General Travel TIPS List
Print your itinerary before you leave your wireless environment. Even if you have wireless access at your destination, getting to it might be a problem if you don’t have the information stored off line in hard copy or on a reliable and fully powered laptop or device.
Keep a separate contact list of emergency contacts, key hotels, vacation rentals, tour company numbers, and US Embassy contact information.
Technology and Phones
Converter kits: Double check your packing list to be sure you have the correct converter kit for your small appliances and chargers.
Buy a local phone or SIM card at your foreign destination. While your wireless service might have a great offer for international access, consider the probability that technical difficulties will prevail and it will ultimately be more expensive for you to use your own phone/plan.
Plan to go “off the grid” in certain destinations (like cruises) where internet access can be over $100 per person for full coverage. Shore to ship contact is available through the cruise line should your family or friends need to contact you in the event of an emergency.
ATM money will come out in local currency.
Always use ATMs at local banks and within public sight.
In non first-world countries, carry a combination of local currency, U.S. cash, and credit cards. Places like Cuba where trade embargos are still in place for Americans, may have additional restrictions.
Mexico all-inclusives – for tipping and money handling, check out Trip Advisor’s Etiqutte tips – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g150768-s606/Mexico:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html
Generally, for bag service, $1-$2 per bag although $5 is often appreciated. For an all-inclusive resort, $1-$2.00 per per person for the buffet is adequate and about $5.00 if you were to make a reservation at one of the resort’s a la carte restaurants. These are specialty dining services which sometimes have a surcharge for your special meal outside of the buffet food. This is an optional activity for a sit-down dinner.
Taking about $100 in $1.00 bills can give you flexibility to leave small tips and large tips. You can tip in either USD or pesos, and if you are exchanging your dollars for pesos you can do it at the hotel or a local bank which will be cheaper. Good service should be rewarded, so feel free to tip your baggage handlers, taxi drivers, bartenders, servers, and room service staff for their attention to your needs.
When we work with clients, we often package local transport to and from the airport. However, if you aren’t taking advantage of the packaged tours that offer A-Z transport for the rest of your trip, consider your options:
Public transportation is generally a great option where available – not only will your costs stay reasonable but you’ll live like the locals. Active travelers often take this approach.
Private and semi-private ground transportation is available as part of independent and bespoke touring. Please ask us if you need assistance finding shuttle transport or private guides within cities or between towns and destinations. Different services and price points are available to meet most budgets.
Flying intra-country? In some locations like Costa Rica or Nicaragua, you may not be able to cross borders by vehicle. Should you need to fly one of the smaller planes between neighboring countries, be prepared for weight and luggage restrictions and pack accordingly. In some cases, weight limits may require the purchase of more than one seat (bonus time – you get additional baggage, too) and if you’re honest do it online, you may get a discount.
Safety and Registration
Travel Registry: While you are getting your passport information in order, be sure to stop by the State Department’s online traveler registry. Register for the State Department’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program – it’s easy and can help ensure your safety overseas :https://step.state.gov/step/.
Travel insurance is highly recommended when traveling overseas or out of country, and in some cases required by a tour company. Not only will it cover trip delays, cancellation due to disaster, and baggage damage, but most importantly it provides medical coverage generally not available on your domestic policy.