Nov 17, 2009

Traveling Tips

Two weeks from Friday I will be on a plane bound for Kosovo. (How's that for an attention grabber?) I'm traveling for work (not sure Kosovo would be a place I'd vacation on my own!), and I'm really excited about it. I've been scheduled to go on a couple of trips this year but for one reason or another I haven't been able to go, and I'm excited for this trip to happen.

Uh, except that it's in two weeks. Holy crap! I have so much to do! I've already started my lists, and I've even started thinking about outfits to wear. My goal is to take as few pairs of shoes as possible, and to layer so I can wear things more than once (i.e. sweaters, tights, etc). Even though I'll be traveling in December I'm thinking I'm going to take all dresses because they'll be lighter, take up less room, and be way easier to put on in the morning.

However, this will be my first time traveling with a passport (I've been to Canada but that was before you needed one), and I keep thinking there must be all this stuff I don't know because I've never done this before. So who to turn to but my trusty readers of course!

Here are the things I'm wondering/worried about (in no particular order):
  • If I have a carry-on bag (not a suitcase, I didn't want to have to roll two things) and a big purse will the airlines give me crap for that?
  • What should I wear on the plane? Obviously layers, but should I wear tennis shoes or is that tacky? It will be December and I could throw on some flats no problem, but my tendency is to slip them off when I sit down and I think I'd feel silly bringing socks to put on while I'm sitting but to take off anytime I need to use the bathroom (so I could put my flats back on).
  • I need to get some adapters, but I don't want to spend a whole lot of them. (The mister is still looking for a job so we're on a tight tight budget). Any suggestions on where I can find some that are inexpensive? And how many should I take?
  • I need to transfer money into Euros - I'm thinking I'll take cash out before I leave and get it converted somewhere. Should I do this during our layover? Should I wait until I get to the hotel? I know I'll lose some money in the exchange rate but I really don't want to mess with my bank being stupid and freezing our account if I withdraw money overseas. (This has happened to a lot of people I know, even when they did give their banks advanced notice).
  • Should I even bother taking jewelry? (Other than my wedding rings and watch of course). I have a couple pieces that are kind of costume-y and didn't cost me a lot so if something happened to them I wouldn't be devastated but I also don't want anything to be too flashy.
  • What should I take to entertain me on the plane? I'm going to have the regulars - book, magazine, ipod, and I know I'll sleep some of the time, and there will probably be a movie or two playing, but what else is good to pass the time? (The first leg of the trip might be 9 hours and then the second flight somewhere from 2 to 3 hours).
I'm actually not really nervous about the trip itself (except for forgetting I can't drink the water when I'm brushing my teeth or something). Surprisingly enough a delayed flight doesn't really phase me (I'll just think "hey good story for the blog later!"), I just need to have everything I can possibly do in order before I leave so that way I can relax once I get to the airport.

If you have answers to any of these questions I would love to hear them. Any specific travel tips that are good to know, or might save me some time here or there? Do I need to just chill out? Have you ever traveled internationally? If so, where to? Where was the last trip you took? Thanks in advance for all your help dear readers!

(Photo: A Cup of Jo)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

How exciting!!! First off - you can def get away with a large purse & a carry on. That is usually what I do, esp since I don't really check luggage anymore. I would wear something super comfy on the plane. I usually wear a track suit or something like that since I try to get some sleep on international flights. Depending on when you fly out, I recommend taking a little Tylenol pm or something like that to help you sleep on that first long flight (assuming it leaves in the evening).

As far as adaptors, you can get an inexpensive one at Target. There is an adaptor, and then there is a converter. Adapters just plug into the outlet so that you can then plug into it. A converter actually converters the voltage - but they don't always work all that well. So if you use a hair straightener - DO NOT TAKE IT!! I tried using a converter & they just don't work all that great. So that is my nuggest of advice. The good news is that your laptop just needs the adapter - that box that is part of your power cord is actually a build in converter.

If you call your credit cards ahead of time and tell them when/where you are traveling, you shouldn't have any trouble. I would get some Euros at an ATM - that is the best exchange rate typically.

Ok, I'll stop there as this is getting super lengthy. I've traveled overseas about 5 times I think and have never had a bad experience! What a great adventure!!

Tara said...

-A big purse and carry on will be fine. As long as you can fit one in the overhead compartment and one under the seat.

-I always wear flip flops on a plane, just beacause her we have to take our shoes off to go through security and that's easier than taking tennis shoes off and putting them back on.

-I think exchanging your money at the airport is going to be the most expensive, so I wouldn't really recommend that.

-I wouldn't take flashy jewlery, even if it's inexpensive. You wouldnt want someone thinking it is expensive and using that to take your purse or whatever too.

-On the plane, I always bring a blanket (cuz it gets sooo cold), a couple books, a magazine in case I want something lighter to read than a book, my IPOD. If you think you'll get bored, go to Target or something and get one of those handheld electronic games.

Have fun!

Emily Ward said...

Oh Becky - I'm so excited for your trip and can't wait to hear about person!! Ahh, I can't believe I'll be home when you get back from this. Anyway, you know I've been living in a developing country for three years and traveling all around South America. I'll write you a nice long email sharing all of my wonderful hard-won wisdom :-)

Nicole said...

I'd recommend taking a converter/adapter combo. And just one since they're expensive. AAA has great stuff for international travel, and members get discounts.

When I went overseas, I just took out cash at an ATM. You get the most current rate that way. You may want to have a little on hand before you get there in case you need it for taxis or something.

People will be wearing anything from suits to PJs on the flight. So wear what's comfortable. Unless you're going straight into work stuff as soon as you land, then you should probably wear something better looking.

Overall, take as few things as possible. You want less stuff to keep track of and less stuff to carry around. Plus you want room to bring stuff back.

Oh, and don't forget to keep your passport (or at least a copy of it) on you at all times. And leave a copy of it at home in the states in case you would lose it.

For the most part, flying internationally isn't that much different from flying domestically. So just do whatever you've always done for travel.

Amber said...

I have no good advice. I always check my luggage because I can't seem to pack light enough for carry-ons.

When I went to Germany I didn't take my hair straightener and I just borrowed a blowdryer from the lady I was staying with.

HAVE FUN! And don't worry, your guest post is coming, I have it written in my planner so I don't forget and plan on writing it this weekend :-)

Megan said...

Peepee! I am commenting! Aren't you excited!

I haven't flown since I went to London and that was right after 9/11 so I don't know what's changed but I do know size of containers is a big deal...shampoo, face wash, things like that. If it's bigger then an ounce or whatever, they won't let you take it on the plane. Most places sell little travel sets that are the right size...Ulta, Target, or your FAVORITE Wal-Mart. Whatever airline you are flying with should have those guidelines on their website though.

Anytime I've flown and especially to London, I made sure to wear flats. Not ballet flats though, something that's a slip on but that covers most of your foot, also something you can wear socks with. It's really much better/easier then anything that laces. As far as clothes, nothing constricting because odds are you'll be sleeping in at some point. :)

Also, planes and the elevation dry you like crazy so maybe a little bottle of face spray to help rehydrate, cuticle/hand lotion, lip balm.

Pretty much just be a Girl Scout and you'll be fine. Dress in layers, stay hydrated, and always be prepared! :)

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