January 22, 2018
Presently in Los Angeles getting ready for fun at LAX (Los Angeles International) and our flight across the Big Pond to Beijing and Bangkok. I think we are ready. And since we travel quite a bit, I thought it might be somewhat informative and amusing to review travel preparations. The picture is of my travel wallet that is suspended from my neck for overseas travel. I know and have tried belly belts and hidden contraptions in the past. For me, the waterproof plastic gizmo is perfect. It holds the daily travel cash and essential credit and debit cards. It is very modest in visibility and presents serious challenges to the would be street thief. Namely, they have to almost strangle me to get at it and there are few creeps that want a scene.
The passports and big currency stay in the hotel safe during the day. We can then just haul about a small day pack with water, sun screen, bug stuff and room for purchases. Peggy has her small travel camera lodged in her purse that supports a cut proof strap and is always in the over the shoulder and tucked under the arm position. Both of us wear cheapo wrist watches that present no street value. We both know that we cannot disguise our tourist reality but we both dress to not stick out in a crowd. We don’t dress down and we don’t dress up for our street wanderings. We avoid clothing with messages like flags and slogans. Those are conversation starters for people interested in confrontation.
Packing is always a challenge that must take into account the means of travel. This will not be a backpack – hiking venture so we don’t worry about luggage weight too much. What is important to is to prepare for lost luggage. Losing luggage on the homeward leg isn’t too serious. The lost will eventually be found. It is more serious on the outward journey. We give each other 4 or 5 days of each other’s clothes. If a bag is lost, it is usually recovered in a few days or shopping can replace most missing stuff. The checked luggage also contains excess stuff like bug spray and shampoo that bothers the TSA folks. Carry on is for electronics, drugs and medicine and an emergency change of clothes in case all checked luggage disappears.
Most problems can be solved with money. We find that debit cards work great. We also use credit cards with no international charge fees are the way to go. Of course, the banks are notified about our travel plans and we carry photocopies of cards (front and back) as well as copies of medical cards and passports. If all of this sounds a bit paranoid, it is. It is just better to recover easily from a problem than to ruin a trip. We are also more careful about surroundings and times to venture out on the streets.
This trip is mostly escorted so most of the thinking is being done for us. However, we are on our own several days and what can go wrong in Bangkok? It should be a fun adventure. Now we just need to prepare for the long flight. I have some Chinese money for the Beijing layover. Maybe a “Lucky Cat” is in order.