Kim Steiger
Travel Leaders
3522 55th St. N.W.
Rochester, MN 55901
(507) 281-1014

A 30-year travel industry veteran and world traveler, Kim has worked in leisure sales, corporate sales and agency management.

“As a lover of history and culture, the travel industry has been a perfect career fit,” she says. “Circling back to leisure sales has been an absolute joy. Assisting clients with their dream vacations, assisting multi-generational travelers with creating family travel memories, helping honeymooners with their romantic journeys — all of this brings great satisfaction. Considering the current dicey state of global affairs, sharing safety concerns and tips with travelers has become an important necessity. As a travel agent, this is a task I take very seriously.”

Kim shares this bit of travel advice: Register your vacation or business trip with the U.S. Government’s Smart Traveler program. In the event of a catastrophe, the U.S. government will know where to locate citizens and will help them return to the U.S.

Nora Blum
Travel Leaders
13756 83rd Way N.
North Maple Grove, MN 55369
(763) 231-8782

“As a fan of both fabulous hotels and cultural experiences, I have traveled throughout the world enjoying the views, history and local specialties that make each destination unique,” Blum tells us. “Whether you are looking for a restorative retreat or simply a little pampering, my connections can get you that beautiful beach front casita or private villa. It’s something you’ll remember for years to come.”

“I have been with Travel Leaders since 1997, specializing in Latin America and Europe. But I never hesitate to search out new international vacation experiences for my clients. My specialty is customizing guided vacations to suit each traveler’s wishes and desires. I love guided touring; the guides are so friendly and knowledgeable and you can eliminate a lot of travel hassles. Guided travel can mean traveling with a small group or a private guide.”

Wardrobe, Wardrobe

Avoid the temptation to go overboard with your favorite clothes and accessories.The less is stowed into your luggage, the easier your load will be. Assemble a wardrobe that is basic, functional and versatile.

For Women: Mix-and-match skirt, slacks and jacket ensembles. Tops and/or blouses for dressy/casual wear. Daytime dress that doubles as evening wear. Capris and/or denims. Dress shoes. Sneakers or walking shoes with non-slip soles. Bathing suit and basic swim gear (caps and goggles). T-shirts that can substitute for sleepwear. All-seasonal coat and rain gear. Light costume jewelry. Socks, hosiery and lingerie. Scarves and belts. Keep toiletries such as shampoo and hair conditioner to a minimum, many hotels provide them.

For Men: Suit and dress shirts. Casual dress slacks and/or denims. T-shirts and pullovers. Socks, men’s personal wear, men’s shaving kit. Dress shoes. Sneakers or walking shoes with non-slip soles. Belts and clip-on ties (clip-on ties are more convenient than regular neckties). Swimwear and basic swim gear (caps and goggles). All-seasonal coat and rain gear.

For children: Pack according to the child’s age group: bottles, pacifiers, diapers and wipes for infants. Infant wear, children’s wear, shoes, socks, swimwear, children’s swim gear, personal hygiene items, belts and accessories. All-seasonal coat and rain gear.

Carry-On Essentials

Documents: Passport, visa, birth certificate, driver’s license, insurance cards, list of emergency contacts, photocopies of credit cards, passports and birth certificates, travel documents and itinerary, travel or foreign language guide (optional). Keep documents that must be presented in a secure travel pouch or a small, portable tote bag. Avoid having to reach into your purse (women) or your pockets (men). Store photocopies and other documents in a separate document holder.

Electronic Equipment: Cell phone, laptop (for business travel), digital camera and SD cards, cell phone and laptop chargers, voltage adapter, GPS device.

Steiger advises travelers to make sure their cell phones and laptops are fully charged before leaving the country.

“Some countries perform random checks on these devices. Passengers with phones and laptops that are not fully charged risk confiscation.”

Blum recommends keeping smart phones, laptops and tablets in “airplane mode” to avoid roaming and international data charges. “Europe has excellent WIFI that travelers can use,” she explains.

Related: Tips On Packing Lightly For Vacation

Cash And Carry Currency aAnd Currency Conversion

Determining how much money to bring is a challenge. But the general rule of thumb is, “Bring twice the amount of money you will need and pack half the items you think you will need.” Bring cash, traveler’s checks and no more than two credit cards. If you can, open an e-wallet account denominated in one or more local currencies. The e-wallet card is internationally accepted and can save the time and cost of currency conversion. Many large banks have currency exchange services and might help you set up an e-wallet account. Traveler’s checks, credit cards and cash should be denominated in U.S. dollars if you are an American tourist or business traveler. If currency conversion is necessary, the Minnesota Travel Leaders website posts a printable foreign currency exchange rate sheet.

Europe On A Budget

European countries have remarkable proximity. And European governments take pride in their beautiful and practical eurorail system. With a Eurail train pass, you can visit nearly any European country in comfort and at your own leisure. There are many frequently visited countries that are affordable where Americans often travel and do business. Plus, one can get accommodations at reasonable rates with amenities comparable to four and five-star European hotels. Check out these money saving travel tips from this related article. Bon Voyage and Viva Europa!

Related: Money Saving Travel Tips for Travelers In Europe 

Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.