Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 12:18 pm
Headed overseas for the holidays? Rachel Harris, the lifestyle expert behind the Road Trip with Rach YouTube channel and ManagedMoms.com, is here to share her insights on making your international adventures easy and enjoyable. In this article, she offers advice on money-saving strategies and essential considerations. From maximizing travel points and researching cell phone plans, to crucial details about currency exchange, health insurance and travel medicines, these tips will help you prepare for a holiday getaway like a seasoned pro.
Last summer, my family and I embarked on the European trip of a lifetime, making memories as we explored our way through Amsterdam, Paris, and London. If you are taking a dream vacation this winter, I have some helpful tips on what you need to know before jetting out of the country!
Consider Flexible Travel Options – Research travel options to save money. Consider flying on a slower travel day, like on the actual holiday for lower airfare and don’t forget about layover options. For example, I found a reduced fare to Amsterdam versus flying nonstop to Paris or London. With that knowledge, I flew nonstop from Washington DC to the Netherlands and then traveled by train to different countries within Europe.
Bottom Line: Research money-saving flight options with time/location flexibility.
Research Travel Point Programs – Check out different credit card, hotel, and airline membership plans to accumulate travel points. Airfare and hotels tend to be more expensive than usual during the holidays, and using points can help avoid these increased expenses. Look for membership rewards programs which offer points that never expire. This allows you to build up your rewards over time and use them whenever it suits you best.
Bottom Line: Research travel points programs to accumulate benefit points.
Stuff to Know Before You Go
Check Health Insurance Policies: My policy reimburses for overseas healthcare expenses but doesn’t cover emergency medical transport back to America. I researched different international health plans that would provide that benefit. It’s a small but crucial detail that can make a big difference when you’re far from home. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning a one-time international trip, having the right health coverage ensures peace of mind and protection in emergencies.
Bottom Line: Check your healthcare plan.
Exchange Your Currency: Ask your bank if fee-free currency exchange services are offered. I recently had a positive experience when ordering a currency exchange at my bank during a quick visit to the teller line. Two days later, I returned to get my euros and pounds.
Bottom Line: Get foreign currency for tips and other cash-only situations.
Review Your Cell Phone Carrier International Plan: Call your cell phone service provider to learn about international travel plans. I’ve found that various providers, like mine, offer several plans that worked well for me overseas.
Bottom Line: Don’t forget this important step as our entire world is stored in our cell phones, including travel tickets, apps and more!
Check Luggage Requirements Beyond Airport: Check overseas train luggage limits if you plan to add rail travel to your trip. It may be different from the airline you fly. Getting stuck over the luggage limit when you’re about to board a train could be a costly drag. Load the train apps on your phone.
Bottom Line: Load travel apps for all international transportation modes for helpful information abroad.
Check Mask/Vax Guidelines: While masks are no longer required on U.S. flights, be aware that other countries, airlines, and even third-party tours may have their own regulations. You can visit the official government websites and those of the airline companies or tour providers for the latest info.
Bottom Line: Don’t assume the rest of the world matches our current mask rules.
Download Language Translation Apps: These can be a valuable tool for any journey. During my family trip, I used Google Translate. My daughter is allergic to cashews and the app enabled us to translate her food allergy in a variety of different languages. I took a screenshot and saved it to my phone to show restaurants when ordering. A potential lifesaver for anyone traveling abroad!
Bottom Line: Consider all types of travel issues including food allergies or other ailments that could be exasperated by a language barrier.
Crucial Carry Ons
Pack Helpful Homeopathic Travel Aids like Boiron Nux vomica pellets that relieve holiday hangover symptoms, such as upset stomach, nausea and heartburn.* The meltaway pellets are simple to take since they melt under the tongue with no water needed. The medicine contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. I also pack MotionCalm by Boiron for motion sickness treatment and Boiron Diaralia for traveler’s diarrhea.*
Bottom Line: Pack meds for all kinds of unexpected travel ailments.
Bring Universal Travel Adapters & Portable Chargers: Electrical outlet adapter kits are crucial as some countries have electric sockets that differ from ours. Portable power packs are also a worthy investment, so you can charge your devices on the go.
Bottom Line: Be prepared with accessories that will adequately charge your must-have electronic devices overseas.
*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.