I love traveling, but sometimes it can be stressful, especially the planning. However, in the grand scheme of things, the planning makes the rest of it seem a lot less stressful.
Before you go anywhere, you should look into things like flights, climate, your budget, and things to do. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re serious about traveling, here are 6 more things you should consider before traveling:
Exchange rates are definitely one of the things you should keep an eye on. It’s also a good idea to figure out the conversion rate before you go. One of the biggest money mistakes travelers make is exchanging their money for foreign currency before they reach their intended destination. Because of exchange rates, you actually lose some money if you buy from your bank and even more, if you exchange while at the airport. You’ll most likely get the best rate if you use the ATM when you arrive in your travel location.
Also, remember to inform your bank that you’ll be traveling so they can place a travel alert on your account. This will prevent any temporary holds/freezes on your account due to any spending they perceive to be suspicious.
2. Mode of Transportation
How are you going to get around once you’re there? Depending on the country you’re in, taxis might not be the best idea. If you need to travel longer distances, it might be best to rent a car, in which case you should look into different companies and rates. If you’re backpacking and/or traveling between different countries in Europe, you may want to go for a Railpass. Also, keep in mind that some locations (like Hawaii) might require short flights between islands and others might have water-travel, such as ferries.
There are a lot of options when it comes to finding a place to stay. Depending on your style, or the kind of traveling you want to do, there are hotels and Bed-and-Breakfasts. For those of you looking for a different experience, lower price, or perhaps a longer stay in a more private or remote accommodation, there are always hostels and sites like Airbnb or CouchSurfing that offer short-term lodging in residential properties. If you’re housesitting or WWOOFing, make sure you’re comfortable with where you’re going. Wherever you choose to lay your head, do your research.
Unless you’re traveling in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or going off the grid, you’ll probably need an adapter to charge your electronics. And depending on your phone coverage and/or plan, you might want to get a prepaid phone card for international calls. Otherwise, wifi might be your friend for communicating with people back home.
Before you head out, do your research on the different customs (the do’s and don’ts) of the country you’re traveling to. For instance, what percentage do they typically tip? Are there certain gestures, words, or actions that might be considered offensive that are different from the US? Are there different laws? Are there common tourist scams? Will there be any cultural events while you’re there? There are a lot of things you might not even think of, but it’s simple enough to research “do’s and don’ts” infographics on different countries for that information.
6. Travel Insurance
Yes, this is a thing. Travel insurance exists for things like injury or illness while traveling, trip cancellations, baggage loss or theft, and many other things. Getting travel insurance isn’t required, but it is a good idea, so again—do your research!
Even though half the fun of travel is the unexpected, I’m a firm believer that you should always be prepared for as much as possible. If you’re having trouble planning, try to talk to a travel agent or someone you know that’s experienced in traveling. Whether you’re traveling domestically or abroad, it’s good to cover the basics, plus a little bit more. The unexpected will likely still happen, but it’ll be worth it.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com