I only began traveling about three years ago. Traveling was something I had always wanted to do, but repeatedly let others hold me back. When I first made the decision to join my friends on a seven day cruise, I was scared. Unprepared was an understatement, I didn’t even have a passport. I had to use my birth certificate (not the best thing to do, but always an option). I wish I had a list of things to know when traveling then.
It was on that trip that I fell in love with traveling. This is when I decided that I was going to attempt to visit at least one country a year. So far I have met my goal. My next trip was to Paris and London, and that is where travel became very daunting for me. I had my first intercontinental flight, and to make things more interesting I flew there alone and met my friend there. I wanted to share what I have learned with others who want to begin traveling.
So these are things to know when traveling.
Make sure your passport is up to date. Although you can take a cruise with a birth certificate, I recommend having your passport when ever leaving the country. If you need to fly to or from a port, you will need a passport. When going through security and customs, take your passport out of its holder and have it open to the page with your information. Pack photo copies of your passport, just in case it gets lost or stolen. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html
Hotels can be expensive and touristy. You won’t always be able to enjoy the beauty of the locals staying in a hotel. Try an apartment, Airbnb, or other local rentals. Staying in a residential area will give you a totally different experience then staying in a touristy area. I stayed at a small apartment in a residential area when I visited Paris, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Pay the extra for travel insurance. Travel insurance is coverage for the unexpected, emphasis on unexpected. There are definitely ways to save money when traveling, cutting out travel insurance is not one of them. Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, canceled trips, lost luggage and more.
Research your destination. You will want to know at least the basics as far as their customs, a few common phrases, tipping practices, etc. Try the Dulingo app for learning the language it is free and easy. Look at a map of the area you are staying and what it is you want to see while there. Look into local means of transportation. Make sure you know if you need a voltage converter and bring one with you.
Call your phone company and find the best international plan for you. Keep your phone on airplane mode when you are not using it. Try Facebook video messaging to avoid extra service charges and share where you are with those at home.
When I went to Canada, mu Hulu didn’t work. It said it could only work in the U.S. So if you want to watch TV either on the plane of in your room download from Netflix, and you can also pack your Fire stick.
Look into all of your credit cards and see which ones will not charge you for international use. Make sure to call the company and make them aware of your travel plans. I always notify a secondary credit card company and bring that card for emergencies. Take money with you, even though you may plan to use your credit card. Although most places take cards, not all do. Also, you will need cash for tipping shuttle drivers, tour guides, etc. Check the currency exchange rate.
Security is something that always makes me nervous. To make going through security easier make sure you are wearing shoes that are easy to get on and off. Take off all of your jewelry before entering the security line. Pull your clear bags (either Ziploc or purchased) out of your carry on and put in a bin, pull out any electronics larger than a cell phone out and put them in a separate bin, remove your shoes, coat, and empty out your pockets and put everything in bins. If you are going to take a Xanax do not take it before going through security.
Make sure you go through your makeup bag, purse, etc you can not pack tweezers, cosmetic scissors, etc in your carry on.
Do not walk around buried in your phone, maps, etc. Look confident and pay attention to your surroundings. Smile, relax, and ask for help if you need it.
There are so many things to know when traveling, you will make mistakes. These mistakes are learning lessons. I still make mistakes, but instead of getting upset I write what happened down so I know better for next time. I was very lucky to have a couple of great friends share with me what they know when I began traveling. Things to know when traveling will be very helpful for traveling beginners. Now I am so happy that I have been able to share what I have learned with you.
Check out some of my other blogs on traveling.
Until next time..