Travel Tips and Packing Lists

Preparing for Adventure

If “being prepared” for “true adventure” sounds like an oxymoron – well, it is. You can’t be prepared for a bus breakdown in the middle of a sugar cane field in Cuba or an impromptu invitation to check out a hidden beach typically accessed only by locals. That’s the beauty of travel: You learn to go with the flow and to trust that it’ll all work out (and that you can always swim in your skivvies).

Here are a few tips on how to best prepare for the most unlikely scenarios:

The Art of Adventuring

It’s always a good idea to do some research on local language, currency, customs and the like. If you overlook one of these, you may be in for an adventure that involves missing a plane, getting the wrong change or not being able to strike up a conversation. Plus, remember that you are “the adventurer,” the representative of your country; having done some background work will automatically create opportunities for bonding regardless of your cultural differences.

Create Peace of Mind

If you take care of all your travel necessities before you even hit the concourse, you’ll take a load off your mind and be mentally ready for anything. You’ll want something to organize all your travel docs (passport, visas, ID) and to keep your money close at hand—and out of others’ hands. Check out the Travel Agent or for additional security, a Money Belt.

Once you’re through the baggage claim area and on your way to the fun part of the adventure, you’ll exude confidence if you’re not fumbling around for your Spanish Pocket Phrase Book or correct bus fare. Here’s the part where you can truly switch gears and enter the “traveler’s stream,” where fellow travelers are open to sharing a ride, changing plans and offering fresh info on local rates and “can’t miss” destinations that you didn’t read about in your pre-trip research.

The Best Adventures Sometimes Require us to be Light on our Feet

It’s pretty common to over pack for an adventure, whether it’s checking out the fall leaves of New Hampshire or traveling through southern Chile. Take a look at what you’re planning to pack. You can bring it all, but if you do, you’ll set yourself up for being pretty weighed down.

Try this: Challenge yourself to take one pair of shoes instead of two. You’ll discover that you can tango in sneakers (while your friends laugh hysterically). 

The Give and Take of Travel

We like to think that travel is as much about surprise encounters and unplanned side trips as it is about itineraries, so it’s good to be prepared when the unexpected arises. You might want to stash a Pack-It™ Cube full of giveaways (some people are into pins; others bring soccer balls or school supplies) in case you get invited over for a wine-crushing and 7-course dinner at a family-owned Italian vineyard.

And if you find that you can’t resist that African giraffe made out of recycled soda cans at the market, make sure you pack wisely so you have room to take some cool stuff back home. You’ll feel like a modern day Marco Polo.

Choose Wisely My Friend

You may think that the best way to get more out of your trip is to cut corners on your travel gear and spend the money on your passion but here’s why that doesn’t work. It’s always lame when you lose your passport or a strap breaks and you spend an entire day in a hot, slow-as-molasses foreign embassy or searching all over town for a new backpack.

So, choose gear that is built to last, highly functional, lightweight and gets you from Point A to Point B without a care. Because that’s what good travel gear should do—trip after trip: be unnoticeable yet always there, always working and always ready for the next adventure.

Of course if you want any more travel gear recommendations… visit