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International Travel 101: Don’t Leave Home Without These Items

International Travel 101: Don’t Leave Home Without These Items

More than 13 million Americans got passports in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of State. If you’re getting ready for an upcoming international trip, you should know that these trips have slightly different packing lists than an American vacation. Start with these essentials:

Health and Wellness

  • Plane sleeping aids. International flights are tiring. To stay refreshed and minimize your jet lag, bring along a sleep mask and earplugs. Frequent fliers are partial to air cabin pressure regulating earplugs like Earplanes, which you can find at your local pharmacy for under $10. These reduce the pressure on your ears and also block out noise so you can rest. Dream Essentials offers a line of aromatherapy sleep masks (for around $10) which can help you zone out and Zen out on your plane.
  • First aid kit. Pack first aid supplies for your trip, especially if you’re planning an active vacation. The CDC recommends that you take any prescription medications, any medications specific to the area you’re visiting (i.e. anti-malaria medication), general pain medication, motion sickness drugs and basic first aid implements. You’ll find plenty of ready-to-go first aid kits at your local pharmacy or you can put together your own. When packing any personal care items and health and wellness, pay attention to the TSA’s guidelines regarding liquid items and any items that may be prohibited in a carry-on bag.

Personal Safety

  • Eagle Creek money belt. Overseas travelers are often at an increased risk from pickpockets, who prowl city streets, subway cars and tourist attractions looking for their next mark. To keep your money safe, use a money belt. Many secure around your waist and rest over your stomach (or the small of your back) beneath your clothes. Some fasten around your neck (or slip in your bra) and dangle under your shirt instead. You may feel dorky wearing one, but Rick Steves recommends it as the ultimate way to protect your credit cards, money and identification. Eagle Creek makes a range of money belts that cost between $15-$25.
  • LifeLock identity protection. For added peace of mind on your trip, consider signing up with an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock. They offer a range of identity protection and credit monitoring services and tips for protecting yourself when you travel.
  • Survival Kit in a Can. If you’re heading off the beaten track, pick up the $16 Survival Kit in a Can from Flight 001. This comes with a fire starter, matches, compass, energy bar, duct tape and other essentials that may help you MacGuyver your way to safety.


  • Universal Power Adaptor Kit. After a full day of sightseeing, you’ll need to charge your digital camera and smartphone. The universal power adaptor from Kensington (about $10) accommodates any gadget you’ll have.
  • Travel battery pack and charger. Whether you’re using that smartphone to navigate European highways or snap photos of your desert camel ride, you’ll want to keep your phone fully charged to capture it all. A travel battery pack and charger for iPhone like Kensington’s ($70) can be of use.

Russel Lang

Russell, originally from Melbourne, loves to travel the world and write about the places he sees and people he meets.

Header image by icraigt