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20 Tips Before Traveling Internationally

If this is your first time traveling abroad — or maybe you just need a refresher — here’s a list of 20 tips you should do or bring before your trip. loads of hidden tricks to save cash and ensure you’re Havana great holiday.

Security & Health

1. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask you medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.

2. Bring copies of your passport. If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can still get back into the country, or be able to prove your citizenship.

3. Leave a copy of your passport. For extra backup, leave a copy of your passport at home or with someone you trust. Consider making an electronic copy you can store in your email account as well.

4. Register with your embassy. If there’s a problem in the country, this will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety.


Money

5. Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Finding out that one Danish Krone is equal to just 19 cents … bad surprise. Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.

6. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting.European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.

7. Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. The conversion centers in the airport or around the city tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.

8. Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses.

9. Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.

10. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from $25 to $200.

Electronics

14. Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your iPod, make sure you can charge it. A power strip can be a way to cheat and charge multiple devices off of one adapter.

15. Check the voltage of your electronics. From my own experience I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country.

16. Activate your phone’s global capabilities. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t.

17. Download the Travelzoo app. The Travelzoo app can help you find great deals in a variety of countries, and has options from local deals to transportation options.


Luggage & packing

18. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. Don’t be one of those travelers decked out in J’adore Paris apparel because the airline lost your luggage and you have nothing else to wear.

19. To check a bag or not to check bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees. And, if you are connecting during your trip, know the luggage rules/fees for those airlines as well — especially for regional or low-cost carriers.

20. Bring snacks. Traveling abroad is fun, but eating in a foreign country can sometimes become a task. Bring small snacks that will tide you over until you find that perfect restaurant or food cart.

Local Research

11. Buy tickets now for places you know you want to visit or see. By buying in advance you’ll be able to skip more lines, and find more deals targeted toward you.

12. Get guidebooks. Guidebooks usually include maps, keywords or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And download apps before you travel. Avoid downloading charges from your wireless carrier and get your apps before you leave.

13. Research events going on while you’re there. This will help you make sure that you’re not missing the best events going on in the city — fun things like festivals, ceremonies and natural events. Also be sure to research as a few national dishes to try. You don’t want to leave the country without experiencing what its known for.

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Tips Before Buying Travel Insurance

Having travel insurance that offers you the coverage that you need and is also affordable is essential to their peace of mind that you are safe during your travels. If you are in the process of planning your next trip and you are looking for the right travel insurance policy, here are some tips for you.

KNOW THE TYPE OF COVERAGE YOU NEED

There are five major areas covered in insurance policies:

  • Cancellation insurance – this type of coverage protects you in case you need to cancel your trip entirely or partially because of unforeseen events, such as issues related to the weather, medical issues or legal duties, e.g. jury duty;
  • Medical insurance – the most common issues that these policies or the comprehensive policies that include this type of insurance include are hospital care, emergency assistance, emergency dental treatments, and ambulance costs, but if you suffer from some other condition pre-existent to your travel, it is a good idea to buy insurance to cover that issue, too;
  • Flight insurance – these policies provide coverage in case your flight gets delayed or cancelled;
  • Baggage insurance – this will provide you reimbursement in case your baggage arrives late or is lost;
  • Evacuation insurance – if you travel to a remote place where no medical care is available, this type of policy will give you coverage for the costs of transporting you to the nearest care facility in case you need medical care.

READ THE DOCUMENT BEFORE YOU PAY

Many people make the mistake of not reading the policy entirely before they buy it. Knowing exactly what your policy covers you for is essential to your safety during your journey, so take the time to read the entire document, small print included, and to find the answers to all your related questions before signing on the dotted line.

SHOP AROUND

Not all insurers offer the same rates and premiums, so you should compare as many of the available solutions as you can to be able to make the best final decision. There are lots of great comparison tools available online – they allow you to enter your age, your destination, the duration of your trip and many other parameters, and the tools will display the available solutions offered by insurers.

A great contender for travel medical insurance is SafetyWing. What makes them stand out from the others?

  • Reliable: SafetyWing is a Y-Combinator company and the policy is administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world.
  • Very flexible: it works like a subscription, you can choose your start date and cancel any time. There is no cap on the duration of a trip and no need to know how long you’ll be travelling in advance. You can set up monthly auto-renewal payments to avoid having your coverage expire and forgetting to renew in time. But if you are going on a shorter trip, you can also take up the insurance for a specific duration, starting from 5 days.
  • Affordable! Travel medical coverage starts from $37/4 weeks, or $1.32 a day.
  • Offers worldwide coverage as well as limited home country coverage (up to 30 days every 3 months).
  • Available for purchase in 180 countries and can be purchased while already travelling.

TALK TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW

You probably know people who have recently returned from a trip and have experience with travel insurance. Your tour operator can also provide valuable advice about the type of insurance coverage that works best for your journey.

HAVE A COPY AT ALL TIMES

Print out a copy of the insurance and take it with you on your trip in the folder that contains your other travel documents, and also create a digital copy of the document and save it in a protected folder online to make sure you can access it using your phone or your tablet in case you need it.

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5 Items To Keep Your Backpack Organized When You Travel

Growing up, I was really, really messy. If you had walked into my teenage bedroom you would have come across: a mountain of clothes piled atop my desk chair (that included everything I had and hadn’t worn to school that week), books and binders scattered around my bed (because I couldn’t work at the desk since the chair was covered in clothes), and an extensive collection of mugs and empty plates (because aside from being a messy teenager I was also a big snacker).

Needless to say, this disorganization kind of filtered its way into my packing once I started travelling in my late teens and early twenties. I could never understand why I always found myself with a labyrinth of a suitcase by Day 2 of a trip and it used to drive me crazy. Where was my shampoo and that clean pair of underwear when I needed it?

Oh, how times have changed!

Over the past few years of travel and living out of a suitcase, I’ve had to learn a thing or two about organization out of necessity. Not only have I learned to pack only what I’ll wear and keep things light, but I’ve also learned to keep my backpack organized so that I’m never rummaging when I need something. Today we’re going to look at 5 items that can help YOU keep your luggage tidy too.

How to keep your backpack organized when you travel: Tips to keep your luggage tidy on the road!

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are the best because they prevent your luggage from becoming an absolute mess by Day 2.

Packing cubes allow you to compartmentalize your clothes so that you know where everything is: 1 cube for pants and shorts, 1 cube for t-shirts and tank tops, 1 cube for cardigans and sweaters, 1 cube for socks and undies, and voila, you’re set!

I’d also recommend packing cubes that have mesh at least on one side so that you can easily see what’s inside of them. I also think this makes a great travel gift for friends and family.

Hanging Toiletry Kit 

I’m all about travelling with a hanging toiletry – it makes life so much easier! Whether you’re  staying in a hostel where you can’t really scatter all your stuff around, or you have your own private bathroom but very limited counter space, this item comes in really handy.

Not only do hanging toiletry kits allow you to keep everything you need for the bathroom in one single place, but you can also compartmentalize things so that they are easier to find: one section for your toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss; a section for travel sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; and so on.

Electronics Organizer

This one probably isn’t necessary for the average traveller, but if you travel with a lot of electronics, cables, batteries, hard drives, and chargers like Sam and I do, it can be a really nifty way of keeping things organized.

These organizers come in different sizes and they can be easily packed into your checked luggage. This way you’re not sifting through your luggage whenever you need that laptop charger or spare camera battery.

Laundry Bag

Because you don’t want your dirty laundry mixing in with your clean clothes (cross contamination, ewww!)

But seriously, I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves shoving dirty laundry into plastic bags or external luggage pockets more than once before.

A travel laundry bag means you can keep all your dirties in once place until you find a laundromat in your next destination.

Packable Shelves

So this is a fairly new travel product that I haven’t yet had a chance to use myself, however, I’ve been seeing it featured in press releases that land in my inbox.

The idea is that you pack your clothes into this 3-tier stackable shelf so that when you arrive at your destination, your clothes are wrinkle-free and you can hang up the shelf in the closet.

It’s something that I think would work for short weekend trips or business trips where you are packing carry-on, but it’s not something I can see myself using for long-term travel (I tend to be away for months at a time and my clothes would not fit on 3 shelves).

So there you have it, 5 items that can help keep your luggage organized next time you travel. If you know of any other tips, tricks, or useful items, please feel free to share those in the comments section below.