Here are a few things to consider:
1. Pack Light (take half as many things as you think you need and twice as much money–visit a travel packing site to create the perfect packing list for starters! e.g., onebag.com, packing pro for your iphone, the universal packing list at http://upl.codeq.info/ or http://www.independenttraveler.com/packing.
2. Don’t dress like an ugly American. Be respectful of the country you are visiting and consider dressing in culturally appropriate manner.
3. Carry a currency converter, ear plugs, small gifts to give away and a flashlight. They have proven to be invaluable on my trips.
4. Learn the basics of the language of the country you are visiting. Consider bringing a mini-letter of introduction in the language of the place(s) you are traveling. Upload Google Translate on your smart phone.
5. Consider buying travel insurance. Try to locate a contact in a country before you go. Consider posting a query on a travel facebook page like black travel movement, to find out if anybody has any contacts in the country where you are going…don’t include your travel dates in your query.
6. Keep yourself hydrated when flying. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight . Don’t drink alcohol during your flight – it dehydrates you. If you have a long flight consider taking a mild sedative so you can sleep on route. Carry noise canceling headphones and variety of music to dull out the noise. Upload loads of movies and music to your tablet/ipad.
7. Consider joining a home/hospitality exchange club so you don’t have to incur hotel costs.
8. Consider carrying smart phone and getting short term an international plan. Another option is just paying your carrier’s daily international charge on the first day only and then get a local sim card and buy one of their unlimited international plans.
9. Always carry the hotel’s card with you when you leave your room or address/phone of house you are staying. Also, never leave your hotel room without a map of the area, $20 of local currency, your health insurance card, your passport number memorized and a pen.
10. Flying tips: Best times of the day to travel, 6&7am, best days of the week to travel-Saturday, Wednesday and Tuesday, best months to travel-September and April, try to fly non-stop because that reduces the chances of losing your luggage and consider using airports near major cities.
11. TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR LUGGAGE BEFORE YOU TRAVEL– writes Susan from Calgary, Canada — I suggest you take a photo of your luggage and/or backpack before you leave the house. This way, a copy is already in your camera. Then, if your luggage gets lost you can immediately show the lost luggage staff exactly what the missing pieces looks like.
12. More tips from my book “Go Girl” ! I found that it was cheaper and easier to use debit cards to get cash than carrying traveler’s checks or exchanging money at the airport. You also get a better exchange rate and a lower transaction fee. page 342 When planning your travel wardrobe restrict your color scheme to two colors and bundle your clothes instead of fold them. page 344 Consider using a ticket broker or consolidator to find the affordable plane tickets, particularly if you plan a multi stop trip. page 338 Make copies of your credit cards, passport, birth certificate and tickets and keep them in a separate location from the originals. page 340 If you are traveling to the southern hemisphere, contact your local health department’s immunization division two months before your departure to get information about required medications for each country you plan to visit. page 341
13. Use a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee like chase sapphire or capitol one venture. Let your credit card company and your bank know you are traveling. Find out if your bank has a sister bank in the country you are traveling to so you can reduce your transaction and currency conversion fees.