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DIY travel planning

The first travel wallet I saw (it had belonged to an elderly relation) was a soft leather folder, not much bigger than a DL envelope. In it, were compartments labelled in gold: ’Letters of Credit”, Steamship Tickets’, ‘Train Tickets’ ‘Passport’ and ‘Foreign Currency’. It dated from the days before WW2 when the whole experience must have unrolled like a black and white film. The men would be in suits with a waistcoat (the jacket would sport a ‘ticket pocket’). Women would be carrying a makeup case or perhaps a hatbox. No one would be pulling a suitcase behind them.. the luggage would have been ‘sent on ahead’.

Now we dress more or less as if to undertake a marathon.. as indeed in many ways we are..and we have much more in the way of administrative ‘paperwork’ to carry with us. Not Letters of Credit and probably not Steamship Tickets.. but normally we would need to check off a list like this:

passport/visas
personal id
driver’s license
hotel contact info
health insurance documents
reservations
itineraries
copies of tickets/passport
emergency address list
membership cards
credit cards
banking cards
emergency money
flight tickets
boarding cards

Some of these details can be stored electronically.. There’s an app for that! In fact there are several apps for that.. I use one called Tripit. (www.tripit.com); I forward my hotel, flight and restaurant confirmations and it produces an itinerary.

And for the rest… that brings me back to the travel wallet . Today’s wallets are designed to keep everything safe and accessible.., the contemporary version of that 1930s travel wallet offers slots for as many as 12 credit cards. Some even offer protection against RFID- radio frequency identification technology. I confess to not having known RFID was a problem.. but it’s possible for credit cards to be skimmed remotely. The technology that enables me to simply tap my credit card on a screen and have it register makes it possible for a thief with a simple scanner to hijack my credit card, debit card and passport details.

Nevertheless, despite all of today’s constraints and constrictions, travel – even business travel – is still fun. It’s a chance to take a brief dip into a different environment, to try out new restaurants, different street scenes. Sure, it takes a bit of forward planning to ensure it all goes smoothly – but on balance it’s worth the effort.
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