January 10, 2020
If traveling abroad is new to you, it can feel overwhelming. However, knowing a few basics can make things much easier, and allow you to better experience the world! I hope this quick read on International Travel Tips helps you feel more prepared for your adventure! This post contains a few affiliate links which helps keep posts like these coming for you!
While I always recommend allowing yourself to go with the flow and not be rushed when traveling, you also want to be prepared. Do your research beforehand on the area you’re going to. Double check the days/hours that places are open. You may be surprised at the random days of the week that an attraction or museum is closed. Consider what parts of town you want to see, and make a plan to see other things in that same area on the same day, versus multiple treks across the city. Definitely allow yourself to get distracted & wander – but go in with a general game plan & itinerary after doing your homework!
Refer to THIS post on how I find the best deals on flights overseas! If you know how to watch airfares closely, you can easily find deals. Read this blog post for all the details on how I find inexpensive flights around the world!
Leave a copy of those at home, and take a copy with you. In the case that those items are ever lost or stolen, you need quick access to calling your credit card companies. Having a copy of your passport would be helpful in the case of that going missing, too!
First, be sure to contact your bank before traveling to let them know the countries you’ll be visiting and the dates you’ll be there. Do not try to exchange dollars. It’s a pain in the bum, and the fees are outrageous. Hit an ATM instead! Most bank cards/PIN codes will work overseas & the fees will be less. (Credit cards are widely accepted as well, but some shops or restaurants will be cash only so be prepared)
I can’t write a post on international travel tips without stating the obvious: Be aware of your surroundings. Obviously you’re a traveler and you can’t NOT stick out in some ways, but try to not bring extra attention to yourself. For example, if you’re traveling with your camera, AWESOME. However do NOT store it in a backpack that has a big “Canon” label on it. You’re asking to get ripped off. Be smart about how you’re carrying yourself.
Pickpocketing happens, but don’t get hung up on letting that concern keep you stateside. Be very cautious on places like subways, buses, and other crowded areas. Keep your items/bags in front of you at those times. The rest of the time, it’s generally not necessary to do anything outrageous – just use common sense! Wear a money belt if you’re concerned, but please do not use your money belt like a wallet & whip it out in public. Again, that’s asking for an issue.
Always look for a meter in the taxi & make sure it’s running. I have demanded to be let out of taxis before because of this & had my suitcase thrown on the curb, but at least I didn’t get ripped off. Ha! Try to check BEFORE you get in, of course. Additionally, with a quick google search, you can find information online about how much a taxi-fare should cost from one place to the next in whatever country you’re visiting. Do a little research beforehand so you know what to expect, and therefore know to turn another way if you’re quoted a rate far above that.
Not sure how the locals dress in an area and/or what the weather requires? Check the location you’re headed to on Instagram while you’re packing. You’ll see real time photos of others there and can check out how they’re dressed!
While international data plans are available with cell providers, renting a travel wifi is my personal favorite way to go. I’m generally traveling with a friend or two, and a travel wifi gives us the best deal. My go-to rental company is TEP Wireless. They’re amazing to work with & the service is great. The best part about renting a travel wifi is that multiple phones can connect to the wifi, giving your whole gang service. You can just pop it in your bag & carry it with you wherever you go, so you will always have a signal. This is a must-have for me.
Do your research before you head out of the country regarding restaurants. Each country will vary in a few areas here. For instance:
In some countries you tip, in some you don’t. In some you will need reservations (to get into the best places) others you don’t. In some, you’ll receive free snacks with your drink order, in others they charge you for every bite. In some countries the water is free, in others it’s more expensive than the wine! Do your research beforehand on whatever country you’re going to.
**Bonus International Travel Tip** Don’t assume every restaurant will have amazing food just because you’re in Italy (for instance). Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie, but I take where I eat VERY SERIOUSLY when abroad. I always check Trip Advisor for the top rated restaurants in the area & read lots of reviews.
Don’t forget to bring a few international adapters (and converters if needed) for your electronics. Find out if your devices are dual-voltage. If they’re not, you’ll also need to purchase a converter. This is especially important for hair appliances like hair dryers, straighteners & curling irons. It’s easy to find dual-voltage appliances online to take with you. Here’s a link to my dual voltage curling wand that I use every day & take overseas with me, too!
One of my favorite things about traveling overseas, is the amount of walking I do. SO much more than here in the ‘burbs of the USA that I live in. Take that into consideration & pack shoes for comfort over style. This is especially true anywhere with cobblestone or hilly areas. Wear in new shoes before leaving the country or just pack your old faithfuls that always feel great.
I hope this post on International Travel Tips was a helpful one for you! Get out there & explore, friends!