes: Divide your bank cards, cash and credit cards as much as possible into different pockets in your clothing, handbag or wallet. When traveling with others, you may also wish to pack an outfit in a friend’s suitcase, especially if you have a few stopovers. In this way, if your luggage doesn’t arrive at your destination, you will still have clean clothes available. Most hotels provide, or will provide upon request, toiletry items until your luggage arrives. Call Travel Guard first since airlines generally don’t compensate lost luggage for the first 24-48 hours so this will save you money if it happens to you.

Lay long items (pants, dresses, etc.) horizontally across your suitcase, leaving the excess length hanging over the sides. Then roll up items like t-shirts, pajamas and underwear and place them inside the suitcase and on top of the laid out items. Tuck any remaining accessories into unfilled spaces. Finally, fold the long items that you laid horizontally to the center of your suitcase.

If you discover wrinkles in you clothing at your destination, simply turn on the shower, set the water to hot and hang the clothing item nearby. The steam helps the wrinkles to disappear.

Feel safe and secure about your hard-earned vacation investment with a Travel Guard insurance plan. Keep your Travel Guard policy with your other important travel documents, so Travel Guard will be easy to reach. Remember, Travel Guard plans also include 24/7/365 travel assistance and concierge services to help make your vacation easier, and more fun… even when everything goes right!

If you discover wrinkles in you clothing at your destination, simply turn on the shower, set the water to hot and hang the item nearby. The steam makes the wrinkles disappear.

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