1. Use Airplane Mode: When you board the plane – put your phone on airplane mode and leave it on for your entire trip. This way you will avoid any crazy expensive
data charges. Your phone won’t access any cellular towers this way but you can turn WIFI on if you want to check your email. I found this to be a really easy way to stay connected but also not have to worry about spending a fortune.
2. Pack a Carry-On Only: Between going through customs and waiting for your luggage – getting out of an international airport can take forever! My advice is to pack everything you need in a carry-on. You will save time and money this way. My friend Nicole has quite a system for this. Click here for her techniques.
3. Plan Plan Plan: I realize I’m a bit more neurotic about this than the average person but if you plan out an itinerary before you go you will save time and money. Checking to see which museums are open beforehand will save you aggravation and wasted time. We did this for our trip and we got to see and do so many things that I’m convinced wouldn’t have happened without our well-thought out agenda.
4. Take Public Transportation: It’s a cheap and easy way to travel. Learn the local subways and buses. Once you get the hang of it you will feel like a local. Don’t be intimidated! I’m at a bit of an advantage because I ride the NYC subway system everyday and I think it’s one of the most confusing in the world. But if you take the time to study a map and take a chance – you’ll be happy you tried it! Sometimes it’s faster than a cab.
5. Buy a Rick Steves’ Guide Book: I can’t say it enough – he’s the best. Every time I go to a foreign place – I take Rick Steves with me. He’s been traveling and writing books for most of his life. His reviews and advice is spot on every single time! Trust him.
6. Bring an Umbrella: No matter what – be prepared for wacky weather. It rained most of the time we were in Europe so I was glad I packed our emergency umbrellas! You just never know what the future will hold so pack a little insurance.
7. Learn a Few Words: I don’t speak Italian or French at all but I learned a few phrases so I could at least make my way around if I had to. Good words and phrases to learn when traveling abroad are:
- Thank you
- Do you speak English?
- Where is the bathroom?
- How much does this cost?
- Pinot Grigio please!