Travel Information

When traveling, make sure to check the requirements of what and where you are traveling. Check the TSA website, the cruise website, and all other places you should pack for.

For flying, remember to have all liquids and gels in a quart sized bag. Dry items can be in your carryon bag. I like to use crystal deodorant (it's activated with water, so it travels dry), and lotion bars (looks like a bar of soap but it's lotion when you rub it on). Anything that I can take in the carryon and not in the quart bag is helpful. You can put larger bottles and tubes in the checked luggage, but I like to put them into a ziplock bag, in case they burst open from pressure, especially glass jars. The carryon should have your absolute needs, in the case of checked luggage getting lost.

Smallflower has travel toothpaste, bed bug spray, sleepmasks, and many more travel items.

Look at home security for travel safety tips keep home safe.

For a cruise, you probably need to check on passports, visas, and other requirements for taking the excursion trips into other countries. There are likely more restrictions on what you can pack, as well.

When packing - make a list of what you need to take. Add to it as you think of more. It's helpful to start a week or more prior to your trip, to give you time to think of extra things. On your list, include things that need to be done before you leave, like stopping the mail.

When planning your trip, check your phone plan - what do you need to figure about the SIM card, data plan, texting, roaming, call plan, keeping in airplane mode to reduce data charges, etc.

Your luggage - find out the requirements for size and weight - different airlines have different criteria, and international criteria are even more different. You need to be aware of extra charges if you aren't careful to check and keep within guidelines. Make sure the luggage is as durable as needed, or soft case to keep weight down.

Check here for luggage, backpacks, totes, RFID covers, shaving kits, travel first aid kits and more.

Keep your credit cards and passport in RFID covers - so no one can get your numbers with a hand held scanner - keep your information safe! The last thing you need on vacation is to find your bank and credit cards maxed out, or closed down.

Caretaker - instructions for pets - feeding schedule (make sure to leave enough food and medications for the time you are gone), where you keep leashes, kennels, commands that you use, any rules and quirks. Leave emergency numbers, including vet.

Make sure caretaker or neighbor picks up your papers (better to keep them coming so no deliverer has a clue you are gone for a length of time), and packages. You can put a hold on your mail, by calling USPS.

Travel pillow helps with neck and back issues. Try it!

Camping World has plenty of travel aids and ideas - bath accessories are helpful.

Decide if you want to use a travel agent or do the work on your own. Personally, we saved a lot of money getting our own rooms, flights and car rentals. There are good deals out there that travel agents aren't looking into, because they don't get a commission from them. You do need to spend a bit of time putting it together, but it's worth it, if you want to save money.

For example, 5 years ago, the travel agent got us a room (at a discount from the regular room rate) at Helsinki Hotel Kamp. It was a very nice place and room, being the top hotel in Helsinki. However, we didn't need such a nice room situation, because we were doing more sight-seeing than spending time in the room. If you want a great room to spend time in, that's great. But if you are mainly sleeping there, with no need for frills, then you might want to do what we did this year - we stayed at the Omena Hotel - no front lobby, Internet based, codes texted to you for the rooms. It was plenty sufficient for what we needed, and served us well, at a savings. You could also look at the Airbnb system. The hotel sites that compare rates for you are invaluable. Decide if you need a breakfast plan or want to grab something in the city you are staying at.

The car rental was easy for us to look into on the Internet. We chose Sixt car rental, which saved us money - the travel agent didn't get a commission from that. There are other good rental companies that are really good about giving discounts. Check them out and compare. When the travel agent picked out a car for us, 5 years ago, she obviously had no understanding of the rental she reserved for us - we were driving in a small Skoda - with advertisements for the car rental all over it.

Flights are also easy to find - and flight comparison websites are good to look through. You can find as good a deal there as a travel agent can, most of the time.

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