Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Well before traveling:

Review your schedule to determine events you want to attend before, during and/or after your trip along the Cross-Country Routes Across The US, if you are flying in a plane you may be wondering how many people can fit in a plane?

If you’ll be traveling with your children:

If you’ll be leaving your children behind:

  • Try to keep your trip as short as feasible – most parents report worrying a lot about their children while they’re gone


  • Check the U.S. State Department web site for the latest travel advisories, e.g., regarding swine flu
  • Be aware that most business travelers find returning home to be the most stressful part of their trip
  • Be aware that the stress of traveling apparently results in a high number of heart attacks at airports and on airlines
  • Be prepared to deal with complaints (regarding your absence) from family members you leave behind
  • Make reservations for transportation, lodging, tours, events, etc.
  • Be wary of supposedly great deals
  • If you’re considering going on a cruise, check out Insider Cruise Tips
  • Check out Travel Industry Secrets, The Travel Secrets Guide and/or Your Budget Travel Guide
  • If you’re a senior citizen, check out Seniors Travel Tips

If you’re considering using a travel company:

  • Be very wary of travel clubs
  • Don’t sign up on the spot, without thinking about it for a couple of days
  • Check the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau
  • Have contract reviewed by lawyer
  • Read the fine print
  • Ask detailed questions
  • If you have doubts, say “no”

If traveling to a foreign country:

  • Determine what immunizations, etc. are required and/or advised – you may have to take them well in advance of travelling and may not be able to get all of them at the same time
  • Determine if you need to have an AIDS/HIV test done
  • Research differences in culture, e.g.:
    • Will you be expected to give gifts to certain people for certain ocassions?
    • Is tipping encouraged?
    • How do people greet each other, e.g., a handshake, bowing

If considering flying on a non-U.S. airline:

  • Be aware that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has reported that, as of June 2011, the following nations’ civil aviation authorities don’t meet international aviation safety standards: Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guyan, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Kiribati, Nauru, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia and Montenegro, Swaziland, Ukraine, Uruguay, and, Zimbabwe

Well before traveling:

  • Determine if you will need any documents, e.g., passport, visa, immunizations
  • Obtain needed documents, e.g., passport, visa, immunizations
  • While visualizing each step of your trip chronologically, write down actions you will want to do and things you will want to take

If you’ll be traveling to a significantly different time zone, to help avoid or minimize jet lag:

Before traveling:

  • Determine your health insurance coverage for the trip
  • Obtain additional health insurance as needed
  • Buy items to take (see TAKE section below)
  • Buy travellers checks
  • Review your finances:
    • Pay bills which will be due while you’re gone
    • Note balance in your accounts
    • Determine credit available on your credit cards, lines of credit, etc.
    • Be aware that ATM cards with six digits might be useless in foreign countries
  • Consider taking the herb echinacea – to possibly prevent catching a cold, etc. from the people, especially children, you’re visiting
  • Consider taking the herb goldenseal – to boost immune system
  • Ask a neighbor to check your residence daily for:
    • Leaflets on door
    • Newspapers, etc. in front
    • Flooding
    • Indications of burglary, intruders, etc.
  • Obtain maps, e.g., from:
  • Make a list of people you’d like to buy gifts/souvenirs for
  • Make a list of things you’d like to do at each destination



  • Make arrangements for lodging, e.g., hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, hostel
  • Consider swapping houses with someone at your destination (for more info: Home Exchange Academy

If you’ll be travelling to an area where malaria is a problem (primarily Africa):

  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Use an insect repellent
  • Sleep under a mosquito net soaked in insecticide


Before packing:

  • Determine forecast weather for places you’ll be visiting, e.g.,
  • Determine type events (e.g., parties) you’ll be attending and attire which will be appropriate
  • Don’t take anything you won’t need and don’t want to lose, e.g., some items in your wallet

While packing:

  • Make a list of the significant contents of each suitcase, etc.

Items to consider packing:

  • Toiletries:
    • Razor
    • Extra blades
    • Shaving cream
    • Shampoo (small container)
    • Soap
    • Other toiletries
  • Prescribed medications (ensure you take an adequate quantity) in the original containers
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-bacterial ointment
  • Bandages
  • Pictures to show
  • Cameras:
    • Still
    • Memory card(s) or film
    • Video
    • Memory card(s) or tape(s)
    • Charged battery(ies)
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Backpack
  • Computer and associated equipment
  • Power strip – to use at airport for your laptop, etc. if there is a shortage of outlets
  • Maps
  • Pillow(s)
  • Blanket(s)
  • Smoke hood – to help you escape from an airplane, hotel room, etc. in the event of a fire
  • Plastic bags for:
    • Trash
    • Dirty clothes
    • Carrying purchases
    • Putting items you use or obtain during the trip and then won’t need until trip is over
  • Instructions for getting messages from your answering machine or voice mail remotely
  • Cash and coins
  • Blank checks
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Traveler’s checks

If you’re taking kids:

  • Favorite stuffed animals
  • Toys
  • Coloring books
  • Travel games

After packing:

  • Place your name, addresses (home and/or destination), phone numbers (home and/or destination) and itinerary inside your luggage
  • Lock your luggage
  • Don’t let any strangers have access to your bags – a terrorist could place a bomb in your bags

Right before traveling:

  • Take out of your wallet anything you won’t need and don’t want to lose
  • Set your answering machine to the toll saver mode (so it answers after additional rings if it has no new messages)

While traveling:

  • Take pictures and video
  • Buy gifts for famiy, friends, anyone watching your house/pets, and/or, workmates
  • Buy souvenirs
  • Keep a journal/diary/log of your experiences and impressions

To help avoid food-borne and water-borne illnesses:

  • Swim only in chlorinated pools
  • Drink only bottled water
  • Don’t use ice cubes
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water
  • Avoid eating undercooked food and vegetables
  • Eat fruit only if you can peel it
  • Avoid roadside stands and street vendors


Thanks for reading!