Before you leave home decide who will receive postcards, and type their names and addresses on peel-off labels. Then all you have to do is write the message and stick on the label. It also saves the strain of trying to remember who you have already sent cards to.
Take some labels with your own name and address and a large sturdy envelopes that can be posted back as you go, surface mail, stuffed with all the bulky papers and mementos you collect. Number each label and you can very readily tell when they arrive if they all make it.
Memorise your passport number. So helpful when filling in forms for immigration or hotel check-in, often at times when you are jetlagged and just want a place to sleep. Memorise your driver's licence number too, if you need to quote it often.
To speed up luggage retrieval at the carousel, tie distinctive ribbons on your luggage.
If travelling with someone, pack at least one change of your clothes in their luggage. That way if yours is lost you have something to wear. And carry different credit cards so there is a backup if yours is stolen or demagnetises.
Keep a master-list of all the things you need to pack for almost any trip on your computer or personal organiser. That way you can't forget anything you really need, and if your luggage is lost, you can remember what you need to claim on.
Extra passport photos are useful if you need to replace stolen ID.
While these things may seem to add a little extra to your luggage, but you'll find they will actually save you a ton of worry.
This time the laptop stays home – and you are free!
Take print photographs of people who have been helpful or extraordinarily kind. Take a supply of envelopes and ask them to self-address their own. This makes your task much easier on return, and saves you the hassle of finding their address and interpreting their handwriting. If you develop the films along the way, you might even post them more cheaply from their own country.
Occasionally, when you know your familiar breakfast will be hard to come by, pack a couple of light plastic plates and buy from supermarkets as you go.
Hotel laundry in some third-world countries is a little suspect. Your T-shirt turned inside-out makes a clean(er) pillowcase. A simple rubber door wedge can stop an intruder if your door is unlockable. A large square of mosquito netting or tulle will keep mosquitoes at bay. Take vitamin B1 tablets and they may not even want you anyway. No safe in the room? If you have a combination lock on your suitcase, you can lock valuables in there.
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