How to Carry On, Plus Other Tips From Globe Trotters
Every time I find myself in the company of world-travelers I ask for tips on how to make it less painful. Here are some of the tips I scored from participants on the recent trade mission to Latin America. Be sure to read to the very end; the last two are invaluable to anyone who travels for a living.
1. When you have more than one stop, use a separate, labeled (business-size) envelope for each piece of our itinerary. That way your can find the confirmation for your hotel or airline ticket to the next stop without having to paw through a file folder. (Scott Krupa, franchise development director for Fastsigns)
2. Don’t think a half-squeezed tube of regular-sized toothpaste is going to pass muster. It will be confiscated, even if it only has 3 ounces of toothpaste left. (Bill Gabbard, Edwards Global Services) The same is true of hair gel and really expensive face cream (my experience, not Bill’s)
4. Be sure the bag your duty-free items are in, especially alcohol, is sealed properly. It’s not enough to be in a duty-free bag, it has to be impenetrable. I learned this the hard way when I was trying to use up all my pesos in the airport when returning home from Monterrey, Mexico. I really didn’t want the tequila, I wanted the Day of the Dead-looking bottle. I asked the TSA agent if I could pour out the tequila and keep the bottle, but he was, let’s just say, unmoved by my dilemma. A better solution is to put the bottle in your checked luggage or even better, save your pesos for your next trip to Mexico.
5. If you don’t like the idea of putting your passport and valuables in the hotel safe, or you just don’t like employees going in and out of your room, put the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door for your entire stay. You’re only going to be there one or two nights, so it’s no big deal not to have clean sheets the second night and it won’t hurt you to reuse a towel. (Bill Chemero, executive vice president, Wayback Burgers)
6. Make a copy of the first page of your passport and keep it in your suitcase or briefcase in case your passport is stolen. You can also take a photo of it with your iPhone (or camera phone) and send the pic to Notes on your phone so you have a digital record of your passport info as well.
Since some countries require you to mail in your passport for a visa, you’re allowed to have two passports if you can prove a need. The application is online at the state department’s website. You can do it on your own or pay an extra fee for an outside service to expedite it for you. (Josh Merin, director of international affairs, International Franchise Association)
7. Carry on —this pertains to luggage as well as how to stay calm.