The Safe and Healthy Traveler’s Guide to Packing: Part One2 min read
Packing for a trip used to be easy. I would wake up the morning of the trip, grab a suitcase, throw in more clothes than I needed, dump all of the things on my bathroom sink into my Dopp kit*, sign a stack of traveler’s checks and, of course, write all of their serial numbers in that small, separate booklet just in case and last, but not least, make sure I had my itinerary or at least a semblance of one.
Two items (are they newspaper articles or blog posts? – does it even matter anymore?) in yesterday’s ‘papers’ caught my attention relative to planning for an international trip. First, the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Landro writes about the importance of pre-travel vaccinations in Taking the Bite Out of Travel. While we have blogged a lot about the H1N1 virus, it is still far more likely that you will catch an infectious disease when traveling to certain destinations. This risk is multiplied if you forego seeing a travel-medicine specialist well before your departure date and fail to get the recommended vaccines or prophylactic medications.
On a completely different subject, The New York Times article, Smartphone Rises Fast From Gadget to Necessity, makes it clear that these devices are not going away, and although it does not discuss travel explicitly, smartphones have become a must-have item for international travel. In one fell swoop, a smartphone can serve as a hand-held GPS, a gateway to the Internet, a phone (duh), an MP3 player for audio tours, a calculator for currency conversion and an alarm clock. Of course, if you are willing to spend some time in your phone’s app store, you can find even more functionality specifically tailored to your trip. Did I mention that the new iPhone 3G S will have a built-in compass (like T-Mobile’s G1 Android phone)?
Both of these articles relate to the complexity of international travel – one on the dangers and corresponding precautions that should be taken ahead of your trip, the other to a tool that can greatly aid you during your travels by keeping you informed and connected.
Stay tuned for Part Two in our What to Pack series where we will focus on putting together your own medical kit.
* Dopp kit – named after Charles Doppelt, a leather-goods maker from Chicago, the Dopp kit was popularized during World War II when they were issued to the U.S. armed forces. In the U.K., they are called ‘sponge bags.’