Whether you travel overseas frequently, or are getting ready to head out on your first trip, international travel requires a good amount of planning along with an adventurous spirit that’s willing to go with the flow and adapt to unfamiliar conditions. Of course, too many bumps in the road can make things stressful, but these tips will help you avoid those hurdles for easier overseas travel.
Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees
If you don’t have one already, be sure to get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees as those fees can add up quickly. Many banks will charge you a 1 to 3% foreign transaction fee when you use their cards overseas, and even if you’re earning miles, the cost tends to negate the value. A quick Google search will turn up a number of cards that waive those fees, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Bank of America Travel Rewards and Capital One Venture Rewards.
Notify your credit card companies and banks that you’ll be traveling
Be sure to notify all of your credit card companies and banks (at least of those you’ll be using overseas) that you’ll be traveling, or you could end up getting your transaction denied due to suspicious activity. Many banks automatically decline transactions when they take place in a foreign country (sometimes even just another state), if they haven’t been notified ahead of time. Oftentimes you can simply fill out a form online indicating the dates you’ll be gone and where you’re going.
Get some foreign cash and learn the currency conversions
While you don’t want to get a lot of foreign cash before you go, it is a good idea to exchange a small amount just to avoid the stress of looking for an ATM when you first arrive, fatigued and jet lagged. Afterwards, using your debit card to get cash at an ATM is typically the most convenient and the least expensive option.
Once you have a bit of foreign money in hand, get familiar with what it looks like and find out what the rough exchange rate is so that you’re more comfortable with the local currency before you arrive. It can also be helpful to get a smartphone app for real-time conversions.
Pay your bills ahead of time or set up automatic payments
You don’t want to have to worry about paying your bills while you’re on vacation. Try to pay as many as you can ahead of time, and for those you can’t, look into setting up automatic payments. That way you can forget all about them and enjoy a good time without concern over late payments and high interest rates.
Check your passport
While the U.S. will allow you to use your passport up to the date on the inside cover, many countries will deny you entry if it expires in less than six months, as they don’t want you to end up stuck there on an expired passport. You'll also need a blank page available for every country you visit - if you're running low or you run out completely you can't simply add pages, you'll have to pay for a renewal. Double check yours and renew if necessary.
Scan all your important documents
Scan all of your important documents and then email copies to yourself so that you can always access them should the originals get lost. That includes items like your passport, driver’s license, health insurance card and visa.
Proper packing can make traveling a whole lot easier – always think less is more, as lugging around heavy bags will literally drag you down. Research the weather of the area you’re visiting beforehand, and try to choose garments you can layer so that you’ll be prepared for temperature variations. Don’t bring items you’ve never worn – bring things you know you feel comfortable in, including shoes. Depending on your destination, you may want to do a little research on the culture, as for example, in some, women’s shoulders and legs need to remain covered, no matter how hot it might be.
You can make the most out of the space you have by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll be surprised to find how much room you can save. Make even more good use of space by rolling your underwear and socks and tucking them inside of your shoes or hats. Don’t forget to leave a little extra room for those souvenirs you’re going to want to bring back either. Taking along a laundry bag or even a trash bag for dirty clothes is a good way to keep them separated from the clean ones.
You’ll probably want your camera, memory card, necessary chargers and perhaps other electronic devices too. When you’re traveling overseas, you’re also likely to need a power adaptor in order to keep all of those electronics charged. All over the world, there are different types of electrical wall outlets. Unless you’re visiting a destination that has the same outlet configuration as your home country, you’ll need an adapter. Adapter plugs do not convert electricity, they simply allow your device’s plug to fit into the foreign outlet. Fortunately, they’re cheap and easy to find at online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Contact your cell phone carrier
The majority of the major cell phone carriers offer international roaming plans these days that can save you money on calling as well as data while you’re overseas. Some even provide unlimited global roaming that can really be helpful, as you can use your phone for GPS, and of course, access all of its other features too. Contact your carrier to find out what’s available to you, and be sure to inquire about all possible fees that could be incurred. If it’s too pricey, in many places you can pick up an inexpensive prepaid phone at the airport when you arrive.
One of the commonly asked questions about visiting Baja is "Can I bring my dog?"
Yes, you can and it's probably not as hard as you think. Baja is incredibly dog friendly, there are just a few things you need to know which is why I recently wrote this article. Published on DOGGONE DESTINATIONS, you'll find out about border crossing requirements into Mexico, dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and more.
Check it out here.
With piles of notes and pictures from my last trip to Ireland, I've decided to complete my second book on the Emerald Isle before the end of this year. Many readers have commented that they'd like to hear more about lesser known places to visit in Ireland for their next trip after already exploring many of the more well-traveled destinations.
While I'm still working on the book about my local area, the beautiful Olympic Peninsula, I've decided that finishing this one first is the priority after multiple requests.
Best Travel Guide to Ireland's Lesser Known Destinations will focus on the specifics of many wonderful off the beaten path destinations I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, including some recommended by locals, and castles that aren’t found on that more well-worn itinerary. You’ll even discover details on some of the country’s most haunted castles – a few of which you can even spend the night, if you dare.
In addition to being much more extensive than the first, this book will provide you with the leads you need to experience a more unique adventure in the Emerald Isle. All you'll have to do is savor each and every moment.
I'll post updates here when I have a better idea as to exactly when it will be released - in the meantime, if you have questions or comments, including anything you'd like to see covered in this book, please feel free to leave them here or email me at email@example.com.
I'm very lucky to live in what I think is one of the most beautiful places on the planet! As I'd mentioned at the beginning of the year, one of my upcoming projects is a book on the Olympic Peninsula.
I've had a very busy spring, but now the time has come to finally get started on what I hope will be a very extensive book on this spectacular area from the Hood Canal all the way to Neah Bay, including Olympic National Park. It will feature recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, what to do, many of the best hikes, where to spot wildlife, insider tips and much more.
If there is anything specific you'd like to see included, please don't hesitate or just give me a shout directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During my travels to Ireland later this month, I'll be visiting a number of haunted castles and other locations in addition to spending the night at one of them: Ross Castle in County Meath.
I'll plan to include some of my experiences as well as interviews with the castle owners in my upcoming Ireland travel guide.
Ross Castle in County Meath is one of the most famous in the country, set in a remote area on a hill filled with ancient trees overlooking Lough Sheelin. Many guests who have stayed there have had some rather interesting encounters which can be found here:
This should make for a rather interesting night - look forward to details in my book to be released December 13: The Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland. Be sure to sign up for updates under the previous post entitled with the same name.
For quite some time now, I've been working on an in-depth travel guide to Ireland for the first time visitor. With cousins living there, I've had the privilege of visiting many times and have traveled throughout nearly every region. Looking back at my first trip in March of 2001, I wish I knew then what I know now. It certainly would have made things much easier. In 2009, I wrote my first article for Associated Content, what is now the Yahoo Contributor Network: a brief travel guide to help those who were going to Ireland for the first time. I had such a great response, not only from Americans, but even from the Irish themselves, that I knew I needed to write this book. I've been extremely busy writing articles, ebooks and websites for clients, but now, I'm taking the time to finally complete this book that I hope will be helpful to many.
Later this month, I'll travel to Ireland to work on the finishing touches, including interviews with locals to obtain their perspective on the "best things to do" as well as "what not to do" (including attractions as well as good manners if you hope to get to know the culture better). It will also include an interview with the owner of Leap Castle, the most haunted castle in the world, according to many, and much more.
Unlike every other travel guide, in addition to all of the basics, it will include details on what the average person really needs to know when traveling to Ireland for the first time, such as:
If you've always wanted to go to Ireland, but still haven't made the trip, this book is for you. The Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland is expected to be released on December 13, 2013.
The trailer and cover will be coming soon!
Sign up now via the contact form below for updates - comments about what you'd like to see in this book are greatly appreciated and will be heard.