Remember To –

Prague – January 2016

When you are traveling, it can be easy to get caught up in packing lists, shopping, and planning, but there are a few other things you absolutely must not forget – especially if you are going abroad! This list is geared specifically toward the American traveler, but it's possible you can use it as guidelines if you are from another country.

1. Have an ID with you. 

 If you are going out of the country, you MUST have your passport or passport card (for travelers to Canada or Mexico) with you. You'll need to check with your cruise line if you are planning on taking a cruise. Also, be sure you have plenty of empty pages if you plan on traveling between countries. And check to make sure it is not expired. If it is or you need additional pages, you'll need a minimum of 6-8 weeks to get your new passport. 

A driver's license is also crucial if you plan on driving or renting a car. You can obtain a translation of your driver's license from AAA, but that isn't absolutely necessary. (Plus it costs. And expires.) Be sure to take a passport photo with you if you do decide to get the translation.

2. Print your hotel information and any tickets (for events, flights, etc…) to take with you. 

While in Prague, one hotel claimed I had only purchased one room when I had, in fact, purchased two. They could not find the additional room in the system. The internet on my phone was flakey, so I was grateful to have a piece of paper in my bag that had my information and confirmation on it. Would they have required us to pay for a second room if I had not had that sheet of paper? I don't know, and I never want to find out… 

What happened to me at the hotel could happen to you … at a hotel, at the airport, or even for a ticketed event. As long as you have proof with you that you purchased whatever it is, you should be fine even if they are forced to give you a refund. I also recommend always purchasing these types of things with your credit card so that you can dispute if things go wrong. (Some credit cards also offer insurance – travel, rental, and purchase protection). 

On another note, if you find yourself in another country where you don't speak the language, you can always get directions by showing others the printed information you have with you. 

3. Let banks know of your travel plans. 

What happens if you make a purchase in Alabama one day and New York the next? … Or China?!? Most likely, especially if it is a large purchase, your bank will go "WWHHHHAAATTTT?!?!" and block your account. You only thought you were going to travel. Now you are stuck without any ability to get or use money. Even if you call the bank, they will most likely have to send you a new card … to your home address? :( Sucks to be you. 

But if you let your banks know in advance, you can avoid the risk. 

Chase Sapphire is awesome. If they see you make a hotel purchase (or two or three), they will email you and say "Hey! We see you are going out of town! It's cool. Have fun!" 

And Schwab? No exchange fees! Woot! And they have even offered to ship debit cards to our hotel, if we needed them to! Instead we offered to pay for 2 day shipping so that we would get the cards before traveling. But seriously – that customer service?! The best!  

4. Let family, neighbors, and the postmaster know of your travel plans. 

Want your mail piling up in your mailbox? Or what about packages being stolen from your front stoop? Tell the postmaster to hold all of your mail until you return … 

Or get family (or a neighbor) to come by and collect your mail. You could also get them to check on a pet or house sit too. 

But most importantly – let someone know where you are going. If something happens, like 9/11 or the more recent shootings in Paris, someone will know how to get in touch with you to find out if you are alright. The last thing you want is for people back home to worry needlessly. 

5. Finally, and this is the best advice you will ever receive (and the hardest to follow!), lay out everything you think you need and take half (or less). 

Think the airline won't lose your checked luggage? Think again! That's what the Unclaimed Baggage Store in Alabama is for. 

Think you won't forget something? Yeah, right. 

Think rolling bags make it easy to get heavy luggage from bus to train to cab to plane? Think again. How much faster could you walk with a backpack? 

Anything you could possibly need can be found elsewhere. Try to pack only the necessities. Your back, arms, and cab driver will thank you. 

Is there anything I've missed on my list? What do you consider vital for traveling?

* I'm blogging my way through the #30Lists in March. You should too. :)


  1. I agree with this list! and yes, definitely print out your hotel information.,. I didn't do that once and didn't save it on ym phone so we arrived in Rome and use a payphone to call the hostel to ask for directions!

    1. Glad you were able to find the hostel! Do pay phones exist any more?

  2. I do agree on the print out of hotel reservations and tickets, even a screenshot of it would be good.

    1. I recommend the TripIt app. It uses emails you've received to organize your travel plans and put everything in one place. Then, when you are traveling, all of your confirmation numbers, addresses, etc are right there on your phone. It's super easy to access, easy to use, and you can easily share information with anyone who is traveling with you. Plus the app is free. :)

  3. I'm a rebel when it comes to prepping other people for my travels...but maybe I like to be worried about. ;) This is the perfect list for American travelers, you are spot-on with that!! I LOVE my Chase card with no currency exchange fees!!! Thanks for linking up with us on Travel Tuesday!

  4. Great tips and information here! I totally agree that you should always print your hotel information or any tickets just in case. Thanks for sharing!


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