Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eight Items NOT to Bring on your Trip

When packing, what you leave out of your suitcase is just as important as what goes in.  Here are some items you can probably leave at home, especially when traveling to foreign locales.

Purse--Carrying a purse, no matter how large or small, is an open invitation for thievery.  Other than change or a few small bills, cash should be carried concealed on your body, preferably in more than one place.  Same goes for credit cards.  Both traveling women & men usually need some time of carry-bag, but it should not be something held in your hand.  Snatching is just too tempting.  Some years ago the mother of a friend went on a tour of Costa Rica.  By the end of the 2nd day, every woman in the group had lost her purse to theft.  Don't let that deter you, however,  because it is a glorious country.  I'm scheduled to go back there in just a few days--it's one of my favorite places on Earth--but I'll not be taking a purse.

Expensive Camera--Unless you are a professional photographer on a paid assignment, try to leave large heavy cameras & equipment at home.  Extra lenses, filters & a tripod not only take up precious luggage room, but fiddling with all those goodies will distract you from actually seeing & enjoying all the wonderful sights of your trip.  You don't want to go home with just prints of where you've been.  You also want to take home precious memories.  Besides, fancy equipment of any kind makes you a ripe target for theft.

Matching Outfits--Separates give women more versatility that matchy-matchy tops & bottoms.  Spill something on that pink seersucker top with the embroidered trim, & you've probably also rendered the matching pants unwearable.  Ditch the Alfred Dunner duos, & opt for more versatile separates.  Bonus:  you'll look more like a seasoned traveler instead of a novice tourist.

Jewelry--Don't think that wearing costume jewelry protects you from being a target for theft.  That would-be thief can't tell your cubic zirconia earrings from the real thing, so you could be putting yourself in danger needlessly even wearing inexpensive sparkles.  The same thing holds for gold-plated trinkets.  Note that rings make you vulnerable, so even though you haven't removed them since your wedding day, it is smart to leave them in a safe deposit box while traveling.

Note that being on a cruise ship doesn't necessarily make it safer to travel with your jewelry.  Cabin thefts can occur, & you'll likely be getting off your ship in port several times.  Cruise ship ports of call are known to be trolled by those looking for vulnerable tourists, so ensure peace of mind by leaving your bling, especially those irreplaceable sentimental pieces, at home.

If you are one who feels undressed without baubles, instead opt for those that are obviously merely decorative & without significant value.  Depending on your destinations, your trip may be the perfect opportunity to look for anklets or necklaces made of shells or other materials that won't entice a thief.  Inexpensive baubles make great souvenirs, & think about all the fun you'll have shopping.

New Shoes--Even if your brand-new shoes are exactly like your old comfy ones, break them in for a couple of weeks prior to departure.  Blisters to-go are not fun.

Medicine Cases--Love my honking big pill case with enough compartments for 4 weeks, but only when I'm home.  On the road I have snack-size Ziploc bags for pills labeled for each day.  Put each week's worth of pills inside a quart-size Ziploc labeled Week 1, Week 2, etc.

Extra Keys--If you've left your car in an airport parking lot you may need to take a key with you, but leave all those other keys at home.  No need to carry extra metal to Timbuktu, & you want to avoid losing them in a faraway spot.

Extra Credit Cards--It is prudent to carry more than one credit card, & stashing them in different places.  However, it isn't necessary to carry all those extra domestic-only department store cards.  Clean out the cardboard, as well as the plastic.  I guarantee you that the chain-store sub shop in Reykjavik is not going to punch your frequent customer card.

Do, however, be sure to pack a sense of wonder, respect for the residents of your destination spot, plenty of simple courtesy, & a positive attitude wherever you plan to travel--

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