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Packing and Preparing for Your Trip


First off, learn from my experience (and my expensive at-the-gate fees)...check your flight's baggage restrictions BEFORE you travel. I did not do this. Somehow, I just assumed that my flight's baggage requirements would allow me two bags intead of one because that was the case the last time I travelled overseas. Not so this time! I was stuck with an expensive extra baggage flight...

 

Note to self, regulations change fast and the last time I lived overseas was actually quite awhile ago!

 

What else? You are most likely going to be on a long flight, and want to get some shut eye. Personally, I would definitely recommend one of those high-quality eye masks, not the cheap ones that the airline gives, but the nice comfy ones that completely cover your eyelids. It's a small price to pay for great sleep on an airplane, and definitely worth it for very long trips!

 

Don't Forget to Bring...

These are just my ideas -- but I think that the bigger picture is really: what is it cheaper or more convenient for you to get at home here than to re-buy when you are overseas/in the field. In my head, it was cheaper to by a particular kind of conditioner in a large Costco-size bottle than to try to find it in the field -- of course, if that is the reason you end up paying $100 extra baggage fee, it ends up NOT being cheaper! So definitely ask around as to what products you will be able to get and what you won't be able to get when in your particular location. 

 

      • Vitamins
      • Cleaning wipes
      • Hand Sanitizer
      • External harddrive/back ups...USBs?
      • Extra contacts/glasses
      • Glasses took me a long time to get -- at least, I can't find a place that would do glasses cheap in less than a week -- so don't wait until the last minute!
In general, in hindsight I now suggest not waiting until the last minute -- there are a lot of things that take a surprisingly long time to come in the mail, like new credit cards or a new pair of glasses.

The First Night
Know where you are going to stay on the first night that you arrive! I got of the plane but had no where to stay -- I asked my taxi driver to take me to a hotel recommended in the Lonely Planet guide, but had no idea where it was. He said..no, not nice...why do you want to stay there (hostel-like accommodations) -- and took me to a close but different (and more expensive hotel). I don't think I got ripped off - this one had an elevator -- and I did NOT want to carry my 110 lbs. up the many steps to the hostel-like hotel, but still I got into a situation where I was strangely dependent on my taxi driver and his advice for a hotel, and I was not entirely comfortable with that. 
I definitely recommend staying with a friend when you first arrive, if possible -- and particularly if you have never been to a certain country or city. It is so nice to get good recommendations on where to eat, a nice café, free wifi, and of course how to get around. But at the same time, as much as I wasn't 100% happy with my hectic first night, I was happy to approach Amman on my own terms -- and not have my initial arrival distilled through someone else's experience. 
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.