June 8, 2014

Travel Tips

Since my trip to Europe is quickly approaching, I thought I would share some of my travel tips.

(1) Before traveling, I call my bank and credit card companies to let them know that I'll be using my cards abroad. The worst exchange rate is always at the airport currency exchange stands. Wells Fargo has great exchange rates for when you use an ATM abroad. I'll use my credit card whenever it's accepted so it's easier to keep track of expenses. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is great since it has no foreign transaction fees.

(2) For international flights, fly direct whenever possible. Layovers are so tiring and extend your travel time. Also, reserve your seats in advance so you can sit together. There's nothing worse than sitting in a middle seat for a long flight. We also have Global Entry so we can get through security faster and through immigration quickly.

(3) Pack light and try to avoid checking in luggage. I'm a pro at packing light and I managed to put everything for our 11 day honeymoon into one carry on. The tough part was getting everything back into the suitcase!

Here are some of my must bring items:
- power bank - to charge my electronics while I'm on the go
- daily disposable contacts
- travel size toiletries - I'll collect these throughout the year and just toss when they're empty
- items that are difficult to find - if you go somewhere tropical, bring aloe. I once paid $17 for a tiny bottle of aloe that didn't even work!
- bug spray
- slippers for dirty hotel floors
- extra plastic bags for laundry, wet clothes, etc

I hate packing shoes and jewelry so I avoid bringing them whenever possible. I also hate carrying my laptop or a tablet around with me, so I always leave those at home. Unless I'm traveling for work... then I guess I'm out of luck.

(4) Download travel apps in advance. There are plenty of great apps where you can download the city guide or a translation guide and use it offline. No need to rack up international data roaming fees. I also print out some travel guides or buy guide books. My favorites are Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness, and Frommers.

(5) Make restaurant reservations. If there's a famous restaurant that you are dying to go to, call or email them way in advance to guarantee yourself a spot. I just found out that Yelp is in Austria and Germany, so I started bookmarking restaurants that I want to visit.

Do you have any travel tips? 

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