Have you been considering international travel for 2021? I have been traveling even with Covid! It has been a long year, where we haven’t been able to spread our wings and explore many of the hidden gems around the world. Of course, things have changed in many places. The travel tips and tricks that were considered the best a couple years ago may no longer apply. Add in some of my new international travel tips and you will quickly realize that travel has changed in more ways than one.
International Travel Tips 2021
1. Purchase a Small Backpack or Suitcase
Purchasing a small backpack or suitcase will force you to pack light for your next travel adventure. I prefer a bag that holds around 35 or 40 liters. It gives me enough space for exactly what I need and not an ounce more.
As humans, we have a natural tendency to fill up any available space. If there is extra room in your bag, you will discover you have the “I guess I can take more” attitude. Trust me, when I say you will regret this attitude every single time! Plus, smaller bags are easier to store in airplanes or grab when they come out at the baggage counter. I also wrote an entire blog post on the best travel backpack that you might want to read.
2. Utilize No-Fee Bank Cards When Traveling Internationally
If there is one international travel tip I can share with you and have you remember, it will always be to utilize no-fee bank cards! Check out my post on the best credit cards for travel. There is no reason to give any bank your hard-earned money. Keep that extra money for yourself and spend it on your current or future travels. I recommend getting a credit and debit card that never charges a foreign transaction fee or an ATM fee. After all, the few dollars in fees here and there will really add up during your trip!
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Look at a Map
Most tourists won’t look at a map when they are traveling, because they don’t want to look like a tourist. Well, I say, look like a tourist and use that map! It is much better to be seen as a tourist than it is to end up in the wrong neighborhood. I always use a map when I travel, because it helps me get to where I want to go. And I never end up in the wrong part of town either!
4. Don’t Use a Money Belt
First, they look stupid. However, if there is one thing a thief knows about, it is money belts. If anyone sees you wearing a money belt, they will know you are a tourist who is carrying money around. And you will be the first person they will sneak up on to rip off.
Yes, you will need to carry money with you when you are on vacation. But think back to all those travel tips and tricks you have heard over the years. Those tips have all basically told you to blend in and keep a close eye on your belongings. I still recommend that today. Plus, the best part is if you aren’t wearing a money belt, you will appear to be a local and get some great deals!
5. Make Extra Copies of Your Passport and Other Important Documents
Another one of the best international travel tips includes making extra copies of your passport and other important documents. You can leave these extra copies at home, while also packing them in tucked away spaces in your luggage. Emailing these documents to yourself can also be helpful if your originals do get lost. Better yet, take a picture of them on your smartphone as well.
Most of the time, you won’t need to have your original documents with you when you are out exploring. A copy is normally enough to offer documentation and proof of who you are. But if you do need your originals, and they get stolen, all those copies, and emails, can be helpful when filing a police report.
6. Read at Least One History Book
When you begin to plan your travel adventures, you are going to want to know as much about your destination as possible. You can glean a few facts by simply reading at least one history book. Learn about the past, so you can understand why a destination is like it is today. I always do this, because it gives me a better understanding of the area I have been dreaming about visiting for so long!
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade when you are checking in at your hotel
You should never be afraid to ask for an upgrade when you are checking in at your hotel. The staff normally has a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades. Therefore, it never hurts to ask. As long as you are polite and nice, most hotel employees will give you an upgrade if the hotel isn’t fully booked.
8. Never Eat in a Touristy Area
When you are traveling, you should remember to never eat in a touristy area. This includes anywhere even remotely near a tourist attraction! As a general rule, I walk at least five blocks in either direction before I ever choose a restaurant to dine at.
There are many reasons why this is one of the best international travel tips out there. But in my opinion, it is because all those restaurants in touristy areas charge more for lousy food and poor service. I prefer to eat delicious food with the locals.
If you are unsure of where to eat when you are traveling internationally, there are so many websites to help you out. Yelp, Google Maps, Foursquare, and Open Rice are all perfect for finding popular local restaurants close to where you are.
9. Get travel rewards AND commissions on booking your own travel
Sure, you know about travel rewards, but I wrote an entire blog post about how to get travel rewards as well as commissions on booking your own airfare and hotels. This subject is worthy of an entire post all it’s own. Read it here.
These are some of my best international travel tips for 2021. While some of them are similar to the travel tips and tricks you have heard in the past, many have a new spin to allow for the current times. After all, traveling is changing, and we must be proactive if we want to enjoy every minute we are away from home.