Leave the kitchen sink at home. For that matter, leave everything but the essentials at home. When traveling, light is key. You’ll be glad your bag or backpack doesn’t weigh 500lbs. when you’re sprinting to catch your train, climbing stairs to your room, sightseeing until your room becomes available, etc.
As for those essentials, when it comes to safety, there are a few things you definitely DON’T want to leave at home:
1. Important Documents. Make two copies of everything. This includes your birth certificate, passport, visa, driver’s license, health insurance membership card, airline ticket, rail pass, traveler’s checks, credit cards and all prescriptions. Keep one set of copies with you (but separate from the originals), and leave one set at home with someone you can contact in the event of an emergency. Also, be sure to make a copy of all overseas phone numbers for each of these items. 1-800 numbers don’t work abroad, and if you lose something, you’ll want to know the direct way to get in touch with the company.
2. First Aid Kit. You don’t need to go crazy here, as many items can easily be found abroad. Pack the following basics and add a few, customized items as needed:
3. Glasses. Be sure to bring an extra pair as well as your prescription. If you can’t see, what’s the point of sightseeing?
4. Contacts. Disposables are best. If that doesn’t work for you, bring an extra pair. Pack enough solution for your trip, but don’t worry about running out. Solution happens to be one of those “easy to find” items abroad.
5. Prescriptions. If you’re on prescription medication, be sure to bring a large enough supply to last the entire trip. Also, be sure to leave the medication in its original packaging. Unidentifiable little blue pills can get you into a pickle with customs agents. Save yourself the headache.
Be sure to include a copy of your prescription as well as a letter from your doctor stating the medication is necessary. Also, wherever you go, carry your prescriptions in your carry-on luggage.