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Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:05 pm
by Senah
Well, the former USSR. I'm headed to a little country in the former USSR for 2 weeks, meeting up with 3 American friends living in far flung places to travel around and catch up (yeah, it's a far cry from a girls weekend in Vegas).

At any rate, this made me wonder what folks would realistically try to throw in their bag so that they are as prepped as possible for the situation at hand. Keep in mind that I will be doing some hiking and wine touring and hanging out with friends, so the space I have in the two bags below can't be allotted to "survival mode" only. It would be minimally able to accommodate these types of things. I have 1 carry-on, 1 checked bag, and 1 light-weight backpack (that will be in said checked bag). I think I have figured out what I'm taking, but...

What would you take & in what bag? What would you wear on the planes (it will take me several to get there)?

*And, please, no "don't go" comments. I'm going - tickets bought, I'm on my way, yadda yadda.

93d982f5c08e03ec0d06883366933ed9.jpg (8.79 KiB) Viewed 3223 times
Small Backpack (In Checked Bag)
26L Checked Bag
shopping.jpeg (25.55 KiB) Viewed 3223 times

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:15 pm
by Blondie
Personally I'd take a map to the nearest US Embassy with me.

On a more serious note, make sure EVERYTHING you take is legal in each and every country you'll be setting foot in.

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:40 am
by FussyOldHen
Esp when on the plane, wear shoes that you can run in, and natural materials (no polyester- it melts).

Extra copies of your documents, credit card, health ins. You can put information, encrypted, in a site like Dropbox. Copies of passports, credit card details, emergency details, anything one can imagine (including copies of your flight tickets). Just make sure whatever online solution you use, it’s encrypted enough for internet cafes.

Memorize your passport number so you don't have to keep pulling it out.

Small first aid kit: Keep all meds in their original containers (even aspirin). Take anti-diarrhea med, antihistamine, antacid, bandaids, Ace bandage.

Back-up credit card (I think they use the chip ones there) & tell your CC companies you'll be traveling so they don't put a hold on your card after you use it the first time in a foreign country. (Chase is stupid & may still freeze it.)

* Emergency cash, well hidden
* Cell phone
* List of emergency contacts
* Travel insurance
* Small, bright flashlight or headlamp
* Hand wipes or sanitizer
* Granola or protein bars
* Paper & pens
* Ear plugs and sleep mask
* Small umbrella (not black)
* Compass
* Tiniest pocket knife you can find
* Safety pins
* Small cartridge of dental floss & a needle it fits in - very strong
* Find a useless credit-card-type card and wrap several feet of duct tape or gorilla tape around it;
* Do the same with a water bottle- carry it on the planes empty.

You may never see your checked bag again, so pack it with that in mind.

And Blondie's right about restricted items: See second paragraph here:

And Learn About Your Destination (type in the country):

For emergency use, put all the recommended phone numbers on your phone, like all the embassies.

Don't take unmarked cabs and don't get drunk.

And have a good time.

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:45 am
by roger o
One additional item should be an electric outlet adapter and voltage converter. You can't charge a cell phone or use a hair drier without one. Amazon has lots;

Most of all, have a wonderful safe trip!

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:24 am
by AuntBee
That's a good idea, keeping copies of your tickets.

What to wear: layers of lightweight clothes that aren't constricting so you will be comfortable in the changing environments. Invest in a couple of pairs of compression socks or embolism/diabetic socks, and bring a pair of warm sleep socks to wear on top of the compression socks when your feet get cold. As Fussy said,comfortable shoes you can run in.

Airplane air is dry, so some people recommend having a small spray bottle to give your face a spritz now and then. Also, keep your chapstick handy and a small bottle of hand cream. Maybe a bottle of eyedrops like artificial tears.

My sister always travels with a small pillow and a light blanket. Airline pillows and blankets may not be clean. The pillow she has smooshes up pretty small.

And, one last thing, some kind of headcovering like a knit cap.

Have a great time! Send postcards!

Aunt Bee

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:45 am
by Stahlrosen
Some of those countries require you to convert ALL your cash when you come in to the local currency, and then convert back when you leave. Study the map of the places you are going very well before you even get there. Even google street view if you can. Also, if you cross country borders, make sure they stamp your passport. The Czech Republic is notorious for not stamping. You don't want to get stuck anywhere!!
I suspect all your entry fees have already been paid, some of those places charge extra fees on top of the visas, etc.

Take comfortable clothes, very minimal if any jewelry, definitely agree with the comfortable shoes. Read the the list of what you can bring in, and out.
I'd consider a small camping or pack towel. They are tiny, light and useful. Light hat. Obviously you are going to want you bags as light as possible.

Have a wonderful time!

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:57 am
by daaswampman
Have your last will and testament updated and name an executor.
Have plenty of cash statewide and someone willing to negotiate ransom.
Watch the Hostel movies before departure!

Then just have a good time and don't worry about a thing. Swamp

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:57 am
by broden
have a great time

keep your eyes open like you would anywhere else , but enjoy the experience

never been to that part of the world

been through a lot of asia though

if you go somewhere when they say not to drink the water, don't get drinks with ice in them either

that's one of the ones most people don't think about

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:09 pm
by ReadyMom
lysol wipes for the plane, etc.

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:31 pm
by swwiii
Wow. Awesome trip. I don't know their sanitation, but would recommend a steri pen. Better safe than sorry....

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:50 pm
by Senah
Those are all great responses. Doing laundry today/tomorrow and then putting everything out on the bed and seeing what I can pack into those two bags that isn't too much to carry. I always scan my documents and e-mail them to myself so that I have access if I need it when traveling abroad, but the encryption idea is a good one. I spent several years traveling/working in the developing world starting at age 18, so the will & testament etc. has been done and taken care of (and updated) for a good long while (got a lot of interested looks from that lawyer when I sat down at 18 to write a living will etc. - don't think he'd had that before - ha!).

Should be a good trip - never been to any of the former soviet republics before so should be a learning experience and good fun. Glad I have a good batch of ideas to mull over as I pack. And it's good to think about what you can and can't take - where I'm going they let you take pretty much everything (meds in original bottles) but I recently read of a CEO for an American country who ended up in a Japanese prison for bringing her Adderall with her to Tokyo. Oops. Can't be too careful. I'm definitely taking my pocket knife otherwise I'd simply carry on. Just don't feel right wandering around and hiking without it (guess that is the Montana gal in me). Got an Aquamira pen too, and my harmonica of course :thumbsup:

Well, off to print maps. Thankfully I won't have a chance to watch the Hostel movies before I go (thanks for the input though Swamp!)

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:34 am
by Gunns
Let us know what countries you visit and how they treated you. Being American is not a plus thing these days, but being a female will get you a pass.

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:33 am
by Senah
Well, after 29 hours of travel, back in the USA. The Republic of Georgia was a truly wonderful country - I can't wait to go back.

Didn't end up needing anything prep-wise (thankfully) other than my pocket knife which was mostly used to open wine bottles and cut things with the scissors. We went all over the country and saw loads of churches, wineries, hiked, and visited museums. The people are so lovely and welcoming - people wouldn't let us pay for things (our taxi driver we hired to drive us to a remote location took us out to dinner and gave us home brew he made and insisted on paying). They love Americans there and most of the under 40 crowd speak English. In fact, they have sent more people per capita to support our troops in Afghanistan/Iraq than any other country, interestingly.

Wine is amazing there, and cheap - 85 cents a glass. Food is quality and as good or better than Italy. You can find people in remote towns and stay in a spare room and they will cook for you for a few dollars. It is interesting in terms of architecture and politics because they are really right in the middle of so many cultures - Russia to the north, Turkey/Armenia/Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the west. The capital Tbilisi is very modern but also classically beautiful and safe - we walked everywhere at night and felt safe. You can get an amazing meal with a bottle of wine for 2 people for $12-14.

If you can handle plane travel, and want a less touristy place that is cheaper than Italy - try Georgia.






Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:10 pm
by Gunns
Wow that sounds like it was a great trip. Thanks for the pictures.

Re: Prepping for Vacation in the USSR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:02 pm
by rebnavy1862
Glad that you made it back OK and had a good time. Those pictures are breathtaking.