3. Bring cargo pants or one of those ridiculous safari vest that Dan Rather always used to wear. Useful to have pockets when you are juggling pens, tape recorder, camera, batteries, notebooks...Hands free is frequently necessary.. when you are exiting a burning vehicle or pressed up against a wall to avoid gunfire around the corner. Also, wear long sleeves. Prevents religious riots (see above) and protects you from the sun and bugs. And don't forget some flip flops suitable for the shower.
(above: cargo pants and Iraqi soldiers, and one Marine. I had terrible menstrual cramps in this picture. Always have Ibuprofen ON YOUR BODY. It was remarkable I was upright. Notice the sweat. 120 degrees!)
4. Get all the shots you need. Google travelers medical clinic; they will fix you up with everything you need (including a course of Cipro, in case you get a bacterial infection). With God As Your Witness You Will Never Get Yellow Fever Again!
(this is disgusting but made me laugh.)
6. Make multiple copies of all your documents: travel docs, credentials, passports, visas etc -- leave them with responsible parties at home and at work, and scan them and email them to yourself AND to your thumb drive.
10. Leave your fear behind. Fear serves a great purpose: to warn you off stupid things. Going where you are going is probably stupid. It's dangerous, it's unknown, it could get you killed or sick or maimed. But if you're going anyway, fear is no longer your friend. You're ignoring it. So don't give in to it (before you go. Just go. Then, keep an eye on your fear as your personal alarm system. Respect it. Your brain picks up on cues you may not consciously notice). Most people are good.
Here's a partial checklist:
- Meds -- including Cipro, Ibuprofen or aspirin (Ibu is better in case you twist something -- an anti-inflammatory), anti-diarrhea meds.
- Feminine needs (trust me.. .they can be hard to come by in rougher parts of the world)
- Medical kit: band aids, syringe, Moleskin for blisters
- antimicrobial wipes (like Purell) in individual packages (can take them on the plane, and can toss them in your bag without fear of a Purell container opening on everything
- Baby wipes -- it's wonderful to have a clean butt when you're otherwise disgusting. Also good for feet and face and body
- Toothpaste, brush, dental floss etc.
- Bug spray, sunscreen (they have it in stick form -- which is good especially when your hands are dirty)
- bandanna (good for all manner of things)
- Extra batteries for everything
- Moleskine notebooks (expensive but they can take a real beating without losing pages. Plus you look cool. Somewhat douchey, but cool.)
- computer, digital recorder, camera, a phone that works where you are going
- pens, notebooks (if not Moleskines)
- thumb drive on a lariat
- UPDATE: a roll of duct tape: good for taping up broken luggage, as sutures in a pinch
- UPDATE: a couple of mini0bungee cords -- you can strap things together to further free your hands.
- Cargo pants or a vest, shower-worthy flip flops. The rest is up to you.
Hit me in comments if there is anything I'm forgetting!