Put this in the “basic advice” category, please. I’ve started organizing the “paperwork” for my upcoming trip to Turkey and Hong Kong today, mainly because I’m looking to waste time and avoid doing what I’d have to otherwise. Anyway, it occurred to me that I’m probably printing out a lot more stuff than most people in preparation for my trip.
Here are the necessities (in my book) that you should have with you when traveling internationally:
- Flight itineraries and receipt, if possible showing your seat assignment. Along the same lines, if your flight is being operated by an airline other than the one you booked with, call them directly to select seats and also to get their record locator (each airline has a different one) for future reference. Closer to departure call the operating airline to reconfirm your seats and itinerary. Today, for example, I realized that Thai booked me in the wrong seats for an upcoming trip, which would have my brother and me sitting separately. Not the end of the world, but it’s nice to have it squares away before travel commences.
- Hotel reservation confirmation with the phone number and address of the hotel, ideally with some sort of directions in case you get a cab driver from the airport that claims he knows where he’s going but doesn’t really.
- If you’ve corresponded with the hotel beforehand via email about their upgrade policy, etc., and your upgrade doesn’t show as confirmed online, print out the emails you received from the hotel. In some cases I’ve been promised a certain upgrade before the stay, but when I arrive they only assign me a lower room. Having a printout is very useful.
- As sad as it is, if you have a feeling that an agent won’t know “the rules” somewhere along the way during your travels, print out the pertinent information. For my upcoming trip, for example, I printed out the United International First Class Lounge access rules, just in case the agents don’t want to let me in when I’m transiting Chicago with an outbound Swiss first class boarding pass. Also, if you have elite status with a hotel chain, having a booklet with the elite benefits can’t hurt, should you run into an agent not familiar with them.
- Have a copy of your passport with you when you travel, either on your computer or printed out. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve seen lose passports in countries I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be stuck in.
Ultimately you could just keep all of these files on your computer, but I like to print them out so I can address any issues as soon as they arise. Having printouts of almost everything has saved me many times.
Did I forget anything, or does anyone take a different approach?