My Basic International Vacation Essentials

Hi again! Glad you found your way back. Wednesday I gave unsolicited advice about how I survive airport hellscapes and international flights. Today, that unsolicited advice continues. The topic: my must-haves for an international vacation.

Number 1 International Travel Essential of All Time

Dry Shampoo. It is the beginning and end of every “must have” list for travel, be you man, woman or child. After getting off an airplane, we all look like greasy Pringles chips that have been held captive in an aluminum can for 8+ hours. GET. DRY. SHAMPOO. It helps your hair last longer so you don’t almost short out your hair dryer and straightener every day. Plus, who has time to wash their hair when there are sights to see, food to eat, and vats of wine to drink?! My go-to brand is Batiste.

You can find it at Target, Walgreens, Walmart, etc. – $3-$5.

International Vacation Essentials

Portable Phone Charger

Now that Apple has spilled the tea on phone updates and how they kill our battery life, be sure to take a portable phone charger with you when you are out and about. If you are using your phone to navigate, get on wifi at coffee shops or communicate with family and friends back home, this is a must.

I use the iMuto charger from Amazon because it holds 4 iPhone chargers – $18

Outlet/Voltage Converter

Even if it is your first time traveling and you are only planning on hitting one country/continent, look for an all-in-one outlet converter. This way you don’t have to rummage through five different converters to find the right one. While it’s difficult to do, try and find an outlet converter that also has a voltage converter. This way you won’t burn out your hair tools, which you should always put on the lowest setting to start when using a converter!

This is a great, cost-effective, all-in-one outlet converter – $11

International Data

When I first traveled to Europe, international data wasn’t an option for me. Now, if you are an iPhone user, and you have your data on in another country, you automatically have phone service. If you are Verizon user, this costs $10 for each day you use your data. I recommend going this route if you are traveling to a new country for the first time, or want to be able to make contact with other people on the trip easily. Granted, free wifi in shops, hotels, and restaurants is much more common in Europe than it is here, so there is always that free option!

Physical Maps

Even if you do plan to use your phone to navigate to specific sites, having a physical map of the city you are in is more helpful than you would think. Your phone gets you from one place to the next, but it doesn’t show you on a larger scale where everything is located in relation to each other. A map of the area can show you the most efficient way to travel from site to site and it makes a great memento to bring back with you!

You can find these maps at airports, hotels or souvenir shops.

RFID Wallet

Pickpockets are common in larger cities, and they can smell out tourists quickly. But they aren’t just snatching purses anymore. Some people have access to scanners that can read your credit card information through your wallet and purse. For this reason, I carry an RFID wallet with me wherever I go now. They aren’t big and clunky like they used to be in the past.

This wallet holds your passport, cards, ID, cash, change and even boarding passes all in one place. Plus it’s cute to boot. You can use it as a wallet or carry it as a clutch.

I found mine on Amazon – $14

Snacks & Water

In Wednesday’s blog, I talked about the money saving benefits of having food and a water bottle on hand for airports and flights. The same is true for when you have your boots on the ground on vacation. Sometimes you may not be able to find a café or restaurant open when you’re walking around, or you just need something to tide you over until dinner. Keep some granola bars in your purse and your water bottle handy.

Many restaurants in Europe use bottled water that costs around six euros. Bringing your own water isn’t looked down on in this case. Or, if your me, take the 6 euros you’d spend on water and get yourself two nice glasses of their cheapest wine.

This water bottle collapses and fits right into your purse – $10


Before you leave, convert your money at the bank for local currency. I don’t care if you called into your credit card company about your travel plans. Shit can go south very quickly. Also, depending on the size of city, shop or restaurant you are visiting, some places may not take cards. You can use the cash as a safety net, or a way to keep track of your spending so you stay on budget.

If you don’t exchange the money prior to leaving, you can exchange your US currency at the airport when you land as well.

Tours and Media

You know the entertainment and media we talked about on Wednesday’s blog? You don’t want to pack that away yet. If you’re visiting multiple cities in a country or plan on taking trains to nearby cities, you’ll want your music, podcasts, and books on hand.

Another great tool you can use is pre-downloaded guided tours. Instead of paying a tour guide to show you around, you can find free/cheap pre-recorded tours that you can download to your phone.

Thanks for checking in twice this week, and I hope these tips come in handy during your future travels.

Next week I will be posting on Wednesday and Friday as well. Wednesday I’m going to show you what I pack in my purse and backpack for an international flight and vacation. Friday I’ll showcase my true talent: what and how I fit everything for a 10-day spring European vacation into a standard carry-on suitcase.

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