Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Over the years, I've had the opportunity
to travel to many different countries.
I've also had the chance to live abroad
in a few different countries.
There were many things I learned along the way,
so I figured,
"why not spread the wealth (aka knowledge)?"
Traveling internationally, especially if it's your first time can be quite scary,
so hopefully you find my little tips and tricks helpful.
1.) Passports & Visas
If you don't already have a passport, get one.
This process can take quite a while, so make sure you give yourself enough time before booking your trip.
Research the country you plan on visiting to see whether or not you will need to obtain a visa as well
before entering to ensure that you
won't run into any issues on your trip.
If you already have a passport,
make sure that it's not expiring anytime soon,
and that you have at least a few blank pages left in it.
It's probably also a good idea to make a few extra copies of it just in case it gets lost or stolen.
Research in advance as to what type of currency is used in the country you're planning to visit
and get familiar with the exchange rates.
Although you can exchange currency at the airport, you will probably get charged less fees if you go to your local bank and exchange some money ahead of time.
A lot of places abroad will most likely accept credit cards (Visa/Mastercard. American Express not so much),
but depending where you go, there can be quite a few places (restaurants/markets) who are cash only.
It's always a good idea to have cash on hand just in case.
Speaking of credit cards, make sure to notify your credit card company/bank that you will be traveling so that they don't flag your accounts as fraud thinking someone might have stolen your information.
This is always a good idea to be on the safe side so that you're not left stranded in a foreign country penniless.
Although you also have the option to withdraw cash
from atm's during your travels,
the (sometimes) hefty transaction fees can add up quickly.
Different countries have different sized/shaped plugs and different voltage levels.
Check the voltage levels on your electronics/hair tools. Just because you have an adaptor for something, doesn't necessarily mean you can still use that item without a transformer of some sort.
Trust me when I say,
the last thing you want to do is fry your valuables.
That is a rookie mistake lol.
Over the years I've tried my best to buy items that are dual-voltage so that it's less of a hassle when I travel.
Having a product like this iBlockCube is extremely convenient for travelers or those who live abroad. Especially if you're traveling with a group of people,
or if you just have a lot of items
that need to be plugged in,
it's a lifesaver!
Multiple devices can be plugged into the power strip at a time regardless of if they have 2 or 3 prongs.
You literally have all of the different types of outlet adaptors that you would ever need in one product,
and the adaptors even come in a nice protective case.
I wish I had a product like this in the past, because it would have made my life and travels a whole lot easier.
Not only are they travel friendly,
they're quite affordable as well!
Depending on what your budget looks like,
hostels and Air BnB's are quite popular choices
when it comes to traveling.
I've never personally stayed in a hostel, so I can't comment much about that, but when it comes down to it,
my husband and I personally prefer
staying in a hotel vs. an Air BnB.
In our personal experience we found that a decent Air BnB can cost just as much as a hotel.
Of course the situation is different for everyone depending on how many people you have that need accommodation and how comfortable you want to be.
The closer you are to a city center,
the more expensive the hotel will be.
If you stay further out,
you might be able to save a few dollars, but you'll probably waste a lot of time in doing so.
When we travel, we try to book our lodging as close as possible to a train/subway/metro station that is within walking distance both to our hotel and the city center
(or wherever area you're trying to explore).
If you only have a certain amount of time to explore an area, the last thing you want to do is waste a large chunk of your time traveling to and from your hotel to your destination just because you tried to save a couple bucks. Not only is it a waste of time, but it can be quite the hassle if you're dragging your luggage around.
Learn the culture and language!
I'm not saying to learn EVERYTHING and become fluent,
but at least take the time
to learn a few basic words and phrases.
Not only will it make your life much easier,
it will show the locals that you're not just another obnoxious entitled tourist, and that you're actually putting in effort to communicate with them.
Even if you make mistakes,
they will see that you're at least trying.
Chances are, they will treat you better too.
Take the time to learn about what's acceptable or what's considered rude in the place that you're going to.
That includes tipping culture as well.
For example, if you're traveling around Europe,
tipping isn't necessary.
If you're traveling around Japan,
tipping can be seen as an insult to the chefs and is completely unacceptable.
If you're traveling to the United States,
have fun tipping for literally everything lol.
Hide yo' purse!
If you're a tourist in a foreign country, chances are you stick out like a sore thumb.
This can make you quite an easy target
for scammers and pickpockets.
Keep your belongings close, and avoid people that approach you trying to give you a sob story about their life.
I know it seems rude, but you literally just have to ignore them and keep going, because the second you stop, they'll be trying to sell you some BS story and expect you to give them money.
If a random stranger is being overly nice to you and trying to help you without you asking for it, they'll probably demand money afterwards.
Just something to keep in mind.
7.) Social Media Research
A great way to discover some of the coolest places when traveling is through social media.
Yes, Trip Advisor can be quite helpful and I highly recommend taking advantage of it, but I feel that on Instagram/YouTube you can discover the coolest locations/restaurants.
If you're on Instagram,
all it takes is a quick geo or hashtag search.
I've discovered many cool places and cafes this way.
It can be overwhelming sometimes in a new place, especially when it comes to choosing a good restaurant. Make a little list for yourself of all the places you want to experience for yourself, so that you don't miss out or forget when you're in the moment
And I think that's pretty much a wrap!
If there's anything important I've missed, please feel free to leave it down in the comments, and happy traveling!
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