Travel Notes


T-Mobile Simple Choice Global plan. 140+ countries included. Call before leaving to confirm your plan.

ATM Card

Charles Schwab “High Yield Investor Checking Account”. ZERO ATM fees worldwide, no catch, no account minimum. Transfer money online from your regular checking account to replenish the Schwab account as needed. Before leaving, tell them where you’re going so they don’t block your card.

Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred. ZERO foreign transaction fees (very important). Points directly convertible to United/American/etc. miles. Before leaving, tell them where you’re going so they don’t block your card.

Travel/Activity Planning

Airline reviews

Travel Advisories, Visas

Travel.State.Gov (U.S. Department of State). Check travel advisories and entry/exit requirements for each country on itinerary.

Booking Hostels/Hotels app/website. Reasonable hostel rate is ~$35/night, $50/night is expensive. Get highest-rated/best-reviewed lodging you can afford. Look closely at latest reviews, especially bad ones.


skyscanner app/website (if open itinerary, set destination to “Everywhere/Anywhere”). Compare against kayak and Google Flights as needed.


Google Maps. Offline navigation. Find free wifi and save the map of where you are. Launch Google Maps app, search for area you want to save. Tap menu button, choose Offline areas. Tap plus button (lower right corner). Pinch/zoom area to fine tune map. Tap Download.
Compass by Tim O’s Studios
[Your bank’s mobile app]. More secure than using a laptop when online banking.
Kurrency. Currency conversions. Open this app every time you have free wifi to update the conversion rates.
TravStatsLite. Track places you’ve been with pins. Start tracking just before you leave, keep updating to track total distance traveled.
Units Plus by Alan Mrvica
Like A Local. Local things to do. Donwloaded maps are not free.
Google Translate

Travel Insurance

World Nomads


Find your local travel clinic


International carry-on size is 22" x 14" x 9".

Packing Essentials

REI 80% merino wool hiking socks
Thermal underwear (top/bottom)
The North Face Thermoball jacket
Uniqlo Ultra Light down vest
Flip flops

Clothing technologies/materials
Nike Dri-FIT
Uniqlo Ultra Light down
The North Face Thermoball
80% merino wool
Converse Chuck Taylor II (improved inner sole)

Polyester shopping bag. Carry-all, can be hung via hook anywhere, e.g., showers.
Clear vinyl quart-sized pouch. 1 for liquids, 1 for solids.
Microfiber towel. Medium size (approx 15" x 25") is generally enough to dry off after shower. Bring two if really needed.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock SPF 45

Universal travel adapter.
LifeProof Waterproof case for iPhone x
Power strip. A four-outlet strip is best, only if it’s compact.

Ear plugs. Absolutely essential in hostels.
Eye mask. See ear plugs.
Money belt. Should also fit passport (put passport in Ziploc bag to keep it dry from sweat).
Nite Ize S-Biner Keyrack
S biner. Very versatile, get 2.
Sink stopper. Hand-wash socks, etc. in hostel sink.
Clothesline. Also versatile.
Two locks. 1 for luggage/backpack, 1 for hostel locker.
Security cable/lock. Chain your luggage onto hostel bed/solid anchor at all times.
Moleskine Classic Notebook. Regularly journal while on the road.

Allergy pills
24-hour Sudafed (take one on first sign of cold/cough symptoms.

Consider (I haven’t tested these on the road but they look useful)
Pocket poncho
Compression socks
Mini first aid kit
Anti theft backpack


The North Face
The Container Store