One of the perks of being a travel agent is the ability to travel for both work and pleasure. While traveling for work we are researching new resorts and destinations for our clients, or visiting old favorites to experience renovations, additions and upgrades to properties. We do this so that we know exactly what travel tips to provide and what the best experiences are for you as our clients.
In our personal time we also love to travel, which often turns into some of the above as we always seem to find ourselves scouting locations and destinations our clients will enjoy. It’s definitely a labor of love and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
A question that we often are asked by our clients, especially those traveling internationally for the first time, is what are our go to items or suggestions for long flights and international travel. After much debate between our travel experts here at South Seas Adventures we have come up with our top 15 tips:
Travel Tips Before You Go
Chat with your doctor and insurance provider. It’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor to make sure that you have any required vaccinations and that you have current prescriptions for any essential medications. You should also check in with your insurance carrier so that you know your options should you need any medical attention while traveling. If your coverage isn’t enough you may want to look into adding extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.
Bring copies of your passport. This one is important. Before you leave take the time to make a color copy of your passport, or a few, and pack them somewhere safe. When you get to your resort place these, and your real passports in the safe. Having an extra copy stored separately from your real passport while en route will help you if your passport gets lost or stolen and will enable you to prove your citizenship and get back home.
It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport with a friend or family member at home, that way they have a copy as well which can be sent to you electronically should you happen loose both your physical and copies of your passports while traveling.
Know that monetary conversion before you depart. This goes along with our overall mantra to plan ahead. It’s good to know before you go how much you should budget and how far your dollar will go, finding out that you are paying an extra 20% on every dollar upon arrival is not a great greeting. There are plenty of apps that can calculate this for you before and even during travel, check out these 10 free apps here.
Contact your bank and credit cards. Oftentimes your bank or credit card company will think that your foreign charges are fraudulent and will block them from going through. Especially large charges like hotel holds, fancy dinners and shopping at multiple foreign locations. The last thing that you want to happen is a declined card transaction when you are tryint to relax and enjoy yourself. So take the few minutes to give your bank and credit card companies a call and alert them to where you are traveling. Who knows, some of them may even have extra bonus points for travel related spending so make sure to ask about any promotions. You might as well earn points while you spend!
Travel alerts. We always check this site before we travel, State Department’s travel warnings and alerts (we also check this for our guests and provide them detailed information) and we also suggest identifying the address and contact information of the local embassy. Take this with you just in case you need it.
Bring a fresh set of clothes in your carry-on. Trust us, this one is important. Although it doesn’t happen often, there is always a chance your luggage will be lost or delayed, and you don’t want start your trip off spending hundreds on clothing. We always suggest a full change of clothing in your carry on as well as toiletry essentials so that you can be sure to look and feel your best!
Bring a charger adapter. Most countries that you travel to have different size plugs and voltage that we have here in the USA. Be prepared and bring an adaptar with you, because not all hotels provide them or have enough for all guests. We suggest a multi-adaptor that works in various countries with a simple change of pieces, check out these Top 10 in 2016 here.
Learn 5-10 Phrases in the native language. We know that it’s impossible to learn an entire new language before you travel, but it’s very important to take the time to learn at least 5-10 key phrases. This will help you with basic communication and the locals will appreciate the effort. Here are some phrases we suggest learning before you go:
- Thank you
- My name is
- Do you speak English?
- Where is the toilet?
- Where is the train station?
- Numbers from 1-10 (or 20)
- How much does this cost?
Travel Tips During your Stay
Turn off your cell phone data or purchase an International Plan. The last thing you want to greet you when you get home is a huge cell phone bill. So do yourself a favor and turn your data off. You will find that many places have wifi that you can tap into to check messages, emails and upload photos of your travel. We also suggest purchasing an international cell phone plan which typically includes international text, call and data.
Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. Do not visit the currency conversion booths in the airports or around the city, they are complete rip-off. Instead use local ATMs (ideally at a bank) where you can avoid any excessive fees.
Dress Respectfully. It’s always better to be the best-dressed person in the room, now this doesn’t mean you need to be in a fancy dress or suit, just simply something that looks nice. Think what you might wear to a family party, date night or casual day at work.
It’s also advised to look into any required attire for where you are visting. Local villages in Fiji, for example, require for women to have their shoulders covered, churches in Rome do not allow short skirts or shorts, cropped tops or too much skin showing. These are things you don’t want to be surprised by on the day of and the cause to miss out on experiences. So plan ahead for packing!
Always Be Early. Often in our own day to day lives we run late, and it’s understandable. When traveling though always try to be early, you never know what you might run into whether it be a long line, difficulty finding a cab, getting lost, forgetting something at the hotel and having to go back…
Better to be safe than sorry and miss out on a travel experience, so be prepared and try to always give yourself an extra 15 minutes. Most of all it allows you to take your time, to not be rushed and to enjoy!
We hope these tips are helpful for you when planning your next adventure. If you need help selecting or booking a destination give us a ring, we’d love to help you plan and even take a lot of this above this off your shoulders.