Top 7 International Travel Tips (So You’re Not Facepalming Overseas)

I feel like everybody and their mom is traveling out of the country.  I have multiple friends who either just came back from Italy, France, Japan, Spain, etc., are currently there RIGHT NOW, or are on their way!!

IT’S DRIVING ME FUCKING STIR CRAZY!!!

Not that I’m not excited about their travel adventures because believe me, I am!  But every time I see a post, especially a delicious food post, I yell (in my head but sometimes out loud), “DAMMIT!!  I WANT THAT IN OR AROUND MY MOUTH!!!

Seriously, it’s taking everything in me to not get trigger finger and accidentally buy a ticket to Paris right now and stuff my face with baguettes and cream puffs.

That’s what I used to do.  Not the shoving food in my face thing…because that’s still ongoing ;P  But the “Hey!  I’m just going to buy a ticket to here… and here AND HERE AND HERE AND EVERYWHEEEERRRRREEEE!!!

I remember about 2 years ago, I was bouncing from city to city like an insane person, spending more time on flights than actually on the ground it felt like.

First, I was in Florida visiting my awesome cousins and aunt, then I went on a cruise to the Caribbean, then back to Florida for a few more days before coming back to Southern California for a night, only to fly out the next morning BACK to (another part of) Florida for work, then it was back home for a night, then Austin, TX for the Blogger Interactive Conference (which sadly looks to be no more), then back home for a week before jet-settin’ to SF for some BatKid fun (more on that later – promise!  Post is in the works right now :D).

Whew, I’m getting anxiety just thinking about it!  But that anxiety is what I live and thrive off of.  I fucking love it.  It’s my fuel to the crazy fire burning within me, wanting to explore and see everything, not to mention eat my way through the world.

So instead of randomly booking tickets to Fiji (which I SO want to visit someday), I figured why the hell not put my Top 7 International Travel Tips (So You’re Not Facepalming Overseas) into a blog post for everybody to see and share at their own convenience since so many people asked me for advice in the past month :)

So here it is, y’all!

Top 7 International Travel Tips (So You're Not Facepalming Overseas)

NUMERO UNO.

Do NOT drink the water (and beware of ice too)!  No, seriously.  I know everyone says it but it’s so true.  Just load up on wine and beer, that’s what we did! :)  My friend faced some steep prices in the financial district of Madrid where there weren’t any convenience stores nearby so he had to venture into a nightclub of sorts to pay 20 euros for a big bottle of water… 

My solution to that would be using Brita purifying water bottles or even Bobble bottles (Note:  I prefer the Brita sports water bottle because it’s more heavy duty and easy to squeeze straight into your mouth).  My friend and I were totally fine filtering our water but some people may get skeeved out by that.  If so, then be ready to pay a pretty penny or have the shits overseas – your call ;P

NUMBER 2.

Eurail is fucking awesome.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, they’re a great way to travel through Europe by train and not be cumbered by having to check bags and deal with liquid/weight restrictions.  Just keep in mind though that they ship your actual EUrail train pass to your address and you HAVE to sign for it.  Mine ended up getting lost for a week, and not just any week, but THE week before I left on my trip!  If it weren’t for that super nice post office manager who sifted through all of the lost mail, I would have been SOL FASHO

Also, be sure to read all the FAQs about how to make train reservations at the train station because oftentimes, the trains will completely fill up and you’ll be stuck if you don’t have a reservation.  Some but not all of them require a fee.

THREE!!!

Get a Skype account and put some $moolah$ on it – so great for emergencies and calls back home when you have WiFi.  Take advantage of that free WiFi that’s often offered at various hostels or hotels overseas as a selling point to tourists and call back home for cheap.  Oftentimes, this will be MUCH cheaper than a calling card and your loved ones get to see your smiling, excited face as well!

FOUR SCHMORE.

Book through booking.com because it’s so nice to not have to pay any fees usually until 6pm the day of arrival.  I would book multiple places for the same dates and then send links to all my friends going on the trip to get a vote of where they’d like to stay.  Then I would cancel the other places based off of the group’s choice.  Also, booking.com‘s customer service is great! 

One time, we could not for the life of us find the damn hotel we had booked and unfortunately couldn’t get WiFi in time to call the hotel to cancel our reservation.  So the hotel charged us a buttload of money sadly.  I called booking.com and explained the situation to the representative.  She put me on hold, called the hotel, and came back to tell me that they got the hotel to waive the cost.  SO nice of all the parties involved :D 

Side note:  Totally not getting paid by booking.com to promote their shit.  They just made traveling in Europe so easy when I went and saved my hiney more than once which was much appreciated :)

FIIIIIIIIVE.

Get a couple of RFID blockers.  Totally reasonably priced and so great for identity theft protection because of the thin layer of metal they have protecting your credit card(s) and passport from close proximity scanning.  On a side note, beware of gypsies/people trying to distract you with petitions to sign or things to sell, that’s usually when pickpockets strike.

SEX.  ERRR, I MEAN, SIX…

Call your bank and credit card companies ahead of time to notify them of your travel dates and cities/countries so that they don’t freeze your card when you’re overseas with no way of undoing it until you come back to the states and hash it out at the bank IN PERSON.  Another super important thing is to make sure your pin is only 4 digits!!  ATMs in some countries DO NOT accept 5-digit pins and once you’re over there, you’re kinda fucked if you want to try to change your pin.

VII.

Some banks offer travel accounts.  So you can put a set amount of spending money in there like $6k for example and then your card and everything is linked to there.  That way if someone steals your info or cards, all they can do is wipe out the money you set aside for the trip but no more!  This takes like a month to set up and fully test though.

And that’s all for now, folks! :)

Hopefully, my Top 7 International Tips keeps you from facepalming hardcore overseas.  I know they would have helped me out immensely if I had known about them beforehand instead of having to find some of these out the hard way…  Stay tuned for some BatKid fun next time AND keep your eyes peeled for a UCLA treat that’s “BRUIN” in the background… ;)

Until next time, yall! ;P

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