Travel Tips

Travelling abroad?

….Here are my top 10 random travel tips.

As you may have noticed we love to travel. Over the last two years alone we’ve taken 34 flights between us and adventured to 15 different countries so we’ve picked up a fair few tips along the way. So to kick off my #TravelTips Tuesday’s here are my rather random top 10 for travelling abroad.

1. Use a burner phone. Want to avoid those mega phone bills when you get back from holiday, then my top tip would be to get a 3 pay as you go sim card.  While most of the big providers now let you use your phone in the EU at no extra cost if you’re travelling further afield you’re stuck. So I have a 3 travel phone and before I travel I top up that and convert it into an add on (which covers you in 71 countries). Before getting a travel sim card I was always a bit concerned that I’d forget to change my roaming or something would go wrong and I’d come home to a £500 bill. But as I don’t actually have any credit on the phone I no longer have to worry. Now I don’t have a clue about megabites of data etc but what I can say is that the data lasts a month and I put £25 on and despite using it everyday in America, Australia and New Zealand, uploading to social media, streaming films and using it as a sat-nav there was no sign of the credit running out even after I came home and I didn’t find myself without signal once!

2. Get a Monzo card. So a little while ago a friend of mine recommended Monzo to me, it’s an online bank that supplies you with a (bright orange/pink/coral) MasterCard and you control your account from an app. All very 2018 but I wasn’t quite ready to give up my main bank account just yet. However as our trip to New Zealand approached I started to get a bit concerned about travelling abroad with only one card as I don’t have a credit card. What would happen if the card got stolen or my account got hacked? So I started looking again at Monzo and when I realised that they don’t charge you to use your card abroad I was sold, or rather not as they don’t cost anything, but did save me a fortune in fees. I sent off for it and with a few days it had arrived and I was able to transfer the holiday budget to it. And that’s where it came into its own, I’m not a budgeter at all and had I just been using my main account I probably would have either over spent or panicked about spending too much on it and not done all the things we did. With the app showing me every time I used it and what the balance was now it really helped to keep me on track. I’ve used it in 5 countries without a hiccup and from now on will always put the holiday money into Monzo before we go abroad.

Monzo have an offer on at the minute where if you join off my link you (and I, thanks!) will get £5 just for opening an account and using your card. Use this link to claim: https://join.monzo.com/r/9igqjhz

3. Driving abroad? Don’t forget a car charger.On our recent trip to New Zealand the plan was always to rent a car and yet despite taking plugs that would work in half the countries of the world and enough leads to charge the other half it never crossed my mind to pack an in-car charger. Now when you’re using your phone as a Sat-Nav that’s quite a big #TravelFail. It wasn’t too difficult to buy one in central Wellington admittedly (coulda been a nightmare in the outback though) but as I already own several, next time I’ll be saving myself the cash and packing it first.

4. Download Uber.Please don’t shout at me black cab drivers, but when travelling abroad I always use Uber. Checking out beforehand how much journeys will roughly cost makes budgeting and pre-planning easier. Plus it makes me feel relaxed to know I’m not going to end up in a dodgy fake cab that will charge me loads for a quick trip. It’s also a lot cheaper in a lot of places to Uber rather than take a cab, it cost me about $30 more in Sydney to get to the city from the airport using a taxi than my trip back in a cab.

5. Get out of the airport. Flying long haul and have a stop over? Do yourself a favour and get out of the airport. Not only does it majorly help to break up the journey it also makes it more fun.  What’s the point in sitting in the airport for hours bored and paying a fortune when you could be on another adventure? We spent our recent 6 hour stopover in LA sunbathing on the beach, seeing dolphins and sharks, eating ice creams and paddling in the ocean, way better than sitting in LAX!

Way better than sitting in LAX for 6 hours!

6. Get a USB multi-plug. This is a fairly recent addition to my travel armoury and now I absolutely will not go away without it. They’re a life saver when you’re in a hotel room low on plug sockets and have several electronics that need charging. I have a standard UK one but then bought my travel one on Amazon and it has several (small) adaptors meaning you can use it worldwide, and you can say goodbye to carrying around a bagful of plugs and travel adaptors!

7. Make a list, and stick to it.I am so not an organised traveller by nature, more of a fling stuff into the bags/car and hit the road but with hand luggage only or long adventures I’ve had to learn how to control my packing. Now I work out and write out what I really need (5 pairs of shoes for a weekend away is reasonable right?) and absolutely stick to it, otherwise when I see a bit of space left I start chucking in random other stuff that doesn’t get worn.

8. Ask the locals. Some of my favourite parts of our adventures over the years have come from asking the locals where to go. They know the best spots to eat and drink or see things off the tourist track so make sure you get some advice from the people in the know on your travels.

9. Get a Dock and Bay towel.These have been a total revolution when it comes to packing. By the time I had packed a beach towel and a washing towel x2 for us both on previous trips the suitcase was already half full, not so much with these amazing things. Even the extra large towels fold down to less than the size of a paperback book and they dry both you and themselves so well and don’t get all the icky sand stuck to them.

TOP TIP – get a solid colour one rather than striped, they’re so much softer and dry even better.

10. Take a travel iron.Admittedly not something I have ever thought of packing before or really needed when away for a few days or staying in one hotel but this is the one thing I wished I had packed on our mega adventure to New Zealand. With everything squashed into the case, despite doing some ironing when we did stay in places with irons, we (miraculously) had clean clothes left but couldn’t wear them because they were so creased.

Please note that while this post contains affiliate links, they are to products I own and personally use/recommend.

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