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6 Things to do before your next overseas trip

In less than two weeks, I’m leaving with a group for a wonderful Egyptian adventure.  Though I’ve been to Egypt many times, my mind has been occupied for the last month with how do you prepare for a trip abroad.  I’m a frequent traveler. Preparing for a trip should be second nature for me. However, I still find myself in a constant state of mindful preparation.  Here are a few of the items on my “To Do” checklist:

  1. Verify My Travel Documents Are In Order–I want to make sure my passport is valid and not close to expiring.  Airlines will generally not allow you to board a plane if your passport has less than six months validity.  In addition to my passport, I will also recheck my plane tickets to verify my name matches my passport.  If there are any discrepancies, I know I need to correct them BEFORE heading to the airport.
  2. Make Sure Luggage Is Working Well—As a frequent traveler, I always inspect my luggage before I leave for vacation.  I want to make sure the zippers all work, and the wheels are intact. I generally use a backpack when I am taking more of an adventure trip. This way I don’t have to worry about navigating unpaved areas or places that are not handicapped accessible.  Once my luggage passes my inspection, then I’m ready to pack.
  3. Review the Weather Forecast—Last month when my husband went to Egypt with a group it was H-O-T like 110-125 degrees Fahrenheit hot.  That’s what it is like in the summer.  As a result, I am preparing to take clothes that are both modest and breathable. Although it is hot in the summer, you’ll be in air-conditioned cars that will have water available for you. But it is still wise to know what to expect once you leave those comforts.  As for travel during the winter, don’t underestimate the cold.  I remember the shock I felt when I arrived in Cairo one December.  I live in a place that snows, so I should have been prepared.  However, I quickly realized I did not have enough layers as Egypt’s cold warranted more than just a sweater. 
  4. Take Inventory–Egypt isn’t always easy to navigate. I want to take everything I will need for vacation with me, so I don’t have to spend time on vacation trying to find items I forgot.  Sure, I’m pretty good at knowing how many outfits to take, but there are extras I always like to add.  Here are my add-on items:  extra pair of sunglasses, ample amounts of sunscreen (I’m very fair-skinned), travel laundry detergent (it comes in single use packets and lets me travel lighter), personal hygiene items (women—don’t forget tampons, pads, or liners), extra pair of comfortable shoes, scarf (ladies), light jacket (it can get chilly at night), money belt (I like to keep my passport and credit cards on me at all times), a wide-brimmed hat for summer, a water hydration system, and a bathing suit. 
  5. Check My Camera—I bought a new camera for this trip.  I will definitely use my cell phone for many quick shots. However, I also want to make sure I have a nice camera to produce high quality shots.  Since I’ve not used this particular camera much, I have decided to go on several “staycations” to practice how to use my camera.  I’ve hiked in the woods, visited a botanical garden, and today I explored the museum.  I continue to learn about my camera, so I know how it works. 
  6. Learn About the Destination—Egypt is a country with a storied past.  It’s not always easy to understand everything about each dynasty, but having some background knowledge will definitely improve your vacation.  My learning has been sporadic, but I am growing more and more excited about my journey because of the few things I’ve done recently.  I read a graphic novel about Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys, and Horus that will help me imagine their journey while I cruise along the Nile. My last visit to my home town local museum was enriched by seeing a mummy, several pieces of art, and a coffin of a noblewoman.  I could only imagine where these items were found while wondering if I will visit those sites.  And to think, in just a few weeks I’ll see an abundance of Egyptian antiquities that will be resting in their original locations.  I can’t wait!

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