NEVER leave home with out it!! No matter where you travel in the world, it is essential that you carry sunscreen with you. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are always present–even during overcast days on the beach. UV rays are also very reflective off of snow and water even in cooler climates.

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays over time can cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Yes, I know, it’s one more thing to pack…but this is one gamble you don’t want to make.

Here are 3 things you need to know about sunscreen when you travel:

1. Take it!! As I said at the beginning of this post, never leave home without it. That way, you know you’re covered. You may find in some destinations –like I found in SE Asian countries — most sun creams have lightening gel in it…an added chemical that actually lightens your skin. You don’t want that either. It is best to take products you know and trust.

2. Take several small containers versus one big container. There are several reasons for this: a big bottle is a pain to lug around; small pocket size sun lotions (1 oz.) are easy to throw in your bag when you head out to explore for the day; you can toss them as you go and lighten your load and they easily fulfill TSA requirements.

3. Sunscreen from a dermatologist is worth the money. Buying sunscreen from a dermatologist is not a cheap route–but do you really want to gamble with cheap sunscreens when it comes to protecting your skin? I use drug store sport sunscreen for my arms and legs, but when it comes to my face and neck, I splurge on dermatologist tested and recommended sun protection. This way, I know that it is safe for my face, has long lasting coverage and is sweat resistant. Believe me, it is money well-spent.

My German-Czechoslovakian-Irish heritage blessed me with light skin, light eyes, red hair and freckles and a family history of skin cancer. So, by all accounts, I should be hiding from the sun. Sunscreen products and sunscreen clothing have come a long way enabling high risk people like me to travel freely and enjoy even the most brutal sunny climates. Whether you belong to a skin sensitive group like me or not–sunscreen should top your list of things to pack.