INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TIPS
As Head Coach of the USA Powerlifting Men' s and Women's Bench Team, I have witnessed, observed and learned various methods that help make travel, especially internationally, easier. These methods will also help to minimize potential problems that may occur due to traveling to and from a competition.
I have put together some tips and suggestions for traveling internationally. I realize some of you have traveled internationally already and some of you have not. The following are some topics that I feel need to be addressed before traveling, especially internationally. The following is Part 1 of a four part series. If you have any questions or comments about these, please feel free to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biggest suggestion regarding passports I have is to make at least 2 copies of your passport, both the cover and the inside. First, place one of the copies in a bag or carry-on, not with your passport. Second, give the other copy to someone here in the USA that has access to a fax machine. The reasons for this is that if you lose your passport, you have a copy to give to the US Embassy or Consulate to help facilitate getting a replacement to get back home. If you lose your copy as well, someone here will have one to fax to the US Embassy or Consulate or to you to again help facilitate the process of replacing your passport. If you show up to the US Embassy or Consulate without any ID or just your Driver's License, it will take longer to get the replacement. Second suggestion is to ALWAYS keep your passport on your person when in a foreign country. Don't leave it in the hotel room. It is very easy to have your passport stolen and then you have to go through the above process. Just remember: your passport is your passport to get back home and also to prove who you are!!
I have several suggestions for personal security while traveling internationally. First, due to events in the past several years and current issues around the world, I would suggest not wearing clothes that speak or say you are from the USA. That means team jackets, etc. You don't need to be a target. Be plain as day. Your voice and language will give away the fact that you are American, but you don't need to advertise across the airport or elsewhere. Second, make sure you always know where your passport is, along with your carry-on luggage. Third, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know where you are and who is around you. Even if you don't know where you are, look and act like you do. Keep your eyes and ears open. Fourth, I recommend to the female contingent that you travel in pairs to decrease the potential of kidnapping. I don't anticipate any problems with this in the majority of the countries USAPL visits, but I do want to make you aware of this. If you are not able to do this, just make sure you take extra precautions. I am not trying to scare anyone, but by being prepared, you decrease the potential for anything happening to you.
Bring food that you are familiar with and travels well. Examples are cans of tuna, chicken, protein bars, nuts, travel mix, etc. I even brought a bag of carrots once. I have never had a problem bringing food into another country, but be aware that some countries, if they search your luggage, may take it away. All I am suggesting is for you to bring something that is familiar to you, especially in a foreign country. Second, you may want to bring a portable water filtration unit to make clean water. Some of the countries we travel to don't have the cleanest water supply. Last, but not least, bring 1-2 rolls of your own toilet paper. I realize this isn't a food item, but you don't always know what kind of TP the other country has. Last thing you need is a sore bottom from using 100 grit sandpaper!
To be continued
Michael A. Hartle, DC, DACBN, CCSP, CSCS
Chairman, USA Powerlifting Drug Testing Committee
Chairman, USA Powerlifting Sports Medicine Committee