Travel. I love it and I hate it.
I love to go new places and experience new things, but if I had the choice, I would close my eyes, cross my hands and snap my head like I Dream of Jeannie and arrive at my desired destination. But that is not possible, yet.
Things always happen, you can’t control it. Through my own travel adventures, and sometime mishaps, I always learn something that can make my life easier when traveling. Lord knows it is a chore just trying to figure out what to pack, what you are allowed to pack, how much liquid to take on board, does it have to be in a clear container, can I drink water or do I have to drink my own breast milk???!?!!!!?!?!?! Argh! It makes you (almost) want to say, skip it, I am staying home!
But for those of us who brave it all the time, we learn little tricks of the trade. For that reason I have decided to also include some of these tips for travel to Europe on my site.
These are things that may be common sense for many, but hopefully, will be helpful for those who are not experienced world travelers. Please feel free to share your own tips and experiences. I am always looking for new tips to use myself or to pass on to other travelers. Here are a few that pertain to money and identification.
Join a credit union. Believe it or not, the fees for credit cards are less expensive thru a credit union. Most banks charge a higher interest rate for the card, and charge a larger pre transaction fee, and a larger foreign currency to dollars conversion (as if this is so hard).
Credit unions are more member friendly. Mine only charges 1% of the transaction, where some others charge a flat fee for conversion and add-on another 2-3% for kicks and giggles. Save your pennies and spend it on a special dinner or museum admission, don’t give your bank your hard-earned money!
Also, call your credit union before your trip and do two things. First, tell them you will be traveling out of the country. Inform them of a basic itinerary and your dates. This way when several international charges pop up, they don’t report your card as stolen and leave you without a card (it happens).
Second, ask them to help you find nearby participating bank locations within your network so you can keep your ATM fees to a minimum. I’ve done this and saved beaucoup bucks. Think about it. Every time you take money from a machine, it can cost $2.00 on each end. With my credit union, I do not once pay a fee, on either end! That little bit adds up over a 10-14 day vacation!
Make copies. Make two copies of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards (front and back). Leave one set home with a loved one, a neighbor, someone you can trust. Take another copy with you and hide it in the lining of your suitcase. If you lose your ID or passport, this will come in handy when you need to head to the Embassy.
You have proof and copies of your identity with you, or at least accessible by fax from home, in the event that your luggage gets stolen. You can cancel stolen credit cards easily; you have the card number and the bank’s phone number to do so. None of this will prevent you from having to go to the Embassy, but your red tape can be half as thick!
Feel free to share some of your tips or experiences with me.