The tips below are meant as advice for those of you who may have limited travel experience or want to hone your travel skills. These tips are drawn from numerous sources, including Ag Leadership alumni. We encourage you to seek advice from others – including other class members – who have travel experience. If you have other tips you would like to share, please let us know and we will include them in this document.
- Carry-on and checked bags. With current carry-on luggage limitations, you’ll likely need to check one bag. Review airline regulations concerning the number of carry-on bags. Normally you are restricted to one carry-on that can go into the overhead compartment and one that can be placed under the seat in front of you. On the occasions when you are making connecting flights, baggage loss is always a possibility. There will be times when you’ll need to check your bags, as on certain flights where the planes have limited storage capacity for carry-on luggage. Keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for carrying your own luggage and that there will be limited space for luggage in the vehicles. Keeping your luggage as light and as easy to handle will serve you well.
- Compartmentalize. Sort your suitcase so you always know where things should be (even at the end of your trip). This system will also provide you with a “flag” – noting when you are forgetting something (i.e. toiletries always go in outside pocket; the outside pocket is empty, toiletries are missing). Put belts, socks, etc. into shoes so you know where they are when you arrive at your destination.
- Create a packing form. Start filling out the form several weeks before your departure. This will force you to think in advance about what you want to take and what needs to be done before you leave (i.e. buying clothes and other items, dry cleaning, ironing, etc.). This form will also give you the visual aid you need to coordinate your outfits so that items can be mixed and matched.
- Clothes (see travel checklist)
- Pick one color for your main wardrobe pieces. Dark blue, black, gray or brown work well. Matching striped or print shirts, scarves and pins can add a little color and won’t take up a lot of space. Coordinating will help you pack lighter and more efficiently.
- Plan for and pack clothes that meet the needs of your itinerary are appropriate for the culture and climate of your destination, and allow the most outfits from the least number of pieces.
- Plan to wear your clothes several times during the trip. Choose clothes that are easy to care for – wrinkle resistant, hand washable, quick drying.
- Take more tops than bottoms. Every top should go with every bottom. Tops are lighter, take less room than bottoms, and are easier to launder.
- Choose lightweight knits, microfibers, cotton and silk instead of bulky sweaters, heavy denim and corduroy. For colder climates, pack silk long underwear that keeps you warm and could double as pajamas.
- When packing sleepwear, keep in mind that you might need to answer your door or you might be caught in the hallway at 2 a.m. responding to an emergency alarm (this has happened too many times!).
- Dirty clothes bag. Have bags specifically for dirty clothes. This type of organization will pay off days into your trip.
- Travel size it. Toiletries, hairdryer, sample-size perfume, etc. This small investment in travel sized items will save your back.
- Entertainment items. Having small items like a deck of cards, a book, crossword puzzles, etc. are helpful while waiting in airports or lobbies. Don’t forget your travel journal!
- Business card. Tape your business card to the inside of your suitcase. If your outside luggage tag is lost, there is another way of verifying ownership of your luggage.
- Do not lock suitcase. TSA will want to inspect the checked bags, so DO NOT lock your suitcase.
- Wear comfy clothes on the plane. Travel in appropriate, yet comfortable clothes. You might be sleeping in your clothes on the plane, so wear clothes made of stretchy fabrics, expandable waistbands, and non-binding collars and cuffs. Make sure these fabrics resist stains and wrinkles to avoid the slept-in look.
- Wear your jacket on the plane. A multi-pocket jacket or travel vest is like an extra carry-on, so wear your jacket or coat (and heavier shoes) on the plane. Stuff the pockets with small items.
- Set watch. Once seated on the plane, set your watch to the time zone of your destination. Your body will begin to think in that time zone.
- Alcohol. Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during a flight. They only dehydrate you.
- Important carry-on items. Your carry-on bags should include any items you absolutely must need once you arrive at your destination, but be sure you understand the TSA regulations concerning what can be placed in carry-on bags. You also want to keep valuables such as traveler’s checks, cameras, jewelry, etc. in your carry-on. A good book to read while in the terminal or on board the airplane is recommended.
- Moisturizer. Pack this in your carry-on since air on planes tends to be very dry.
- Socks. Put socks in your carry-on. Make yourself comfortable on the flight by taking off your shoes and still keeping your feet warm.
- Munchies. Pack a few snacks (nutrition bars, nuts, etc.) in carry-on bags and/or luggage. You may arrive at your destination later than expected or you may arrive after room service or establishments have closed — and you’re hungry
- Pillows and blankets. Window seats can be drafty and cold. Keep your coat with you in your seat and use it as a blanket if necessary. When boarding the airplane, collect two airline pillows if available. Place the first one at the small of your back for additional back support, adjusting it as necessary during the flight to vary your position and make you more comfortable. You can even sit on the pillow. The second pillow can be anchored around your neck when you sleep to keep your head from moving from side-to-side. You want to purchase an inflatable neck pillow.
- Laundry. Be prepared to hand wash your lightweights and underwear in your bathroom and hang them up to dry overnight. You may want to bring along a small amount of laundry soap (Woolite), a clothesline and small clothespins, and a sink drain-stopper.
- Insurance. Please make sure that your health insurance will cover you while you are outside the state. Some insurance companies require phone numbers at which you can be reached during the trip. Please use the numbers that will be included in the final itinerary that you will receive from our office about two weeks before departure.
- Food and water. When you are not sure of the quality of the water, always drink bottled water. If you need regularly spaced meals, please bring along sufficient between-meal snacks.
- Be smart and cautious. Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry. Store valuables in the hotel safe. Keep your hotel room doors and windows locked, even when in your room. Don’t leave valuables, such as cameras and purses, unattended. Don’t needlessly display guest room keys in public places or carelessly leave them lying on places where they can be easily stolen. Consider wearing a money belt.
- Who is it? Don’t answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be a hotel employee, and you have not requested service, call the front desk and ask if someone from his or her staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.
- Be alert. In general, whenever you’re traveling in an unfamiliar place, stay alert. Be aware of your immediate surroundings. It’s your responsibility to be aware and alert even in the most heavily touristed areas
- Take care of one another. We recommend that you stay with the group. During any free time, you should join up with others in the class. Do not let your classmate do something that will put any of you in harm’s way.