At EAT TRAVEL FUN, we like to travel and we travel a lot as a family of four. Long haul trips are never easy, but they don’t have to be miserable. Here are Twenty-Five useful tips on how to plan, what to bring with you and how to maximize your time.
One of our to go to sites is Skyscanner. They’re a free travel search site, where you can book direct from millions of travel options at the best prices. http://www.skyscanner.com
2. Minor Child Travel Consent Form
The minor child travel consent form is used for any minor that has permission from their parent or legal guardian for domestic or international travel with someone else, group, or organization. In addition, this is also common when the child is traveling alone.
It has become necessary because of the rise in instances of child abduction in custody cases and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking. An immigration officer, airline, or travel company may ask for a letter of consent if the child is traveling internationally with both parents.
International Travel – A minor that is traveling alone, with a non-parent/guardian, or with one (1) parent may have to present a parental consent form in order to leave the country and to be accepted by immigration authorities in the visiting country. Recommended having the consent be notarized by attaching the notary acknowledgment form.
3. Global Entry
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports. For more information on how to enroll in Global Entry click on the link below.
Enroll in mileage plus programs
4. Travel Credit Cards
Look for credit cards that earn you points, offer no foreign exchange fees, and or a companion pass. A travel rewards credit card brings your next trip a little closer every time you use it. Each purchase earns points or miles that you can redeem for travel expenses. If you’re loyal to a specific airline or hotel chain, consider that company’s branded credit cards.
Start by checking out The Points Guy website, he offers tons of helpful information on which cards to choose from. http://www.thepointsguy.com
Southwest Airlines & Chase Credit Cards offers a good companion pass. To get your buddy pass now, apply for the Southwest Priority Card, the Rapid Rewards Plus, or the Rapid Rewards Premiere.
5. Google Translate
If you’re traveling to a foreign country and you don’t speak the native language you might want to have Google Translate or another similar app readily available on your smart phone. It’s the easiest way to communicate with locals when you don’t speak the language. We always recommend learning a few key words or simple phrases before you travel. Natives are more likely to help you if they see that you are trying your best to communicate in their language.
Download maps of countries and then have access while offline. It has full offline functionality including driving and walking routes and directions, and even uses GPS signals to locate your current position even when on airplane mode. Find maps.me on iOS and Android.
7. Instabridge – WIFI Passwords
With Instabridge you get more than a million up-to-date WiFi passwords and spots on your phone. Join the world’s largest WiFi sharing community and unlock free WiFi in your home city. Auto-connect to WiFi Instabridge knows which WiFis work and automatically keeps you off those that don’t. No setup required. It just works. Instabridge is great for travel. Download spots ahead of time and connect when you don’t have Internet.
Uber helps get you from one place to the next via vehicle. Get a reliable ride in minutes, at any time and on any day of the year. It is the most popular ride-sharing app and it usually costs less than a taxi. All potential drivers in the US are required to undergo driver and criminal screenings. Existing drivers must consent to annual screenings. All rides with Uber are insured in case of an accident. Download the Uber app from the App Store or Google Play, then create an account with your email address and mobile phone number. A payment method is also needed before you can request a ride.
With WhatsApp, you’ll get fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free*, available on phones all over the world. With WhatsApp on the web and desktop, you can seamlessly sync all of your chats to your computer so that you can chat on whatever device is most convenient for you. WhatsApp is free.
10. World Clock
When you’re traveling around the world it’s easy to forget what time it is back home. Don’t make the mistake that we’ve made in the past by calling family at 2:00am, oops they weren’t too happy and we surely scared the heck out of them. There are many apps available which provide you with world time and dates for cities in all time zones. Definitely download a world clock app onto your smart phone.
11. XE Currency Converter
XE gives you the most up to date, reputable currency information. All figures are live mid-market rates. You can have up to 10 currencies loaded at a time and all of the rates are available offline. Rates will update whenever you connect to WiFi. They also offer secure, reliable, easy to use products and services.
Book your activities, tours and things to do with Viator. Viator makes it simple for travelers to find exactly what they want to do. With direct access to more than 200,000 bookable activities, travelers can easily discover and book incredible experiences. Optimized for mobile booking, Viator lets travelers plan in advance or book on-the-go to skip long lines and sold-out signs. They also feature a 24-hour cancellation policy and 24/7 multilingual customer care.
13. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Enrolling in STEP will help the U.S. embassy contact you and provide assistance during an emergency overseas. And, if your family or friends in the U.S. are having difficulty contacting you with urgent news while you’re traveling, we can use the information in STEP to try and reach you. Stay Informed, Stay Connected, Stay Safe!
14. Noise Cancelling Headphones
If silence is golden, then noise cancelling headphones such as the Bose Wireless Quiet Comfort 35 II are worth their weight in platinum. Being able to enjoy a movie or listen to music without all of the background noise is amazing! Once you hear the difference you will never go back to basic ear buds. http://www.bose.com
We never travel without our Kindles. Depending on our moods we can zip through a paperback in no time and are left without nothing to read. The Kindle allows for you to have multiple books and to purchase more on one device.
16. Bring a money belt AND a wallet
If you’re going somewhere with a reputation for pickpockets, it’s a good idea to bring a money belt in addition to a wallet. Carry a cross-body purse in front of you and use travel pants with safety pockets. You can buy a money belt for as little as $10 on Amazon.
17. Playing cards
Liven up any long journey. Interesting Fact: Playing cards are not illegal in Italy. It is illegal to bring them into the country or send them to Italy. Why? Well, every pack of playing cards sold in Italy has to have a stamp on it to prove that the tax has been paid. Playing cards are taxed in Italy.
18. Online Check-in
Try and book airlines that allow on-line check in and offer a bag drop service. By taking advantage of this not only are you more likely to get the seat you want in advance but when you arrive to the airport you can either head straight through security with your hand luggage or quickly drop off your bag at the dedicated desk. Book a seat near a door on the left hand side and you will likely be one of the first to disembark too.”
Backpacks are still my favorite to get through an airport quickly. Not only can you skirt through the crowds quicker, you can usually fit more in and skip the dreaded ‘weight and fit it in the box’ test. By only using hand luggage you can also get out of the airport quicker on the other side!
20. Screenshot your boarding pass
If you’re using a boarding pass on your mobile phone, take a screenshot of it and save it in your pictures folder on your phone. You don’t want to rely on the airlines app or airport WiFi. Another alternative is to simply print your boarding pass, you never know when you might run out of battery.
21. External Battery Charger
Always make sure to have a backup battery charger with you and the cord. You never know when you might need one, especially if you are using your cell phone a lot. If you purchase a larger charger you can also charge two devices at one time. We also carry a solar backup battery charger as a backup.
22. Game Consoles
Ensure that your game consoles such as a Nintendo DS or Switch are handy and fully charged. We highly recommend that each child have their own backpack with their own devices. Also include paper, pens, crayons so that they can draw or write stuff on.
23. Bring your own food on board
We are not a fans of spending lots of money on stale food on an airplane. Airport restaurants tend to hike up their prices as well. We’ve gotten into the habit of preparing food at home and taking it with us especially on long flights. Make sure that you leave any remaining food on board and that you are not bringing it into your country of arrival.
24. Airfare Price Alerts
When is the best time to buy a low airfare? Set a price alert and you’ll be sent an email immediately if there’s a price drop. Flight prices change frequently and by setting alerts you won’t miss out on a deal. We like using Airfare Watchdog.
25. Travel in low season
Travel during the low season, prices are always cheaper. Prices jump up considerably during the holidays and summer vacation. Travelling during the low season will mean cheaper flights and less busy destinations, a win-win situation! You get a much richer experience with the local people and little to no crowds. Imagine climbing the Eiffel Tower without the relentless crowds on your heals. Enjoy seeing locals living their daily lives in their natural environment. Who wants to travel all the way to another country just to be surrounded by other tourists?
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