Travel Documentation and Hand Luggage

I recently wrote a post on Backpack Basics and What I Carry In Mine. This got me thinking about the other things you need to bring with you while travelling that you don’t necessarily carry in your main luggage, but on your person or in your hand luggage.

Below is a list of some items I recommend you have to hand when setting off on your journey:

Passport plus another form of I.D, and photocopies of each; 

Although it has never happened to me on my travels (yet), losing your passport or having it stolen along with other belongings is something which happens to travellers across the world on a daily basis. Having another form of I.D. and/or photocopies of your passport can save you a lot of time spent at the airport or even a trip to the embassy. On top of that, if you are cursed by a baby face like me, or are going to somewhere like the USA where they I.D. everyone purchasing alcohol (even if you are a pensioner they will still refuse you entry without it) having another form of I.D such as a drivers licence can be handy as it’s easier to carry than a passport and reduces the risk of you loosing an integral travel document. I personally have never got around to learning to drive (I’m never in the country long enough to take lessons) so I carry an International Student Card, but any other form of photographic I.D can be used as another option.

Travel Documentation

Having a hard copy of all your travel documentation such as flight, train, bus, or coach tickets is much advised. The amount of times I have got to the airport and there has been a problem with my flight or with their computer system. Having details and booking references of everything can save you a lot of time and stress at the airport or booking office of whatever mode of transport you are taking. You should also have a copy of your insurance details to hand as well as a copy of everything saved to your email in case you need to report an incident immediately. I would also leave details of each with a family member or friend back home in case the worst should happen.

ATM/Credit Card and Foreign Currency

These days almost every ATM card can be used abroad (although check with your bank before leaving). With most banks they will charge you a small amount per transaction abroad, but having that facility means you really don’t need to carry much foreign currency with you before leaving. Alternatively, get a foreign currnecy card that doesn’t charge you, if you want to make the most of your travel money. I normally only carry the equivalent of about 40gbp in cash with me on a flight, which is more than enough to pay for any food/drink on the plane(most long haul flights food and drink is included anyway), or transport from the airport to where I’m staying when I arrive.

As well as an ATM card I would also advise taking a good credit card with you too. Aside from being good in emergencies, depending on what type of credit card you have you can also gain things like air miles with them. Check out what the best credit cards are in your home country before you leave and take whatever one is most suitable to you. Aside from this it also gives you a back-up should you loose your ATM card.

Laptop/Web Book

If you are going to be on transport for several hours, then having your laptop or web book with you can give you something to do to whittle away the hours as well as allow you to catch up on some work. Most airline providers and several bus and train services in places like Europe or the states now offer free Wi-Fi on board. If you are someone who only uses the internet for things like email, browsing, and social networking, then a little web book is great for travelling. They are really small and can fit in most people’s hand luggage quite easily. If you also take a set of earphones you can listen to your own music, watch films/videos online to your hearts content without disturbing any sleeping passengers!

Ipod/mp3 player

Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to listen to music on the go, having an ipod or an mp3 player with you can be great as they also double as a memory stick! I have an ipod classic which 80GB of storage on it. I have enough storage to put on all the music I want plus any travel pic’s, videos, podcasts etc. I also use the music streaming application Spotify which provides me with all the music I want for free, so when I need extra space on my ipod for things like photoshop documents, I can delete some music files knowing that I can listen to it all on my computer or phone with via Spotify.

Travel Comforts

If you are going on a long journey, things such as an eye mask, neck pillow, and flight socks can make getting to your destination a little more comfortable. Personally, I don’t carry any of these items with me, and only use them if given them on the plane free. I find they take up unnecessary room in my bag, and also I’m scared of flying so sleeping isn’t really an option for me! I know quite a few people who use these things though and it makes their trip that little bit easier. For me, the only travel comfort I bring is my silly hat (with pompom included on top) It’s really comfy, and hides my bad hair days!

Mini toiletries

Again, only necessary for when you are going to be on transport for a number of hours. I find taking along things such as tissues, wet wipes, and a mini toothpaste/brush set is great for those long distance journey’s where feeling even a little more refreshed can make your journey that much easier. I also always carry a bit of make-up and a hairbrush although the latter two are the kind of things I would carry with me in my handbag most places anyway.

These are all the things that I carry with me in my hand luggage. You could probably get away with travelling with nothing but a passport, travel documents, and your ATM card though, if you really want to reduce what you are carrying.

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