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As some of you may know, I recently travelled internationally to the Philippines with my husband. This is only the second time that we have travelled internationally as a couple. The first one being our honeymoon destination, Jamaica.
Since summer is fast approaching, thought I’d share some tips for traveling. Whether you’re planning to go to somewhere closer like Mexico or farther like Asia or Europe, here are some tips. I’ve shared some of these when I guested a local TV show called Great Day Houston a few months ago but they were more geared towards holiday travel. So I revised this a little bit for international travel and hope that these tips help you. I must also mention that a good friend of mine helped me with some of the tips here.
1. Check the weather at your destination.
This is basic. Whether you’ve traveled too many times before or it’s your first time traveling, it’s always great to check the weather at your destination throughout the duration of your stay there. Having this information will allow you to know what to pack, wear on a certain day, etc.
2. Pack smart, pack light.
I must admit, this is quite the challenging part. Especially for a blogger. Sometimes though, even if you’re not a blogger, it’s still challenging, especially if you’re traveling with your whole family and you have small kids. But if you don’t plan this part carefully, excess baggage can be quite expensive and not only that, it’s heavy and annoying to be carrying or dragging too many luggages at the airport.
Be sure to check with your airline how much weight you’re allowed per luggage and carry on. For international travel, it’s usually 50 lbs. but that may vary per airline so be sure to call and ask ahead of time.
Here are a few tips for packing light:
- Use travel cubes for better or more compact luggage organization.
- Roll up clothes for better use of luggage space.
- Pack staples like jeans, a cute jacket, shorts a couple of tees and a one or two outfits that are interchangeable and can be dressed up or down as the occasion permits.
- The same thing with shoes. When on vacation, you either normally do a lot of walking/hiking or just lounging at the beach. Perhaps a night or two at a nearby bar or a resort bar. I normally would take a pair of hiking shoes, aqua shoes, and wedges for a night out.
- If you’d rather bring your toiletries, having a travel-ready ziploc in any of your travel luggage can save you time in packing.
- Always leave room for shopping. Take clothes and items you don’t mind getting rid of to have space for shopping.
3. Other Important Packing Tips:
- Tote bags are cute and all but realistically, when hiking, doing a lot of walking, getting on the boat, or even just lounging at the beach, a waterproof backpack bag is more convenient based on my own experience.
- Bring a waterproof case for your cellphone or one of those 3 or 4 in one that can hold your passport, money, and cellphone at the same time just like this one or this. I personally got something like this waterproof cellphone case and just put in whatever cash I had.
- When going on a light flight, it also helps to have a washable mask like this with you. Our travel to Asia was almost 24 hours and with hundreds of people on the plane, you don’t know what you can contract from the recycled air. Even if it’s a short flight, take a mask with you. You don’t know who you’re going to get in the plane with, the mask may just some in handy.
- Don’t forget t bring first aid kits and over-the-counter medications. My experience in international travel is that you don’t want to go look for a grocery, pharmacy, or a convenience store to buy small first aid necessities such as bandaids, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or headache medicine that works for you. It is quite inconvenient and can cost you time and a little more money for little things. What my husband likes to do is have those little things in his travel toiletry bag that’s always in one of his luggages so that he can just take it with us whenever we travel. Essential oils are also helpful. We also brought some immune booster with us such as Airborne and some Theraflu.
- Do not bring expensive designer accessories such as sunglasses and wallets. These are items that you can easily leave on the chair and forget when you walk out. I normally like to take cheaper sunglasses when traveling.
Check Out My List Below for Important Essentials
Check Out Other Recommend Luggage Sets
4. Create/Write Down a Packing List
This may sound like very tedious at first but trust me, it’s worth it to take an inventory of the items you’re taking with you. The purpose of this is to have a list that you’re ready to hand to the airport lost and found luggage staff in case the airlines loses your luggage. I know that this is the last thing that we’d like to happen but having a list saves you and a lot of time when filling out paper work if it indeed does happen. If you have kids and taking inventory of their items, yours and your husband’s, is a challenge, do this at least with anything quite valuable that you’re taking with you.
5. Bring a couple of change of clothes in your carry on.
Losing luggage is not only an inconvenience but it’s a total nightmare. Like I said above, this is the last thing that we wanted to happen but we also kind of somehow need to prepare for it. Having a couple of change of clothes will at least get you through a night or two until the airlines find your luggage.
6. Always keep your security and the security of your family in mind:
Leave a copy of your (and every member of your family if applicable) passport or driver’s license to another family member, relative or a trusted friend who is not traveling with you. This is in case something happens (God forbid).
- Make multiple photocopies of important documents (passport, license, visas) to keep in each bag. This way if it gets lost, it’s easy to validate who you are.
- Do not bring any valuable items such as fine jewelry, designer sunglasses and handbags, especially in overseas travel.
- Do not bring a lot of credit cards. If possible, bring only your main one.
- Avoid if all possible connecting your laptop to the hotel WiFi. Instead use a MiFi or your own Personal Hotspot device. Credit Card / Personal Information thieves can easily hack into your device and obtain your personal and financial information. For those of you who have iPhones, they have the ability to act as a Hotspot (MiFi) device. Refer to your owner’s manual for details how to turn it on.
- If traveling with smaller kids/toddlers, it may be a good idea to get a child backpack leash for each kid so you don’t lose them out of sight.
- It may also be a good idea to speak with your spouse about “child” assignment – who is keeping an eye with which child kind of thing.
7. Check-In 24 hours before your travel.
Checking in ahead of time whether it’s domestic or international can save you some time. You still would have to go to the counter to check in your luggage but often times, once you’ve checked in, there are airline staff that will approach you to check your luggage in if you’ve already checked in online.
8. Call important service providers.
- Call your credit card company to let them know where you will be traveling to and for how long so your charges don’t get rejected. Also compare foreign fees on your credit card and use the best one. Some CC offer no foreign transaction fees while others are astronomical. In some cases your CC company offers a better exchange rate than the local bureau exchange.
- Call your cellphone service provider and inquire about roaming charges. Their rates vary per country. You don’t want surprise charges
9. Arrange airport transfers ahead of time.
Some hotels/resorts may offer free airport transfers while some charge for it. Either way, it is highly recommend that you arrange this ahead of time.
10. Remember to breathe and relax.
- Feel free to ask the hotel concierge about local safe spots. Many of the places catered to tourists are grossly overpriced and does not give a full experience. You would really be surprised about the wonderful places to eat, relax, etc. When you talk to locals. Also feel free to do your own research before you travel. However, always remember, safety first.
- Lastly, but most importantly, remember to relax. There is such a thing as over planning. Leave room for downtime. Do not feel the pressure to plan every aspect of your trip. It could lead to a very stressful experience when things – and yes they will – do not go according to your plan. Remember you are on vacation.