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10 tips for first time travelers out of the country!

July 22, 2017

 

 

1) Research! Once you know your destination,  you will want to educate yourself about the country you are traveling to.. Find out which language is spoken to communicate. Many foreigners are flattered even if you only know ONE word of their language. It's also an ice breaker if you're in for meeting new people! Find out what areas are safe for tourism and which are not. Not only for safety do you want to know about your location, but it makes it easier to get around from your hotel for things you want to do or see. Know what you're getting your self into and educate yourself regarding the culture and foods  eaten in the country you're traveling to. You can't go aboard to countries in Asia and expect spaghetti at every local restaurant if that's all your planning to eat. Try to dive into the local culture and to fit into every day  so you seem to be standoffish!

 

2) Call your bank or credit card provider. Notify your credit card/debit card company's fraud department to inform them which countries you are traveling to with your expected traveling dates to advise your bank that your card hasn't been stolen!  Don’t forget to add any countries that you might have a layover in when changing planes in case you use your card while waiting for your next flight.  Also, check to see if your credit card has a foreign transactions fee, as most credit/debit cards have a fee up to 3%! When traveling I use my Chase Preferred card which has no foreign action fee and has a great rewards program for travel points!

 

3) Cellular service.  Contact your cell phone provider to understand your contract when traveling outside the country. My carrier is T-mobile. T-mobile offers free texting and calling on wifi when contacting other iPhones. If I make a call off of wifi or a non-iPhone I’m charged 20 cents per minute when normally my calling is freely unlimited when I’m back home in the US. Be aware that your internet service/apps will not work that normally don’t require wifi but need internet to access such as Google Maps. My sister's cell phone provider is Verizon, she has absolutely NO free texting or calling overseas and it gets costly very costly if she does so! To avoid over chargers she downloaded WhatsApp before traveling and on wifi, she can call/text for free! If you're a cell phone fanatic who needs a cell phone 24/7 you’ll be able to rent an international cell phone or purchase an unlocked phone and SIM for use at the airport or locally. Personally when I’m vacationing this is my way of disconnecting from “normal life” so I would rather not use my phone or care to purchase a SIM for cellular usage. I can wait for wifi when I’m back at the hotel or out eating.

 

4) Photocopy your passport! Never say never! Just to be safe, copy your passport. Not one copy but TWO! If your passport is lost or stolen in a foreign country it could be devastating! That's your identification to go back home! If it's copied, you won't have to carry around your passport and you will have fewer chances for it to be lost or stolen. You’ll also have all your information on your passport in case you ever do lose your passport!

 

5) Vaccines. 

Before entry, some countries require you to be vaccinated to prevent disease control. If the country doesn’t require vaccines you might want to look into protecting your self from diseases other countries have that you may be susceptible to. You can find out what vaccines you need at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ 5)

 

6) Look up the money conversion before you go.

 Every country has different money they use. Check out the conversion rate of your money to their money. The best and cheapest exchange rate to receive local money is at an ATM. Just be aware of how much you take out.  You never want to carry around too much cash. As far as having too much local money, you won’t be able to convert back over, such as coins. Normally, any leftover change I have I use to purchase snacks on the way back home or even just give it away to the homeless. There's no use for leftover change back home in the US for foreign money. 

 

7) Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. You’ll be able to purchase universal electrical plugs on amazon.com

 

8) Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. 

Mistakes do happen! In case your luggage is lost or stolen, pack an extra outfit in your carry-on bag to be prepared for anything. This way you’ll have an extra outfit or two until you get your luggage back. Not only does it prepare you for the worst but if you're anything like me, you may get cold on the plane ride so you can add another layer of clothing to be comfortable.

 

9)Take a hotel business card from your hotel

Nothing like the good old fashion way of saving addresses and names! Take your hotel’s business card upon arrival. Not only does it ensure you're getting back to the hotel if you're lost, but a foreigner may not speak English and having something in local language is something you can show a local or a taxi driver. I used to store my hotel address in my phone till one day my phone battery died while having fun outside all day without charging it. With my forgetful memory, I couldn’t remember the address or name of my hotel! The only thing that saved me was the hotel business card to get back!

 

10) Bring snacks.

Normally I’m all about trying local food but sometimes it's just good to eat something familiar! Not only will it hold you over until you find the best local food restaurant in town, but if you're hungry on the plane, you’ll be able to eat the snacks you want to feed your hunger!

Nothing like the good old fashion way of saving addresses and names! Take your hotel’s business card upon arrival. Not only does it ensure you're getting back to the hotel if you're lost, but a foreigner may not speak English and having something in local language is something you can show a local or a taxi driver. I used to store my hotel address in my phone till one day my phone battery died while having fun outside all day without charging it. With my forgetful memory, I couldn’t remember the address or name of my hotel! The only thing that saved me was the hotel business card to get back!

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