This page is an ongoing work, and will continue to evolve and grow. If you have any travel tips or tricks that might be of value to other travellers, please email us using the contact form at the bottom of the page. Thanks.
Trusted Traveller Program
Get accepted by the trusted traveller program from your country. You may find that it expedites your passage through customs and frequently the TSA security check. You want the NEXUS program in Canada and the U.S. I have detailed the application process here.
Travel light is the best advice we have received. Baggage costs time, energy and money. Any bag that you can leave at home is money, time and effort well saved. And complications of carting and caring for your luggage are reduced.
Travelling light is a great concept, but it doesn’t work for us. We definitely don’t travel light! We will each have a checked bag, a carry-on and a personal item – purse, computer, camera bag, etc. Since it is a medical necessity, I can also bring my cpap machine as a carry-on at no extra expense. (Since I notify Princess that I was bringing my machine, they will provide distilled water at no cost. Other cruise lines may charge for the water.)
We put all of our electronic gear (phones, cameras, Ipads, etc.) in our carry-on, or in our pockets. Since they have recently been weighing our carry-on bags, I have started carrying my computer separately for our commuter flight. Once we get to Toronto, I will put it in my carry-on for the long walk to the international gate. If you are changing airlines, or terminals, you may need to bring your checked bag with you also. Ask your agent when you checking-in whether or not you will need to pick up your bag.
Carry-on liquids are somewhat of a problem, so I only carry what I can’t replace at my destination. TSA rules require that, with few exceptions, all liquids, creams, pastes, and gel (including toothpaste) for carry-on must be in 100 ml (3.4 oz.) or smaller containers. [Note: It is the size of the container that counts, not how much liquid is in it.]
All carry on liquids must all be contained in a one litre (1 quart) clear plastic baggy. You must remove this for inspection at security. I put it on top of my carry-on before I zip it closed, so that it is handy to take out.
There are no restrictions on liquids in your checked baggage. You might, however, run into problems at the cruise port if you are carrying alcohol. Most cruise lines do not allow you to bring any hard liquor or beer on board in your checked luggage. Some allow you to bring a one litre or smaller bottle of wine in your carry-on. Check the website of your cruise line for specifics.
I put one-half of my clothing in Joan’s bag, and she puts half of her clothing in mine. If one bag is lost or delayed, we can still function comfortably until the bag arrives or replacements are acquired.
Since we are flying, we will pack several antibacterial travel wipes and liquid hand sanitizer. The trays and armrests on airplanes are notorious germ carriers and the cleaners ignore them most of the time. We wipe them down carefully before we touch them or put anything on them. If any food should touch the trays before we wipe tham, we will discard that food immediately.
I make a list of items we are going to pack, as we think of them. I check them off on my Ipad as we pack. Although this doesn’t guarantee we won’t forget anything, it does give us a couple of weeks to think about what we need.
I use the “Stow” app on my Ipad. This allows me to save a trip as a template, which allows me a starting point for the next trip. I can easily customize it for the different places we visit.
Roll Your Clothes
Limit yourself to no more than a week’s worth of clothing. If you are away longer than that plan to do washing. Here is a link to the one of the most efficient ways to pack – the Ranger Roll.
Carry on Only
If you are truly adventurous, here is a video on how to pack so that all you ever need is a carry on.
Cruisers and queasy fliers don’t forget to pack wrist bands and/or dramamine. I always bring the chewable ones. Because when my stomach is unhappy, I may not be able to hold down the pills that are swallowed.
We never leave home without it! However, Jim watched a recent video that showed how insurance companies are ducking out of paying large medical bills. The application form is a quagmire that even with the help of your doctor and lawyer, you may make an error that renders the whole policy null and void.
A medical bill of any significance will trigger an investigation. As a a result, the insurance company will look carefully at your medical history for the past six months to two years (depending on the terms of your policy). They will be looking for any minor error to use to disqualify your claim.
Here is a simple example. They ask about treatment for heart issues (it will be worded carefully). And if you have had any investigation or diagnosis including an ECG or EKG in the time, you better have checked the yes box. It doesn’t matter that no irregularities were found. It just matters that they can disqualify your claim if you fail to disclose. And no the failure just doesn’t apply to heart issues. Any failure may be used to disqualify any and all claims.
There are many, many, other questions that can be tricky also. So be careful!
That being said, we will continue to purchase travel insurance. Note: We buy ours annually to cover all trips during the year.
Whether you fly, walk, drive or cruise, you need to stay hydrated. Bottled water in airports, on cruise ships, or in restaurants can be expensive. Good old tap water in almost every city outside of Mexico and the third world is drinkable.
Sometimes the flavour can differ from what we are accustomed, but refrigeration can help. We try to carry water bottles that have a built in carbon taste filter. In restaurants we ask for tap water with ice. A lot less expensive (free) than the “still” or “sparkling” water the wait staff push.
Bring your empty water bottle with you to the airport, and fill it at a tap or fountain after you clear security. The same empty bottle can brought onto a cruise ship. Refilled and cooled daily. It saves on buying those expensive little bottles they try to sell you every time that you go ashore.
You might want to add a touch of flavour to your water for variety. You can bring anything, from a calorie-free lemonade, to a high end organic energy powder. Your choice. By the way, I do not recommend the liquid water enhancers if a flight is any part of your trip. They are prone to leaking with the pressure changes.
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