Posts Tagged ‘packing’

We are leaving in ten days for a four-week overseas trip. Between now and the time we leave, we have three days of activity at the Global Missions Conference and a five-day visit with our kids and grandkids in California. That leaves today and one day next week to get ready to go.

Sounds impossible, but it can be done with a little planning, so here’s my checklist. I thought I’d share it with you just in case you needed to make an extended trip on short notice or with an unusually short amount of time to prepare.

Let’s start with the things that must be done at home before you can leave:

  1. Stop your mail. Go to www.usps.gov and give them the information and that’s all you have to do! Your mail will be waiting when you return . . . which leads to the next item!
  2. Make arrangements for all recurring bills and payments that will come while you are gone. You don’t want to come home to cut-off notices or threats to ruin your credit.  I have put everything on some form of autopay where possible, including all our utility bills, our water and sewage, gas, electricity, telephone.  If you have any credit cards payments to make, go to your account online and set it on auto pay for the minimum amount each month just to make sure you are never late.
  3. Call any credit card companies and let them know of your travel plans. There is nothing worse than using your credit card once overseas and having it blocked by the company thereafter as part of their fraud security.
  4. Check the weather where you are going, so that you will take the appropriate clothing. It is so very hard to wear a heavy winter coat to the airport in DFW, when it is still 80 degrees every day!
  5. Check your passports TODAY and make sure that they are valid for at least six months beyond the date of your return! This is a fairly new requirement that even seasoned international travelers may not know!  You are also certain then where your passports are.  And carry a second form of picture ID, like your driver’s license, even if you don’t intend to drive.
  6. Take care of pets and/or houseplants.  What about your yard? Make the necessary arrangements with friends or professional services so that you don’t come back to either a jungle or a desert!
  7. Make sure you have enough of all prescriptions for the entire trip. Carry this medicine in original bottles, so it is easily identifiable as prescription medicine.  Also make sure you have an adequate supply of contact lenses and solution.  You probably should carry a copy of your lens prescription with you.  Purchase any OTC medicines you intend to take. In some countries you can find any drug over the counter; in other countries, you can’t even get aspirin without a local doctor’s prescription.
  8. Reduce or replace everything liquid you think you need to take! Shaving cream , toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, men’s cologne, liquid makeup, nail polish remover, cough syrup, nothing liquid can go in a bottle more than three ounces, and ALL of your liquids have to fit into one quart-sized plastic baggie.  And no big cans of hairspray!
  9. Decide about luggage!  The size and number of pieces you need depends on how you pack. We are going to be gone for three weeks, so we will pack for one week—does that make sense? We will pack into carry-on-sized suitcases, knowing that we will likely be forced to check our luggage on every flight except the Atlantic crossing.
  10. Determine how you are going to pay for daily expenses while traveling?  Cash? Travelers Checks? Credit Cards?  I used to use travelers checks but haven’t in years. ATMs have made getting local currency much easier, though not always safer. You have to be a little careful when and where you get cash out of ATM machines; nevertheless, you should make copies of front and back of all your debit and/or credit cards that you are going to carry with you and leave one copy with someone at home and take the other copy with you.  That way, if one or all of them are stolen, you can easily report the theft—or have someone in the States do it for you!

By the way, don’t carry cash in your billfold in your back pocket, not in your backpack, nor in your purse, nor in those fanny packs (either front or rear versions).  The only safe place to carry cash is in one of those money belts that fits under your clothes—which is quite inconvenient, so you put just a little in your pocket, but no more than you could afford to lose.

That’s enough for today, but before Sherrylee and I leave, I’ll be back writing about preparations at work and things that must wait until the last minute to do.

Here are a few thoughts for you on leaving things until the last minute. I hope they make you laugh!

  • “Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.”
  • “You know you are getting old when it takes too much effort to procrastinate.”
  • “Even if you’re on the right track-you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  Will Rogers


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