Surf Trip Travel Tips
If you are traveling abroad here are the top 10 tips you need to make your trip easier:
1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, the U.S. Constitution does not follow you! While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
4. Make 2 copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with friends or relatives. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers.
7. Prior to your departure, you should register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site . Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts may not be released without your express authorization. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States.
8. To avoid being a target of crime, try not to wear conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
10. If you get into trouble, contact the nearest U.S. embassy.
Choosing an Airline
Finding the cheapest Airfare can be challenging. Start with AAA or Costco to get an idea what the cheapest rates will cost. Rates will change daily depending on the number of seats available so check different dates. Once I narrow down which airline has the cheapest rates, I'll call the airline direct to see if I can improve on the rate. An additional factor to check is how much does the airline charge per board.
Before the Airport
Do not pack or bring Prohibited Items to the airport. Read the Permitted and Prohibited Items list.
Place valuables such as jewelry, cash and laptop computers in carry-on baggage only. Tape your business card to the bottom of your laptop.
Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry and accessories that contain metal. Metal items may set off the alarm on the metal detector.
Avoid wearing shoes that contain metal or have thick soles or heels. Many types of footwear will require additional screening even if the metal detector does not alarm.
Put all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on baggage. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film.
Declare firearms & ammunition to your airline and place them in your checked baggage.
If you wish to lock your baggage, use a TSA-recognized lock .
Do not bring lighters or prohibited matches to the airport.
Do not pack wrapped gifts and do not bring wrapped gifts to the checkpoint. Wrap on arrival or ship your gifts prior to your departure. TSA may have to unwrap packages for security reasons.
At the Airport
Each adult traveler needs to keep available his/her airline boarding pass and government-issued photo ID until exiting the security checkpoint. Due to different airport configurations, at many airports you will be required to display these documents more than once.
- Place the following items IN your carry-on baggage or in a plastic bag prior to entering the screening checkpoint:
- Mobile phones
- Loose change
- Money clips
- PDA's (personal data assistants)
- Large amounts of jewelry
- Metal hair decorations
- Large belt buckles
- Take your laptop and video cameras with cassettes OUT of their cases and place them in a bin provided at the checkpoint.
- Take OFF all outer coats, suit coats, jackets and blazers.
Packing Surfboards: A travel board bag is a must. For those of you that have swimming pools and are know what "fun noodles" are, they make great packing for the rails of your surfboards. "Fun Noodles" are basically a thick, high density foam cylinder, similar to pipe insulation. Carefully slice along one side and wrap the rails with the insulation and tape to the board. Once wrapped the boards should stack together neatly. Tape two or more together to keep from shifting during transit. REMEMBER - once in transit you may not have access to your board bag until you reach your destination.
Packing General: Travel Backpack and a Suitcase on Wheels, Travel Board Bag: Backpack (carry-on) - pack your personal items, and a change of clothes in your backpack or carry-on. Suitcase: pack the bulk of your clothes in vacuum seal able travel bags which compact space and keeps them dry. The vacuum bags will make a nice place to put your sweaty, dirty clothes and keep your clean clothes ...clean. Plus, all your surf accessories and heavy items. It makes it a lot easier if you don't have to lug around a huge, heavy backpack every time you have to get off the plane. Travel Board Bag: REMEMBER - once in transit you will may not have access to your board bag until you reach your destination. If you chose not to check in a suitcase, you can pack the bulk of you clothes in your board bag. Keep in mind that this adds a lot of weight.
Choosing the correct boards can make or break your trip. This decision is highly dependant on your preferences, your ability and the type of waves you will be surfing. For example: In Indonesia, the surf is typically overhead, fast and hollow. However, you can get away with shorter boards in larger surf because the waves are so perfect. However, the waves can get small and you should have a good small wave board as well. Additionally, if you break your primary board, as I did on the third day in the Mentawai's, you should have a good back up. We would recommend (2) high performance short boards, (1) small wave board and (1) small gun for larger surf. Board lengths will vary with your ability and stature. Boards with removable fin systems are easier to pack.
Ding Repair Kit: A ding repair kit is highly recommended and can be purchased at most surf shops. Airlines will not allow you to take cans of resin on the plane because it is flammable. We have seen some creative ways to take resin on a plane but we can not condone.
Mosquito Repellant - myth or fact?
Thiamin, Vitamin B-1, taken by mouth, prevents gnat, fly, mosquito and other insect bites. The vitamin appears in the perspiration and is apparently distasteful to insects. Take 50 milligrams 3 times daily for adults for as long as a person is exposed to insects.
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