North Americans love to travel, and while staying local is the most popular destination, traveling abroad is always more exciting. France, Italy, and England are just a few of the many destinations that are on any international travel wish list. Nonetheless, traveling to Europe is always more complicated then staying local. If this is your first time planning a trip across the Atlantic, you probably have a lot of questions. From Financial planning to what to we prepared a comprehensive guide to help you enjoy your next trip, without encountering any inconveniences.
The cheapest, safest and easiest way to pay for things abroad is a credit card. Many are tempted by credit cards that require no annual fees, but those aren’t always the best choices for travel. Ideally, you should opt for a card that charges no foreign transaction fees. While American and Canadian travel credit cards differ in their exact offerings, the basics are the same. If you are lucky, you might find a card that doesn’t charge for ATM withdrawals either. The main point is to avoid carrying too much cash with you. A good travel credit card should also offer various types of insurance, for accidents, lost luggage or delayed flights.
Make sure your credit card can be used all over the world and notify your bank that you will be leaving the country, to avoid having your account blocked for unusual activity. For added safety, you should travel with at least two cards from different providers. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t rely solely on your credit and debit cards. It would be wise to also bring some cash with you, preferably in the local currency. Europe is not the most credit card friendly destination, and you will encounter many small businesses where you won’t be able to pay by card.
You probably have an outfit in mind for every day of your trip, but we advise you to pack light because you will be tempted to shop a lot. Europe has a lot of clothing brands that you won’t find in Canada and the USA, not to mention the fact that you will want to bring back a lot of souvenirs as well. So, pack light, and if possible, consider extra luggage for the trip back home.
You should start by researching the size plug and the voltage of the countries that you will be visiting. You will need an adapter as Canadian flat pin plugs aren’t compatible with European sockets. European countries can have sockets with either two or three holes, so check to see if you will need an adaptor with two or three prongs. You might also need a converter as Europe uses 220-volt outlets. Keep in mind that converters don’t work on all devices, so make sure that all the devices that you will bring with you can support 220 V or that they have dual voltage capacity.
We live in an era of connectivity, so it is important to find a suitable alternative to stay connected with your friends and family. Roaming taxes can be quite expensive, so we advise you to talk with your phone provider and ask for a suitable international phone plan. Nonetheless, if you plan on uploading a lot of photos and videos from your travel, you will probably have to rely on public wi-fi networks from time to time. As you probably know, public networks are very unsafe as they can easily be hacked, so we advise you to use a virtual private network (VPN). Not only will the VPN protect you while using public networks, but it will also allow you to have access to all your favorite Canadian websites.
Each foreign country can pose a certain risk to tourists, so you should do some research before embarking on your next trip. Check the travel.gc.ca website to see what our government advises for each travel destination.
Make sure to have all the documents required for a safe trip such as your passport, your tickets, your insurance, and your id. You should also keep photos of your documents on a cloud account and make sure your family or friends know your itinerary. Always use a belt bag to keep your documents and your money with you. Ideally, you should keep your cash, your documents, and your credit cards in different pockets. This way, in the unlikely event that you get robbed, you won’t lose all your essentials.
Knowing a foreign language can also help you, so try to learn at least a few basic phrases. If you are not good with languages, at least use a translation app. Google translate is very helpful, as it can even translate texts in real-time.