Here are some suggestions you should consider packing in your carry-on, for your next vacation:
Empty water bottle
Travel Journal W/Pen
Travel Games (Chess, Backgammon)
Books on Tape
External Battery for Phone, iPad
Have you ever found yourself standing with your carry-on, in a security line that goes on forever with delays during the peak travel times that can sometimes exceed the length of a flight? Well, when flying you do not have to — if you are willing to pay a little. But, before you refuse to fork over your extra cash, consider the options. For lots of frequent travelers, it can be well worth the upfront cost to eliminate delays and your sanity later.
There are many programs that work to get you through airport screening faster, but TSA Pre-check is my favorite. TSA agents will direct you to the front of the line, or, more accurately, through a separate TSA Pre-check express lane.
TSA Pre-check is a new screening program that helps many business travelers get through TSA security screenings faster. Some 97% of TSA Pre- check passengers were delayed less than five minutes in line in July 2016, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The cost for travelers is $85 for a five-year membership. After filling out a brief online application, you will attend a 10-minute, in-person background check and finger printing appointment at one of the 380 enrollment centers in the United States. You can apply anytime and you will get the approval in about 30 to 45 days from the time your application is completed.
Your benefits include:
- Faster screening process full-time or during busy times at 180 participating airports , for “low risk” customers flying on one of 16 participating airlines. (NOTE: Due to the nature of airport security, faster screening is not always guaranteed.)
- Kids ages 12 and under flying with a parent or guardian with a TSA Pre-check stamp on their boarding pass will be able to participate in expedited screening.
- You will not need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets.
We all try to make the most of our limited time overseas, yet fail to take into account the leap in time zones we make in a matter of hours. It can take your body’s internal clock several days to catch up to that leap, and in the meantime you’re likely to experience the disruption of your sleeping and waking cycle known as jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag include feeling sleepy during the day, insomnia at night, poor concentration, confusion, hunger at inappropriate times or lack of appetite, and general irritability. Take a look at our list of best practices to combat jet lag
- Adjust your internal clock.
A week before your departure, gradually shift your sleeping and eating times to coincide with those at your destination. Once you arrive, adopt the local time for your daily routine.
- Try overnight flights.
This allows you to have dinner at a normal time and be much more likely to sleep than on an afternoon flight. Depending on the length of the flight and the number of time zones you cross, you’ll arrive at your destination in the morning or afternoon. This is the best way to replicate your normal schedule, and it’ll be easier for you to reset your internal clock.
- No coffee.
Avoid overeating and caffeine 12 hours before, as well as during, your flight. Caffeine helps keep you awake longer, but also makes you wake up more often when you do fall asleep and reduces total sleep time.
- Stay hydrated.
Try to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air—even when you don’t feel thirsty. If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly before your flight, use eye drops in the air, and consider removing your lenses when you nap. Remember to pack a bottle of moisturizing lotion, lip balm, and a hydrating spray with essential oils (not just water) in your carry-on bag. Just be sure all liquid toiletries are in a TSA compliant travel bottles (3.5oz).
- No alcohol in-flight.
Cabin air dehydrates passengers, and altitude changes can increase the effects of alcohol (the rule of thumb is one drink in the air = two or three on the ground). An alcohol drink may relax you, but it will also dry you out, and your jet lag symptoms will be worse.
- Sleep on the plane is important.
Sleep is especially important when traveling overnight or flying west to east. Travel can be extremely tiring, so the more rest you get en route the more prepared you’ll be to deal with the stresses of jet lag. For example, on a long flight – United States to Asia – try saving up enough dollars or frequent-flier miles to fly business or first class, as it’s a lot easier to sleep when your seat reclines all the way back. If you can’t avoid coach, opt for a window seat and bring enough padding (neck pillows and travel blanket ) to prop yourself up against the wall.
- Use sleeping pills wisely.
A pill with a short cycle may be helpful on overnight flights. Make sure, however, that you time the dosage correctly or you may be very groggy when you land. Also, an airplane is not the place to try out a pill for the first time, so only take medications you are already familiar with.
- See if melatonin is for you.
Consider taking the nonprescription drug melatonin. Research suggests that the body uses this hormone to set its time clock. Because melatonin seems to control when we go to sleep and when we wake up, a number of scientists advocate supplements to alleviate jet lag. Some (but not all) studies suggest that taking 3 milligrams of fast-release melatonin prior to bedtime for several days after arrival in a new time zone can ease the transition.
- Get outside.
After arrival, spend a lot of time out in the sunlight, which will help your body reset its natural time clock to coincide with your new surroundings.
- Don’t drift off too early.
Unless you arrive at your destination at night, and reasonably close to a normal bedtime, don’t go to sleep as soon as you reach your hotel. Unless you’re used to taking regular short naps at home, you’re better off staying up until bedtime: If you’re really exhausted from travel, a 20-minute nap could easily become a three-hour nap, which will disrupt your sleep schedule even more—you might find yourself wide awake at 4 AM.
You are all excited to be going on a safari. This will be a trip of a lifetime. What you pack is very important. Probably just as important is what you should NOT take.
- Books are fun to read, but difficult to travel with. They take up space and can be heavy. Use a kindle or tablet instead.
- Taking your pair of binoculars is not necessary. Most tours include high powered binoculars for each person.
- Packing bright colored clothes may seem a good idea. But bright colors might scare away the wildlife. Remember THAT is the reason you are there.
- Dark colored and white clothing is a big NO! They can attract biting tsetse flies.
- Taking blue jeans also is not recommended. Too heavy and dark and take up a great deal of space.
- Travel clothing is a great way to limit how much you need to take, many have insect repellent infused in the fabric.
- DEET does not help, so I do not recommend taking any . DEET can dissolve plastic on cameras and binoculars.
- Do not take Benadryl when traveling to Zambia, take Sudafed instead.
- Taking a heavy coat is never a good idea. Too bulky and heavy. Best to wear layers to stay warm. (T-shirt, shirt, thin jacket)
- Leave the baseball hat at home. Take a travel hat that covers your neck and ears and is crushable.
It is really important to travel lightly and minimize your travel accessories.
Travel clothing can help reduce the amount of items you take.
Try to limit the colors of your garments to: Beige, Khaki, Green and Lt Brown. It is important to blend in.
- 2 – T-shirts (quick drying, antimicrobial fabric can rinse clean.)
- 2 – Long sleeved shirts (travel shirts can block sun and bugs)
- 1 – Travel vest (lots of pockets and can be an extra layer)
- 2 – Zip off pants (pants and shorts in one)
- 1 – Safari hat (Wide brim and crushable)
- 3 – pair of socks (quick drying and insect repellent)
- 3 – pair of underwear (quick drying and antimicrobial)
- 1 – bathing suit
- 1 – lightweight down jacket or windbreaker
- Lightweight gloves & wool hat
- Flip flops/sandals (wear in the shower)
- Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes
- Kindle or iPad (Great way to carry books and guide books)
- Headlamp (Helpful for walking between tents at night)
- Waterproof plastic bag (Keep damp clothes separate)
- 2 Pairs of reading glasses (Extra just in case)
- 2 pair of sunglasses (Hard to get a spare pair during the trip)
- Cell phone (Use at the airport)
- Chargers for your phone/kindle (Remember to bring the correct plugs to access the wall socket)
- Lightweight duffel bag for gifts
- Goggles (Dust can be an issue)
- Small note pad with retractable pen (Nice way to keep a log on what happened during the day)
- Journal (Write down your daily stories during down time)
- Metal water bottle (Refillable and crush proof)
- Camera (Take a telephoto lens, extra memory cards and batteries)
- Small flashlight (As bright as possible)