Skip to main content

5 Tips to Prepare for International Travel

A trip overseas is a trip of a lifetime for many and can certainly be overwhelming your first time.  It is often a longer trip which means you likely want to pack more than ever, and you are suddenly worried about travel visas, foreign currency and wondering if you’ll be able to charge your electronics. To take some of the burden off, we’ve put together our top five tips to prepare for international travel!

1) Pack Smart. First, check the dimensions and weight limits for your airlines, as they are often smaller and you don’t want to be trying to figure that out at the airport. Research the weather for your destination and plan accordingly. I’ve spent many rainy days in London and Amsterdam, but when prepared, there’s still a ton to do! However, don’t overpack! Trains and public transportation are popular modes of travel and you’ll want to be able to maneuver your own luggage through stations and on platforms. Plan versatile outfits and layers and a laundry stop to lighten the load even farther! Additionally, have a change of clothes and your essential toiletries, valuables and medication in your carry on - just in case! 

2) Travel Adapters - the UK uses a different plug system than Europe, so if you are country hopping, make sure you have the ones you need. I personally like the universal ones where you can pop out the shape you need make sure you have them for both American plugs and USB ports depending on what you travel with. The voltage supplied to the outlet also varies. Most electronics these days can automatically detect the voltage and charge, but it’s always good to double check, especially for hair tools.

3) Foreign Currency - banks and AAA offices will exchange currency for you at the exchange rate, but they don’t keep all currencies on hand, so do not wait until the last minute to order this. Some countries are more cash-forward than others (Germany comes to mind) and many small vendor markets will be cash only. Additionally, make sure you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. These have become more common over the years which is great! I like to make sure I have at least two different types of credit cards with no fees, as every once in a while I’ll run into somewhere that doesn’t accept Visa or vice versa. Another tip, if you are given the option to charge in USD or local currency, local currency will typically be better for your bottom line.

4) Prepare for Anything - no one likes to think about if something goes wrong, but be sure to make copies of your passports or take photos of your passport, birth certificate and vax card in case you lose them. It’s a lot easier to get a quick passport replacement from the embassy if you have a photo of the lost one. I also like to send copies to a trusted family member in addition to a rough itinerary. It’s also highly recommended to get trip insurance or check what kind of international insurance coverage your policies have.

5) Language Barriers - in most tourist destinations, there will be someone who speaks English nearby and there’s signage in English as well so it’s increasingly easy to get around. I like to have google translate on my phone because I love being able to scan menus when I’m off the beaten path and they don’t have an English one available. It also goes a long way if you try to at least learn a few key phrases to interact with locals such as hello, how are you and thank you!

Overall, just a little research and preparation will go a long way to making you feel comfortable and confident in your new adventure! We are happy to help answer any questions you have in the planning journey as well. My biggest tip is just to be open minded, explore new things and don’t be afraid to try something new. Some of my favorite international experiences aren’t the most recognizable tourist attractions but just sitting in a cafe soaking in the culture and trying a local favorite food or drink. 

Bonus: other helpful things to research or be mindful of include your phone's international plan options so you aren't relying on Wifi only or surprised by extra fees, tipping culture for your destination, and common scams in the tourist areas (such as ATM skimmers.)

Maci Schau
Maci is an avid foodie and loves trying out new restaurants and seasonal food offerings in the parks.  You can email Maci at


Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways To Get Psyched For Your Disney Trip!

Hey-Howdy-Hey, Disney Guys and Gals!      Is anyone familiar with Barney Stinson's "Get Psyched" Mix? Anyone? How I Met your Mother Fans? Ok, great! So you totally get where I'm going with this! If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can watch a clip  HERE!  Basically, the theory is that no matter what's going on in your life, you can get yourself psyched up and ready for something awesome to happen, all by listening to the right piece of music. Playing off of that theory, I feel that one of the very best things about a Disney trip is actually  preparing  for it, or getting psyched! You can have a whole bunch of crappy stuff happening in your life at the time, but if you have a Disney trip on the horizon... even if it's 564 days away, you have something to look forward to and enjoy preparing yourself for. In fact, many Disney fans, (myself included), pretty much get from one day to the next by preparing for upcoming trips. You may even book a ne

Universal's Volcano Bay Private Cabana Review

On a recent training in Universal Orlando Resort, agents Maci, Ashley, Aubrey and Yaritza and I rented a private cabana for the day at Universal's Volcano Bay. There are multiple locations around the park along with the option to have an upper or lower level, all of which reflect in various pricing. Agent Ashley received an email the day before informing her of where to check-in the next morning. While we were personally escorted to the cabana shortly after check in, the line at the check in location is the same as those getting towels, meaning it was not short. As expressed by an additional guest checking into a different cabana, we would have greatly appreciated a separate line, since this caused our group about a half hour wait. We're all adults and made great use of our time getting some fun pictures before the park was filled with guests, but this is important to be aware of if you are traveling with children.  We had an upper level Cabana which came with a splendid view!

The Villas at the Disneyland Hotel Review

I love staying at the Disneyland Hotel so when I got the opportunity to stay at the new Villas at the Disneyland Hotel during opening weekend, I couldn’t pass it up. Because it was opening weekend, we were greeted in the entrance way of the lobby with balloons and many photo opportunities. When we arrived, there was a mural of the Haunted Mansion. I love how the seats in the main lobby were designed like the teacups in the parks. You can check in using the Disneyland app, drop your bags with bell services and head into the parks or use the amenities why you wait until your room is ready. When your room is ready, the resort will send you a text and you can use the Disneyland app on your mobile device to unlock the room. We dropped off our bags and went straight to the parks. We received a text around 1PM that our room was ready. In the new Discovery Tower (the Villas), you'll find that the lobby is very spacious with many places to sit while you read or wait for your family. Th