Traveling during any season is great, but there's something about traveling in the summer that makes going to a new place and experiencing new things extra exciting. For one, many people take time off during the summer since it's a prime time to use vacation days and spend time with family or friends. With the warmer weather during the summer months, there are more opportunities to be outdoors and do various activities like biking, walking around in a new city or even eating on the patio of a new restaurant.
I myself have lots of plans to travel this summer and I can't wait! In case you missed it, I touched on my 2017 travel plans in a post a few weeks back. If there is one thing that I am extra stern on when I travel, it's safety. I am always aware of my surroundings and I'm always watching what other people are doing. I think it's very unfortunate that people prey on tourists, but in today's world it's not uncommon to hear about things that go wrong when people travel.
I want all of my readers to be safe this summer travel season, so I'm sharing 19 summer travel tips to keep in mind during your next trip. Thanks to the organization Live and Invest Overseas for sharing this list!
1. Take two debit cards and two credit cards. Your credit card company will assure you that you’ll have no trouble using your card overseas if you contact them in advance to let them know where and when you’ll be traveling. Don’t believe them. In today’s world, credit card companies are uber-sensitive. Break your usual pattern of card use and your card will be declined. Count on it. You need at least one backup.
2. Do not use your debit card to pay for things when traveling abroad. Save it for use in ATMs only. Debit cards are easy targets for fraud.
3. If you’re traveling to a country where the language is not English, learn how to say the basic pleasantries in the local language—good morning, good evening, hello, good-bye, thank you, please, etc. The language app Duolingo is great and can be used to study before you go and on the fly as you’re traveling.
4. Carry a small amount of cash with you (maybe $200 or $300). Get additional cash as you need it from ATMs… which today are everywhere in the world and the easiest and most cost-efficient way to access cash when traveling. You’ll almost always get a better rate than from a currency exchange service. Do not exchange money at an airport.
5. Find out what your bank will charge you for using your ATM card overseas. Charges vary from zero to as much as $4 or $5 per transaction. Schwab, for example, imposes no charge when you use your Schwab card at an ATM anywhere in the world. If the foreign bank imposes a fee (as they often do), Schwab reimburses it.
6. Buy a local SIM card upon arrival. You should be able to do this in the airport. With a local SIM card, you can use your phone to access translation apps and google maps, for example. Plus it means you have a local phone number to give to local contacts and new friends. If you’re traveling in a group, it makes communicating and staying in touch much easier.
7. Dress appropriately. Try to blend in so you’re not a target for touts and hustlers. In some parts of the world, Americans stand out even if they dress to fit in… in Asia, for example. However, in Europe and Latin America, you can blend in. This has benefits… from not being targeted for tourist scams to being offered better tables in restaurants.
8. Carry $50 in your shoe when going out at night. If your purse or wallet is snatched, you have cab fare.
9. Don’t carry your passport with you. Carry a photocopy of the photo and entry stamp pages of your passport, but leave the document itself in the hotel room safe.
10. Know what it should cost for the taxi ride from the airport to your destination… as well as what it should cost to take a taxi across town. In most places in the world, taxi fares are standard. Still, sometimes, unscrupulous drivers try to take advantage of foreigners. Know what you should pay before getting into a cab.
11. Stick with official taxis, rather than random guys who approach you asking if you need a ride.
12. Try to step away from the tourist zone. Never go where tourists go… never shop where tourists shop… never eat where tourists eat. Tourists pay the highest prices and get the worst service.
13. Walk with confidence and act like you know where you’re going. If you need to consult a map, for example, step into a restaurant, a shop or a hotel lobby to reorient yourself.
14. In today’s world, it can be a good idea to avoid protests and demonstrations.
15. Avoid politics and political arguments. How the people of the country you’re visiting choose to run their country isn’t really any of your business.
16. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable for any reason, go to a public place.
17. Be aware of the popular tourist scams in the place where you’re traveling. In Paris, for example, the gold ring on the ground scam is common.
18. Confirm whether you need a visa to visit the country for the time you intend to visit. An American needs a visa to travel to Brazil, for example, even as a tourist.
19. Find out if you’ll be required to pay an entry fee when entering the country. Americans can travel visa free to many countries. Some, though, that don’t require a visa do charge an entrance fee at immigration. In Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, for example, the fee is $10. In Kenya, it’s $50. These kinds of entry fees must be paid in cash in U.S. dollars or other hard currency.
What travel advice do you have? Have you ever followed any of the 19 tips listed above? I'd love to hear, so share your thoughts in the comments section below!