5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING ABROAD
I have traveled out the country on 4 occasions, and each time I feel like I am forgetting something! I have been to Brazil, Italy (multiple times, this is my favorite place), England, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia, and France!
My last travel excursion was in May, just two months ago! I wen’t back to Florence, Italy where I had spent 4 months of my college life, falling in love with the culture and learning all I could about International Business. I made so many friends, especially one, which I knew I had to go back to visit! Her name is Giulia! Here is a picture of her and I, and one with her Famiglia!
I want to provide a simple list of things that seem simple, but could definitely be overlooked!
On this last trip, about a day before I departed, I was making a list of everything I needed. I remembered…shoot, I don’t recall where I put my converters and adapters! I searched and searched, and remembered I left them the last time I was in Italy to make room in my luggage.
#1. Converters are your life!
Make sure you check all your electronics/hairdryers/ anything that plugs into the wall. Europe/ Countries has a completely different watt system than we do, and you make fry your items if you’re not too careful!
What’s the difference between a Converter and Adapter?
A Converter is a device that switches the wattage from your item to what the countries wattage is. An Adapter is simple the type of prong/design of the plug. Most converters have an adapter included with multiple different prongs to insure that you have the correct one for your country of choice. My suggestion: buy things that aren’t too expensive, that are dual voltage. I bought a cheap dual voltage hair dryer and still use it today! Also, be aware of what is already dual voltage, because if you use a converter it may use more exert more power, and cause damage. For instance, Apple products are dual voltage. You simple need an adapter!
Here is the one similar to mine (Universal): Converter
This may seem so silly, but if you’ve never traveled outside the country, you may not realize this is something you need…or realize how long it takes to get one! This isn’t the DMV where they can just print you off one! This process can take up to 4-6 weeks or even longer; so definitely think ahead! If you do want one fast, one of my coworkers boyfriends drove down to Atlanta, Georgia, where apparently the office there can print one on the spot!
Now, I know I have traveled quite a bit, but even I forget at times that I need my Passport. Mainly, because I fly somewhat frequently in the states, where you don’t need one…that it just slips my mind!
#3. Inform Your Bank of Where You’re Traveling!
My first time in Italy, I did not inform Bank of America that I was leaving the country and taking my credit card with me…this is a MUST! They called to inform me that someone in Italy was using my card, and that they had made multiple purchases with it. I felt incredibly stupid, and luckily they unfroze my account so I could continue with my exploring!
If you don’t want to be on hold with your bank…you can either go online (Bank of America has this option, not sure about other banks), or go to a physical bank and let them know about your upcoming trip! It’s definitely no fun to be financially hindered in another country!
#4. Converting Cash Beforehand!
Did you know that you can exchange your USD for international currency right at your home bank for no extra charge? There is a shipping fee at some banks…but it’s definitely worth not having the extra exchange fee added on. I go to Bank of America and tell them how many Euros (or whatever currency) I would like, and they just pull the equivalent right out of my bank account. It normally takes about 2-3 business days for your money to arrive, so plan accordingly. I get cash ahead of time, specifically if I am visiting Italy, because you never know what places do or do not accept card. All places do though accept cash!
#5. Check Your Phone Plan!
The time I visited Brazil, I did not have much knowledge on my phone plan. I thought just not using data and solely using wifi when it was available, meant not being charged for my data plan. Wrong! I didn’t physically turn off data in my settings. So, the whole time we were out and about without wifi, my phone was constantly searching or roaming for data. I got back to the U.S. to find a $600 bill with my name on it. That was T-mobile in 2012. Now, T-Mobile has an amazing international plan that everything is free, except calls! Calls are $.20 a minute, or free over wifi (at least I believe so)! T-Mobile so far is the only cell phone provider that offers this!
Make sure you check your plan because you could end up with an outrageous bill when you return from adventuring!
Check out T-Mobile plan HERE!