Anyone who knows me knows that I am a minimalist. They could also tell you that I am constantly on the road for both work and pleasure.
I am prepping for a return to Tulum and thought it would be nice to start to post my travel guides to share and also my tips and tricks for my life — in this case my trips for quick packing and easy travel.
I have included the 10 things I do before I hit the road and coming soon will be my 5 must-brings : Tulum and a locals guide to Tulum.
I hope you enjoy!
10 THINGS TO DO : BEFORE TRAVEL ABROAD
2 WEEKS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
1. Check Travel Warnings — I know this sounds a bit extreme, but after years of traveling solo and planning far and long trips: I can say this has saved me many trips to a pharmacy or clinic. The site I always check is:
It is the most up-to-date resource for vaccinations and any other precautions one should take before travel. Another tip is if I am going to any country that is known for having water issues such as Africa, Bali, Mexico... the list goes on; I take Align [an over the counter probiotic] a week before I leave and during my trip. It helps build up your system against the smaller bacterial issues.
I also check this site:
I usually read through the warnings and create a note in my iphone with the local consulate and emergency numbers.
2. Check your I.D. / Passport — This is another one that seems like a no brainer; but I cannot tell you how many times I have almost left town with nearly expired identification. I usually pull out my ID to check it 2 weeks before [just in case] and at that point; I pack it in the front pocket of my suitcase so I know where it is when I pull the suitcase out to pack for the trip.
3. Bank account travel alert — I make sure I put travel alerts on all of my accounts. Most banks make this process much easier by adding these features to apps. Its worth the 5 minutes before you leave as opposed to be stranded without the use of your cards abroad.
4. Get cash or local currency — For every country I have traveled too, I have learned lessons and will post later about these; but I have learned which countries are best to carry cash and which countries prefer the US dollar. In the case of Mexico, I have been several times and many times my account has been compromised by using at a gas station or local ATM. As far as Tulum goes, the ATMs near the beach are often not working and are VERY UNRELIABLE. The best bet is to carry US dollar and if you have time before you leave; pick up some pesos for the smaller purchases or for haggling at the local markets. MOST RESTAURANTS in Tulum are cash only — so I usually guesstimate how much I will spend and carry US currency in the country and keep it on me or in a safe while I am there.
1 WEEKS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
5. Check the weather report — I just confirm the weather is not changing and that I don't need any extras such as a sweater for the evening or an umbrella ifs going to rain. Seems logical and simple; but some countries are not like as easy as NYC for getting the last minute umbrella. I love the umbrellas at Madewell like this or this — they are super cute and really portable.
6. Write it all down — I always keep a running list of the following and before I leave I save it to my Notes and Evernnote in case I need to access it or lose my notebook. I ALWAYS carry a small moleskine NB with me. Just in case I am on a long trip and my phone dies. I store this in the front pocket of my carry-on for easy access.
INFO TO KEEP WITH YOU
1. Flight info
2. Hotel info
3. Local guide info
4. Consulate and emergency numbers
5. 3 phone numbers of friends/family
7. Prep my pack list — After years of travel, I have created pack lists that I store in my evernote for each type of travel for example I have a master list, a travel abroad list, a weekend list, etc. And since I frequent Tulum several times a year, I have one specific to Tulum which I love !! so I never forget a thing and I travel as light as possible. While I am away, I keep a note of things I may have liked with me or forgot so I can update my packing lists when I return.
PACKING LISTS TO BE ADDED IN A FUTURE POST
3-4 DAYS BEFORE I LEAVE
8. Start packing — This is my weakest link; but I will say I am getting much better. I have found that I usually want to see friends and hang out the day before my trip so now I pack a day or two before. It also gives me a few days in case I forgot something or have a last minute need.
9. Charge it all up — I check all of my electronics and make sure everything like my Kindle is fully charged. This avoids the last minute charging stress. I also keep an extra charge cord for all of my tech and I keep this permanently in a small pouch in my suitcase. This gives me peace of mind that I don't have to remember all of the cords and chargers.
10. Coming back — I always plan for my return before I leave. I know this sounds a bit odd; but it makes your return home an easy transition. I look at what time I am getting in and plan accordingly. For example; if I am flying in late and have an early day after; I will reserve a car service ahead of time and make sure I have dog food and simples supplies that won't perish at home such as bottled water and something in the freezer or dried nuts and fruit.