As an expat, I often forget how hard international travel can be. Since I’m lucky to be able to drive or train to several countries within a few hours, travel is easy. Since I already deal with a foreign language on a regular basis, knowing I will at least speak English at hotels and sites actually means I speak more English when I travel than at home. Since the Euro is the currency of so many countries I travel to, I don’t even have to worry about figuring out the cash situation.
So, when I arrived in London last week with only my German bank card and a few Euro bills, I realized something important. Money is important.
I don’t mean budgeting, which is vital, but actual money.
The best way for me to explain this is to list a series of what I should have done.
What I should have done on our trip to London
- I should have remembered that my American debit card was expiring a few days before our trip started and ordered a new one as back-up.
- I should have kept the pounds from previous trips in a secure place, a place that I remembered, so that I would have had some with me.
- I should have looked up what the exchange rate was just so I would know if, at any point, I was getting a horrible or decent deal when exchanging money.
- I should have contacted my German bank to see who they partner with, then figured out where those bank’s ATMs were located in relation to the airport, the closest tube station, or my hotel.
- I should have looked up what the coins look like and what their value was to save myself a lot of time since the smaller coins did not necessarily mean they were of smaller value.
- I should have researched tipping policy for things like sit-down meals, free-walking tours, paid tours, and other situations.
- I should have visited the transportation site to have an idea of how much a tube ride would cost so I wouldn’t spend an extra 30 minutes trying to find the correct kiosk since I didn’t believe the tickets could be so expensive.e
And now I know. Just because I deal in foreign everyday, doesn’t mean I understand every type of foreign – even when it has a common language.
I would love to know what other money-related things you might recommend for your travels.
One of my favorite places in the US is San Diego, California. Donna is writing about the A-to-Z’s of this beautiful city as part of the challenge. Check out her site soon!