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2 Things To Always Bring With When Traveling

Remember Two Things

While I was in Austin this past weekend and Istanbul / Madrid last month, I had 2 interesting experiences that I think others can learn from.

Always Bring 2 Forms of ID

I typically do not ever lose anything. I have never lost a phone, passport, bag, wallet, credit card, etc.

For some reason or the other, starting in Las Vegas this past January, I randomly started bringing my Passport Wallet that has my Passport, extra Credit Cards, Lounge Access Cards, etc, with me when I travel domestically.

I am not sure what the rationale behind this was, but I figured if somehow I got pick-pocketed or misplaced my wallet, at least with my Passport and extra Credit Card, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and I could still get home.

Well little did I know that losing my ID would be self induced, as this past Friday in Austin, I somehow lost my ID while out and about.

I got into the bar with my ID but didn’t have it when I left, so I am assuming that it just fell out of my pocket. We went back to the establishment the next day to ask if they had found it, and they did not.

Luckily, I had my Passport at the Hotel, so it wasn’t a big deal and honestly our first concern was not being able to get into bars the rest of the weekend. Not embarrassing at all to have to show your Passport at the door…

It wasn’t until we were back at the Hotel that I realized the severity of the situation. If I hadn’t brought my Passport with me, I am not sure how I would have gotten on the Plane home.

(A reader commented that you apparently can get on a Plane without an ID, the TSA just doesn’t say what exactly that process is and I don’t think you want to find out. More info here)

My Cousin said I could go to the Texas DMV, but I am not sure if that would have worked.

The only feasible option I can think of would have been to have my roommate FedEx my Passport overnight from Chicago to Austin.

The ironic thing is that I also had my Global Entry Card in my Passport Wallet.

I was contemplating using that when we went out, but even though my Global Entry Card is an official Government ID and there is a background check involved just to get it, it honestly looks and feels worse than the fakest College ID.

Even the photo on my Global Entry ID was taken with a webcam…

Those International Student Identify Cards look more official than my Global Entry ID.

Moral of this story is that wherever you go, always take 2 forms of ID with you because you will really be shooting yourself in the foot if you lose your main ID and can’t get home!

In my case, this was a domestic trip but even for international trips, say you lose your Passport. At least with your State ID, when you go to the US Embassy, you can easily show proof of who you are.

Take Your Medications With You

After doing Vegas during Super Bowl Weekend and then 4 days later flying to London, Madrid, and Istanbul, my body was not adapting well to all the travel.

The small cold I had before I left for Europe, quickly escalated into a full blown ear infection during the trip.

I could handle the ear infection but if you have ever flown with a ear infection or sinus cold, it is a different story because the air pressure won’t equalize in your ears.

I found that out the hard way when we flew between Madrid and Istanbul and my head and ears literally wanted to explode.

In Istanbul, all my cough drops that I had brought from the U.S ran out and I didn’t have anything else for my cold.

At a minimum, I knew I needed some antibiotics for my ear, so I went to the Hotel Concierge and ask if there was a pharmacy nearby.

I figured since it was Turkey, the laws for dispensing pharmaceutical drugs wasn’t as stringent but the Concierge said that was not the case and that they would have to first call a Doctor.

I told him that I knew what drugs I needed and if there was anyway to just go to a pharmacy and pick it up. He called the pharmacy and asked what I needed, surprisingly they said it was fine so I walked over to pick it up.

I got a box of Amoxicillin and the cost was only $4 DOLLARS!

I didn’t even need to have insurance or anything like that. I can only imagine what that same box would cost in the U.S!

Anyways, I took the antibiotics and my ear infection cleared right up and thankfully didn’t die on the return flight to the United States.

I got lucky in that I knew exactly what I needed, Turkey was pretty lax on rules for medications, and the drugs were CHEAP. Had I been in Spain or England, I doubt it would have been that easy and I would have had to pay for a Doctors visit, etc.

If you are traveling, you should always prepare for the possibility that you might fall sick. This is especially true since you are eating different food, on a different sleep schedule, drinking different water, spent time on a plane with other people who might be sick, etc.

Even something small like getting a paper cut can turn into an issue if the Hotel doesn’t have Band-Aids. Sounds crazy but the W Istanbul didn’t have any!

Going forward, when I travel I am going to make sure to bring a small medical kit that includes the rest of my antibiotics, Advil, Band-Aids, Pepto-Bismol, etc.

Recap

I got really lucky with my 2 above experiences in that both turned out well, even though I didn’t really plan for them.

If I didn’t have my Passport or was in a Country that was not Turkey, either situation could have quickly turned in a nightmare and could have put a huge damper on both vacations.

There isn’t really a cost in taking an extra form of ID with you or bring a small bag of medications on your next trip, so in my opinion it is a no brainer.

Are there any other things that are a good idea to take with you on trips?

-Parag

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9 Comments

  • Jenkins says:

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, but as someone who purports to be an expert instructing others, you seem awfully naive and short on life experience.

    First, nobody with any common sense would jet off to the other side of the world without taking some basic health precautions, which you obviously did not (for cryin' out loud, bring a couple band-aids). Second, you seem shocked, SHOCKED to discover that there are countries where medicines are inexpensive and readily available. What you experienced is more or less the norm in most countries in the developed world. You can walk in to a pharmacy pretty much anywhere in Europe and have the same experience. Third, you go out clubbing in a strange city in a foreign country and the way you secure your wallet containing your ID, money and credit cards is to just slip it into your pocket – really? Yikes. Finally, I get that you're trying to help others by telling your story, but you fail to mention the most fundamental point about the precautions I think you're suggesting: don't put all your eggs in one basket – that is, yes, bring two forms of ID (and two credit cards, two stashes of money, whatever) – but keep them separate! If you carry them with you in one wallet and you lose that, you're no better off.

    Sorry if this stings but these are really, really basic things that anyone who has traveled to the next state (never mind across the planet) ought to know by heart – it shouldn't take a big "aha!" moment to learn these things.

    Maybe I need to quit traveling – the miles game has obviously made it too easy for the clueless masses to go everywhere (and pass themselves off as "experts"). Feh.

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Jenkins – I appreciate your comment. Sorry if this stings but you don't have to read my site since we all can't be "experts" like you. Let me know when you start your own site with "expert" advice and I'll be sure to comment : )

  • AZTravelGuy says:

    Are you aware that you CAN board a US domestic flight sans government ID, or any physical ID at all? It's just more time consuming.

  • S. Gulke says:

    Are you aware that you CAN drive from Austin to Chicago? I would be shocked, SHOCKED if it wasn't much farther than driving to Sycamore.

  • travelbug says:

    @Jenkins – You should probably quit traveling to save others from dealing with your bad attitude people like you are probably there reason the rest of the world thinks American's are obnoxious. Every trip is a new adventure where you learn something and you are better prepared for the next trip and you should not criticize someone for sharing their learning experience.

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @AZTravelGuy – Did not know that. Have updated the post.

    @TravelBug – Couldn't have said it better myself!

  • Lively says:

    Just to let your readers know who might live in Florida….Publix grocery store gives away a 14 day supply of Amoxicillin for FREE. 😉
    http://www.publix.com/pharmacy/Free-Medications.do

  • Marcus says:

    Good to hear everything worked out okay. Being sick while traveling sucks!

    That happened to me in Copenhagen, Denmark. I came down with a bad cold, and really needed to rest and heal. Met some cool travelers who wanted to go out and enjoy the nightlife. I really wanted to go, but I knew I'd pay for it by being sick for another week. I was backpacking through Europe at the time, I wanted to recover before I moved on to the next destination. So I had to pass on the offer to party up. Not as serious as an ear infection, good thing you were able to find the medicine you needed, quickly and cheaply.

    Health care can be quite cheap abroad, and there are lots of reliable hospitals (just avoid the dodgy ones). There's a great PBS Frontline episode called "Sick Around the World," where a journalist travels to five countries to see how they handle health care. You can watch it for free online at the PBS Frontline website. Worth seeing.

  • islandgoddess says:

    A good thing to do when traveling, besides having two id's in two different locations, is to make a paper copy of your id and passport and keep it under the lining of your travel bag…or at the bottom of the bag if no lining. Then it is automatically available for every trip . Also, scan and email yourself copies of important docs, travel ins, contact info, and your itinerary, etc. Keeping it "in the cloud" means you can access it even if your bag is stolen. It makes getting a replacement passport much easier, and be sure to have an emergency contact(s) written in your passport as well. If you become very sick or have an accident, at least someone can be notified of your condition. Hope this helps some newbie travelers!!!

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