I’ve spent the weekend packing for our first getaway to Central America–Costa Rica–to be exact. I’m expecting a lush, tropical jungle, bold adventures, and a bit of luxury pictured above–and I’m excited. After 11 days home with the flu, I am feeling good as new and ready for a getaway to Secrets Papagayo with my favorite guy. Over the years, I’ve found that packing requires different strategies for different types of vacations. International travel has a few additional requirements.
Confirm the Details:
We often book a vacation months ahead of time, so two weeks before a planned getaway I recheck all the details – hotel, flights, transportation, as well as one all-important detail, the weather. Checking the weather is always important, whether driving or flying. For this vacation we were set to fly into Newark, New Jersey, but “Stella”, the N’oreaster blizzard is expected on the same day. After hours of researching best options, Scott worked with United and was able to reroute us through Houston, allowing us to arrive even earlier than expected in Costa Rica.
Prepping Your Documents:
*Passports – Check well ahead of time to be sure your passport is current
*Photocopy of passports to carry in a different section of your luggage in case they are lost or stolen
*Trip Details – Use an app to gather all of your information in one place. I like the Tripit app for storing all my trip info – flights, hotels, transportation
*Keys — home/mailbox (or ask post office to hold mail)
*Gate code (as needed)
*Local emergency contact info
*Info on using TV/Media/Remotes
*Stock kitchen with some yummy essentials
*Download WhatsApp in case you need to text with home from your destination for free
*Carry on bag – include swimsuit, coverup (if headed to a beach vacation), beauty essentials like the Nars Mulitple Stick, toothbrush/paste in case your luggage is delayed or lost. Medications as needed. I pack a sleeping mask and a few melatonin tablets to help me sleep on a red-eye flight. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. A wrap or pashmina to double as a scarf or a pillow on the plane. Disinfectant wipes to wipe down the tray table, armrests, etc.
*Technology: Phone charge booster – I use one from Anker chargers. Adapters for electrical plugs as needed.
*Download music, movies, TV shows and a splitter for earbuds if you plan to watch with a fellow traveler.
*Healthy snack – I always carry a snack bag of roasted almonds when I travel. Just a small handful will take the edge off hunger for flight delays, etc.
For Your Destination:
Use a language translation app like TripLingo for communicating with the locals on your vacation. This will make your ease of travel much improved and you will likely impress the locals, even make some new friends.
DO take business cards, or, at the very least, plan to share your Facebook profile with travelers and locals you meet along the way. Our travels are often greatly enriched by the friends we make along the journey. With the dawn of Facebook, it is super easy to keep in touch upon your return home. Hello Colleen and Kevin – from the UK – who we met in an Italian Villa in Umbria, Rolando and Rosemary from Zoetry Paraiso and a ceviche cooking class, Brock and Megan, Jenny and Tyler on a sunset sail in Riviera Cancun and so many others.
FINALLY – My best advice is to simply enjoy the adventure that is travel…. xx