Here are a few suggestions for packing. Check out respected travel websites for additional recommendations. Be sure to include a tag or label with your name and address inside each piece of luggage and have a lock for your bags.
Clothing should be mix-and-match and multipurpose (i.e. appropriate for both church and day-to-day functions).
Layering clothing: short sleeves, a long sleeve shirt (or two), a sweater/sweater, and a jacket or windbreaker. Remember that it rains a lot. You might want to be sure your jacket is waterproof.
Bring clothing that can dry out quickly (i.e., synthetics); for example, avoid thick cottons, such as jeans. Remember that it rains a lot on the Emerald Isle. Also, you can find laundromats in many of the towns we visit, but also bring clothes that you can wash in your hotel room and that will dry by the next morning. You might need to do a quick "load" to get by. Nylon athletic socks work well.
Bring clothing that travels well (e.g., doesn't require ironing, won't look like it's been rolled up in a suitcase for a month). Again, synthetics are great for this.
Bring shoes already proven to be comfortable. Try to bring at least two pairs of shoes. Wear the bulkiest pair on the airplane (e.g., tennis shoes).
Observe BYU-Idaho Standards: No shorts, and no flip flops worn outdoors.
Bring a plastic trash bag for dirty clothes.
We are not traveling to another planet. You can find toiletries and other items in the towns we visit. However, brands and formulas may differ. Consider the following as you pack:
Carry-on Requirements. Because we are taking our luggage as carry-ons, you must follow TSA restrictions for liquids, creams, and pastes. Each item must be in a container no more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml), and all such items must fit in one quart-sized resealable bag.
It is a good idea to bring several resealable bags, in case one breaks or gets a leak. Towel. Bring a travel towel that won't take up much space and will dry quickly.
Eyewear. If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, bring a second pair if possible.
Medications. Bring enough prescription medication to last the entire trip. You will have difficulty refilling a prescription out of the country. In addition to prescriptions, bring any possible medications you anticipate needing: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. Dramamine can help on flight and ferry.
Have the name of the prescription and generic names of those medicines you take. Keep meds in your carry-on luggage. Leave medicines in their original labeled containers so as not to complicate customs processing. If any medications contain narcotics, carry a letter from your physician attesting to your need to take them. Leave a copy of your medical and dental records with a relative or friend.
Adapter and Converters Transformers. You will need an adapter to plug in your phone and tablet chargers, hairdryers, or curling irons. However, you should investigate if you need a converter/transformer for your electronics. An adapter simply adapts your plug to the country's plug shape/size. However, because the UK and Ireland use a higher voltage that we do, you can fry your electronics by plugging them in. A converter or transformer adjusts this higher voltage to the lower, U.S. standard.
Electronics. Most likely you will have a cell phone or a tablet. You must make arrangements to have your cell phone converted to an international plan, if you want to use it. Some places where we stay will have Wi-Fi, and you can use your phone's texting and email features without an internal plan through the Wi-Fi.
Most of us use our cell phones for alarm clocks, cameras, and other needs. Make sure you have memory space and take any other precautions that you need to ensure you get all the pictures and videos you want.
If you are taking a camera, take extra batteries and extra memory cards.
Bring a watch or an alarm clock if you aren't using your cell phone as such.
Warning: Tablets and laptops are wonderful, but they can take up extra space and be a pain to carry around. Consider how safe they will be left in hotel rooms. While we stay in safe locations, we can't protect against all theft.
Final Thoughts. If you're a "shop-aholic," pack an extra bag for stuff you'll buy, but leave room in your bag: you shouldn't leave on the tour with your bags stuffed to the limit. Save some room for souvenirs.
Pack lightly you'll need to be able to carry everything yourself, sometimes for considerable distances.
Bring books, syllabi, handouts, pens, BYU-Idaho College ID card, and paper (for journal entries and notes).
Debit/Credit Cards. With ATMs in most towns and cities, you can convert your American dollars to British pounds as easily as withdrawing money from the cash machine. However, you must contact your bank before you leave and authorize your cards for international spending. Also, realize that you will pay a fee for international ATM usage, so don't plan on taking out $20 at a time. Fewer, larger transactions will cost less. Also, you may want to get $50 or $100 in local currency to bring with you for that first day or two in country. It sure beats standing in line at the ATM or money exchange after a long flight and leaves you with one less task to worry about. You can arrange this through your bank.
Traveler's Checks. Although used less frequently now, traveler's checks are another option for travel. Here is an excerpt from Business Insider's webpage about traveler's checks and other financial options for international travel:
- American Express-Amex still has paper checks. They also won't charge card holders any commission. You can find the nearest place to buy them through their website, though Chase and Apple Banks are a safe bet.
- MasterCard-MasterCard offers a prepaid card, and one that's accepted worldwide - or anywhere that accepts MasterCard. It looks like a debit card, but like with traveler's checks you'll get your money back should it get lost or stolen, as the card has a "zero liability" clause that protects you from unauthorized purchases.
- Travelex-Travelex sells Amex traveler's checks, but also has something called a "cash passport," which is basically a modern-day traveler's check in the form of a chip and pin enabled debit card that's easily replaceable, and not connected to your bank accounts. The twist here is that one card can carry up to six different currencies, which is great for world travelers or multi-stop trips.
- Visa-Visa sells traveler's checks, but they also have something called the Visa Travel Money Card, which is essentially a debit card versions of traveler's checks - prepaid reloadable Visa debit cards that are accepted any place that takes Visa. Similar to traveler's checks these cards will be replaced along with their balance within around 24 hours. That said, reloading and ATM fees may still apply.
Security Pouch/Wallet. Get a security pouch, wallet, or belt (to hold tickets, passport, money). Plan to keep these items on your person at all times, and wear the security pouch under your clothes. Pickpockets target tourists, and we will be obvious.
Passport/Itinerary/Important Papers. Make three photocopies of your passport. Take one with you; give one to the program leaders; leave one with your parents. This will save time and hassle if you lose your passport.
Make sure your parents have a copy of the tour's itinerary and emergency contact information.
It is always wise to make photocopies of you airline tickets, rail pass, the ID page of your passport, your driver's license, and the credit cards you take with you. Leave one set of photocopies at home and take another set with you, storing it in a separate place from the originals. Leave a list of the serial numbers of your traveler's checks at home. Take a copy of that list on your trip, but keep the list separate from the checks. As you cash each check, tally the ones that remain unredeemed. This way you can spot if there is anything missing.
Insurance. Find out if your insurance policies cover you for theft, loss, accident, and illness while you are in another country. If yes, write down the procedures to follow in case an accident occurs. If you're thinking about traveling to a country where there's been some unrest, you might want to check with the State Department's hotline first at (202) 647-5225 from a touch tone phone.