International Travel Checklist

So it's the day before I leave for Lithuania.  I love to travel but I am a fairly anxious gal so I always like to have a little mental checklist...

1. Be sure to be anxious about a week before you leave.  Grit your teeth while sleeping-take ibuprofen in the morning.

2. Call the credit card companies to tell them you will be traveling.  It is not a pretty sight to arrive in Istanbul at 12:30pm and find out your credit card does not work because they have cancelled it thinking that some major fraud business is happening.

3. Register with the embassy. Probably nothing will ever happen but....STEP program.  Let's the US embassy know where you are at all times.  (Travel.state.gov   It's a good thing to check there before you even decide what country to go to...good things like crime statistics, worldwide warnings, terrorist alerts  then see step 1 again.)

4.  Worry some more.  Think things like, "Oh my god I will be across the world from my people."  Try to calm yourself down by thinking things like, "Well if I die at least the people have a good story to tell--Oh your mom died?  Yes she was on a ferry in Hong Kong..."

5. Pack a BRIGHT suitcase.  In this case black is not slimming it is forgettable and unfindable.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing the Big Green Monster come out of the luggage belt.  I also sometimes spot her getting loaded onto the plane.  Yes, she is bright.

6. Use the same driver, airport, airline, hotel whenever possible.  It makes the unfamiliar bits of traveling more familiar.  It also satisfies the miles whore side of me!  Be sure to keep track of those miles too!  Bought a deep fryer courtesy of Hilton this year for Christmas.

7. Snacks and sleeping pills are your friend!  Both make the time pass faster and help you through that ugly jet lag.  Once on the plane set your watch to your new time zone then once you arrive at your destination spend as much time outside as possible.

8. Don't pack alot.  You really don't need it.  Nobody cares what you are wearing and you barely know anyone where you are going anyway.  It stinks to shlepp stuff around and if you have space in your suitcase you can bring better stuff home.

9. If you see something that catches your eye and you think you might need it buy it.  Regret sucks.  I spent the whole movie Anna Karenina thinking about the earrings she wore in the first scene.  Yes, I should have not hesitated and bought them at the Stanley Market when I saw them. Now I want them more than ever.

10.  Always remember to stop and look around!  You are in a cool, new place!  Often times when I travel I am tired, or miss my family or feel lonely but I always try to take a deep breath and push those bad thoughts away and enjoy the experience!  You won't be there forever!  Carpe diem.

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