Travel Clinics of America is your best choice for receiving high-quality pre-travel care, sound travel advice, and peace of mind.
Equipment and Clothing Packing List
- Valid Passport with a tourist visa stamped inside if needed. Also, bring two photocopies of your photo page and your immunization card/information.
- International Student Identification card: can be purchased from statravel.com
- Duffel Bag or Large Backpack: It’s fine if your duffel has wheels, but you should be able to carry it when you are in areas where it cannot roll. You may also want to consider purchasing an internal frame pack if you will be carrying heavy items for an extended period of time.
- Small Daypack: for the plane and day trips.
- Lightweight/compact Sleeping Bag or sleep sack for staying in hostels or places that may not have clean bedding.
- Camping Sleep Pad: foam or Ensolite pad, if you will not be staying in hotels.
- Mosquito Tent or Net where needed.
- Towel: A lightweight towel that packs up small, such as a Shammy, is better than a bulky beach towel.
- Toiletries: Bring toiletries in small, travel size bottles; you can refill or buy more if needed. Women should bring feminine hygiene products.
- Personal Medications: If you take prescription medications, bring enough for the length of your entire trip. Bring an extra pair of glasses/contacts and extra solution.
- Water Bottles: durable plastic 1 quart bottles like Nalgene bottles that are BPA free.
- Water Purification Treatment: Available at outdoor stores. We recommend chlorine dioxide (Aqua Mira) and iodine or pure filters.
- Garbage Bags/Ziploc Bags: for storage/laundry.
- Headlamp and/or Flashlight: with extra batteries and bulb.
- Lightweight Work Gloves: if you will be doing hands-on volunteer work.
- Insect Repellant: lotion or pump spray, not aerosol.
- Sunblock: 1 for skin and 1 for lips.
- Travel Alarm Clock or Watch with Alarm: remember to bring a power inverter if needed.
- Extra Batteries: for alarm clock and other electronic devices.
- Money Belt: one that fits under your clothing.
- Personal Mini First-Aid Kid:
- Alcohol Swabs
- Moleskin pads
- Anti-Itch Cream
- Anti-Bacterial Gel/Hand Cleanser
- Gatorade, Emergen-C, or electrolytes
- “Regular Wear” Outfits: semi-casual clothes for going out, working, and recreations: nicer collared shirts, jeans or pants for men; dresses or skirts and blouses/collared shirts for women if needed. Remember to be aware of cultural clothing guidelines for certain areas.
- Lightweight Pants: khakis, wind/exercise pants, capris.
- Lightweight Shorts: may serve as swimsuit for men.
- Bras/Sports Bras
- Hiking Socks: warm, non-cotton.
- Bathing suits: women should bring at least 1 one-piece.
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirts: at least one should be quick-drying material like polypropylene.
- Long Underwear Bottoms: synthetic like polypropylene if needed.
- Lightweight Fleece Jacket or Sweatshirt
- Heavy Fleece Jacket
- Lightweight Rain Jacket
- Sneakers or Lightweight Hiking Shoes/Boots: they should be broken-in and comfortable, but still sturdy enough to hike and work in.
- Warm Hat
- Sun Hat
- Bandanas: can be used as washcloth or headband.
- Earplugs and a small travel pillow
- Sandals with Ankle Strap: sturdy and comfortable pair for walking such as Tevas, Chacos, or Crocs.
- Sarong: can be used as a sleep sheet, beach towel, etc.
- Camera: extra camera battery and memory card.
- Thin Cord/String: to hang clothes, etc.
- Books and Art Supplies
- Small Musical Instrument
- Travel-Size Games: cards, chess, connect-4, etc.
- Power/Clif Bars
Tips for Avoiding Jet-Lag
- Stay hydrated, especially during your flight. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Consider bringing an eye-mask, earplugs, and blow-up pillow to help you sleep on the plane.
- Adjust your watch at the beginning of your flight to help you get used to the time change.
- Get as much exercise as you can in-flight to keep your muscles working and to improve circulation.
- Beginning on the plane-ride, start eating and sleeping on the schedule of your destination.
- Consider taking Melatonin, a hormone to regulate the sleep cycle.
- DON’T use sleeping pills as these induce a comatose state with very little body movement and circulation and can lead to fatal blood clots.
- Do not assume that your credit card will work abroad. Many underdeveloped countries only deal with cash, not cards or traveler’s checks. For example, in central Africa, the only reliable currency is U.S. $100 bills dated 2006 or later, and only Visa is accepted at the few places that take credit cards
- Travel in loose and comfortable clothing
- Take frequent walks in-flight to improve circulation in your legs.
- Keep your feet elevated when possible and avoid crossing your legs (this cuts off circulation).
- Wear shoes that are loose enough so they will still fit once your feet have swelled during flight. This will also make it simpler to go through security.
- Keep hydrated and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and salt.
- Wear glasses instead of contacts, the dry air will dry out your eyes and contacts will become uncomfortable.
- Chew gum during takeoff and landing to prevent ear pain.
- Bring a toothbrush and anything else you would use to freshen up during your flight.
- Pack a change of clothes in your carryon just in case there is any issue with retrieving your luggage.
- Have something to entertain yourself with such as a game, book, or magazine. Consider bringing your own headphones for in-flight entertainment.
- Have earplugs handy throughout flight.
- Keep important documents and valuables with you in your carry-on bag or in a pouch that you can wear in-flight.
- Begin adjusting to the time zone of the visiting country by sleeping at the appropriate times. Change your watch and bring an eye mask to help with this transition.
- Bring a travel pillow and blanket.
When deciding on which method of transportation to use on your international trip, it is important to check for three important criteria: safety, availability, and cost. Not all the places you visit will have multiple options for reaching your next destination, and sometimes the offered options will not all be safe; it is best to do your research ahead of time so you don’t find yourself stuck with no way to your next destination.
Public Transit: compare rates of buses, trains, bus-taxis.
- Don’t take a taxi by yourself
- Only take taxis with clear, official markings
- Take day trains whenever possible; night and overnight trains have more robberies
- Stay alert throughout transit and keep a constant eye on your belongings
- Sit in a crowded area of the bus or train, ideally near the driver or operator
Private Cars: to rent or to be driven by a private driver. Check driver’s license rules of visiting country and make sure that you will understand and be able to follow the traffic laws. Book only with reputable companies that will ensure your safety.
- Ask to remove the markings that identify the car as a rental to be less conspicuous
- Choose a car that will blend in well with the car types the locals drive
- Make sure the car has universal door locks and power windows
- Use the air conditioner so you do not have to drive with open windows where thieves have better access to your belonging
- Rent only a car that has seat belts
- Never pick up hitchhikers
- Park in well-lit areas
- Avoid driving at night as much as possible
Food and Water Rules
When abroad, choose busy restaurants that look clean and serve made-to-order dishes rather than buffet items that may have been sitting for long periods of time at an unsafe temperature. If you must try the food from the street vendors, bring your own utensils and only eat hot foods cooked right in front of you. Also make sure that the dishes used are not cleaned in tap water, but in clean, filtered water. Bring your own water purification system in the event that you do not have access to safe bottled water. If you purchase bottled water, be sure that bottles are sealed before purchase and poke a hole in the bottom of the bottle before disposal to ensure it cannot be refilled and sold as new.
- Fruits that have been washed and then peeled (i.e. melon, banana, citrus fruits)
- Freshly baked bread
- Fresh, fully cooked hot dishes, served hot
- Packaged or canned foods
- Bottled water: choose brand names you know whenever possible and make sure that bottled water arrives sealed and is opened in your presence. The CDC recommends carbonated water such as Perrier over flat water because it’s harder to tamper with and its acidic nature helps to inhibit bacterial growth.
- Hot drinks made with boiled water
- Shellfish and seafood
- Raw or undercooked beef, pork, sausage, or fish
- Cold foods, salads, and raw vegetables
- Buffet dishes and foods left out at room temperature
- Sauces left out on table
- Milk and milk products (unless you are positive that they are pasteurized and have been handled properly)
- Foods stored and reheated after cooking or cooked and served at room temperature
- Unpeeled fruit, fruit that still has the skin or rind on
- Ice cubes