Travel Tips: Before You Leave

I’m not sure what makes me qualified to write a long-ish post about travel tips, but I decided to do it so…here we go:

1. Get a passport/make sure it’s valid for your destination. It seems simple but some countries have quirky rules. For example, some countries want two full blank pages. Most countries won’t let you in unless your passport is valid for 6 months past your departure date.

Catching a flight out of sunny Los Angeles, California
Catching a flight out of sunny Los Angeles, California

2. Check visa regulations and make sure you’re gonna be legal. The best place to get this info is the U.S. Department of State. Pre-pay for a tourist visa if possible.

3. Screenshot all your travel docs/emails. You may need to reference this when you don’t have wifi/data.

Pack light and spice things up with accessories
Pack light and spice things up with accessories (Newport, RI, USA)

4. Download offline maps. Google Maps will let you do this as well as several other map apps. Also, GPS on your iPhone isn’t tied to wifi, so your map will track your phone even if you aren’t online.

5. Talk to your bank and see if they can order currency for you. Most of the big banks can and you’ll get a better rate than exchanging at the airport. You can even watch the exchange rates and order when conversion rates are at their best if you’re really into that kinda thing.

Ordering currency: the Icelandic Krona (i.e. you'll be rich)
Ordering currency: the Icelandic Krona (i.e. you’ll be rich)

6. Apply for a credit card that gives you rewards for doing what you love. We use the Capital One Venture card because it’s simple to earn/redeem points. Points can be used for any travel related expense, from flights and hotel rooms to taxis and train tix. Do make sure the card you get doesn’t charge those pesky foreign exchange (forex) fees.

7. Download music, movies, podcasts, etc before you board. There’s no guarantee your plane will have entertainment systems on every seat and no promises yours won’t be broken. There’s also nothing good about being forced to watch Cars 2 when you’d really like to be watching The Wolf of Wall Street.

8. Pack light and don’t forget an empty tote bag. It’s totally true what they say, you’ll only wear half of what you bring. Save yourself the trouble and don’t even overpack to begin with. The empty tote will take up just a little sliver of space but let’s you pack it full with souvenirs.

Pack an empty tote bag, doesn't have to be as cheeky as this one
Pack an empty tote bag, doesn’t have to be as cheeky as this one

9. Make copies of your important documents. I keep a copy of our passports and our marriage license (since I travel under my maiden name). I also give a basic little itinerary to my mom and Jeremy’s dad so someone knows where we are on the slim chance something goes wrong.

10. Don’t overthink it. Travel is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress about forgetting things, you can buy it there. Plus, one of the best things about traveling is finding unique beauty/bath products from overseas pharmacies. Bring what you need not to die, and don’t worry too much about the rest.

I’m always interested in new tips, any to share?

xx katie

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