Pack These For International Travel

Plugs

Some might find this a surprise, but Europe and the UK have their own electrical outlet plugs that differ from America. So you have two options to be prepared for that. You can either purchase an adapter like this one that will allow you to plug in your phone, hair dryer, etc. We kept ours on “converter” setting. When I tried my hair straightener on the “adapter” setting, it started smoking!

Or, you can wait until you get there to purchase a cheap version of each from one of their markets. Why I say that is because they actually say it’s pretty dangerous to plug in American hair curlers into an adapter. They say that there’s a high chance that it could actually short circuit the whole building that you’re staying in.

IMG_3198The Louvre in Paris

Credit Card

To avoid having to carry a ton of cash on you while traveling (for pick pocketing concerns), perhaps consider getting a credit card that has no foreign fees. We got this Bank of America card and it’s been great! It also has a point system to each towards cash back on future traveling expenses.

*we do not get paid from Bank of America for advertisement

Cash

You’ll still need some no matter where you travel, but if you have a safe place to store it, try to only withdrawal cash once. We experienced a $10 fee plus 15% fee per transaction at a foreign bank.

Tip** Some countries you’ll need more cash than others. For instance, most places that we went to in Amsterdam needed cash. However, when we traveled through France, they accepted credit cards more often.

IMG_3408Soulac Sur Mer, France

Wifi hot spots

Before we traveled internationally, we looked into what to turn off on our cell phones to avoid international fees. The average we found online was to expect $200-$1000 for the first time going internationally! We were terrified of this and looked up tips from this and this and neither of us got charged anything! We didn’t get a data plan nor a SIM card.

So once you are in your new country, you’ll need to find a wifi hot spot to look up directions on how to get to that restaurant, or museum you wanted to visit. A cool tip is when you look it up, hit “start directions” on your phone before leaving the wifi hot spot. Your directions will actually still work due to it loading prior to losing that wifi. So it doesn’t use your data, and you’ll be able to keep track of how to get to places!

**these are our experiences with Iphones, on Verizon plans. Charges may vary per person.

Enjoy the travel!

-Sam

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How to Travel Cheaper!

The top two tips alone save us $1000 a trip. Insane savings!

Tip 1 – Ditch The Hotels

Did you know that the average price per night for a 3 star hotel in major cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Boston are usually around $190 a night? So for a week trip, you’d be spending around $1300 after taxes just for your hotel room. And that’s not including your $500 round trip airplane ticket I’m sure you just booked as well.

For us, we’d like a week trip to cost no more than $3K after all expenses. That’s how we travel so often. Budgets. But for two of us, being left with a grand after hotel and airline fees isn’t enough money for food, souveniors, museum fees, and cruise tours. So, we started to switch to hostels instead of hotels. The average hostel is half the price of a 3 star hotel. So now, we are paying $620 after taxes for that week stay. That saved us $680!

DSC06429

Our intimate hostel room in Boston

Tip 2 – Look for Niche Airlines

With the travel industry booming, more niche airlines are opening up. Niche airlines fly to specific destinations on specific dates which allows them to lower their prices since they are doing less air time on their part. Even though that means you’d have to plan your trip around when these airlines are flying, you’d be surprised with just how much money you will be saving.

We’re going to Oklahoma City to see Zach’s family during summer 2017 and were amazed by the price differences:

Regular Airline – American Airlines: $1,180

Niche Airline – Allegiant Airlines: $420

That saved us $760!

Some niche airlines include: Alaska Air GroupHawaiian Airlines, Spirit AirlinesLatam Airlines, and Allegiant Airlines.

Tip 3 – Stay Loyal to Companies

I naturally began using Booking.com for our trips because I felt like they made it simple to sift through all the options and find exactly what I need & their prices are usually lower than competitor sites. Since I use them so much, they actually made a special link for me. Now, if anyone books their accommodations through this link  not only do I earn $20 in travel money, but the person who used my link does as well!

On top of that, Booking.com has reward programs too. If I book 5 trips within a year with them, my fifth trip I can get a stay for free. I got all of this, just because I didn’t feel like googling different hotel names!

I hope you look into these options! Sometimes those top two tips alone save us around $1000 a trip. Don’t spend money that you don’t need to!

-Sam