Happy Monday Friends!
Save this, because I will never say or admit this again, but I am very ready for cooler weather. I just picked up two new pairs of jeans, a plaid blazer I am obsessed with and I’ve been shopping all the fall new arrivals and I am just ready. As much as I am a summer, pineapple loving, tropical gal, I am ready.
Today, I wanted to talk about travel, specifically sharing some tips about traveling that I feel like no one really talks about.
So I’m sharing my tips and thoughts on travel tipping and other random things you need to know! Make sure to keep scrolling for all the info!
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Travel Tipping Guide & Other Essential Travel Tips:
Tip! Tip Everyone! Be Generous!
When I was in Puerto Rico, I was blown away at the number of people that came to the beach, had their towel and beach chair set up by the hotel staff and then did not tip the staff. Listen, I get it, while it is their job and vacations are expensive, they work in the hospitality & service industry and tipping is customary. The moments that really stand out in all of my trips are the nice people I meet, especially the hotel staff. I always appreciate when they take the time to make conversation and offer tips and recommendations and go out of their way to make me feel welcomed and comfortable. When you budget for your trip, make sure to take out some cash in small denominations and have them handy for tips.
While we’re on the topic of travel tipping, I read this article about tipping housekeepers and how they are the forgotten ones. The rule of thumb that my family lives by is that we tip smaller amounts every day, one for the daytime housekeeper and one for the nighttime turndown service and we leave a larger tip when we check out. But overall, just make sure to have cash on you and tip Tip everyone, your taxi driver, your housekeeper, your hotel staff, everyone!
My mom works in a bank so she always raised me to be smart and savvy with my money and her biggest tip is to always be prepared and carry cash. Yes, there are credit and debit cards & Apple Pay and all that jazz that is supposed to make your life easier, but we firmly believe in carrying cash at all times because and to quote my mother, “you never know!” She always taught me to carry cash just in case there is a blackout or something happens with your card, at least you are prepared. And that is especially important when it comes to traveling.
During my senior year of college, I took a trip with some friends and I was the only one who carried cash and by the end of the trip, I had nothing left because I kept having to pay for cabs and leave tips and all that. So I can not stress this enough, bring cash, especially if you are traveling internationally. Bring cash to pay for cabs, to buy things at small shops, to tip, to just be prepared for anything that gets thrown your way.
Pay Attention To Foreign Transaction Fees
I feel like a lot of people don’t talk about this or don’t know this, but when you use your credit card internationally, you get charged a foreign transaction fee. The fee is typically 1% to 3% and while that may not seem like a lot, that fee is applied every time you use your card. So it can definitely add up, especially if you don’t bring any cash with you. There are credit cards out there that offer zero transaction fees so if you travel a lot it may be worth looking into applying for one of them.
Alert Your Credit Card
Most card companies have pretty strong fraud protection nowadays, which is great until you’re in a different state or overseas, trying to make a purchase and your card gets declined. So make sure you call your credit card company before your trip to let them know when and where you are off to, whether it be domestic or international, so your card doesn’t get declined when you’re on vacation. Some cards that are specifically tailored to travel, will not only waive the foreign transaction fee but, also put an automatic travel notice for when you are away if you book your trip through that card.
Be Smart About Connecting Flights
While a one hour layover may seem great because you can get to your destination quicker, it may not be the best option, especially for international trips. You can never predict the weather, delays or a hundred other things and a difference of 10 minutes matter. Whenever I travel to Vietnam, we always have a layover in Japan and it always takes forever to get off the plane, to go through security again, find our next terminal and try to navigate the language barrier. So my advice is to be realistic when planning your trips and layovers.
Be Open-Minded & Respectful Of The Culture
Finally, my biggest piece of advice is to be open minded and respectful of the culture around you, whether you are traveling domestically or internationally. I think one of the biggest reasons we travel is to see the world and get out of our bubble and comfort zone and see how other people live and we should be open to that even if it is different than what we are used to.
One thing I love doing is watching videos on YouTube of other peoples travel adventures. I’ve been really into watching people travel to Vietnam and one thing I’ve noticed is some people are very judgemental about the culture and try to create these click bait videos that paint the Vietnamese people or any culture for that matter in a particular light.
One of my favorite shows is The Amazing Race and it infuriates me when contestants go on and make ignorant comments like “Is this really what these people do in their free time?!” in reference to the Friday night life.
Additionally, I’ve read travel guides from bloggers that are used to traveling to Hawaii and Paris, totally say they dislike certain countries because it’s not what they are used to.
I think at the end of the day, you are coming into someone else’s home and someone else’s way of life and who are you to judge? There are certain things about our culture that people around the world would find very strange and we think are perfectly normal. So just be open to learning and embracing people and their culture rather than going in with a closed mind.