Our best travel tips for women who want to get ready to travel out of the country
1. Get a passport and anything is possible
Just having a new, shiny passport with its 24 blank pages just waiting to be filled is extremely empowering. Carry it around in your purse with you. Use it as your primary form of identification. When that unbelievable deal for a package deal to Paris pops up, or someone asks you to join them in Timbuktu next week, say yes. Belles with passports often surprise themselves. Now plan your heart out.
2. Become Familiar with, not fluent in the Language
Beyond just being a form of communication, language is an important component of any culture. Put yourself in the mind of a four year old and learn your verbal manners in a foreign tongue by memorizing how to say these six phrases: Please, thank you, yes ma’am or sir, no ma’am or sir, hello, and goodbye. Perhaps order some CDs of local music in your favorite genres. A few language learning CDs are fine, but don’t feel the need to go overboard! I’ve seen it time and time again, where overachievers learn to say more than a few things so well that they fool the natives into thinking that they also understand everything! This is a prime example of how a little knowledge can be dangerous!
3. Figure out the exchange rate. (Hint: number of zeros is important.)
No problem if math isn’t your thing. Figure out the foreign equivalents of frequently used denominations, so you’re not going around trying to pay $20 dollars instead of $2 for a bottle of water. For most of us, knowing the equivalents of $1, $10 and $100 is adequate. Even if you’re using a credit card for most purchases while traveling abroad, it’s important to understand how many zeros equal your price point!
4. Get ready to plug in
Determine if you will need a plug adapter and/or a voltage converter. In order to avoid high prices at the airport, purchase ahead of time. (This is similar to having a passport: If you have it, you will travel.)
5. Understand the local food scene, plan ahead of time to stay hydrated, and like a good girl scout, be prepared (even if you were never a real one)
The stomach of steel that has served you and your epicurean ways well for many years may be in for a big surprise. Natural, yet unfamiliar bacteria can reap havoc on your system. Travel with precautionary over-the-counter medications, and hopefully they will not become your favorite thing you packed.
6. Cut back on electronic gadgetry. Or at least get ready to charge it.
Cellphones, iPods, laptops, Kindles, cameras, GPS devices: The list goes on and on. Especially if moving from place to place during your trip, try leaving the laptop behind unless you absolutely need it for work. Keep cord chaos away by using something like the Callpod Chargepod Six-way Mobile Device Charging System. Or for on-the-go charging consider the Callpod Fueltank UNO Portable Single Device Charger.
7. Don’t learn the hard way what cellphone use overseas will cost.
Call your cellular company and see what options are available for using your phone service in the country you will be traveling to. Renting a phone while you are traveling abroad has recently become both very easy and economical. Maybe even brave it, and consider going “out-of-pocket” and economical the old fashioned way: Purchase an international calling card to use on those crazy old things called landlines.
8. Learn what is offensive in your host country
We all mess up every now and then, and there’s no way to learn everything that may be considered offensive in a particular country. But reading a good travel guide about the country you plan to visit for a good overview of things that fall outside the boundaries of acceptable behavior should cover most of it. Gestures considered harmless at home can be very offensive to the citizens of another country.
9. Put together your flying pharmacy
Plan to visit the doctor to be sure all regular and precautionary prescriptions and immunizations are up-to-date and filled with adequate supplies. Try to find your old pair of eyeglasses to pack and have on hand just in case current pair is lost or broken, and a copy of your prescription from a current eye exam. And don’t forget any regular nutritional supplements! For the sake of convenience perhaps invest in individually packaged daily doses.
10. And don’t forget to…
In this day of dialing and googling as we go, remember to take the time to leave as detailed of an itinerary as you can manage with key family, friends and neighbors. And buy a soft, yummy empty journal to fill up with all those great memories!
What are some of your favorite travel tips for women who are getting ready for international travel?