Monday, August 4, 2014

Tip of the Day: Your Backpack: Something That NEVER Leaves Your Side

I'm fully aware of the fact that what form of tote bag that travelers carry is often defined by their age, culture, socialization, etc., yet if you can step outside your comfort zone just for a moment, I'd like to try and convince why selecting a "backpack" is a prudent choice:

First of all, "backpacks" are politically, culturally and "age-neutral": 

Yet, here are all of the collective advantages in choosing a "backpack" as a toting device that NEVER leaves your side:

1. If you're a laptop user, and many of us are these days, a 13.3-inch format laptop is a discreet, light-weight approach to transporting a valuable piece of electronics;

2. If you think that weight doesn't matter; just ask your back;

3. What else should go into this backpack that never leaves your side?;

4. Many travelers imprudently carry their actual passport rather than a photocopy of the photo page of their passport and a photocopy of the page of their entry visa. I don't suggest this as the number of stolen passports worldwide is staggering!;

5. Your hotel is always going to be your last stop before you leave the country, which is why I always suggest that travelers stay at a three or four-star property. First of all, such hotels have enhanced security and more importantly, most have a two-key safe deposit box system in the lobby, where you can safeguard your passport, credit cards you don't need, cash, etc.;

6. Before you book a room on-line determine whether they have two-key safe deposit boxes;

7. Related to #5 above is NEVER, EVER use an in-room safe, as there is almost always a "back-door" for hotel staff; 

8. If you're interested in a personal recommendation, I have carried a "Kelty" backpack in roughly 40 countries over the last 14 years without one measly complaint. My backpack is blue and yes, it has two water bottle holders than keep your containers well-secured. Kelty makes a superb backpack;

9. I know the suspense is "killing" you, so here's what else goes into your backpack, other than computer peripherals and an extra battery for both your mobile and your laptop. I can hear you groaning from here, but on long flight, in time, you'll thank me;

a. A photocopy of your registering your itinerary with your foreign affairs agency;

b. Documentation that you have enrolled in international medical treatment and medical evacuation insurance by going to: http://www.insuremytrip.com. One more thing, before finalizing your insurance coverage, ensure that you include repatriation of your remains if you die abroad as upwards of 6,000 US citizens die abroad annually;

c. A photocopy, preferably from your medical provider outlining all of your prescribed medications, what they are for and the daily dosage; any allergies you have; and your blood type. Incidentally, if you have a substantial medical history, I strongly urge that you consider a website known as http://www.roadid.com;

 d. If you're carrying more than US$500 in electronics, I strongly suggest that you obtain international coverage for all of your E-"goodies" at the below website:

http://www.safeware.com

e. A compact AM/SW radio with enough batteries for the duration of your trip;

f. A small flashlight with extra batteries: How many times have you had the power go out in your hotel?;

g. A whistle and/or an audible alarm: For summoning help in an emergency;

h. Map of the city that you're in; and

i. Four surgical masks for highly-polluted destinations.

And yes, all of the above will comfortably go into the blue Kelty.