Currently, I am preparing for my two week long trip to Portugal and Spain that I’ll be going on in January. It’s a little nerve-wracking, because I’ve only been out of the country once, to Turks and Caicos, which wasn’t really that different from the U.S. Also, if you want to know more about going to Turks and Caicos, find out what you need to know before you go here and where to eat here.
Anyway, this is my first trip across an ocean, which is exciting but a little scary at the same time. It’ll be my longest flight (about eight hours) I’ve ever been on. But what better way to start 2018 than to escape the winter for a little bit to go somewhere cool?
I’m going for a global leadership class, so I’ll be with a big group of people, and I can’t wait to document it! But for now, here are some things that I’ve learned while planning to travel to another country.
Make sure to get an adapter and a voltage converter if you need one. Countries have different types of outlets, and some countries have different types of voltages. Depending on what country you’re going to, you may not need a voltage converter. But in Europe, you definitely need an adapter and a voltage converter. Not having a voltage converter could really damage anything you plug in.
Bring copies of important documents just in case. One of my worst fears while going to a different country is having all of my personal documents stolen. Bring copies of your birth certificate or any other forms of identification.
Pack light. I love packing. I love making detailed packing lists and checking things off anytime I go somewhere. I struggle with packing light, because I somehow manage to convince myself that I need more clothes than I need. But you really don’t need as much as you think you do. Since Portugal and Spain is supposed to have spring-like weather this time of year, I’m planning on bringing lots of good layering pieces, like thin shirts, cardigans, and a jacket. Also remember that as long as you have access to water and a bar of soap, you can clean most of your clothes in a sink if you really need to.
Call your bank. Most banks will cancel your card if they see it’s been used somewhere completely different from where you usually swipe it, because they might think someone has stolen it. It’s important to make sure you’ve called your bank to make sure they know you’ll be out of the country, and not to cancel your card while you’re abroad.
Make sure you have enough money. Speaking of debit/credit cards, it’s vital that you have more than enough money to spend on food or whatever else you might need. I don’t care if you’re the cheapest person in the world, you’re going to end up spending quite a bit of money while abroad (money is meant to be enjoyed!).
And make sure you know what type of currency you’ll be using, and how to barter. Knowing what currency you’ll be using while abroad is obviously helpful. Also keep in mind that everyone will know you’re a tourist and might try to up-charge you.
Make sure you know how you’re going to contact people back home. You should probably have a plan on how you’re going to reach people back home – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are good apps to keep in touch if you won’t have data. Even better, get a data plan if you can.
Remember to keep an open mind, and that not everything will go as planned. Try not to get caught up on your schedule changing. Unexpected things will happen, and it’ll probably turn out okay in the end.
Does anyone else have good travel tips? Let me know, and happy travels!