Here are the next 5 of our top 20 travel essential list.
Travel adapters are a must overseas if you plan to use any small appliances. Voltage in a lot of countries is 220 vs. our 110. We prefer the inexpensive ones. We have tried several fancy ones and they never seem to work. Here is a great web site to check which adapter is needed for your destination.
It is important that any small appliance such as a hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron, etc is DUAL VOLTAGE. If it is not dual voltage it will blow up or blow a breaker. We have tried a couple step-down converters but they usually melt in the first 48 hours and they can be expensive. You can get most adapters for a great price on Amazon.
Smart Phone / Tablet apps are useful overseas. Here are just a few of our favorites.
-Kindle Reader – so much easier than carrying a book
-CityMaps2Go – you can download city maps ahead of time and use then offline
-Convert – convert kilometers to miles, liters to gallon, etc. It will convert currency to with WiFi
-Skype – Make free calls using WiFi to other Skype users
-WhatsApp – Similar to Facebook Messenger you can message using WiFi
-Language Apps / Google Translate – look for apps that work offline in case you don’t have WiFi or data
-Bank Apps – keep on top of your accounts and transfer money if needed
-Trip It – great for planning trips
-WiFi Map Pro – you can download city maps ahead of time and find all the WiFi spots. WiFi Map Pro does have a cost.
We get all of our currency overseas from ATMs using our Debit cards. Check with your bank concerning their foreign exchange fees. Most credit unions have the best rates. There will be one charge for the withdrawal of funds from a foreign ATM and then another for the foreign exchange fee. Our favorite bank card is from Navy Federal Credit Union. They charge $1 per transaction plus an exchange fee of .8 to 1%. Checkout this website. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/debit-card-foreign-transaction-international-atm-fees/You get the worst exchange rates using the money exchange bureaus. Also be careful of which credit cards you take. There are several great credit cards that do not charge foreign exchange fees. Chase offers cards such as the Mileage Plus and Chase Sapphire. AND – always remember if you are using a credit or debit card that doesn’t charge a foreign exchange fee to ALWAYS pay in the local currency. They will offer to covert the currency to US because they make money by doing this.
NOTE: Be sure your Debit card has a Visa or MasterCard logo. Your money must be in your checking account. Overseas ATM’s do not offer a choice between checking and savings. Checking is always assumed. We place our money in two separate banks so that we have two options. This way if one bank declines we have a backup. Check with your bank concerning your daily withdrawal limit. Max limits are $400 to $500 per rolling 24-hour period. Request the max limit if you think you will need it. AND always let your banks know about your travel plans.
If you are traveling with electronics such as smart phones and tablets, a portable chargeris indispensable. It is true that more planes are being equipped with USB ports and most airports now offer charging stations – but what happens when you are out and about and your phone goes dead. You will be thrilled you have a USB charger.
Snacksare important to not only satisfy your hunger but to give you needed energy. What if you are not thrilled with the airline food or you get just get hungry. Airport food can be really expensive. Keep in mind some countries do not allow you to bring nuts, fruits, or plants into the country. Make sure you consume these on the plane. Good options are beef jerky, trail mix, crackers or chips, or anything that does not need to be refrigerated.