What to Bring

Each trip has a trip-specific packing list, but there are some general things to bring on a trip.

About a month before the trip, Special Journeys will send you a detailed packing list. The information below should serve to help you plan ahead.



Good Shoes

Shoes illustration

Every vacation includes walking, so good shoes are a must!



Photo ID

Drivers License & Passport illustration

For flight trips, a photo ID is required. For bus trips, a photo ID is recommended but not required.


Cruises and international flight trips require a passport. On those trips the passport can act as your sole identification document.




Suitcase illustration

Limit of 50 pounds.

• 1 set of clothes per day

• 2 extra sets of clothes

• Soft exterior suitcases preferred. Plastic suitcases easily slide off luggage carts and therefore are far more difficult for us to transport to/from the traveler’s rooms.


For cruise and flight trips: the limit is ONE suitcase, unless the trip description says otherwise. For bus trips: one is preferred, but you may bring two.


For all trips: Special Journeys will bring your suitcase to and from your hotel room each night. Normally, your suitcase will not be available to you during the daytime, so please do NOT pack your daytime needs in your suitcase.



Carry-On Bag

Backpack illustration

One YOU can carry, with care products, snacks, and something fun to do.


For cruise and flight trips: the maximum size for carry-on bags is 22” x 14” x 9″ including handles and wheels. Pack any specific care product that might not be available for purchase on the trip. Pack a book, cards, coloring book, or something else fun to do on the bus or airplane. Snacks must be in a single bag so TSA can remove it easily for screening.


For flight and cruises trips: Non-medicine liquid, gel, or aerosol – such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, and lotion – must comply with the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule when packed in carry-on luggage:


• 3.4 ounces or less per container


• All liquids must all fit inside a quart size, clear, plastic, zip top bag.


• 1 bag per passenger.



Medication illustration


If we will be assisting with medication delivery, all meds must be packed as recommended on our Med-Packing page.


If you self-medicate, all your daytime meds must be in your carry-on bag each day. Morning and bedtime meds can be in your suitcase for bus trips, but do NOT pack meds in your suitcase on flight and cruise trips – luggage is not secure and could be delayed in arriving!


If we pass your meds or give you reminders, hand all your meds to Special Journeys when you are picked up and we will care for them in a custom-made and custom-marked medication bag dedicated to you.



Medical Equipment

Medical Equipment

Inform Special Journeys of what you will bring. Medical and oxygen equipment must be disclosed to Special Journeys before the trip departure. CPAPS must be identified and tagged when you are picked up – do NOT pack them inside your suitcase. We will have distilled water brought to your room each night.



Over the Counter Meds

Over-the-Counter Medications & Extra Batteries

If you use disposable batteries, bring extras. Bring all over-the-counter meds as they may not be available for purchase on the trip.

Cruise or International Trip

Passport illustration


There are two types of US Passports – Passport Books and Passport Cards. US Passports are valid for 10 entire years of exciting vacations across the world! Technically you can have both a Passport Book and a Passport Card but for our travelers we only recommend you get a Passport Book. A Passport Book is your ticket to literally any trip across the entire world! For all of our overseas flights, cruises (from US and/or overseas ports) and driving trips to Canada you can use your Passport Book.


While Passport Cards are a little cheaper we don’t recommend them for two reasons. First, a Passport Card can’t be used for international air travel. Second, a Passport Card can only be used for international travel by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. If you first get a Passport Card and later need a Passport Book you will have to reapply and pay additional costs. The world is a great place to travel – just get a Passport Book!


Plan ahead. It can take a few months to get a passport. Special Journeys has a very detailed document available upon request that walks you through all of the steps required to get a passport. It even provides the phone number to call to get a copy of your birth certificate if you were born in the Panama Canal Zone! About 25% of our travelers applying for a passport receive a follow-up letter from the US Department of State before the passport can be issued. This letter requests a large amount of additional information (which most travelers cannot reasonably provide) in order for the passport application to be processed. If this happens please contact our office before responding to the letter. We will explain what is going on and then walk you through a few simple steps to get the application process back on track. There is no charge for this assistance.


Check the expiration date and renew it if it will expire within 6 months after the trip returns. Most countries require you to have 6 months validity left on your passport.



US Currency illustration

US Currency (we suggest no Credit/Debit Cards)

Special Journeys will handle all foreign currency conversion at no cost for travelers that we hold spending money for. If you handle your own spending money, you may bring foreign currency. We recommend that Travelers holding foreign currency ask a Tour Leader to be present during transactions. The Tour Leaders and Travel Companions will also have currency conversion sheets to assist all Travelers with converting local souvenir prices back to US currency. For example, while a Russian nesting doll may have a price tag of 18,000 rubles, that converts to around $20 in US currency and probably is a good deal and a treasure to take home!


We generally do not recommend that travelers rely on credit cards or debit cards on cruises and on international flight trips. If you wish to use a debit or credit card we highly recommend that you contact your bank or financial institution before the trip to ensure it will work overseas.


There are 4 reasons that we strongly recommend that the Tour Leaders handle your spending money and deal with the foreign currency on your trip:

1. If you bring a credit or debit card and it does not work, we typically are unable to resolve the issue during the trip. That means you will not be able to return with the souvenirs you are looking to purchase.

2. If you plan on bringing pre-paid gift cards, in our experience, they will only work onboard a cruise ship. In the Caribbean and Europe, transactions using US-based gift cards just do not go through for a number of reasons.

3. If you bring foreign currency and need to convert to a different currency (if we travel to different countries) the conversion costs tend to be rather high. This is because we are in tourist areas and the nearby exchanges typically do not offer the best rates.

4. If you use a credit or debit card, the currency conversion costs typically average 1 to 3% on top of the transaction cost.


Your Tour Leaders will use our custom spending money tracking software to track and convert multiple foreign currencies automatically. You will return from your trip with all of your receipts, any remaining unspent money in US currency and a spending tracking sheet that shows each transaction in the foreign currency amount and what that converts to in US Dollars. So leave the heavy lifting to our custom software!