This summer I have watched so many of my friends of family jet off to amazing destinations across the globe. I’ve had total FOMO moments for the past few months and it has me thinking about all my past vacations. While, I’m not leaving the country this summer personally I thought it would be nice to share some travel wisdom from my own experiences with all of you. Over the years and paired with my own international travel planning I have accumulated these tips. Now it’s my turn to share with you to make your travel experience as seamless and stress free as possible.
Before your wheels up on your way to Europe, Southeast Asia, or even Canada there are a lot of things to get in place aside from just the meticulous outfit planning (and figuring out how to fit all said clothes!) for the travel occasion. I’ve tried to pull together a comprehensive checklist of some of the big ticket items you want to look into and/or accomplish before your big trips!
Check your passport expiration:
Something I learned a while back, and thankfully it did not impede my own travel was that your passport needs to be within 6 months of expiration for it to be valid for international travel. That’s right, so the expiration date is almost arbitrary! So please please please check your dates so you don’t run into an issue at the airport or at a border.
Call your bank/credit card companies:
there are 2 good reasons to do this. First, so they don’t shut your card(s) off on you with your first international purchase or atm withdrawal because they think your card is stolen. And secondly to make you aware of what your international transaction fees are (if you have any). Just give your card carrier or bank a call and let them know the dates and location(s) of your travel and they will make a note on your account. No getting stranded without funds makes for a much happier vacation!
Call your phone provider to set up global plan etc. :
If you are going a trip where WiFi will not readily available you may want to talk to your cell provider about calls and data while away. Your phone will not just make calls readily once you leave the country, a global plan needs to be in place. A lot of phone providers offer a number of different options. For instance I know Verizon offers a per day cost option. Where if you use data at all you are charged for the day but then you have unlimited use for that 24 hour period. You are only charged on the days you use the data. They also had data package plans that could be spread across multiple days. So call your provider and discuss the plan that best fits your trip needs.
Call post office to stop mail:
Are you going on a trip longer than 1 week? I’d advise you to call the post office to put a temporary stop on your mail. Mail piling up is a major tip off that your not home. I’ve been told that this is what some burglars look for. Keep your house safe with this simple tip. Once you arrive back home you simply go pick up your mail at your local post office or in some cases they may just deliver the backed up mail after your set return date.
Buy appropriate adapters for plugs:
Most places outside the United States require a different type of outlet plug. So if you need to charge up those phones and cameras you’ll need special adapters. Also beware; I have found that many times our big blow dryers blow out the socket fuses. So now I always bring a travel size blow dryer that requires less watts to perform. I’m linking a universal charger here that should work for all your charging and styling needs.
There are some essential travel apps out there for your next trips. The first is your airline carriers app. If you are flying one of the big names like United or American they definitely come in handy. The apps allow you to gain access to your boarding passes without having to print out and have the fear of misplacing. They provide flight updates and even allow you to look for seat changes, upgrades etc. they also often serve as your in flight entertainment devise. I’ve been on many flights now where seat back TVs no longer exist and you must use your phone or tablet to access the airline app for movies and music. The BIG tip here is have the airline app downloaded PRIOR to boarding the plane!!! Many times the WiFi access is blocked and there is limited signal while your are taxied to the runway. This means the app may not download to your devise leaving you stranded with nothing for hours (it’s happened to me before, does not make for a fun flight).
The other app that is VERY helpful is Whatsapp. It’s a free communication app. It allows you to text, call and even video chat with people when you have WiFi. So if you don’t want to pay up for that global phone plan and know you’ll have access to WiFi you can chat with friends and family for free on your trip!! Not a bad deal 🙂
Print or email yourself itinerary, reservations and boarding passes so they are easily accessible:
Always have backup plans for your reservations etc. I always print (I know, old school) AND make sure my email has all important documents ready. The other thing you can do is take phone screenshots of the information. This way if you can’t connect on your phone you have the screenshots and/or printed reservations.
I think I covered quite a bit of ground here. These should help you navigate through the not so fun, but important parts, of planning your global travel. Now set that out of office at work and enjoy that vacation life!
…all for the love of the dish