Think of your favorite vacation. Is it the fun, excitement, and memories that spring to mind first, or the hiccups along the way? Whether for business or pleasure, travel can be highly enjoyable. Some people who love to travel are experts at making the most of a business trip by adding some leisure time. I took a 3-week international holiday, and there were many things I wish I had known beforehand.
My husband and I traveled to England, Italy, France, and Ireland. Our adventures took us over 17,000 miles and included a variety of planes, trains, and automobiles! There were a few key lessons rounding out our learning curves along the way that you can learn from. Before you embark on international travel to multiple countries, consider the following tips:
- Pack like you’re taking a carry-on. Depending on who you book your travel through, it will cost you extra to check your luggage in addition to your flight ticket. This often applies to each leg of the journey, so hopping from one country to the next could be pricier than you expected. At most, you will need 3 shirts, 1 pair of pants and shorts, 2 bathing suits and 2 dresses.
- Don’t underestimate a good backpack. I recommend getting a military backpack since they are more water-resistant and come with additional pockets. This allows for better organization when storing laptops, chargers, and neck pillows and avoids them being crushed in your suitcase.
- Invest in international outlet converters. Save more before going to the airport by stopping at your local electronic store to get 2-3 international outlet converters that can be adapted for any country you go into.
- Don’t bring your own hair dryer. I learned the hard way that the power is different across the ocean and nearly blew out my hair dryer because the outlet was so powerful. Hotels, like here in the United States, offer hair drying tools with the correct wiring so you can get your desired look without carrying around an expensive paperweight.
- Carry paper currency as often as you can. Debit cards and most credit cards are accepted internationally but don’t forget about the international charge fees that you’ll be hit with on top of your regular purchases. Having the local paper currency ensures you’re only paying what’s on the price tag and not extra in your monthly payments.
- Customer satisfaction is not always the priority. Don’t be shy to wave down your waiter, especially if it’s been a while since they have checked in with you. Some people will smile at your American accent but don’t be shy to ask for the check when you’re ready.
- Download Google Translate. We had an experience where our Uber driver did not speak English, but this free app allowed us to communicate clearly with them. The latest version will enable you to open your camera to signs so they can be translated to your language and so you know what’s on your menu.
- Check hotel reviews and their location on a map before booking. Some hotels will have high ratings, but there may be less than 5 reviews, or they don’t divulge the complete information about their location or how easily you can access it.
- Research your train travels. This is a fun experience to complete the trifecta of planes, trains, and automobiles. When choosing to be in regular, business, or first class, don’t splurge for first. Business class will give you better dining options but relatively the same as first with a lower price tag.
- If you work from home, use time and date converters. There are free services that allow you to easily convert time zones so you can schedule meetings wherever you are in the world. You can see my preferred one HERE.
Having the ability to travel internationally is an eye-opening experience that you won’t forget, and sometimes a plot twist or two can add to the adventure. There are options and solutions to decrease frustrations and help you save money, making your travel slightly more leisurely.
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