Travel, travel, travel – sometimes I feel like I’m gone more than I’m home. For me, that’s a good thing, because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve gotten pretty good at packing up at a moment’s notice. Each year I travel both domestically and internationally. I’m used to doing both although there are a few key differences that are in my routine when I head to Europe, Mexico, etc. to make the transition smoother. Whether it be finding currency exchange locations or remembering to bring your toothbrush, it’s all about organizing.
1. Packing – when traveling abroad I pack a bit heavier. It’s not always as convenient to just run in and grab something that you’ve forgotten (no CVS or Walgreens to run in to). I make sure to check & recheck my list to make CERTAIN I have all of my toiletries. I also want to be prepared for all types of weather.
2. Language Guide – I speak a little bit of French and understand a little bit of Spanish. Everything else is “point and shoot” for me, so I bring along a language book or use my Bablefish on my phone. There are a number of great interpreter programs. I like this one because I can easily just SAY the phrase in English and it SAYS it back (as well as prints it across the screen).
3. Copies – I always keep copies of my “papers” – my passport or any other legal papers that I’ll need when I travel, just in case they’re lost or stolen. If you ever need to go to the American embassy to replace them, the entire process will be a LOT quicker with the copies. I also walk around the city with the copy and leave the actual passport in my room safe.
4. Currency Exchange – I use Travelex because it offers travel money and as well as an online offering, they also have centres across the US where you can physically go in and order your travel money in advance. Your best bet is to prepare by going to one of their currency exchange locations BEFORE you leave. That way you’ll be able to pay your cab driver at the airport (no he doesn’t take American Dollars).
5. Map – I have to say that I’m not a guidebook girl. I don’t walk around with one in my pocketbook, I typically enjoy just falling into neighborhoods. That being said I always have a map with me (like my Plan de Paris par Arrondisements) so that I can maneuver the streets, subways and buses.
6. TSA & Customs – If you travel a LOT (like I do) you may want to register for the Global Entry program making it a breeze to bypass customs. After watching my fellow passengers go straight to the front of the line and simply scan their Global Entry Card while I’m behind a bazillion others in line waiting for 2 hours, I’ve decided to apply for one (it’s worth the $100 fee to me).
If you have any tips to make traveling easier, I’d love to read them. Please leave your tips in the comments.