Here I’ve listed out my top ten travel tips to help you plan your next vacation so it’s a great experience for yourself and your whole family.
#1 Travel Insurance
No one wants or expects an emergency situation on vacation, but they happen. Travel Insurance protects you from certain financial risks and losses that can occur while traveling. These losses can be minor, like a delayed suitcase, or significant, like a last-minute trip cancellation or a medical emergency overseas.
The best Travel Insurance covers emergency medical care, medical evacuation and repatriation, trip cancellation/interruption, baggage/personal item loss and delay and 24/7 worldwide assistance.
The top rated Travel Insurance companies are: Travelex Insurance Services, John Hancock Insurance Agency, IMG and Allianz Global Assistance.
#2 Credit Cards
Notify your bank where and when you will be traveling. The last thing you want is your card to be flagged or deactivated.
Make sure your credit card has an electronic chip, most European shops won’t accept debit cards with only a strip.
Pack a second credit card, which you keep separate from your wallet. This way, if your wallet gets stolen, or your ATM card gets declined, you are still able to have access to money during your travels.
ATM’s are located all over Europe and in every airport. There is no need to pay the stateside exchange rates.
I bring $200 cash as a back up in case there is a strike, or the card is stolen or rejected.
If you have extra currency on your last day, you can figure how much you need for the airport and apply the remainder to your hotel bill at check out.
#4 Travel Documents
Make copies of your travel documents: Passports, credit cards, hotel and tour confirmations.
Leave one copy at home with a friend or relative. Scan and email a copy to yourself.
I always keep a hard copy of reservations and confirmations with me. I have been at a rental car counter where the system was down and I was the only one able to rent a car because I had a hard copy of the reservation.
Make sure your passport is up to date. Unfortunately, some countries will not allow you to visit if your passport is set to expire within 6 months of travel.
A good rule of thumb is renewing your passport 9 months before it is set to expire.
If I have checked luggage, I always carry on a change of clothes, toothbrush and medicine. I don’t want lost luggage slowing my exploring down.
#7 Cell Phones
Make sure to set up your cell phone to avoid international data roaming.
Contact your service provider for international calling and data plans. I learned this the hard way when I forgot to add my son’s phone to our International plan while traveling in the Bahamas. Many folks rely on google maps and this will eat up your data.
You can also buy a portable Wi-Fi hotspot like Skyroam to keep in your purse or pocket.
#8 Hotel Business Cards
I always grab the Hotel’s business card at check in.
After a long day of exploring or travel, you may forget where you are staying or the taxi driver may not speak English. It is always helpful to be able to show the hotel address.
#9 Staying Healthy
Traveling can cause havoc on your body.
Make sure to stay hydrated, get some sleep and eat well. Avoiding coffee and alcohol on long flights will help keep you hydrated.
#10 Be Flexible and Patient
Travel is an adventure — enjoy the journey.
You will get to your destination in due time. Some of my best memories are from unexpected occurrences.