We leave this Friday for Panama and it kicks into gears some tips that have helped me:1. Open your wallet and take out every piece of plastic. Do a 'yes/no' to see if it is really needed. Take only those needed.2. Xerox the front side of each, now the flip side.3. Give the data to a trust friend.Cash - find a nice, thick rubber band. Cut a piece of cardboard about the side of a folded dollar bill. Use this as a backing for the cash you need just for that day. Wrap the thick rubber band around it and it helps keep it in place when you are seated on that chicken bus, train, etc.Think about air evac insurance. I have back issues so thru our auto association, I purchase a travel insurance package for $40 that includes $50,000 of medical insurance.Check with your company health insurance. Find out what is and what isn't covered overseas.Meds - take only what you need in the form of prescription. Leave them in the dispensed container. Carry them in your carry-on luggage (my budd, when he met us in Costa Rica, packed his insulin materials. You guessed it...luggage showed up...not).Jewlery - Do an inventory. Are those rings, watches, necklaces, etc. necessary, needed, and country-appropriate?Credit cards ... take the one that offers the most travel assistance and take the contact numbers for the "I am in the soup...help-line." In our case, it is our Continental Airlines Chase Card. Call that credit card company and say, "I am going to be in Panama. Note in advance that I authorize hotel, food, in-country transit, etc." Chase keys this right into the account so that when they run the outliers software, I don't get pinched when I am out looking for some obscure coffee bean on a plantation that interests me. Our daughter has the account number to cancel if lost/stolen.ATMs...do a quick net search to see what ATMs are available. Flip the card over and type that provider and the name of the country. Read up. In our case, we learned before going of the tendency of the ATMs to not work in Honduras but Panama is fine (our correspondence with our reserved hotels confirm that).Leave a signed check with a trusted friend/relative (in our case, the travel insurance has a hotline which expedites the transfer of those funds).Leave a rough itinerary (I need to keep quasi-in-touch) in case of emergencies. My daughter has periodic phone contacts with hotels that I am likely to be at. She can find me every 3rd day or so.Packing - My wife and I use back-packs and pack together. 1/2 of each of our things go into each back-pack. In case one pack gets lost, the trip goes on, unimpeded. Place everything you think you need on the bed. Now, randomly toss half of it on the floor. Pack the 1/2 that remains on the bed and put the other half back into the drawers.Accounts - our daughter has the number, address, etc for every account I have; bank, mortgage, brokerage, savings, retirement, etc. As well, she has a key to our strong box at the bank and the addresses/phone numbers to the HR offices of my wife's and my employers. In the case of our unfortunate deaths, she:1. can access and draw on the accounts to handle probate;2. has a copy of our will, and3. knows that between all of our work insurance, the travel insurance, and the credit card purchase insurance, she and her sister are wealthy women<grins>. Travel safely all,Ivanhttp://sidewalkmystic.comMy Honduras Travel Site
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