Tips For Traveling Abroad

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Chris and I had an amazing opportunity to go to Germany for eight days in April. It was really unexpected as his work told him last minute that he needed to attend a conference. His company is the absolute best and always makes sure the wives/spouses feel included, so, lucky me, I got to tag along!

We had less than two weeks from the time we found out to the time we left. Neither of us had ever been to Europe, so we were as prepared as we could be after scrambling to find people to watch G and pack all the things you need to travel across the world!

Here are my tips for travelling abroad:

  1. Get to your gate ASAP. Do not just get to the airport, but get to your GATE as soon as you can. We almost missed two flights because we didn’t realize there were additional passport checks AFTER you get through security, but before you get to your gate. Us and about 100 other people didn’t realize this leaving Germany and it almost made us miss our flight! We had been at an airport cafe for over an hour just drinking coffee and reading our books when we decided to go sit at our gate. Little did we know we had to wait in a HUGE line (that an hour before wasn’t there!) just to get to our gate!
  1. All you need to pack is tennis shoes, jeans, and a tee shirts. Seriously. Europe is SO casual and they were tennis shoes with everything! Dress? Tennis shoes. Suit? Fancy tennis shoes. Hardly anyone does their hair and women wear very little makeup. It was so nice to be so casual, even though I feel like I am pretty casual anyways.
  2. Always have cash (in their currency) on you. You never know when your card will be accepted and a lot of places only accept cash. Also, it is very common for your credit card to require a pin number, so if you know you’ll be traveling abroad, call your credit card company and request a card with a pin. We didn’t have time to do that before we left, so we kept cash on us.
  3. Get an adapter plug, but don’t assume you can use everything! Yes, you can plug things in, but European wattages/Hertz and American wattages/Hertz are VERY different, so powering your American styling tools will burn them up over there! We travel with a fan and Chris plugged it in the first night. Right away it was HUMMING on low and we thought, “This is awesome! It is going so fast!” After about 30 seconds I started to smell something burning. Ya, the motor was not made to handle the wattage, so our fan was close to catching on fire! I didn't even bring my straightener to Europe because my MIL had told me it wouldn’t work. Plus, I didn’t care about my hair. I was in Europe! So, just be prepared to charge your small electronics and that is it.
  4. Know that you may have to pay to use the restroom. In Amsterdam, you had to pay to use every public restroom. I didn't know this and I had walked about a quarter a mile to go to the bathroom and when I got there, I didn’t have any money on me! In London, you could use a bathroom in a pub or restaurant, but not every place had a restroom, so just don’t wait until the last second!
  5. Don’t expect your meal to come with free water, or much water at all. You have to pay for water and you hardly ever get ice. Being from Texas, we LOVE our water and ice. Since I was paying for a drink I mostly ordered wine or Coke :) They drink sparkling water, so if you want “regular” water you have to as for flat, tap, or water with “no gas.” Every country and restaurant called “regular” water something different, so I would just go down the list to try to get some non-carbonated water!
  6. Don’t bring any valuables and wear a backpack instead of a purse. We hardly saw anyone carrying a purse. Most girls and guys wear backpacks. If they were carrying a purse, it was as very small cross body worn at the very front of their body. I also left my wedding rings in Texas and we Brought nothing with us that had really any value. All around London there are signs about pickpockets, so we didn’t even take a chance.
  7. Be open to trying new things! Since we planned this trip so quickly, I didn’t get to do my usual itinerary. Instead, we did everything on a whim and it was fun! One day we up and went to Amsterdam without a plan. Another day we explored Cologne without a plan. We were open to trying new foods and half the time we ordered off a menu and we didn’t know what we were ordering. Just keep an open mind and be flexible!
  8. Make a copy of your passports and keep that copy on you. If, for some terrible reason something were to happen, at least you’d have that form of identification on you. Chris bought this necklace thing and kept our passports in that and tucked it under his shirt as we walked around.
  9. Always have an external battery charger for your phone. Being in a foreign place, we relied heavily on our phones for directions and translations. If our phones died, it would have not been good. Luckily, we each could always recharge our phones while we were out and about.

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