If you’re traveling abroad for WorldPride 2014 (say, to Toronto?), you may have already gotten the usual advice about checking in with your doctor and insurance carrier about any health concerns and circumstances you should take into consideration depending on where you’re traveling to, including planning for situations that might arise while you’re away.
But what about those things you might not think about, like having extra copies of your passport available, buying extra electronics chargers and packing an extra set of clothes in your carry on bag?
Here are our top 10 tips for international travel:
- Consult your embassy. Check with your embassy long before you depart for advice on everything from travel health notices to safety precautions for reducing your risks while traveling. They can also provide information on what to look for in a travel health insurance plan, potential immunizations, and tips for what to do if you get sick or injured during your travels.
- Get copies of your passport made. It might sound like you’re putting yourself more at risk by having multiple copies of your passport available for prying eyes, but if you passport does get stolen, you’ll have backup to prove your citizenship. It’s also worth leaving a copy at home with someone you trust, who can vouch for you.
- Always carry cash. Not all countries will accept your credit card, or you may encounter problems with your credit card while traveling. Some places still don’t even accept credit cards (what?!), so it’s better to have some handy just in case. My tip is to keep your cash, passport and any other forms of ID all in one spot on your person so that it’s all in one place when you need to reach for it and there’s no danger of it falling out of multiple pockets.
- Go to a bank, skip the ATMs. They may be convenient, but ATMs are not only breeding grounds for scammers to prey on tourists but they can also rack up extra unnecessary fees. If you need to take out more money, speak with someone live at a bank - they’ll convert the currency for you, nixing the overpriced conversion you’ll get at those centres around airports especially.
- Buy an extra charger and multi-use adapter. If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’re almost out of battery life and can’t find a place to buy a charger or can’t plug your hair dyer into the outlet. Double check the voltage on your electronics and test the adapter beforehand too to make sure it won’t fry your favorite devices.
- Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on. Most of us have been in this situation - you arrive at your location but your baggage takes another three hours, or worse yet you have to go without for a day, perhaps even the whole trip. It happens. But if you have an extra set of clothing (or two) available in your carry-on, you can at least get away with an extra day of clean clothes before your friends Instagram your ‘creative’ outfits.
- Print out an itinerary or map. I know, I know, with all the technology and apps available these days, it seems archaic to print anything anymore. But say your phone dies or you don’t have global roaming or your app freezes (ahhh! I hate that), having a printed map or log of what you were going to do or where you want to go makes it so much easier when asking others for help. (Or you can take a page from my book and try to describe ‘that building on that street...with the thing…)
- Buy tickets ahead of time. Another basic tip but well worth the time saved when you show up for an event or attraction only to find it sold out five minutes or five hours earlier. Or worse, that you have to stand in line for five hours just to get a ticket. I may be exaggerating a little there but you get my drift, right? Save yourself the headache and purchase from the original vendor in advance - you can also often get discounts and special deals this way too.
- Bring snacks. You’re probably more adventurous than I am and you’re willing to try different types of food wherever you go (can we be travel buddies?), but there have been many times either stuck somewhere without a food vendor in sight or where the plates just weren’t that appetizing and I wished I’d have thought to bring a granola bar or a box.
- Get global roaming. It’ll still cost you but the charges for a global roaming plan are less than the regular roaming fees that add up quickly every time you access your mail or maps. Whether or not to plan to use the internet or your data while you’re abroad, check into the cost effective plans available to minimize any huge expenses on your monthly statement.
What tips or advice do you have for other travellers? Please share them in a comment!