Traveling can be a lot of fun. But it can also present frustrations and added expenses. Handling the logistics can be daunting if you don’t manage things well. , and if you have a large family, a summer vacation can be financially draining. So, with this in mind, here are some tips to may help things go more smoothly.
- You’ll want to change your American currency to whatever it is where you are vacationing. Always use a bank or official exchange center to exchange money. You might be fortunate enough to find a number of businesses or independent salespersons to exchange your American dollars into the local currency, but you won’t likely be able to spot counterfeit bills. Trying to explain to a police officer in a foreign country how you ended up with counterfeit bills might be an impossible task. Additionally, even if the bills are authentic, you may not immediately realize whether you received the correct amount. Unless you’re great in math, some of you may never realize you were swindled. Using a bank can help provide a layer of protection against being defrauded.
- As you’re deciding what to do on your trip, you’ll find a variety of tour guides offering trips and excursions. Some companies, especially services offered through independent contractors could be fraudulent. Others may be legitimate companies, but they may be lacking in the reliability department. You don’t want to end up stranded 30 miles away from your hotel because the company abandoned you. Most hotels and resorts offer tours service through their concierge desk. These hotels and resorts are often proud of their reputation, and they don’t want to see you dissatisfied. Even if you book through your hotel, you should still research the company. Google the company’s name, or look through reviews on Trip Advisor (Trip Advisor) to see what other people are saying about their experience. The company may also have a website with customer feedback. By the way, be sure to enter your own review after your vacation is over.
- If you plan to use your mobile phone on your trip, talk to your carrier ahead of time. Most carriers offer a Global plan. That will help save you lots of roaming charges. You’ll be able to add the Global plan for specific dates. On my last trip, I was able to make the change myself by logging into my online account.
- When you’re researching hotels, ask about meal charges. Many of them will advertise all inclusive plans which include some or all meals. Some places only cover breakfast. Whether you pre-pay for all meals or just for breakfast, that can provide enormous savings over paying for each meal separately. That can be especially beneficial if you’re traveling with a large family. So, be sure to ask. This isn’t always publicized. But I urge you to consider this option carefully. If you pay in advance, you won’t be refunded for meals you don’t eat. If you’re like me and you prefer to soak up the local culture and experiment with the cuisine in the place where you’re visiting, pre-paying for all of your meals isn’t the best option. I usually opt for including breakfast and wing it the rest of the day.
- If you travel with more than one debit or credit card, never keep them together. If you do and you’re the victim of a pickpocket or you lose your wallet, you may be stranded until you can get a replacement. Also, make a photocopy of any identification (i.e., passport, driver’s license, Visa, etc.). That will make things much simpler if they get lost.
- Lastly, be sure to check out the US Department of State’s Travel Alerts and Warnings for international travel. They issue warnings and alerts to advise travelers about an unstable government, civil war, heightened crimes of violence, ongoing problems with terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or epidemics (i.e., Ebola, H1N1, Malaria, or Yellow Fever). These alerts and warnings aren’t necessarily meant to deter you from traveling to your destination, but rather, they serve as a series of things to consider so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
With a little planning and preparation, your trip can be a wonderful experience. There are thousands of great venues all around the world. Plan your trip, dust off your passport, and hit the road.