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I leave in four days to go to Europe for my friend’s wedding. Even with all my planning for the last few months, I still have stuff to do! Aside from the usual pack your bags, there are things we sometimes forget about, especially when you don’t have months and months to think about it. I’m all about how you can save more on travel. I want to spend my hard-earned money on seeing castles and museums, not little things like travel-size toiletries and food! I’m pretty sure you want to as well. Not all of these are girls only, but a few are more geared towards the ladies. This is a quick list of things to do before traveling!

1. Put Your Mail on Hold 

Put your mail on hold so that it doesn’t pile up in front of your door or in your mailbox. Aside from the eyesore of having a pile, you do this so that no one knows you’re not home. I’ve very luckily never been robbed *knocks on wood* but anyone knows if you have a pile of mail sitting for days and days you’re likely not home. You can put your mail on hold on-line these days for most locations using the USPS hold mail.

money in europe

2. Alert Your Bank

Let your bank and/or credit card company know that you’ll be away else they may freeze your account when they see a charge from an out of the ordinary location. You can do this online or by phone.

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3. Travel Credit Cards

Check if you’ll get charged for using your card out of the country. If so, you may want to switch to another card without fees. Before going to Europe I had to figure out the best way to deal with how I’d pay for everything. When I went to Vancouver a few years ago I stupidly neglected to research international credit card fees. Needless to say, I came home with about $35 in charges. Mind you I was only there for a few days! So, to avoid my mistake, make sure to do your research before your trip on travel credit cards.

travel credit card

I found that the Chase Sapphire card charged no international fees. Making it a great travel credit card.  The card is free for the first year, $90 every year after that. You can, of course, cancel the card before the first year to avoid paying if you’re only getting it for a trip. Chase also had a deal on the card, spend $2,000 in the first three months and get $400 back. I definitely was going to spend that, between costs for my Aunt and I, so this was great news for me! The card was easy to use in Europe, only had one problem at a small boutique shop in Paris. I didn’t need that dress anyway!

4. International Debt Card

international debit card

For my international debit card, I opened a Bank of America debit card account which allowed me to make cash withdrawals. With this account, you can only make transactions online or at the ATM. Note, you can’t transfer money between banks on your iPhone. They haven’t found a secure way of doing this yet. So if you’re only bringing over your iPhone, not a laptop, make sure to transfer all the money you’ll need before you go! Barclays and BNP Paribas are the international partners of Bank of America so they won’t charge you any extra fees making it an excellent international debit card. There are tons of these banks in London and Paris. Ireland, unfortunately, didn’t have any partnership with Bank of America. Luckily, I only visited the ATM there once so it wasn’t too much of a ding to my pocket. Check the Bank of America website for international partners in other countries.

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PIN Number

5. Credit Cards

Write down your credit card numbers. This way if they get lost, you can contact your credit card company and know what card was lost! Also, take out any credit cards or cards you won’t use on your trip. I always take out my Kohl’s and Target cards that I know I won’t use on vacation. Lightens your bag and if something does get lost, you haven’t lost everything!

things to do before traveling

6. Make a Copy of Your Passport

I always make a copy so that heaven forbid I lose it I have a copy. I give a copy to my mom and keep a copy in my suitcase. Always better to be safe than sorry!

7. Pay Your Bills

Make sure your rent, credit cards, car, and all those payments are made before you leave! The last thing you want to think about is whether your car is paid or not while you’re in Rome.

travel size toiletries

8. Travel Size Toiletries

Don’t buy the fancy-schmancy travel-size toiletries, go to the dollar store. They last just as long and work just as well. Save yourself a few dollars! Or you can take the ones you get at the hotel and bring them home for reuse.

9. Travel Cosmetic Bags

Don’t buy fancy travel cosmetic bags. I get so many free bags from Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, and the like that I have never ever had to buy a bag to put my toiletries in.

10. Save Beauty Samples

You know the little samples you get for free from Sephora when you order something online? Save them! I always use them when I’m on vacation since it’s a lot easier to pack them and throw them away before I return home. This way I’m avoiding getting little bottles for my regular size products at home, and bring less home with me.

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11. Change Your Lock Screen

Saw this one on SmarterTravel.com! It’s a really brilliant idea! Change your lock screen to your contact information. This way if you lose your phone, which hopefully you won’t, someone will hopefully be nice enough to contact you.

12. Download Apps

13. Print Your Itinerary

14. Contact Your Phone Company

15. Check the Weather

16. Is the Water Safe?

17. Do Your Tip?

18. Check the Luggage Restrictions

Word to the wise, if the flight is cheap, they may be charging you for your bag. I was going to a wedding so I’m brought some more stuff so I have to have a checked bag.

19. See What the Hotel Offers

20. Are Any Holidays Coming Up?

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Michelle Jensen is a twenty-something traveler, occasionally solo, you’ll find road tripping across the U.S. or hostel-hopping in Europe. Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA with a day job in Television.


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