Written by Tricia Outen
Hello everyone! Allow me to introduce myself my name is Trish and I’m a 33-year-old citizen of the world! I summer in Europe and winter in Fiji …and then the alarm went off and I realized I was dreaming!
In real life I’m a 33-year-old hospital Social Worker with a passion for travel; the bug has bitten me big time! I’ve been blessed to be able to visit 9 countries and over 16 cities outside of the United States. I was fortunate enough to complete my Master’s internship in London, United Kingdom. I lived there for 3 months and was able to bounce around Europe, it was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world, student loan debt and all!
My friend Desiraé jokingly calls me her #travelgoals and asked me to share a few of my travel tips/tricks.
6 Tips To Travel the World Like a Boss
Travel Tip #1: Get Your Money Right
START SAVING NOW! International travel can be costly and a financial strain, but if you plan ahead you won’t even feel it! For international travel, I recommend using a true credit card (not a debit card), preferably with rewards, for making purchases abroad. A travel credit card is a necessity as you need a card with no foreign transaction fees and true credit cards offer much better fraud protection than using your debit card abroad. I personally like the Capital One Venture card.
Bonus: You don’t have to have perfect credit to get approved, it offers great rewards and you can actually use your rewards to erase your travel-related purchases. I recommend getting this card early and using it for everything (pay it off at the end of the month now, don’t get crazy) and racking up as many points as you can so when it’s time to book that trip you can erase those purchases. When using the Capital One Venture card abroad it will give you an option to convert the purchase into US dollars. Which leads to the next Travel Tip…
Tricia at the Tower Bridge in London, England
Travel Tip #2: Convert Your Money Ahead of Time
From what I’ve read it’s always best to make your credit card purchases in the currency of the country you’re in, you’ll typically get a better exchange rate. Another money trick when traveling internationally is to order your foreign currency ahead of time. I personally use Bank of America. You can order your currency on the Bank of America website, and it can be shipped to your home (I don’t recommend) or you can pick it up at the local banking center (recommended). They also have a large network of Global partners so that you can use their ATM’s overseas with fewer fees.
Bonus: NEVER exchange money or use the ATM’s at the airport, they have the worst exchange rates and charge crazy fees. It’s best to find a global partner bank and use the ATM in the country you’re in. And of course, don’t travel with a ton of cash and never pack it in your checked back. You will definitely need cash in the currency of the country you’re visiting, but whatever you can charge, charge, it’s safer and you earn more points!
Tricia at Muses du Louvre in Paris
Travel Tip #3: Come Correct
I can’t stress enough how important proper luggage is. It doesn’t have to be expensive or name brand to be good, it just needs to be durable, mobile, and the right size. My last trip to Europe I did 10 days with just a carry-on and a backpack. Full disclosure, my friend and I bought another suitcase for souvenirs and split the fees for the flight back. International luggage fees can add up quickly especially if you’re flying multiple places. This is close to the carry on I have and love, it’s the Travel Pro 4 Wheeled Spinner. I got mine at Burlington Coat Factory for like $50. You could also look around at Ross and TJ Maxx for good carry roller bags and luggage.
Bonus: You want 4 wheels people, 8 is preferable because I feel like they are more durable. There’s nothing worse than dragging a packed suitcase through an airport especially when you have to do it at a sprint trying to make a connecting flight (been there). Some people prefer the hard shell suitcase but I prefer soft shell because you can cram more things in the pockets. You can also use compression bags to pack more clothing in. Pinterest has a TON of packing tips online.
Travel Tip #4: Pack Smart
Be sure to check the weather of the place you’re traveling to when you’re packing. This Florida girl was in for a rude awakening when she arrived in 50-degree weather in London in the middle of May. And don’t over pack, you’re gonna end up wearing the same few things anyway, trust me I know. Don’t forget to leave room for all the stuff you’re bringing back to your super jealous friends and family.
Bonus: When planning outfits remember comfort is key, I’m not saying don’t look cute in your pictures but definitely bring comfortable shoes. I literally walked 10 miles one day touring through Paris. I get it, it’s cute that you want to take pics at the Eiffel tower in your sundress and wedges but go ahead and pack a shoe change because it won’t be cute hours later when you’re limping down the Champs-Elyees and buying some overpriced sneakers at Zara that don’t even match.
Tricia in Pembrokeshire, Wales
Travel Tip #5: Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget
I’m also a person who likes nice things and nice places, I’m also a person who lives on a social worker’s salary, so saving money traveling is key. For flights, I recommend starting your search with Skyscanner.com especially if your travel dates are flexible. Skyscanner will actually let you search flight prices per month and even recommend the cheapest times to fly. Hopper is an app that is also a good resource. It’s available in the Apple Store and Google Play. You plug in your dates and destination and it will actually keep you updated on prices and tell you whether to buy now or wait if they think the price of a flight will go down. I also like Expedia for bundling flights and hotels.
Once you get to Europe and you decide you want to bounce around, it’s usually cheaper to fly than to ride the train although the train is at times more convenient as airports are usually outside the city center. So factor in cost from airport to hotel when looking at options. I have gotten virtually free flights by booking flight and hotel together through Expedia.
I personally liked Expedia best, because you can accrue points and earn special rates on hotels. You can also book activities such as tours and excursions on Expedia as well under their things to do header.
Bonus: For travel within Europe, let’s say you’re in London for a few days and you want to then go to Paris then to Rome, I like to use GoEuro.com, this site compares train, bus (which they call coach) and air travel prices. They also calculate the cost and time of getting to the airport, train station, or bus station as well so you’re getting a realistic picture of the cost and time.
Before booking anything I highly recommend you check the reviews carefully and double check Trip Advisor to make sure it’s legit and safe. I booked a Bed & Breakfast in Venice for July while I was doing some solo travel. The amenities listed air conditioning, and there was A/C in the main room however my room only had a fan, not cute in 90 degrees Italy in July, but I survived. And don’t forget to book all of this on your travel credit card.
Tricia and Karen in Tuscany Italy
Travel Tip #6: Get a Buddy
A like-minded travel friend is CRITICAL to the success or failure of a trip. I am super blessed with a group of friends that I travel very well with. There is a HUGE difference between a vacation and traveling. In my mind, a vacation equals a cruise or something relaxing on a beach with bursts of excitement and lots of yummy food and drinks; an overall restful and renewing experience.
To me, traveling is different, I’m here trying to see some stuff, ALL THE STUFF, as much and as quickly as I can. Who knows if I’ll ever get to see this place again in life? So I’m trying to do it BIG. That being said it’s important to travel with someone who moves at the same pace you do and has the same drive, desires, and wants to do the same things you want to do. It also needs to be someone you can be in close quarters with for an extended period of time without wanting to kill them, and someone who is on the same page with you budget wise for your travel. You can’t bring your broke friend to Italy and get mad when she doesn’t want to eat anything but pizza because she can’t afford the 4-star restaurants you read about on Pinterest.
Bonus: Your partner/spouse does NOT always have to be your travel buddy. I love my boyfriend of six years, however, he is NOT my travel buddy and he is A-OK with that. We just don’t move at the same pace. Sure he and I go places together and when we do I know what time it is and we compromise, but I’m not gonna make him traipse around Europe with me, it wouldn’t be fun for either of us.
Girls trips are invaluable, guys trips are necessary and friend time is priceless. Go explore the world with the love of your life or with your best friend but don’t let a partner’s lack of interest hold you back from traveling!
Tricia at Arco del Cabo San Lucas in Mexico
Got More Questions??
There are tons more I can share as traveling is definitely my passion and I’ve been blessed to see a little of this big beautiful world but I’ve still got so much more to go! I would love to connect with you if you have any questions about European travel. I have also taken several cruises, have a Disney annual pass and I try to live my weekends like I’m on vacation as much as possible. Take care and safe travels!
For more tips on Credit cards that help you travel like a boss, check out this guide by Lendu.com – Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2018