Travel Tips !

Originally posted on 26 March 2018

Some great traveling items when you are headed on travel. Here are the top travel items I had purchased.

In this post I will try to help people who will be traveling to think about some of the pro’s and con’s of doing so. Although these travel tips may not work for everyone, they worked for me. Your experience may differ and it is up to you to make your own decisions.

One of the first things about my travel was I wanted to plan this WELL in advance. Some times circumstances arise where you cannot plan out really far. I decided in November of 2018 that I wanted to go on a trip overseas from 02 March 2018 to 18 March 2018. I wanted to go to a city that was not too large, and offered enough sightseeing to keep me busy for the length of my stay. let me try to bullet all the highlights to make it easier to read.

Tips about the Airlines and Flight Travel

  • Do research on the flights to and from your travel destination. Google and other sites usually will show flights that are prone to delays and the typical delay times. Add that into your calculations when thinking about connecting flights.

  • Purchase a ticket that has ALL the outbound and inbound flights on one itinerary ticket. This means the airlines will be responsible for getting you to your destination should something go wrong. if you have multiple itineraries, this means if something goes wrong, you may be responsible for the affected flight change/costs. So, in a nutshell, one itinerary for the outbound flights and one for the inbound flights.

  • If the tickets are purchased well in advance, expect the original flight plans to change as airlines condense flights to save money.

Try to plan your flight with the least amount of flights / hops as possible. This will reduce the chances of missing connecting flights due to airline/airport delays.

Each airlines may have their own reservation number or record locator. Make sure you call each airlines and ask for these.  Carry a small note pad with this information written down. Make sure you have the phone numbers of all airlines. For example, I had the USA based phone numbers and the overseas phone numbers for the airlines, to include the record locators, and reservation numbers.

Let people know of your travel plans. Give them airline name, outbound flight as well as inbound flight information.  Give them the airline phone numbers. Give your point of contact the “record locator” or reservation code that the airlines give you so your point of contact can track your flights.

Purchasing and use of “tools” that will make travel less stressful

If you are traveling overseas, make sure you understand that the use of power and types of plugs will be different. You will be the foreigner and should consider that phrase when traveling. They may speak a language that you may not know or the language may slightly differ.  Below in bullet format I will try to offer as many tips as I can about travel to an overseas country.

  • Your cellphone coverage may NOT work overseas. I use Smart Talk monthly plan and they do not offer any connectivity overseas via mobile phone. Verizon, I think works with the overseas company called Orange, and there is a possibility that your phone may work overseas.

  • I purchased a Holiday Travel kit for my phone. It offered a sim chip that could be broken down to the size I needed. It was a PAIN to get the SIM in there and to operate correctly, but in the end it worked well. I used a toothpick to assist the chip and a magnifying glass to make the effort less stressful.  The Holiday phone kit I bought offered 10GB of data and was good for 14 days upon first use.  In 14 days, I hardly put a dent in this plan ! Provide your points of contact this new phone number and let them know your primary number may be off while you are using this new number. Here is the specifics of the Holiday kit.

Orange Holiday Europe – Prepaid SIM card – 10GB Internet Data in 4G/LTE (data tethering allowed) + 120 mn + 1000 texts in 30 countries in Europe. 

MAKE SURE the country you are visiting is on the list. Otherwise, wait until you are at your travel destination and purchase a kit there. Know the international dialing codes for calling within each country and for calling back to the USA. The overseas number I had was from France ( no big deal) so I had to know how to dial between France and Spain, as well as back to the USA.

  • I looked at all my electronics that I would pack for the trip. I ensured the devices I had or bought for this trip were good for 100-240 volts of power.

  • Each power adapter or electronic device SHOULD have the power ratings on them.

I knew some of the apps I would use were battery power hogs, and I wanted to have some power available while I was away from the room. I decided to purchase this:

Portable Chargers RAVPower 20000mAh USB Battery Pack with Dual iSmart 2.0 USB Ports, 3.4A Max Output, 2.4A Input Power Bank for iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, and Android Devices

It could offer up to SIX full charges for my cellphone in a day. Some days I had this in my backpack and I purchased a six foot phone adapter cord so I could have the power pack in the backpack and the phone in my hand or pocket and it would constantly be charging. It was one of the best purchases for this and future trips. This unit comes with two SHORT cables and three inputs on the device. The unit can charge two devices at the same time. It has 2 USB plugs and a center plug which is a standard android plug. I used the standard android plug when the unit needed charging.

  • I purchased a rugged backpack that would carry most of the batteries and electronic devices that are not allowed in baggage that is checked in. I used this backpack which has room for a 17-inch laptop. it also has ample pockets and well made zippers. this backpack is what I carried through the streets of Valencia, Spain with minimal items, but included 2 lenses and a Canon Rebel t3i.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Although it says “TSA” you WILL need to remove the laptop from the bag for TSA security screen checks, even though the back opens up flat.

  • For traveling, my checked luggage bag with all my clothing and non-electronic items went in a travel duffel bag that had sturdy wheels. The maximum size the airlines will accept as standard luggage and NOT charge you a fee for excess baggage size is 62 inches. When you purchase a bag, simply measure the HIEGHT, WIDTH and DEPTH and add these up. Make sure you do it when the bag is FULL.  I went with this bag since it was an easy color to spot and I could separate the clothing from the major compartment.

High Sierra Evolution Wheeled Drop Bottom Duffel Bag, Black/Zest, 30″

Its dimensions are 30 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches, which totals 58 inches. Well under the maximum allowed 62 inches for free baggage.

One last thing I did purchase was a hand held scale. I wanted to make sure I was under the weight limit of 50 pounds for the main checked in luggage. I also used the scale to measure the weight of the other bags I was bringing as carry on bags. It worked really well.

Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale, Rubber Paint, Temperature Sensor, 110 Pounds, Silver

 Android Apps that made the travel experience to Valencia, Spain a success

Google’s Maps application

This was a super useful tool when traveling the streets of Valencia, Spain for the first time solo.  When combined with a working cellphone and plan for coverage, the amount of bandwidth Google maps will use is very minor. It is a GPS device in your hand. There were only a few spots where I lost signal due to a lot of metal being in the area, but each day I was in Valencia, Spain, Google maps made my day when it would serve me up directions to get to my desination, provide hours the sight was open and offer reviews as well. I could “star” each location so I could find them on Google maps with minimal effort.

Google maps is a BATTERY HOG !!!  Make sure you plan accordingly.

I simply purchased a hand held power pack to have enough power so my smart phone never ran out. The battery power pack is listed above.

Google Translate.

It can make you a master of about ANY language it supports. I loaded up Google translate and I found a feature that allowed a “conversation mode”. You set two specific geographically located languages in Google translate and go into the conversation mode. There are three buttons. One for each language and an auto detect style button. Google translate will listen to your speech – talk slowly and clearly – and it will translate that language and the phone will speak the foreign language for you. It will also show text boxes for each language as well, so the phrases can be used multiple times and multiple ways. It makes it super easy to communicate with anyone, anywhere.

Note: It is best to try to hold the conversation in a quiet area where background talk will not disrupt your conversation. Google Translate can be a bit slow to react to your speech, so be patient, and again, talk clear and slow and it will work great !

That is about all I can offer for tips and tricks of traveling overseas, and my lessons learned. Should I think of anything else, I will add it to this travel blog post. I hope these lessons learned and tips will provide you some ideas that you can use or modify to your desires. Happy travels !