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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


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