1. Get Organized
Traveling can be messy. You’ll need a couple documents over and over. The best way to keep your sanity is to keep them all in once place. We got a small binder with the sleeves and put copies of necessary documents in it. Now when you need them, you’ll know exactly where they are.
Documents to Have:
- Copy of Birth Certificate
- Copy of Marriage Certificate (if necessary)
- Boarding Pass
- Itenerary- including any car rental, taxi, hotel reservation phone and confirmation numbers
2. Get Connected
What you may or may not realize is that phone service is relative. Where I am in Germany its only telecom not verizon, AT&T etc. If you don’t want to pay out the wazoo in phone bills, suspend your service while your out of the country that way your phone can’t roam and spike up your bill. Now you ask, “what do I do without my phone?” Well, use it on wifi like I am now, with the cellular data off. You can also stop by a cell phone store (In Germany there’s two phone providers it’s either T-Mobile or TKS, you get the same service but the plans differ, we have heard that T-Mobile has better customer service) and you can get a chip if you have a phone that’s unlocked. If you are moving here obviously you’ll need a more long term solution and need to sign up for an international phone plan. If you are vacationing, I would recommend getting a prepaid phone, you’ll mostly need it to call for directions or a taxi, maybe reservations and it sure beats paying the hotel per minute and this way you’ll have the convenience you might take for granted with having a cell phone.
3. Protect your Money
Tell your banks you’ll be traveling ahead of time so they don’t suspend your account when and if you use your card here. Also, see if your bank offers an ATM fee waiver. The best place to convert your money is NOT AT THE AIRPORT. It may seem easy but the rate is more then often unfair, you’ll get a better exchange rate at a bank ATM that is away from a tourist trap. Some International places, especially in Europe will take a card that has the chip in it as well, so keep that in mind.
The exchange rate for the USD is changing everyday. For example: our first day here it was €0.90= $1.00 the next few it was: €0.85= $1.00. You want the Euro amount or the exchange currency, whatever it may be to be as close to the dollar or over to get the most of your money. Its impossible to know what the rate will be the next day but be smart about it. Don’t take out all your money in cash at one time if the rate is at an all time low, if you can help it. Take sums out when you need it. Also, in said tourist traps, wear your money inside your coat pockets or on one of those wallets that hang around your neck and go in your shirt. Better to look dorky and smart then to look like a target for pick-pocketers.
4. An Extra Pro Tip- Relax for cheaper
A lot of people have the misconception that to have alcohol on a flight, you must buy the alcohol at the airport after security. THAT IS NOT TRUE. Look into the specifics of the carry on luggage. There is a category for it and the airline will specify the size, expect the TSA approved liquid size, which I believe is (3.4 fl oz). So, yes they’ll be travel sized but you will still save money. The other thing the airline will specify if the PROOF of alcohol. Personally, I brought about ten travel sized ones for Kyle and I, not because we needed it but just for fun.