This list includes 10 helpful tips for planning an international vacation! These are tips we have learned throughout our journeys and we hope they can be of help to you as you prepare to explore a new place!
- Bring a reusable water bottle.
This is a good rule traveling domestically as well, but if you are not used to purchasing water it can really add up as some restaurants in other countries you have to pay for water almost every where you go! Having a refillable water bottle will save you some serious $$$! Which means more money to spend on wine!
2. Check the local currency and familiarize yourself with the exchange rate.
Familiarizing yourself with the local currency will help in the ebb and flow of daily travels in a new place and definitely will help when purchasing meals, gifts, etc.! We live in the US, so the value of the the US Dollar varies depending on what Country we visit. Familiarizing yourself with the exchange rate can help to avoid any confusion when purchasing or unknowingly spending way too much an item!
3. Download transportation/map apps that are local to the country.
We prefer to use local transportation when traveling abroad so having any apps for that specific Country help immensely. For example, if you are traveling to Italy: Download Trenitalia https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html . You can book your train tickets on the app in advance and can see real time train updates. We loved using the high speed trains to travel through Italy which you can book within the app!
4. If you are using local transport, book lodging next to transit stations.
Booking your lodging next to the transit station will shorten the time you have to carry your luggage/taxi fare from the station! Even if you are only carrying a backpack, those pounds get heavier and heavier the longer you carry it so any way you can shorten that trip is beneficial. Especially if you plan to base somewhere and then take local transportation throughout the area, being near the transit stations is helpful.
5. Make copies of all important documents before you go.
Your lodging, passports, drivers license, everything – make a copy of it and safely store it within your backpack/luggage. This is a just-in-case tip, but man is it a lifesaver if any of your travel documents are lost/stolen or if there is any confusion with your lodging bookings!
6. Send your itinerary to a trusted friend or family member.
In addition to copying all your documents as a just-in-case, send your itinerary to someone you trust before you depart. That way at least someone else is aware of where you should be and when you should be somewhere in case anything happens. Again, this is a just-in-case tip, but is a great safety tip anytime you travel anywhere. I learned this as a solo female traveler and have continued to do it even when traveling in groups!
7. Learn a few phrases in the local language!
This is something fun for my partner and I to do while we are preparing to go on a trip. We practice the phrases and sometimes even print them out to take with us to study on the flight over. A little goes a long way to appreciating the culture of the area you are visiting and it is a nice gesture to be able to speak in the locals native language. Don’t be embarrassed if you think you’ll pronounce it wrong, 10/10 we have gotten warm responses even when completely butchering a phrase!
8. Pack comfy shoes, you will walk A LOT!
There is always so much to see in a new city and sometimes you wont even realize how much you walked until you sit down after a long day and feel your feet throb! Regardless, if you are going on a scenic nature trip or a city trip, no doubt you will end up walking more than you are used to in a day. So pack some cute comfy shoes and get exploring!
9. Pack as light as possible!
I strongly encourage anyone who is traveling abroad to pack as light as possible. Even if you are renting a car or using taxis, you will still be lugging all of your belongings to and from accommodations. Additionally, if you want to fly low cost airlines local to the country it will burn your pockets to check bags so try to stick to backpacks! Having a backpack ensures as well that your luggage does not get lost on the international flights.
10. Consider using Airbnbs/home stays as accommodations.
We have had some of our favorite experiences just renting a room at a home while abroad. Not only do you get advice from your host as a local, you will often get to be immersed into the culture of that place staying in a residential area or apartment buildings. Not to mention, these accommodations are usually less expensive than a hotel.