10 Things to Bring When Traveling Internationally
It seems like a huge percentage of the citizens of the United States are not well traveled. By that I mean they haven’t traveled internationally. I am using my own experience as a basis here, so if you know of a lot of people who are well traveled, please don’t be mad or offended. Today I thought I would share with you some things we’ve learned and my list of 10 Things to bring when traveling internationally. Some of the things are for any time you travel internationally and some are for traveling for extended periods of time.
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As we’ve moved around the world, what I’ve noticed is that citizens of other free countries are fairly well traveled. I don’t think it’s because they are any more curious than people from the U.S., I just think in general, their countries are smaller, so it’s easier to get to the next place. Let’s face it, the United States is a great big place with lots of variation in the mix. As much as we’ve moved around, I still have three states I haven’t been to, North Dakota, Delaware and somehow, Oregon. (My home state of Idaho is right next to Oregon, in case you’re wondering why I say ‘somehow’.)
When we find out were going to a different country, I always ask myself how long we will be there and if I have been there before I start making my list of things to bring. I am a crazy list builder, but it helps me to organize my thoughts and stay organized. Plus, I like scratching stuff off my list. I actually have an app on my phone for lists that lets me mark things as done. Hum, it might be a sickness. That’s for another day though.
If we are traveling internationally for a short period of time, like a vacation or just a quick work trip, these are the things I always bring with me and the reasons why I bring them. I also bring these things if going for an extended period, just in larger quantities.
Anti-Perspirant – I wear a stick type of anti-perspirant and I like it. It works for me. Not all countries have the type I wear. As a matter of fact, in Martinique, they have spray. That’s it. I don’t want to run out, so I bring enough for the whole trip. I brought quite a few with me for this trip.
Medications – This should be a no brainer, but in case it isn’t, I’m putting it on my list. Prescriptions can be tricky to get for an extended period of time. Your doctor will have to write out enough and then your insurance company will have to override their default maximum. I just call my insurance company, explain the circumstances and they approve it. Be sure to include any vitamins and over the counter things you take or just like to have on hand. Yes, they have medicine in other countries, but it’s just easier to bring what you need. I’ve heard really bad horror stories from friends trying to deal with social medicine.
Power Converters – It is so much easier taking what you need instead of trying to track down what you need when you get there. Seriously. We’ve done it both ways. Before you plug in your appliance, determine if you can just convert the plug or if you need to convert the whole power supply. It says it on the cords and honestly, I always ask my husband because he deal with electricity every day and I don’t want to start a fire. We have both kinds of converters because my sewing machine needs to convert more than just the plug. The converter we have for the sewing machine is heavy, but it keeps my baby safe, so I’m okay with that.
Books – When we first started traveling, I homeschooled my kids and had to take all of their school books with us. We always had a crate of just books. With the advent of the Kindle and apps for tablets, you can now easily take loads of books with you wherever you go. If you travel a lot, I highly recommend getting yourself one. If you don’t have a tablet, you can get a Kindle for not too much money.
Water bottle with filter – This is one that is new on our list. We used to just buy bottled water everywhere, but with the advent of these bottles, we just take them with us. Here in Martinique, the tap water is safe to drink, but we have a Brita filter pitcher anyway. We also have Bobble Water Bottle with a filter for emergencies.
If you’re traveling internationally for an extended period, in addition to the items above, these are the things I bring, mostly just for comfort. I wouldn’t die without them, but they are nice to have. We don’t travel with all of our possessions, but instead with boxes like the ones in this photo. This is what we brought for 9 months. One contained my sewing machine and some fabric.
Spices you love – I know, sounds weird. However, there are some things you love to cook with and they just don’t have them in other places. That’s the way it is. So, I bring some of our favorites, just in case. Be sure to keep them sealed. I brought an opened container of Cream of Tarter and the TSA took some of it.
Kitchen Tools – A good vegetable peeler. Seriously. It takes up no room and depending on where you go, you may not find one you like or that works well. Also, a decent hand can opener. These are recent additions for me because I’ve had to use some bad stuff in several places. It’s just easier to bring what we like.
Streaming Device – You think you will too busy in your new area to even watch TV, but you’d be surprised. You get done working at the end of the day and you’re just tired. They really help because tv is not in English or you might just want to watch a good movie. We have an Apple TV and can stream from our iPads or just watch Netflix. Amazon also has one called Amazon Fire TV Stick and there is also Roku 2 Streaming Media Player. We use our Apple TV a lot and have used it in a lot of different countries and even the U.S. because we didn’t have cable.
VPN – This isn’t actually something you bring, but something you add to your computer. This is a great way to protect information when you pay bills or if you want to listen to Pandora outside of the U.S. They aren’t expensive. Just be sure to get one that you can select where it is assigned.
Hobbies – My husband works all day long, so it was important to me that I brought things to keep myself busy while he is at work. I brought my sewing machine, but I also brought some other things. Think of things you like to do and bring them with you.
That’s my list of 10 Things to Bring when Traveling Internationally. Some things might seem kind of off the wall to you, but they are what help me stay sane. I will also encourage you to get out and explore your new location and make some local friends. We’ve made some really wonderful friends all around the world and learned so much about other cultures. It is a great way to help you appreciate people who are not like you and a great way to teach your children to do the same.
Do you travel internationally? What are items on your list that you take?