1. Back up your passport
Scan your passport, insurance cards (especially DAN), cert card (or better yet, get yourself an E-card), and credit cards you plan to take with you. I keep a scanned copy on a flash drive, and I print a hard copy that I stow in the lining of my suitcase (and later in my room safe). This way you’ll have backup in case you lose anything while traveling.
2. Pack your carry-on with care
2Pack your photo ID, medicines, prescriptions, cash, keys, jewelry, electronics, and cameras in your carry-on baggage — not your checked baggage. (For scuba divers, this should also include your dive computers, too.) Make sure all prescriptions are in their original container with the prescription label. Do not put them in a pill box when traveling.
3. Save $$ after TSA
Get yourself a refillable sport bottle. Purchase one that will easily attach to your backpack or carry-on, or one that is collapsible so that you can easily stuff it into your personal bag. When you get to the other side of TSA, just fill it up at the nearest fountain. This is an easy way to avoid the over-priced water bottles at the airport. Packing some nuts, trail mix, or dried fruit to snack on into your personal bag is also a good way to save on the high price of food while you wait for your flight.
4. Make your flight a little more comfortable
Pack noise-cancelling headphones (or ear plugs), eye mask, neck pillow, and jacket or thin blanket in your carry-on to make that long-haul international flight more comfortable and restful.
5. Make a list and check it twice
Make sure to use a checklist when packing to avoid forgetting anything. Make notes on this list upon your return home of anything you might want to pack the next time. Scratch of those things you found unnecessary. (Get my handy dandy diver’s checklist at the end of this blog.)
6. When you luggage doesn’t arrive with you
Put a copy of your itinerary (with your name, hotel info, contact number, and home address) inside each of your bags (checked & carry-on) in case you should get separated from them for any reason. This will make it easier to get your bags back to you.
7. Save time in TSA lines
TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry can save you a lot of time in the security, immigration and customs lines when traveling internationally. If you haven’t signed up for at least TSA Pre-Check, I highly recommend you do. It will save you a lot of stress at the airport.
8. Don’t stress – get travel insurance
Another stress-saver is travel insurance. You’ve saved up your valuable time and money for this awesome scuba vacation. What are you going to do when the unthinkable happens and you can’t make the trip, or have to head home from the trip early. Travel insurance will give you that peace of mind that you are prepared when the unexpected happens.
9. Don’t bring bills larger than $20
Taking cash with you? Remember to break it down into smaller denominations. This makes it easier to tip your taxi or porter. Generally, no matter way you go, breaking anything larger than a $20 can be difficult in foreign countries. The new the bills the better. Try to avoid bills that have been torn or written on.
10. Get the best exchange rate
If you decide to get cash in the local currency, use an ATM rather than a currency exchange desk for the best rate. Check with your bank or credit card before you leave to find out if you will incur any foreign transaction fees when doing this.
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