sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Top 10 Tips
On The Road (Part 1)

  1. Call your bank and credit card company before you leave home and advise them that you will be charging expenses to your card and withdrawing money in foreign countries. They’ll ask which countries you will be visiting. Not only does this prevent them from blocking a transaction but some card companies – like Capital One Venture – will send you email alerts if they think activity on your card looks fishy.
  2. Use a card that does not charge additional fees for purchases made in a foreign country. United Mileage Plus Explorer and Capital One Venture card are among those that do not.
  3. If you are going to be renting a car in a foreign country make sure
    1. That you carry your driver’s license with you. We obtain an international driver’s license from the AAA before leaving home.
    2. Check what your credit card does and does not cover in terms of insurance.
    3. Make sure the car company has automatic cars if you are not comfortable with driving a stick shift.
  4. Be aware that many airline carriers now offer a class between Business and Economy. Economy Plus gives more leg room, carry on allowance etc. (It varies from carrier to carrier). With some carriers, the difference in benefits is minimal, with others significant. We flew Aero Mexico to Peru and it was exactly like business class.
  5. Make sure that you confirm your flights and get boarding passes if you are taking an internal flight. This can be done on the internet 24 hours prior to departure. Domestic flights can be really sketchy in some countries.  You’ll need your passport information and ticket confirmation code to do this.
  6. Research carry-on weight allowance. Some carriers in certain countries are very strict and their limits very low, even though the overhead compartments are half empty during the flight. Most annoying!
  7. When entering certain countries, passport control gives you an official stamped loose piece of paper. Example:  Vietnam and Peru. Do not lose it. You’ll need to produce it when leaving the country and sometimes at hotels.  Not being able to produce it can cause major delays and hassles.
  8. Have the address of the place you will be staying written in the language of the country you are visiting and present this to the cab driver. Don’t assume they’ll speak your language.
  9. Walk with confidence, don’t tell random people that it’s your first visit (you’ll get taken on and ripped off), don’t give more information than necessary to strangers, such as cab drivers, doormen, hotel staff, and people you meet randomly.
  10. Know the exchange rate of the country you are visiting and use your phone calculator or carry a small calculator to help you to convert to your currency. Remember you are an easy target for being ripped off and if you are – don’t feel too bad and let it spoil your trip – just remember you’re in good company.