Hi, Insiders! Kara here! With all the amazing itineraries offered by Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, National Geographic Expeditions, and more I wanted to share my own personal tips for traveling abroad! We know that while the trip itself can be exciting, the logistical details can be stressful if you’re not prepared! I’ve just recently returned from a 7-night Northern European sailing on the Disney Dream, and I learned SO much about flying, and traveling internationally! We even had a few hiccups along the way that you’ll benefit from hearing about! Let’s break down some best practices to keep in mind to properly prepare for your trip!
FINANCES. There are a few options to consider when planning for expenses while overseas. While it’s definitely smart to carry a little cash on you for emergency situations, it’s simply not smart or safe to carry large amounts to fund your whole trip. A lot of banks and credit card companies charge an international transaction fee for using them abroad as well, so it’s incredibly important to look into this ahead of your trip. There are some credit cards, like Capital One for example, that do NOT charge an international fee; this is a credit card I have looked into getting for this exact reason! My debit card had a 3% fee, and my credit card had a 5% fee, however, I still opted to use them over cash when the shop or business did not take U.S dollars. In fact, I was advised by Guest Services on Disney Cruise Line NOT to exchange our American money for Euros or any other currency as the exchange rate on board and in port was not in my favor. When you do decide how to pay for things overseas, be sure to call your bank and place a travel notice on your account so that your card does not get flagged when you try to use it!
AVOID LOST LUGGAGE. This is a hiccup we experienced both coming and going on our trip, which I thankfully was well prepared for! First and foremost, be sure that you have durable luggage tags with your name and contact information clearly labeled on ALL suitcases, checked or not. Secondly, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing Apple Airtags to place inside each of your checked bags. For less than $30 each, and even more affordable when purchased in a pack, you can link these Air Tags to your iPhone using the Find My Friends app in about 2 minutes’ time. You will then be able to track your suitcase’s location from the moment you hand it over to the airline. Thanks to our Air Tags, I was able to see when my husband’s suitcase was left in London when we stopped over there for our layover on the way to Denmark. We were told to come back that night to pick it up from the airport in Denmark, however, I could see that it was still on its way from London and had not yet arrived. (we would have wasted money and time in a taxi going to pick it up too early had I not been able to see its location.) The following morning the airline called to say it would be delivered to the port; thankfully it made it in time for our cruise! On the way home, BOTH of our suitcases were left in London, yet again. I was able to track them again to see when they arrived back at our home airport thanks to the Air Tags. You can’t put a price on peace of mind!
PACKING YOUR PERSONAL BAG/ITEM. It is SO important to strategize packing your personal and carry-on bags; here’s why: Your personal item is the only item typically GUARANTEED to make it onto the flight, in the cabin with you. (This may not apply to first-class passengers.) This means that if your flight is sold out, there’s a chance that your carry-on/rolling suitcase could be taken from you and checked. For this reason, it is imperative that you pack anything you absolutely have to have in your personal item/bag. These items include passports, wallets, any form of identification, medicine, a change of clothes, travel documents, a phone charger, etc.
PACKING YOUR CARRY-ON. Definitely pack a few extra outfits in here just in case something happens to your checked bag! I tend to pack anything else I’ll need if my big bag gets lost like makeup, deodorant, extra shoes, a jacket, travel pillow, etc. You know best what you might need!
PHONE PLAN/SERVICE. If you plan to call and/or text on your trip, you may want to look into what that will cost in advance! For instance, my phone carrier is Verizon which offers a 24 Travel Pass, where I can use my domestic phone plan for 24 hours and pay a flat $10 fee. All carriers have different fees and plan options, so make sure you check into what will work best for you to ensure you’re not surprised by a huge phone bill when you arrive home!
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