Listed below are some important tips for travelers:

What should I consider when shopping for new luggage?

If you are looking to buy new luggage, you should consider luggage with these features:

  • Retractable rollers, rollers will make it easier to make it through the airport. You will also want retractable rollers, so the rollers won't be pulled off.
  • Removable straps. Straps make luggage easier to carry, but they can get caught on conveyor belts and either break or damage your luggage.
  • A lock, preferably one that doesn't dangle off the luggage too much.
  • Carry-on luggage in a size that will be allowed under the recent more restrictive carry-on size limits.

What should I pack in my carry-on luggage?

  • Your Passport.
  • Wallet
  • Driver's License and/or other proper photo identification.
  • Travelers checks
  • Airline tickets.
  • Itinerary with confirmation numbers and addresses and phone numbers.
What is the best way to carry my medications?
  • Carry them in your carry-on since it will be less likely to be lost than your checked luggage. Your carry-on will also do less harm to temperature-sensitive medication.
  • Carry your medication in their original bottles to help avoid security questions.
  • Bring along the generic names of your medications since brand names can vary.
  • If you have any questionable drugs or particularly large supplies, you might want to bring a letter from your doctor stating you have a legal right to use these drugs.

What should I do with my valuables?

Alhamdulillaah Saudia is a very safe place and the crime rate is very low but as a precaution:

  • Leave your valuables at home in a safe place.
  • If your luggage has locks, you should use them.
  • Do not carry valuables in your checked luggage, they will be safer in your carry-on bags.
  • If you do place any valuables in your luggage, hide them in the lower sections of the bags so a quick look inside won't reveal them.

How can I avoid wrinkles?

  • Don't over pack your bags.
  • Travel with clothing that is less likely to wrinkle.
  • Roll up T-shirts or underwear and wrap your items around them at a fold line. This will help keep a crease from forming.
  • Take the proper size luggage for your trip. Too big a bag will allow your items to move around and make damage and wrinkles more likely.
  • Button the buttons on shirts so items will hang properly.
  • Use plastic dry cleaner bags between items. Make sure the dry cleaner bags do not have any advertising printed on them. The ink can rub off and end up on your clothes.
  • Unpack as soon as possible.
  • Hang wrinkled items in the bathroom while you shower to help steam out the wrinkles.
How can I avoid losses on my trip?
  • Don't pack valuable, perishable, and fragile or items sensitive to the heat and cold in your checked baggage. Try to avoid these items altogether, but if you must take them, they will be safer in your carry-on bag.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended or take your eyes off your bags.
  • Learn your destination's airport code and make sure the correct one gets put on your bag.
  • Use the locks on your luggage.
  • Clearly label your luggage on both the inside and outside of your bags.
  • Remove any items that are hanging off your luggage and could get caught on conveyor belts.
  • Place a unique bright marking on your luggage so you can easily identify it.
  • Cover your hands when you are entering ATM or phone card numbers so others can't copy them down and use them.
  • If an airline loses your items make a claim before you leave the airport; some Airlines will not honor claims made after you have left the airport.
How can I pack light and still have everything I need?
  • Traveling with the smallest possible amount of luggage is the best way to go.
  • Check the weather, so you can bring the most appropriate items. Click HERE or HERE for 10 days extended forecast.
  • Plan your outfits according to the weather..
  • List all the items you are taking and check to see if you really need each item, in other words, is there something else you could take to kill two birds with one stone.
  • Don't waste an inch of your luggage space, pack underwear and socks inside your shoes (after placing them in small plastic bags). This will also help your shoes keep their shape. Pack your belts around the edge of the luggage.
Can I use my ATM card while traveling?
  • Yes, with the ability to draw out small amounts of cash as needed, you can use your ATM card in many ATMs found almost in every other block in financial districts
  • The ATM will issue money in local currency, but the exchange rate or the ATM fees may be higher than just exchanging the cash.
  • Call your bank to make sure your PIN number will work in foreign countries.
  • Find out your daily limits and plan ahead. You may need to take out money little by little or ask to have your daily limit increased.
  • Use your ATM card before you go, to make sure it is still good.
What should I know about using travelers checks?
  • If the particular brand of travelers checks are accepted in Saudi Arabia.
  • Any fees for purchasing and using the travelers checks.
  • The travelers check company's loss, replacement and refund policies.
How can I protect my travelers checks while traveling?
  • Take the same precautions you would to protect your cash. Be sure to learn and follow the procedures required if you lose your travelers checks. You will also need to make copies of your travelers checks before you go and keep separate from them the following information.
  • The serial numbers of the travelers checks.
  • The denomination of the travelers checks.
  • The date and location of their purchase.
  • The phone number to call to report them missing.

Tips for at the Airport

Everyone who travels by air goes through airport security checkpoints. These checkpoints are operated by Transportation Security Officers from the Transportation Security Administration.

Certain clothing and accessories can set off an alarm on the metal detector and slow you down. Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry or other accessories that contain metal when traveling through the security checkpoints:

  • Heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties)
  • Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs
  • Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
  • Belt buckles
  • Under-wire bras
  • Hidden items such as body piercings may result in your being directed to additional screening for a pat-down inspection. If selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.
  • Take metal items such as keys, loose change, mobile phones, pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs) out of your pockets.
  • Place heavy jewelry and other metal items in your carry-on baggage or in plastic bags if they are offered, until you clear security.
  • Pack all your coats and jackets in your baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection. These include, but are not limited to, trench coats, heavy winter coats, suit jackets, sport coats and blazers. If you choose to wear an outer coat or jacket to the checkpoint, you will need to either place it in your carry-on or put it in the bin that is provided for you.
  • Disposable booties or slippers may be worn through the checkpoint to help protect your feet, but they must be disposed of prior to leaving the screening area.

TSA Security Officers have to identify any metal that is detected at the checkpoint. If you set off the alarm, you will undergo additional screening. This includes a hand-wand and pat-down inspection.

You can remove metal items at the security checkpoint and place them in the plastic bags offered at several airports or in the bins provided. The bins will be sent through the X-ray machine. You can save time by not wearing metal items or by placing them in your carry-on baggage before getting in line.

More Travel Tips

Keep in mind: the tips provided here are only suggestions from the experiences of others.

Travelling with a laptop?

  • When going through metal detectors at airports, DO NOT put your laptop on the conveyor just yet. Wait till there is no one in front of you. There have been scams where you put your laptop on the belt, and the person in front of you has a metal object with them causing you and the rest a delay, while his accomplice at the other side waits for your laptop and takes off with it.
  • Backup Your Computer - Whether you are taking a short trip with your laptop or moving with your computer, backup your hard drive before you travel.

A few general safety tips

How Do I Get Back to the Hotel?

  • Better safe than sorry: When traveling to an unfamiliar place, especially to another country, keep a business card or matchbook or a piece of paper with your hotel's address and phone number on it. If you do get lost or separated from your group, you can show a cab driver the address and be whisked to your 'home base' safe and sound. This is particularly helpful to those in a foreign country with little to no foreign language skills.

Internet to the Rescue!

  • Before travelling, scan your documents (passport, travellers, identity and vaccination card) and send them to your email adress. In case of problem you can print them everywhere in any cybercafe in the world.

Travelling while pregnant

  • If you plan to take a plane trip while pregnant, discuss it with your doctor first. Barring any problems or complications, your doctor will probably let you go - except in the very early stages (when miscarriages are more likely to occur) or in the later stages (when you may be more likely to go into labor). Most airlines have regulations regarding how late into a pregnancy you may travel. Check before you fly to avoid disappointment.
  • It is probably not a good idea to travel anywhere that requires prior immunization. Avoiding the introduction or ingestion of foreign substances during pregnancy is the safest route to a healthy baby.
  • Try to book a seat with comfort in mind:
    • A seat near the bathroom will facilitate more frequent bladder emptying.
    • An aisle seat will make it easier to get up for quick walks (and trips to the washroom)
    • Bulkhead seats have the most legroom.
    • First class seats will be most comfortable - if you can afford the expenditure.

General air travel tips

Avoid Stiff Muscles

  • Avoid stiff muscles by trying to keep them in motion. They can ache from being too still for too long at a time. Every 10 or 15 minutes, help your circulation and muscles by rotating your shoulders (backward and forward) and bending your neck to each side by lowering your ear to your shoulder (and repeating on the other side), as well as back and forth (chin to chest, then back). Also, get up and walk around once in a while to keep that blood flowing!

Baggage Care and Attention

  • When you claim your bag at the airport, check it over before you leave the bag claim area. Look for any new damage on the bag, and to be sure that it was not opened and something taken (airlines have time limits for when these can be reported, and they will need to see the damage before opening the claim for damage or pilferage). The baggage service desk for the airline is normally right in the claim area; this is also true for Customs arrivals. It is especially important to fill out the misplaced baggage information before leaving Customs, as Customs will have special forms that may help the baggage clear without your presence at the airport. If you have combination locks or keys for the baggage, these should be left with the paperwork for your baggage - as it will prevent delays in getting your bag or possible bag damage from Customs opening the bag.