Planning/Preparing for Trips
1) Google Maps Prep
I always do this! It helps me plan what I want to see/do to save time and money. I can see what places are close to another and close to me.
How to create a List of places:
Find your current location. Then see what saved locations are near you to be efficient with time and money.
Accessing your saved list on Google Maps:
2) Free Walking Tours
Google “Free walking tours in X”.
There are often companies in large cities that offer free walking tours. Some you have to pre-register and others you just show up, so check the site. Big fan because the guides rely on tips so they are usually young, engaging, and present the information in a way you’ll remember!
3) Food Research
I rely on these main methods for food research: YouTube, Instagram, Yelp, and Google Reviews. When I find places I want to go, I add it to my Google Maps list, save it to an Instagram album or Yelp Collection.
4) Download Google Maps Offline
No data, no worries! Even if you’re domestically traveling, downloading maps offline saves battery and is handy in case you’re in a spotty service area.
Manage offline maps:
5) Download languages on Google Translate
This is a must for international travel in non-native English speaking countries.
Download and manage languages offline:
6) Finding Free Things To Do
I’ll Google “Free things to do in X” and skim blogs or watch YouTube. Then I will add them in my Google Maps list (#1) or write it in an excel sheet.
7) Buy Currency from the Bank Before
I always carry some cash on me in case my card quits working or they do not accept card (small shops, tipping, taxi, etc). Buying currency from the bank is the ‘cheapest’ way. Banks charge a fee too but the exchange rate is more reasonable.
Do not exchange currency at one of the tourist stands (exchange rates are worse, plus they charge a fee). Airports are okay but it’s often difficult to find and hours can differ.
If you need more currency while in the country, bring your debit card to withdraw from an ATM.
8) Outlet Adapters vs Converters
Adapters - If traveling abroad, make sure you have proper outlet adapters. Countries have different outlet prongs. Amazon and TJMaxx (cheaper) have master adapters that house all forms.
Converters - Research the country’s electric voltage. Cell phones and laptops are 99% fine because they are made to accommodate differing electric currents, but double check hair appliances. Often, stylists have a range and you won’t have to worry. But look at the tag on your appliance to make sure it can handle that country’s electric voltage.
9) Money Belt
Occasionally I paranoid I’ll lose my bag so sometimes wear a hidden money belt underneath my clothes. I’ll keep my passport and larger amounts of cash in it. I keep small cash amounts in my purse.
If I need something, I’ll go to the restroom. (Do not publicly use your money belt because the whole point is to keep it secret).
10) Charge Portable Batteries
Bring one or two portable battery chargers for your small electronic devices. Charge before!
11) Download Entertainment
12) Learn How to Efficiently Pack
I’m a pro at packing light. More tips and tricks.