« Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” This quote from Albert Einstein reminds me that even if we are currently in an economic and social situation in crisis due to the Corona virus and that the tourism sector is taking quite a blow, that does not prevent us from moving forward and predict when the good time will return. It’s not forbidden to plan our next trip when the time comes, is it? 😊 And be sure it will come back!
Here are 10 tips that I have gathered to prepare for a next trip:
1 – An application for sharing expenses
If you’re traveling as a group or even as a couple and need to share expenses, apps like Splitwise or Tricount are free and convenient since they manage your accounts while on vacation. You just have to enter the amount of an expense and the application automatically calculates the allocations for each member.
2 – Download Google Maps and navigate offline
Often, we do not have access to Wi-Fi when we are abroad or on roads lost in the wilderness, so I make sure to download the Google map of where I am going before going on a trip. So, I could locate myself if I am lost and I do not have an internet connection. To do this, open the Google Maps application on your phone, make sure you are connected to the Internet, search for a place (example, Paris), at the bottom of the screen press Download to download the map to your phone, which you will have access at all times.
3 – Take a phone chip with data
So that I don’t have a crazy bill when I come back from vacation for using data abroad, I buy a phone chip with internet data in the country itself. I often take it when I arrive at the airport if I see kiosks selling it, otherwise I take it downtown in phone stores. Of course, this applies to those who do not have an international package.
4 – Lounges at the airport
You will enjoy the lounges at the airport before taking a flight, especially if it’s a long flight. For the simple reason that it is a good moment of relaxation and comfort. Before going on vacation or returning from vacation, we are often very busy with organizing the trip, so the lounge is a very effective way to have a good all-you-can-eat meal, beverages (alcoholic or not just to relax) and sometimes even a shower in some lounges. For this, you can either pay à la carte at the lounge counter or take a membership card for several lounges around the world, often it comes with a credit card. Some lounges only accept travelers in First or Business class, but you can still ask.
5 – Google Translate
I find it fun sometimes to learn a few terms in a foreign language and use it in the country itself, it also shows some adaptation effort, but having a whole conversation in another language can be more difficult. So, we’re using Google Translate by speech, just download the Google Translate app to your phone and you can select the language to translate, click on the Speak button and your sentence will be translated. Note that you will need an internet connection (either your international plan or the chip purchased in tip 3).
6 – Exchange money for local currency
Remember to inquire about local currency and exchange rates, but don’t exchange your entire bank account because having a lot of cash when you arrive is not very safe. I often exchange a certain amount (between $ 100 and $ 200) before leaving to have at least some local money for places that do not accept credit cards, such as some taxis, activities or local markets. For the rest of my expenses I use my credit card when I can. Also pay attention to the money changers which will charge you much more than the market rate, otherwise there are also online services which allow you to order the money at the best rate and collect it at the airport before leaving.
7 – Entry requirements and Travel Insurance
Do you have travel insurance? It is highly recommended that you take out travel insurance in the event of an accident as health systems are very different from one country to another. The costs can quickly rise if you have an accident and emergency care is required. I don’t want to find you covering the newspaper to raise money because you went on a trip without insurance.
Book your plane ticket with the credit card that includes travel insurance in case of delay or cancellation of the flight to get reimbursed, or even in case of lost luggage.
Also inquire about the visa to have before entering the country where you are traveling. Some countries or even some airlines require proof of your visa before boarding, if you don’t have it, either you can do it online express for an extra (ordinary) cost, or you just won’t be able to take the plane without receiving your visa. Some governments may even extradite you if you have arrived and do not have the entry requirements.
8 – Transport
If you want to rent a car to have the peace and independence of doing whatever you want, check if you need an international driving license. As for GPS, you can download the offline Google map in tip 2. So you don’t have to pay for one with the rental. Do we drive on the left or the right side? Be prepared for that.
If you are thinking of using a taxi, check online if some taxi companies are not scams. It seems unlikely, but when we were in Asia, I had read a lot of bad reviews about taxis that could charge you a higher price because you are tourists.
Otherwise download the Uber app to travel, some countries or cities do not have Uber but Lyft, to check before leaving.
For buses and subways, I download the maps before or I look at the route I want to go to know in advance which bus and / or metro I should take.
9 – Visitor information center
We often do road trips lasting several days and we have noticed that visitor information centers in national parks or in cities can be very practical because the staff know the surroundings very well and can refer you to places that are known only by locals. They also give you advice on what to do and which ways to take.
10 – Adapter
Such an important element to make our dear technologies “survive”! Whether it’s the phone, laptop, tablet or any devices, make sure you have the proper voltage and adapter for your trip. An international adapter would be handy to have everywhere or otherwise try to get one in the destination country.
If you have your passport saved in your emails or on your phone this may be a good idea, but it would be safer to make a photocopy and bring it with you, instead of bringing it everywhere and lose it.
Until your next trip, I wish you to stay healthy for more travel 😊 and listen to the safety instructions for our own good. These 10 tips are just personal advice, but don’t hesitate to share yours!
See you soon !