In between bathing suits, sunscreen, walkable sandals, and ya know, the important things we need to be ready for any adventure, we often let the essentials fall to the wayside. Passport? Sure. Euros? You got it. Two pronged converter with voltage adapter? Uhhhh, come again? While you may be looking fly in your meticulously coordinated outfits each day, the trip is sure to be a bust if you don’t have the logistics sorted out. To make sure you’re adventure ready, prepare these five items ahead of time so you’ll not only look the part, but act like the knowledgeable traveler you are!
While larger cities and more populated areas most likely take credit and debit cards, it’s best to double check with your guidebook or contact person for your visit (such as a hotel receptionist). If you plan to use either card while abroad, double check with your bank about travel fees, they often charge you extra to withdraw money or to even use it at all. It’s also important to let your bank know the exact dates and locations you’ll be out of the country to ensure your card doesn’t get declined. If you’re planning to use self-service machines (such as at a metro or train station), know you PIN number for both cards which is often required for security reasons. You can get a PIN number for your credit card by requesting one from your bank. Just in case, always convert a bit of cash into the local currency so you’re covered. This is easily done at an airport, although the exchange rate is typically best if done at your bank at home beforehand. I typically convert a couple hundred dollars for every week I’ll be away to cover unexpected expenses that require cash.
While your passport and license are obvious necessities, make sure you bring along your health insurance card (you never know!) and student ID (discounts!). Make a copy of each document and spread them throughout your bags. If your luggage happens to go missing, having a copy of these items in your purse or wallet will remedy the situation much quicker.
To make sure you can use your phone charger and hair dryer abroad, reference your guidebook, or a quick internet search, and buy a converter that fits the required outlet. If you’re a frequent traveler, a converter kit allows you to interchange different converters with the same voltage adapter. The least expensive way is to order a set online ahead of time rather than at the airport where they hike up prices. High voltage electronics, such as hair tools, may require an additional voltage adapter so you don’t blow a fuse. My solution for this letting is my hair go wild and free, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Getting around from place to place can quickly add up if you’re not prepared ahead of time. Resorting to taking cabs can double your expenses, and that’s even if they’re not jacking up prices! Prepare metro and bus maps ahead of time and find out which method the locals prefer when moving around the city. However, keep in mind it’s always best to find a safe way home than to save a few dollars.
While becoming fluent in a new language is a lofty goal, learning a few common phrases will better integrate yourself into a new environment. “Hello”, “How are you”, and “Thank you” are great to keep in my mind when interacting with locals. If you have access to WiFi, Google Translate is life saving when needing to know a particular word. If you have any type of health issue, such as an allergy, make sure you know the words to avoid this food in restaurants and how to ask for help if needed.
Have you ever had a major traveling conundrum?
Luckily, I haven’t had any major sanfus when traveling. However, I did have my card rejected while in the Dominican Republic (there was no way I was missing that cliff jumping tour!) so I had to find a phone and make a quick call to my bank to tell them where I was. Luckily they took care of it!