Paris Travel Checklist
Related Paris Escapes Articles
For more practical packing tips, read What to Pack.
When packing for a trip, it seems natural to focus more on what clothes to pack than to make sure you've "dotted all your i's" in regards to your passport and finances. To help you avoid hassles overseas (such as your credit card quits working), follow our quick checklist below.
Before You Leave Home - Information Checklist
1. Make Copies of Your Passport, Credit Card Account Numbers and Airline/Hotel Confirmations.
In case you lose your passport or have trouble with a credit card, you'll want to have quick access to your passport number and account numbers. There are numerous ways to store this information, from low-tech to high-tech. Here's three solutions:
Photocopy Documents. You can leave the copies at home with relative or friend - someone that you can call and receive the information if you're in a bind. Or, carry the copies with you on your trip. Just make sure that you store the documents separately (e.g., passport on you, copy of passport in hotel room).
Email Information to Yourself - If you have an email address that is easily accessible from any computer (e.g., HotMail, Yahoo mail, etc.), email yourself with the information. Then, if you need access to this data on your trip, hop on a computer at your hotel or at an Internet Cafe. If you're paranoid (like me) about having all your data in an email file on a shared server, use a code when writing your account numbers.
Scan and Store on a Portable USB Drive - If love high-tech solutions, this is for you. Scan your passport and other documents, and store them on a tiny, portable USB drive (e.g., a drive on your key chain or necklace if you want to easily keep the drive with you). Use the drive at any computer if you need to access the information.
2. Call Your Credit Card Company - Call your credit card provider and let them know that you are traveling to Paris. With this call you'll avoid having your card automatically cut-off due to bank's aggressive overseas fraud detection programs. Also, bring a back-up card for emergencies.
3. Call Your Cell Phone Provider - Using your US cell phone is Paris is usually cheaper than renting a Paris-based cell phone, and always more economical than calling from the phone in your hotel room. Call your cell phone provider and find out what you need to do to use your cell phone in Paris (e.g., do you need to enroll in an International plan, will the type of phone you have work internationally, what are the fees, etc.)
4. Transfer Funds to Your Checking Account for ATM Withdrawals - In the US, you can easily transfer funds from checking to savings at ATM machines. In Paris, depending on the bank and ATM, you may not be able to easily move funds or withdraw funds from your savings accounts at an ATM. Prior to your trip, you may want to move additional cash into your checking account for emergency access. If you have online banking in the US and access to a computer, you can also have the option of moving the funds online when you are in Paris.
5. Know Your Medication's Generic Name - If you take a prescription drug, carry a copy of your prescription with you and also know the generic name of the medication. This will enable a Parisian pharmacist to easily look up and fill your prescription. For information on French names for common OTC drugs, read our US to French Pharmacy Cheatsheet.
6. Know How To Dial +1 on Your Cell phone - If you're planning to call the US from your cell phone, you'll need to dial "+1" before the area code and the phone number. Make sure that you know how to dial a "+" on your cell phone. For my Nokia, I dial "**", but other phone manufacturers work differently.
Author: Cheryl Montgomery