Here are a few thoughts as I prepare to head back from my holiday travels on questions posed recently.
+ If you don’t travel often or are traveling to a part of the world you haven’t been to before, contact your bank and your credit card companies prior to departure and let them know your travel dates and destinations. This will save you from headaches were legitimate withdrawals or purchases denied as suspicious activity while abroad.
+ Heading to a new destination, looking for activities and not sure where to start your search? Using Google, type in your destination and “convention and visitors bureau” to find official tourism information online. Next stop: the city’s daily newspaper website. Both of those should find you relevant ideas and new search terms to help you along.
+ On January 1, new TSA regulations went into effect regarding spare lithium batteries. The short version: lithium batteries MUST be carried on; if spares are not in their original packaging, they must be isolated from metal objects and other batteries (easiest option: pack each individually in a plastic bag). Check out further information here and here.
+ Traveling through countries with different currencies? A great way to keep your various bills and coins organized is a mini expandable (coupon) file, like the one pictured here. You can pick one up cheaply at your nearest dollar store or Target. Keep all phonecards, bus tickets, rechargeable metro cards, little maps — anything retaining value for a future visit — sorted inside as well. Handy while traveling, it will also make finding these useful “leftovers” for your next trip that much easier!
+ If there’s a chance you’ll be driving while abroad (i.e. renting a car), pick up an international driving permit before leaving home. In the U.S., you’ll need to head to your nearest AAA with 2 passport-sized photographs, your current valid driver’s license and $15; in other countries, contact your national driving association for further information. Your IDP is valid only with your state-issued driver’s license, so carry them together when traveling.
Looking for more tips? Try Random Travel Tips #1.