People always rate their travel experiences by what went wrong. Well my flight was delayed, I missed my connection, the airline lost my luggage and I left a “personal item,” in the seat pocket in front of me AGAIN. Unfortunately for you, many of these things are bound to happen and outside the limits of your control. You’re really just playing the lottery. I’ve traveled to Europe three times without incident so I was overdue for some aggravation. So after a particularly hellish trip oversees I’ve decided to compile my top 10 international travel tips. Most of these have been found through trial and error or I’ve picked up from well seasoned travelers. Traveling is all about patience, so don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t be the jerk screaming at the gate agent. No body likes that guy.
Make a copies of your passport and store them in different pieces of luggage and electronically. If for some reason your passport gets lost or stolen it is much easier to prove citizenship and get back to your country.
Print out your boarding pass beforehand. Many of the smaller airlines such as Ryanair charge exorbitant amounts of hidden fees for showing up to the airport without a boarding pass.
Call your credit card company before you leave and let them know where you will be traveling and the dates to avoid any fraud alerts and possible freezes.
Notify the U.S. State department of your travel with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It’s super easy to sign up and you can receive travel alerts, safety conditions and other information about the country you will be visiting.
Activate your phone’s global capabilities. When you’ve reached your destination turn off all data roaming and use the Wifi. I recommend downloading free messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber. You can also look into getting a phone plan with unlimited international data. Since I will be spending a lot of time overseas I bought a unlimited international data plan for T-Mobile for about $100 a month. I can text as much as I want and also use google maps wherever which is a huge relief.
Instead of bringing a trolley as a carry-on, I bring a backpack. Backpacks can always fit in the overhead compartment or the seat in front of you. It gives that “on my way to summer camp,” feeling. I also bring a small cross-body purse so I can keep my important documents close by at all times.
Bring an adaptor and a voltage converter for your electronics, chances are the outlets will be very different and you won’t be able to charge your devices without one. Also, check the voltage on you electronics to make sure they match up the countries voltage. I realized this the hard way last year when I fried my curling iron and a few other small appliances in Spain.
Take a picture of your luggage. If you have ever had your luggage lost you know how aggravating it can be trying to explain your, “black square suitcase.” Doing so will make it much easier to identify especially if there is a language barrier.
Pack an extra pair of clothes in your carry-on, if your luggage gets lost or stolen you won’t be stuck forking out dough for a J’dore Paris novelty sweat suit or just wearing the same clothes for 72 hours.
The single greatest cause of getting sick is contaminated water and food. Drink out of water bottles and stay away from ice cubes, especially ones with rough or uneven edges as this is a sign of contaminated water. I don’t care how nice the resort is, trust me, it’s not worth getting a parasite. Also, when it comes to vegetables and fruit pick ones that are cooked or have a thick skin such as bananas and oranges.
Hope these tips helped and don’t forget to subscribe by scrolling down to the bottom. I’d love to see some of your best travel tips both domestic and internationally in the comments.