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Vancouver Out-of-town Travel: What To Pack



Packing is part of any travel experience, and unless you travel with an entoruage, and don't mind dropping a fortune in tipping bellhops and baggage handlers, not to mention airpline surchargers for extra bagas or overweight ones, you want to pack as light as you can. When travelling, it is best to do a "first pack" of your clothes, toiletries and other supplies beside your suitcase, and then weight your suitecase. If its over 20 kilograms (44 pounds), pare everything down... you don't need "options" if you pick yout items wisely. Besides, if your travelling, nobdy ELSE is going to notice you are wearing the same item more than once on a trip. Also trial-carry your daypack, with a typical load including guidebook, camera, water and food. If it's too heavy, figure out what you can leave at home (or in your suitcase, hotel room or car trunk).

Of course, you are going to pack differntly for summer or beach vacation travel than you would for a skiing or winter vacation. Here are out top 10 travel essentials regarless of trip destination and season.

  1. Wheeled Suitcase or Backpack
    Wheeled luggage has revolutionized travel, which makes pulling your suitcase around the airport, to/from your ground tranportation, and around your hotel a breeze. And you can nest your carry-on bag on the suitase's extended pull-handle to spare your shoulders. If you're planning to hike or walk over rough surfaces, consider a wheeled backpack or duffel bag so you can pick it up and carry it as necessary.
  2. Daypack /Carry-on
    This small bag should carry maps, snacks and bottled water while you explore. Keep your heavy wheeled bag in your hotel room (or in the trunk of your car) and pack daily essentials in a daypack or tote.
  3. Comfortable Shoes
    Pack comfortable walking shoes, so you don't bet blisters on your vacation. Save the high heels for your nightlife, and the beach sandals for the beach. Plan your footware & clothing to reduce the number of heavy shoes you bring with you.
  4. Personal Toiletries, Medications and Glasses
    These depend on your needs. Any liquids & gels you need to fly with must be in three-ounce bottles (and fit into a clear 1 quart "baggie". Bring your medications in their original prescription bottles, so customs can verify waht your pills are. If you use a pill organizer, pack it empty and set it up when you arrive at your destination. Don't forget your glasses, especially if you aren't sure you can buy contact lens solution while on your trip. Bring a spare set of contact lenses, in case you lose one/them while on the road.
  5. Money Belt
    Pickpockets are nible and fast, and can steal your wallet and money without you noticing. Buy a money belt and use it. Use your daypack and purse only for items you can afford to replace, such as maps and water bottles.
  6. Rain Gear
    Collapsible umbrellas, water-repellent jackets, ponchos and folding hats make all-weather travel bearable. If you don;t brig them, Murphy's Law may ruin your vacation.
  7. Travel Alarm
    Take either a traditional travel alarm, or let your watch, cellphone, or MP3 player do the job (see if you can read the clock face in the dark).
  8. Voltage Converter and Plug Adapters
    When traveling overseas with plug-in appliances or electronic equipment (which will need to be re-charged), you will definitely need plug adapters. Some hair dryers, camera chargers, laptops and cell phones are dual voltage (it will say "Input 100V-240V 50 / 60 Hz"), but others need a voltage converter.Then you'll only need a plug adapter. For all other items, never plug it directly into a foreign wall outlet, but insert it into a voltage converter to "step down" the 220-volt current.
  9. Map / Guidebook
    Bring guidebooks and domestic maps with you. Do some online research on map prices if you plan to travel overseas. Often local maps are cheaper to buy at your destination rather than in your local bookstore. With bulky guidebooks, many tear out & carry only relevant guidebook chapters and pages (though it destroys the guidebook).
  10. Backup Documents
    Make photocopies of your passport, hotel cofirmations, tickets and keep them in an inside pocket in your suitcase. If your passport is stolen, a copy will speed up the replacement process. Leave a second copy of your passport & documents with a family member (or office colleague) back home. Other documents you may want to bring are your credit card's rental car insurance coverage information, depending on your destination. It's also a good idea to bring telephone numbers for your bank, credit card company, travel agency, and Canadian embassies & consulates at your destination or itinerary, in case of emergency.
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