Hey everyone! My next solo trip is coming up next Tuesday! I am so excited, and can’t wait!!! Keep checking on my page as I update where I am, and what I am getting into. I plan on recording some conversations with locals in their daily life. I may even try to get some awesome authentic recipes on tape!
So as I start my crazy packing list, I figured I would share with you my top five tips of things that you should either bring with you, or remember to keep in mind for your next trip. I have about 30 tips I can share, but these come to the front of my mind. I will post more at a different time!
Diving right in-
1. PHONE CHARGERS AND ADAPTERS, BRING TWO AND CHECK THE VOLTAGE- Some people realize you need to have a european adapter for your phone, hairdryer, computer or any other item which requires a power outlet. Most people do not realize, however, that the voltage on these adapters can be very low, or different than what your electronic needs. My last solo trip to France, they day I arrived, and plugged in my phone adaptor to charge, it shorted out on that very first day. Thank goodness I had a few bars on my phone left. I was meeting a foreign board gaming friend from online. I contacted him and he helped me located a store that would lead me to picking up another adapter for my entire month stay. Otherwise, it would be been awful, and I would have panicked. Make sure you pick out the exact ones for where you are heading, and what their maximum voltage would be.
This is the one I suggest, It actually converts voltage, so you never have to worry about blowing out your charger while traveling overseas! Click here to get it from Amazon Charger
2. CREDIT CARDS AND CURRENCY- I have been lucky these past years, just rolling with one credit card, and some cash to follow that up. I realize now, that I did in fact, get lucky. What if it got lost? You should always have two credit cards when you travel. Keep one locked away inside your CARRY ON. Not your main luggage, something that never leaves your side, or is likely to get lost with the airline, or train destinations. Obviously, make sure you call your credit card company before you leave, and let them know when you are leaving and for how long. Change your dollars for whatever the currency is before you go, and place in in two separate areas as well. Never take a lot of it out with you on a day trip. Also check the foreign transaction fees on your credit cards that occur when you use it overseas. That charge adds up more than you think, and you will be saddened that you didn’t get to spend that cash else ware, say on that lovely bottle of Barolo you were eyeing up. Check cards that provide this service for no additional cost.
3. COPIES, COPIES, COPIES. I usually travel with a ton of paperwork. I make two copies of everything I need that is important. Don’t poke fun, it works in my favor. One of the most important items, is your identification, and your source of cash flow. Before leaving for your trip, photocopy your passport,(the pages with your photo, and numbers), credit cards (front and back). Why the back of your credit card you say? So you can call the number to inform them you may have lost it. Place a copy in the very bottom on the inner lining of your luggage and carry on. You may think it is silly, but if you lose your passport, you will be one sad puppy when you try to get home again. Also, make two copies of your itinerary. I don’t care how intelligent smart phones are now, if it breaks, or acts up, nothing is a substitute for the good ole written word on paper! I have also started using this app- Tripit. Surprisingly helpful!
4. DITCH THE FANNY PACK! The main reason foreigners get pick pocketed, or swindled, is because they are a walking target. Trying to retrieve cash from a money belt, fanny pack, or around the neck hanger thing, is a red bulls eye for local pickpockets to take advantage of you. I am notorious for always having an arm wallet on, even when not traveling. I get made fun of all the time because of it, and I do not care. You can see it in any of my pictures, or when I am out on the town. I never carry a purse anymore (it is just a clutter of crap) What do you really need on your person anyways? A credit card, some cash, and your I.D, that is it. Using an arm wallet to fit in a little bit better overseas reduces your chances of being a target. It hides under your clothes, and you are very aware if it isn’t on your person. Plus, it doesn’t attract attention as being a carrier of currency. If anything, I have had more people ask me if I have had surgery lately. I don’t mind, I know I am traveling lightly. I usually bring with me an over the shoulder bag to place things I purchase along the way, but I keep no valuables in it. An added bonus of the arm wallet is being able to dive and swim with it on! See pics below, one of these things is not like the other…… You can purchase one from the link below!
Click this link to get one of your very own. We can be twins!
5. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND DON’T BE AN ARSE- This is one of the most important things about travel. I get so upset when I hear people around me say, “Ah, the French are so rude!!! I walked up to many of them, asked a question, and they completely ignored me!” When I hear people say this (and I hear it more than you would think), it makes me so upset. I have repeatedly turned to travelers who have said this and responded, “Did you try to speak their language when you asked the question? Or did you just walk up to them expecting them to know English.” To which they usually find that they can’t remember how they approached the person. Americans, and other travelers from all over when visiting a different culture need to be reminded, that the people you approach are not mind readers, nor do they probably speak your language. How would you feel if a foreigner came straight up to you, and started rambling in a completely different language from your own? You would maybe try and help them, but chances are you would say “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying”, and walk away. PLEASE put yourselves in their shoes next time you judge them “being too rude”. Before you leave, learn a bit of that language of the places you are visiting. I learned some french before I went there, and almost anyone I walked up to was willing, and kind enough to help me figure out where I was going, or what I needed. Plus, who doesn’t want to learn a bit of a different language?
Want to be completely in control when you are overseas? Use this handy gadget.
6. ACT LIKE A NATIVE- Yes I know I said 5. But this one is just as important. Walk with your head high, act like you know where you are going (even if you have no clue). Haggle over pricing at the open markets. Only leave extra tips if you feel like it, and are very pleased (it is always included). Sit for hours at a cafe, don’t rush. Just generally BREATHE, and take in the local life, get your head OUT of your phone. Act like the locals, and you will find you will feel safer, happier, and more immersed in the moment. Remember to have fun, everything can be replaced. Just live in the moment and go with the flow. Be more like Mick here, he sure didn’t need a fanny pack.