For a completely different experience when traveling, learn to cook the local cuisine instead of just eating it. Take a week long culinary vacation or a couple of workshops.
Maybe you want to learn Italian cooking from an Italian in Umbria, or you want to learn all about the differences in olive oils, or watch wine being made in the Tuscan countryside. Many sites offer classes and accommodations in the same spot.
Check websites or your destination for more information. There a many reputable ones available.
When you travel do you stop in at grocery stores? Stop at the larger ones to find out what the area or country has to offer. You may find some interesting foods to try, you will probably find what the locals shop for, and you may find some souvenirs to take home.
Stop at smaller, or ‘Mom and Pop’, or neighborhood stores for a different experience. Again, you will probably find out what the locals buy. You might wander a bit to see how it differs from the stores you usually shop at back home.
Either way, it’s a fun way to experience some of the local flavor of a new place.
Traveling with cash is great…especially for the first 24 hours. How much cash you carry is up to you.
If you have some cash in the local currency you can pay the cab driver or purchase a bus ticket without having to look for an exchange counter at the airport. If you want or need more cash, it may be a good idea to check with your bank before you leave home. Some banks will exchange a large amount with very little fees. Some banks offer this service to certain account holders as well.
Need cash in Florence, Italy, or Paris, France? ATMs are available almost anywhere and probably the cheapest and most convenient way to get cash in the local currency.
Keep in mind, each cash withdrawal will usually be subject to currency conversion fees, foreign ATM fees, or other charges your bank may have. If the ATM card from your bank isn’t connected to Cirrus or PLUS networks, you may be paying even higher fees.
Remember to call your bank to let them know ahead of time you may be using your ATM card elsewhere. It’s not a good idea to find your account is frozen because they didn’t know you were going to South America!
Probably the best thing about using credit cards when traveling overseas is that credit card purchases are exchanged at the interbank exchange rate. That’s usually the best rate you can get for currency exchange. However, you may be charged a currency conversion fee by that issuer each time you make a purchase. In most cases these fees are lower than if you exchanged money at bank or facility in that country.
Check around and find a credit card that doesn’t add those fees. You can find a list at www.cardhub.com.
If you have multiple reservations for car, hotels, etc. you may want to email a copy of those and of your itinerary to yourself. That way, you always have it with you and don’t need to look for a paper copy in your bag.
If you plan on using your phone to retrieve that information, be sure you aren’t piling up a bunch of roaming charges.
You could also include a list of medication you regularly take, in case you need to purchase some. If your medication is a prescription, consider including the name and number of your physician.
If you are traveling outside your own country for the first time or traveling to a different country for the first time, you may want to research the laws of the country you are visiting.
Do you need a special driver’s license if you’re renting a car? Do you need specific insurance?
Are there any State Department safety risks?
Will you need to get any vaccinations before you visit? Do you know how far in advance you need to have those vaccinations?
Do you know why you receive two car rental agreements in Germany? One is in English and one is in German. The English one is for you…the German one for the police.