Posts Tagged ‘travel flights’

VMS-Washington – Nine Planning Tips For An Amazing Trip

Heading off on a big adventure, but not sure what’s involved. These trip planning tips will help you get a handle on the things you need to consider.

1. Organise your documents

Make sure you have an up to date passport, that will be up to date for the duration of your trip. Check visa requirements for the country you are travelling to. Some countries require that you arrange a visa before you leave home, while others will grant a tourist visa when you land! Make sure you have a suitable travel insurance organised.

2. Book flights and accommodations

One of the fun parts about travelling is the booking of your flights and/or accomodation (have you checked out Travelers point’s budget accommodation section yet?!). Make sure you shop around at different travel agents, because prices can vary widely. Check that the prices quoted include all taxes and surcharges.

3. Get any vaccinations you might need

Make an appointment with your doctor to check what vaccinations you need or any medicine you should take with you. Common ones to look out for are Typhoid, Malaria and Hepatitis.. not the kind of things you want as souvenirs!

4. Look after the home front

Unfortunately, while you’re away, there are often still things that need to be looked after back home. Make sure you have arrangements in place for someone to look after your bills, plants and mail. If you are going to be leaving a house empty, consider finding someone to house-sit for you while you’re away.

5. Organise things to do

Make a list of things that you plan to do while away. Do some research on the internet about your holiday destination. There may be special events on that you can only attend if you book in advance. Planning what you’re going to see will make it a lot easier to relax when you’re on holidays!

6. Make a packing list

Start making a packing list a few weeks in advance or use our packing list. As the weeks go by, you will undoubtedly think of many more things to add. Write them down as you go, then pack everything on your list in the last day or two.

7. Look after your finances

Find out what currency you will need and figure out the best way for you to deal with it. Credit cards can be convenient, but also unsafe in a lot of areas. Travellers cheques are a good safe alternative.

8. Stay in touch

Take an address book with you, with all the important contacts in it. Check on any foreign phone codes and write them in your address book. Before you start your trip, make sure you let people know that you will be away and how they can contact you while you’re away. If you don’t have an email address that you can check on the road, you can set up one through Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or become a Travellerspoint member to keep an online diary or blog of your travels and have your friends and family send you messages through our internal messaging system.

9. Ask for help

If you have any more questions about country specific issues, you can contact one of our Travel Helpers, who are always happy to answer any questions. This feature is available to all Travellerspoint members and is completely free.

We hope you have a great trip, and here’s some travel tips to help you on your way!

That’s our brief list of things to consider. If you think there is something else which should be added to our trip planning guide, contact us with your suggestions and we will gladly review them.

VMS-Washington – Packing List for Vacation

I created this packing list from years of travels around the States and abroad.  As we all know we always forget at least one or two things in our suitcase which means we all have two or three of several items.  So, made this list for the traveler who doesn’t want to forget anything for their trip.   I bought a App from iTunes called aNote which I use for all my daily needs from my grocery list, to my bucket list and it even has my packing list for my vacations.  Of course, no two people are the same, so consider this list a starting point. It has been designed to be useful for travelers of all types: male, female, young, old, short-term, long-term, etc.If you have any suggestions for items that should be included, contact us with your ideas and we will gladly review.

Below is my ‘basic packing list’, which will be at the heart of any ‘suggested packing list’ – it would form the guts of the thing if you like. These are the essentials NO traveller can do without!


  • Address list and list of important contacts or numbers
  • Backpack, suitcase, sports bag (something to pack everything in)
  • Paper or Notebook
  • Passport (check validity!)
  • Pencils, Pens
  • Tickets and itinerary (airline, train, bus, accommodation bookings etc.)
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance (Its better to be safe than sorry)


    • ATM card (Maestro or Cirrus logos on the back are most widely accepted)
    • Calculator or currency converter
    • Cash in the local currency of your arrival destination
    • Credit card (Visa or Mastercard are most widely accepted)
    • Money belt or a wallet that hangs around your neck (You can’t be too safe in some places)
    • Sufficient Travellers’ checks (and receipts for travellers’ checks)


  • Boots
  • Bra (sports and regular)
  • Dress shirts
  • Dresses
  • Jacket
  • Jeans
  • Jumper, sweater or fleece
  • Light jacket
  • Long or thermal underwear
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Pants or trousers
  • Pyjamas/Sleepwear
  • Sandals, shower shoes, thongs or jandals
  • Sarong or Lava lava
  • Shoes
  • Shorts
  • Ski clothes
  • Skirts
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Suits
  • Swimming gear
  • T-shirts, singlets
  • Underwear

Clothes Accessories

  • A good hat
  • Bandana
  • Belt
  • Cotton handkerchief or tissues
  • Eye-mask
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Jewelry
  • Knitted (woollen) hat
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Safety pins
  • Scarf
  • Sewing kit
  • Ski glasses
  • Suit bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Ties


  • Anti-bacterial cream
  • Comb or brush
  • Condoms and/or contraceptive pills
  • Contact lens equipment or glasses
  • Cotton buds
  • Q-tips
  • Dental floss (also great for fixing things!)
  • Deodorant
  • Earplugs
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Hair products (gel, spray etc.)
  • Lip balm
  • Make-up
  • Mirror
  • Moisturiser (face and body)
  • Nail file
  • Razors
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shaving cream
  • Sleeping pills
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen and after sun cream
  • Talcum/baby powder – Useful against prickly heat, in shoes, on sticky zippers and more
  • Tampons and pads
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste

First Aid Kit

    • Band aids
    • Compression bandages
    • Diarrhoea tablets
    • Gazes
    • Insect and/or mosquito repellent
    • Iodine/hydrogen peroxide
    • Medicines/prescription Drugs
    • Motion sickness tablets
    • Paracetemol, Tylenol etc.
    • Replacement/rehydration salts sachets
    • Small scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Vitamin pills
    • Water purifying tablets
    • Yellow Fever certificate or International Certificate of Vaccination

Other Items

    • Backpack rain cover
    • Batteries
    • Binoculars
    • Books/Ebooks with a reader
    • Bottled water
    • Camera, film and batteries – Spare flash cards or memory for digital
    • Carbohydrate snacks
    • Chewing gum or mints – Especially if you are flying chewing something will help your ears
    • Combo or key locks
    • Compass
    • Cup
    • Diary or organiser
    • Duct tape – Fixes everything!
    • Eating utensils
    • Electrical adapter and plug converter
    • Fishing line – Strongest string in the world!
    • Flashlight or torch – Don’t forget the batteries
    • Frisbee, hackey sack, ball, pack of cards or other recreational items
    • Gifts are always appreciated while travelling
    • Guidebooks, or print outs from the internet (I suggest Lets go series)
    • GPS
    • Inflatable travel pillow
    • International driving license – If driving overseas, have your driving license translated
    • International Student Identification Card – For discounts worldwide
    • iPod, MP3 player, Discman etc. – Including music and batteries
    • Laptop – Especially for the business travellers
    • Laundry detergent
    • Maps (incl. small map of the world to show where you are from)
    • Mini camera tripod – Big is better if you have the space!
    • Mobile phone or SIM card
    • Mosquito net
    • Passport photos
    • Phone card – Both for local and international calls
    • Photocopies of important documents in case they are stolen
    • Phrase books or dictionaries
    • Pillow or pillowcase to stuff with clothes
    • Plastic bags
    • Power cords and chargers for all your electrical items – Save some money on batteries
    • Resume and work references – Don’t forget these if you are planning to work while travelling
    • Skis, ski shoes, ski poles or a snowboard – If you are planning a winter holiday, you want to remember these!
    • Sleep sheet
    • Sleeping bag
    • Sleeping mat
    • Speakers for iPod etc.
    • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool – Don’t keep in your carry on as it will be removed
    • Toilet paper
    • Towels, beach and otherwise – the quick drying versions are very handy!
    • Travel alarm clock
    • Umbrella
    • Watch
    • Wet wipes/Baby wipes – Handy for cleaning hands or washing yourself in absense of a shower
    • Ziplock bags – The freezer ones are usually the best

Again, if you have any more suggestions contact us.

Thank you,

VMS Travel staff

1. Security and Keeping Details Safe

Scan your passport, passport photos and paper tickets (if not the e type) in. Store this (in an email for e.g.) in your web based email account. You can also store the details of your emergency ‘lost card’ telephone numbers in your web based email account so you know who to contact if your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen. This way, even if you lose everything, you have immediate access your all important information. You can even email the details page of your passport to the embassy or consulate when applying for a new one.

Also consider writing your home and destination address (and mobile number if you have one) on a self-adhesive sticky label to stick INSIDE your luggage in a visible place. If your luggage is lost and the baggage label has come off, at least the airline can still figure out whose luggage it is.

2. Split up your valuables

Split up your bank cards, cash, travellers’ cheques and credit cards as much as possible in different pockets, your bags and wallet when packing. In case you do get robbed, at least you won’t be strapped for cash (unless you have all your bags AND your wallet stolen of course!).

3. Nalgene/Small Bottles

Use nalgene/small bottles to pack toiletries and other small items. There are several sturdy and (very nearly) waterproof ones, with clear/see through ones being preferable (easier for security purposes post August 2006). You can also use small bottles to repack shampoo or lotions so that you don’t have to always carry a big bottle with you. This is especially useful if you normally take these items in your carry-on luggage, which as of early 2007 is much more restricted than before.

4. Backpack Tips

When you are packing things into a backpack, place the lighter items at the bottom and the heavier ones on top. Your bag will feel lighter this way as the pack rests on your lower back. It is also smart to place the things you use the most on top. Dirty clothes are perfect to pack at the bottom of a backpack.

5. Plastic Bags

It is always handy to have a few plastic bags around certain items, especially toiletries. Not only does it counter any leaking, the bags can also come in useful to keep dirty clothes in, as garbage bags or even as a makeshift umbrella. Ziplock or other airtight plastic bags are the best.

6. Pack in Plastic

Pack everything in clear plastic bags (preferably zip lock), divided into items e.g. underwear, t-shirts, shorts etc. before packing in your suitcase or backpack. One plastic bag for each type of clothing. This is extremely useful in various ways. When you unpack your bag you just take out a series of bags and you can see immediately what you want. So an overnight stay somewhere just means taking 1 item out of a bag – no rummaging!! In addition, if you have to unpack at customs etc, instead of having to disgorge all your clothing etc out in front of everybody, you can calmly take maybe 5/6 bags out, the contents of which can be clearly seen by the officials. To repack then is also dead easy. Just be sure not to leave your plastic bags lying around if you are travelling in nature!

7. Clothes

Pack only what you know you will use and if you are travelling for more than three weeks, plan to wash on the road. You can cut back on the number of clothes items by packing multi-purpose clothing, for example items that can both be worn during the day and as sleepwear.

8. Split up clothes when travelling with others

When you are flying somewhere and especially if you have a few stopovers, divide the clothes between different suitcases/backpacks/bags etc. If one persons luggage doesn’t arrive at the destination, they’ll still have clean clothes available. Airlines generally don’t compensate lost luggage for the first 24-48 hours so this will save you money if it happens to you.

9. Separate Beach Bag

When packing to head to the beach consider pre-packing whatever you might need at the beach into a beachbag inside your backpack or suitcase. Especially if travelling with kids, this will prove a timesaver!

10. Suitcase lovers

For those using suitcases without a divider. A piece of cardboard makes an excellent divider and helps keep your clothes organized and neat as you are able to lay them out flat on the cardboard. It also makes airport inspections a lot less of a hassle as you can lift out your divider with clothes on top easily.

11. Gifts

While it is a good idea to take some small gifts with you while travelling, pre-wrapping them can be a waste of time if you are flying and your bags are opened.

12. Flashlights or Torches

When packing a flashlight or torch (or any other item with batteries for that matter), turn the batteries around so that if the item is accidentally turned on, you won’t empty the batteries. Don’t forget to turn the batteries back around when using the flashlight.

13. Diaper Bag

If you are travelling with babies, then the diaper bag is an excellent place to hide your valuables. This most likely will not be the first thing to be stolen. It’s also a great to use as a waste bag (even when not travelling with a child!), especially at places that do not allow you to flush toilet paper.

14. Shoes

If you want to make sure everything else in your bags stays clean and odor free, place the shoes inside old socks and then inside airtight plastic bags (ziplock).

15. Carry-On

Keep any medication and important papers in your carry-on bag. On long flights with multiple stopovers (especially if flying via London, LA or other major airports), packing a fresh change of clothes is a good idea as bags tend to get delayed or lost on long haul, multiple stop flights. You don’t want to end up stuck without medication, clothes or your important papers even if it is just for a few days.

16. Roll Technique

Somehow it seems that bags will hold more if the clothes are rolled rather than folded. If you roll in tissue paper, the clothes will also get less wrinkled.

17. Travelling to warm destinations?

If you appreciate cold drinks think of using a six-pack cooler as a toiletry bag. Once you arrive at your destination and unload your toiletries your ‘toiletry bag’ guarantees cheap cold drinks on the beach, no matter how remote.

18. Local Tourism Offices

The best source of information is usually local. Check out Tourism Offices to find unbiased feedback on the best accommodation to suit your needs. Excercise caution in countries where you feel the information might not be so unbiased!

19. Minimize on toiletries

Take only half a tube of toothpaste rolled up tight, store shampoo in small containers, only take half a roll of toilet paper (for emergencies only) and crush it so the middle is folded.

20. Take solid shampoo bars and tooth powder

Solid shampoo bars and tooth powder (instead of tooth paste) can be easily located on the internet and make carry-on travel in this age of liquid restriction possible. Places like Beijing now bar all liquids in carry-on bags, and you’ll still be able to breeze through without checking.

21. Planning on carrying a lot of luggage?

While carrying a lot of luggage is not recommendable, sometimes it is necessary in the case of relocations and so on. If you have the possibility, fly via the US as airlines will allow you 64kg (two 32kg bags) instead of the 20kg in the rest of the world. Even if it is just a stopover in the US, you will be allowed to carry the extra weight. Check with your local travel agent for the details.

22. Packing List and Trip Planning

Ready to start packing? Or is there still more trip planning to be done? Check out our Packing List, Trip Planning guideand Travel Tips to help you get the most out of your trip by planning well and packing everything.  Stay tuned for our Packing List for Vacation, Trip Guide and Travel Tips.

Thank you,

VMS Travel staff