So, you’re here. Maybe you’re getting ready for your first international trip and need all the advice you can get. Or maybe you have travelled internationally before, but want my insight. Or maybe you just want to support my blog (which I am 100% here for!). Whatever the case may be, keep reading because this post is full of gems that will lay the foundation for a successful international adventure. The best part is most of these tips apply to domestic travel as well. Enjoy!
Call Your Bank
Imagine going to a foreign country, with a foreign currency, swiping your card and it gets declined. That would suck on a normal day, but having it happen when you’re abroad is pretty unnerving. Call your bank and let them know that you will be travelling outside of the country. They should ask you a few questions about the details of your trip. Be sure to tell them:
- What country/countries you are going to
- The date of your arrival to any foreign countries you are going to
- The date you expect to arrive back home
***Bonus Tip: Limit debit/credit card usage and be more mindful of your money situation (card limits and account balances),especially while travelling.
Call Your Cell Phone Service Provider
What don’t we have time for? Expensive. International. Data. Charges! Contact you cell phone service provider to find out the international rates for calls, texts and data. Depending on your plan, you may already be covered. It’s good to call and verify, so that there are no costly surprises on your next bill! Let them know:
- What country/countries you are going to
- The dates of your departure and return
Make Copies of Your Passport
Grab your passport and take a picture of the first page of your passport (the one with your picture on it). Print out the picture and make MULTIPLE copies. Spread the copies around in your travel bags! This step is so simple, but it’s often forgotten or not done at all. Anything can happen and things do get lost, stolen, and misplaced. You don’t want to regret not having a way to identify yourself in a foreign place, just in case.
My passport situation usually looks like this:
- My original passport is always on me during travelling days
- One copy stays in my carry on
- Two copies in my suitcase, in two different spots
***Bonus Tip: Keep a digital version of your passport handy, too. You can never be too safe.
Pack a Legit Carry On
We know sometimes airports can get a little careless with the luggage. We’ve all heard the stories of lost luggage and I have personally experienced complications with my checked bags. And don’t forget waiting at baggage claims…I HATE CHECKING MY BAGS. I do the most to avoid checking my bags. But, when travelling internationally, more than likely, taking only a carry on won’t suffice.
Avoid the potential frustration that can come with your luggage getting lost by packing a legit carry on. What makes a carry on legit? Minimally, it should include:
- Multiple pairs of underwear
- A change of clothes
- All of the toiletries, medications and necessities you need to look presentable
- Anything you require to go to sleep (satin pillowcase, headscarf…lol, whatever it is for you)
- All of your electronics
It’s easy when travelling within the States to make a Walmart or Duane Reade run when you realize you’re missing items. But if you’re in, let’s say, Greece, making “a quick store run” might not be easy. A legit carry on is a must!
Make an Itinerary…sort of
OK, I’m not the biggest fan of itineraries. I’m much more of a wanderer and I love stumbling upon things to do when I travel. However, international travel is a little different. I do suggest creating an itinerary to give you an idea of your options of things to do once you’re at your destination. At a minimum, here’s what to include on your international itinerary:
- The details of all of your flights: airport names, airline names, flight times and flight numbers
- All lodging information: names, addresses, contact numbers, email addresses
- Hosts’ information if you are staying in an Airbnb-esque set up
Once that is done, do some research to find things to do in the city you’re going to, but be open to spontaneity.
Send Itinerary to Emergency Contacts
You know when you fill out applications and there’s the emergency contact section? Who are the people you list for that? Whoever they are, send them your itinerary . It doesn’t have to be detailed with what you’re doing every second of the day, but do include my itinerary non-negotiables from above! It’s another security measure that provides you and your loved ones comfort while you’re away.
Verify All Transportation Plans
Check, double check and triple check all of your transportation plans. Lessen the potential for stress, and:
- Do research on your destination’s options for transportation.
- Do they have special passes for the subway and buses? Do they have a subway system? Are taxis more prevalent? And remember Uber and Lyft don’t operate everywhere.
- Verify your transportation from your house to the airport and vice versa.
- Verify that your arrival and departure flight times align with the international city’s public transport hours of operation, whether it’s the subway, taxis or Uber/Lyft.
- You don’t want to be on a flight that lands in Barcelona at 4am. You get there and the subway isn’t running, and taxis are few and far between.
***Bonus Tip: Speaking of flight arrival times, it’s always good to align the check in times of the place you’ll be sleeping with your flight times.
It’s been a minute since we had travel talk. I know, I know… Honestly, I haven’t been travelling as much as I’d like to be and I’m so sad about it! It may sound crazy, but I get a rush from travelling. Rushing through airports, getting lost in different cities, meeting people from all over, I LOVE IT! But as a promise to you and myself, more travelling is coming soon!
I hope this article was helpful. Happy travels and if you have any travel tips, please share them. I’d love to read about them!