I thought I put together some random thoughts, suggestions or tips for long international travel. I'm sure mine aren't unique, but let's do it anyway.
- Travel light. I mean really, you don't need everything that you think you are going to need before you leave. And, likely you can buy something on the road if you find you need something you left behind. You'll be a lot happier if your bags are not packed and overflowing where putting a receipt in a pocket is a strain.
- Plan your laundry needs before you leave. Figure out how many changes of clothes you need based on when you can do laundry. This might mean you do the laundry the first night you arrive, but that is ok if it allows you to travel with less.
- Be very mindful of physical security of your stuff. Even in the hotel rooms, lock up your valuables in the room safe and/or lock up your computer with a security cable. I just had the experience of returning from dinner this week to find my hotel room door open and the lights out.Housekeeping had left my room open. Fortunately, nothing was taken, but I had taken the time to put things out of sight before going to dinner.
- If you have an RFID equipped passport or credit card, then use something to shield them from 3rd parties.
- Use credit cards or ATMs to get local currency because you likely will get a better conversion rate. You might let you bank or credit card company know you are travelling before you leave so you don't' trigger an alert.
- Lay off the soda and anything with caffeine. Drink lots of water. Just keep a water bottle around and keep sipping water.
- If you are dealing with jet lag, just get out and go when you arrive. Do all you can to be on local time wherever you are. No matter what, don't take a nap in the day because of jet lag. You have to just busy and keep going.
- Write things down. Do a travel journal. On a family vacation two years ago, I bought a small Moleskine like book and wrote all week long, taped in receipts, drew pictures, etc. Now I'm delighted that I have that book. You might find a book that is focused on where you are going which might make the book even more useful to you while travelling.
- Take lots of pictures. Why not?
- Finally, you might try to track where you are going with your smartphone. You might consider something like OpenPaths which will track your location as you move and then you can download it later and look at maps, etc. See the following map of my journey through Shanghai, Wuxi and Suzhou China this past week.
Just be prepared. Be aware of your surroundings all the time. Enjoy the ride.