International travel is pretty amazing, but it does bring up some unique challenges compared to domestic travel. To help you get ready for your big trip abroad (hopefully to Costa Brava for TBEX Europe 2015), we put together a list of our top 5 international travel tips.
1. Pack Light
There’s no need to lug around a huge suitcase on your trip abroad! It’s not only possible to limit yourself to a carry-on, but highly recommended – even if you’re setting out for a month long adventure. More stuff, means more things to keep track of, which means more stress. Take some time to plan before you pack your final bag. Pick a color scheme so mixing and matching is possible. Roll your clothing or invest in packing cubes to create maximum space for your essentials. We also recommend leaving behind what you can buy there; don’t waste your precious space on toothpaste. Your hotel or a near by general store will have you covered.
There are plenty of resources online to help you pack light. We especially love this article from the Stylebook: “Fit 30 Outfits in Your Carry-On.”
2. Stay Connected
There’s definitely something to be said about disconnecting while traveling, but it’s always good to have some form of connection in case of emergency.
For frequent international travelers, consider selecting T-Mobile as your mobile provider. Their Simple Choice Plan offers unlimited talk, text and data within the U.S., plus unlimited text and data in over 120 countries for no extra charge.
For those committed to other carriers, we recommend using an iPhone. This way you can connect with loved one back home via iMessage or FaceTime when connected to Wi-Fi.
3. Manage Money
Most often, credit cards will be your best bet when traveling internationally. They usually offer lower exchange rates than cash. And, although we recommend always having at least the $20 equivalent of the foreign currency on you, many banks charge large fees for using an ATM abroad.
Note that most credit cards have foreign exchange rate fees. If you travel abroad often, consider getting a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, that doesn’t charge this fee. The most important thing to remember is to call and inform your credit card company’s fraud department before you go. If you don’t, they may cut off your card. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a foreign country with no money.
4. Organize Your Important Information
From plans to important documents, you want to make sure you have it all. Download TripIt before you go to help you with this one. Forward all your confirmation emails to email@example.com and all your plans will automatically be in one place. This will help keep you on track, so you don’t miss any flights or trains – which will end up costing you extra money you don’t need to spend.
It’s also smart to have all the contact information you might need readily available. In TripIt, you can find maps, emails and phone numbers for your hotels. The new Traveler Profile feature also gives you a secure place to store emergency contact information and important travel documents, such as your passport number.
5. Don’t Over Plan
When you’re going somewhere new and exciting, it’s natural to want to plan every step of the way to ensure you don’t miss a thing – but don’t! Prioritize your must-sees, but make sure you leave a little room for spontaneity. Some of the best experiences come from chatting with locals and doing what they recommend. So, wander around town and see what happens!
Author Bio: TripIt makes it easy for travelers to know where to go by organizing all your travel plans in one place, for you. No more scrambling to find your confirmation number when you check in for your flight, or searching for your hotel when you land—just the peace of mind you need when you’re en route to TBEX. TripIt is a long time sponsor of TBEX.