We’re giving all our best travel tips and advice to that first time traveler. We’re taking everything we learned throughout our extensive local and international travel experiences and sharing all the things we wish we knew when we started traveling.
The top tips for first time international travelers and debunking the common excuses people give not why they “can’t” travel. If you’ve been thinking about taking your first trip – solo or with a group of people, this is the episode for you!
In episode 29 we cover:
- Common excuses for not traveling
- How to get a passport
- How to find out if a visa is required, and how to get one
- Is travel insurance worth it?
- Travel vaccinations and medications
- Altering your bank for travel
- Registering travel with the embassy
- Travel preparations and precautions to protect yourself
- Packing – what you really need and what you can leave behind
- Best tips for thriving while traveling in another country
- What to expect in customs
- How to avoid getting scammed while traveling
Tips for the First Time Traveler – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Woo. So today we are giving out all of the advice we wish someone gave to us as first time travelers.
4 (1m 9s):
Yeah. Traveling is always an exciting experience, but can sometimes be very nerve-wracking and with these tips, that’ll help your adventures go a lot smoother.
3 (1m 17s):
Oh man. If I can tell my 20 year old self, some of these tips for international travel, I would have seen a lot more of the world by now. You know, there’s just so many ideas that you have built up in your head about traveling, especially internationally, and so many insecurities you may have about it until you actually do it. You just don’t know how easy it is to make it happen.
6 (1m 37s):
So in this episode, we are going to debunk travel myths, share with you how to prepare for your first international trip and give you some tips and tricks. We wish we knew as first time international travelers.
4 (1m 49s):
So without further ado, let’s get into it and share some of those tips. We wish we knew as first time travelers,
3 (1m 55s):
First things first, the kind of excuses or things we hear people say about travel. Things like I can’t afford to travel
6 (2m 2s):
To Africa is too
4 (2m 3s):
3 (2m 7s):
And that was bullshit. I’ve
6 (2m 8s):
Never said that, whatever,
3 (2m 10s):
I can’t get the time off of work.
6 (2m 12s):
I don’t have anyone to go.
4 (2m 13s):
I don’t know the language or I don’t even know how to get around on my own.
3 (2m 17s):
Not safe. How many times have we heard that? About Mexico? A place we lived 30 minutes from,
6 (2m 22s):
Yeah, we hear it all the time. Don’t go to Mexico. There’s travel bands.
3 (2m 25s):
There’s murders. Like the media really inflates the
4 (2m 29s):
3 (2m 30s):
Right? And it can give you an incorrect perception of the safety of a place
2 (2m 35s):
I’m afraid of flying. I say that every time and I cry every time and I still get on a plane
3 (2m 39s):
Or the flights so long. How am I going to go on a 12 hour flight?
2 (2m 43s):
Hey man, Jamal sat next to a stinky lady.
4 (2m 45s):
I know. Well, if you want those tips on surviving that long haul flight again, shameless plug, go back and listen to episode 13 of hours where we talk all about that. But those are some of the major misconceptions or stereotypes or comments that we get about traveling, which they’re just not true at that.
3 (3m 2s):
And don’t get us wrong. We’re not trying to give shit to anyone that feels this way. We have all felt some of these ways as well, but this is why we wanted to do this episode on tips to give a first time international travelers. So all of these things that you may see as roadblocks, you will now see aren’t as big of a deal as you may think they are.
2 (3m 22s):
And you only know what you know. So we’re here to tell you something new.
6 (3m 25s):
So we’re going to talk to you about how to prepare for your first time traveling internationally. So first step is to get a passport and there is a little bit of a process. So online, you can look for passport offices in your area. Sometimes you can find a place that will take by appointment, but you can also go to the post office and fill out the application there as well.
4 (3m 47s):
Yeah. A lot of post offices will have the application available to you and they can even take your photo for you right on the spot. My favorite thing to do that, I would recommend to somebody though, if you have access to a computer would be just go to the us state department website. And from there you can actually download the PDF application, complete it, fill it out yourself, send it off. It is just on you then to go find somebody to take your passport photo. At that point could get it at the post office. You could get it at Costco, Walgreens. Yes. Lots of, yes, lots of different places. Take those photos for you. And you will have all the instructions from the state department website.
4 (4m 28s):
But again, if you don’t want to do that on your own, feel like you could make a mistake. Post office would be where I would direct somebody to go to do that.
6 (4m 36s):
How would our passport photos look, ladies and jail?
3 (4m 38s):
You know, they need some photo taking tips. In my honest opinion, they don’t seem to catch your good side too often.
4 (4m 46s):
It’s a government photo ID. They don’t want you to look good. They want them to all look like prison shots, I guess. I don’t know, but I will say this my most recent passport photo has come out, looking pretty fly out
6 (4m 56s):
2 (4m 57s):
I like my passport photo. I’m not smiling, but I
4 (4m 60s):
Like it. I know I’m just playing off of
3 (5m 2s):
Certainly not a glamour shot.
4 (5m 4s):
I’m just playing off the stereotype that a lot of people’s passport photos don’t look good, but there are regulations of no big teeth, grinning, smiles, things like that, that they do. But I was able to smile and mind only because if you reference back to our Africa episodes that we did have, we talked about my friend, Josh, who had come with us. This was his first international trip. He got his passport and it was after regulations that the state department put in place say no big smiles. And here he is in his photo with a big smile. And I’m like, how’d you get away with it? He’s like, they just accepted it so you can get lucky, but they tell you not just smile in it. And once I saw that he did that, my passport was up for renewal. I did mine. I have a smile, not as big as his and fear of them potentially rejecting my photo, but I was able to squeeze one.
4 (5m 51s):
And nonetheless, I think they just make you really go more for a natural look.
6 (5m 55s):
So how long does it take for you to get your passport? Once you submit your photo in the application?
2 (6m 1s):
Okay. So they say for an expedited passport, it takes two weeks. And then standard is like, what? Four to six. I did not expedite my passport. The last time I had it renewed and I got it in a week
4 (6m 13s):
And the expedited passports, they charge you more money to do it quicker. By the way,
3 (6m 17s):
Mine came in about two weeks.
4 (6m 18s):
Yeah. I’ve never paid to expedite mine. I’ve just done the standard time four to six weeks. And I’ve always gotten it well before that four week mark
3 (6m 26s):
I’m like the California DMV. I’m still waiting for my driver’s license. Six weeks later,
6 (6m 31s):
I don’t know on having it come to you faster, be prepared if you’re taking an international trip to get your passport in advance.
2 (6m 38s):
I was just about to say that
4 (6m 41s):
Very good point. We’re just telling you our experience, but if they tell you four to six weeks, definitely don’t push your luck. Expect it to be four to six weeks.
6 (6m 49s):
The passport itself costs $110. But depending on where you submit your passport application, we could add on a $35 fee. So just keep that in mind. It’s $110 plus 35 for the fees.
4 (7m 2s):
Yeah. That’s if you use a courier, if you send it in yourself again, by downloading the application online through the state department, you do have to send it via priority mail through the United States postal service. So you will have to pay for your shipping costs, the cost of your photo, but there are no other associated fees other than the processing fee issued by the state department. Again, if you do it on your own,
6 (7m 22s):
But Kim, tell us your process that you went through. Cause yours was a little bit different than ours.
3 (7m 26s):
Yeah. So just to show you how easy it is, what I did was go to UCS D their mail services department. If
6 (7m 33s):
You’re in San Diego,
3 (7m 34s):
Right? This is where I went. I did not have to make an appointment. I just showed up. When they opened, I walked in, they had applications there. I filled it out there. They took my photo there. I gave them one check for the $35 fee for them processing it for me $110 fee for mailing the application in. They didn’t charge me for the photo. And I was in and out within 15 minutes.
6 (7m 55s):
Dang. That is fast.
4 (7m 57s):
Yeah. And that, you know, that’s another place that we didn’t mention that you could potentially take it. Cause I’m just thinking back to our UC Davis days. Cause all of us here went to UC Davis, except for Kim. She went to SAC state. But since she mentioned UC San Diego, it reminds me at UC Davis. They did have a student travel department and I believe you were able to do it there too. So if any of you guys are college students haven’t left yet, just check in with your university and campus. Cause there’s probably something exactly.
3 (8m 24s):
Even if you’re not a college student, cause I didn’t go to UC San Diego, I was just a part of the public and walked in there.
6 (8m 30s):
And once you get your passport, don’t let it expire without renewing and getting another one. I’ve had one since pretty much birth and I’ve never let it expire. And it’s very easy to continue to renew,
3 (8m 40s):
But they’re good for 10 years. So you won’t have to worry about that for a while, but because they’re good for 10 years, you’re going to see the option for the smaller book or the larger book. And if you’re planning on traveling a lot, which if you listen to the podcast, clearly you are get the larger books. So you don’t run out of pages.
6 (8m 56s):
2 (8m 57s):
Large book is 52 pages. Whereas your regular S is 17 pages. And I remember Nicole, our friend in Mexico city. She’s the one that told me that. Otherwise I don’t think you can refill. I think you have to re renew the passport
6 (9m 10s):
And then pay another $110
2 (9m 12s):
To get the 52 it’s free. And it’s on the top of the form.
4 (9m 15s):
Yeah. On the top of the form, you can choose to have the standard book size or the larger one with more visa stamp pages or stamp pages. And now you are no longer able to add on extra pages into a passport book. You’ll have to renew it. But I know somebody before they changed that rule who traveled a lot, didn’t have the big book. And actually at one point had to pay for more pages in his book because he was several years away from expiration.
2 (9m 40s):
Some countries that you do travel to, they require that in order to even enter into their country, that you need like one or two open pages. So keep that in mind, especially if you’re traveling overseas.
4 (9m 50s):
Yeah. And to what you were saying, Zayna about some countries requiring you to have multiple pages. When we went to Swazi land east wall, teeny, when we were in Africa, one of their requirements was you had to have three blank pages without anything in it. Otherwise they wouldn’t let you in. So that’s another thing is be sure to check passport regulations of the country you’re going to in terms of required space,
2 (10m 13s):
All the more reason to get the 52 pages. So does anyone have anything else to add about getting a passport?
4 (10m 18s):
Not that I can think of.
2 (10m 20s):
All right guys. So now you have no excuse. Go out and get your passport.
3 (10m 24s):
Once you have it, you’re going to feel so anxious to use it and get your first stamp in it. So that’s the first step to leaving the country.
4 (10m 30s):
So the next thing that we want to talk about our visas and know we’re not talking about your charge card in your wallet. We’re talking about travel visas,
3 (10m 39s):
Not all countries require bases. So you’ll want to look online to see for the country that you’re going. And if a visa is required and different ways, you can get it depending on which country it is. Some like China, we had to actually get it from the consulate. And so we went through an agency that did the legwork for us and we had to do that ahead of time.
4 (10m 57s):
Yeah. So a visa is pretty much a document that authorizes you to be in the country itself. So depending on what country you’re from and where you’re going to certain countries require other visitors from other countries to either have visas or they allow you to enter the country without a visa, but you could only be there for so long it’s et cetera. So like Kim was saying China, we had to have the visa before we even got in the country. But other places like Zimbabwe and Lebanon, yes. They require you to have visas. You have to pay for it, but you can purchase them in the airport itself upon arrival. So definitely make sure, you know, if you are required to have a visa or not,
2 (11m 39s):
And the length like Jamal said, cause something like China that gets us in and out of the country for 10 years, whereas Lebanon, I think it’s like only three months.
6 (11m 47s):
And in some way you can purchase like one entry or double entry visas. So it’s very on what you can use it for. And how many times you can use it. One other tip is you might have to pay in cash. Zayna found that out the hard way when we were in Zimbabwe and she had to borrow 30 American dollars from us to pay for her visa.
3 (12m 9s):
You guys ever been able to buy a visa in the airport without cash. The only other one I’ve bought was Cuba and it had to be cash. Do you know Lebanon cash? So maybe it is just cash.
2 (12m 21s):
Cash is an international language. Cash
3 (12m 23s):
4 (12m 23s):
Cash is king
6 (12m 24s):
Cash is cash.
4 (12m 25s):
And you know, for an example, we’re talking about visas here, but you know, and speaking as Americans, all four of us with American passports, most countries in Europe, you know, the United Kingdom, France, or even when we went to Japan, there are no visas required. We have agreements that allow us as Americans to travel to those countries. We just get a beautiful stamp in our passport instead of a visa page. But again, they do restrict how long you can be there before you have to leave the country. So be
2 (12m 52s):
Aware if you’re falling in love,
4 (12m 54s):
3 (12m 54s):
Something else for prep to know Is travel insurance. This could be something like trip insurance that will help get your money back if your flight’s canceled. But it also pertains to health insurance. And Jamal knows all about this.
4 (13m 7s):
Yeah, being that insurance is my main profession and industry that I’m in. Always when I travel internationally, I will buy myself and Brittany travel medical insurance for when we’re outside of the country. And it’s very, very essential to have very inexpensive. You definitely want it. The last thing you want to do is go to another country and God forbid something happened. You get injured because of an accident out there or you fall ill. You definitely do want insurance to take care of you medically. But in terms of what Kim is also saying in terms of trip protection, you know, when you purchase your tickets through, you know, United airlines, British airways, any airline company, they’ll usually have a section for you to say, do you want to buy travel insurance?
4 (13m 52s):
And what they’re really talking about is you can pay a certain amount of money. If you have to cancel your trip because you do get sick before you go or something unexpected happens, you can cancel your trip and get a refund. I usually don’t purchase that because I feel like potentially that could give me an excuse to find a way to cancel my trip. Yes. So I don’t necessarily buy that, but I do have a travel credit card that does give me protection. If my luggage is lost, they will reimburse me up to $500 to buy new clothing for my trip, things like that. So look into your credit cards because they have a lot of protection mechanisms and insurance in that way,
3 (14m 29s):
Some credit cards that are intended for travel perks, we’ll also offer travel medical insurance. You should also check your own home medical insurance policy to see if there’s any coverages for out of country travel.
4 (14m 42s):
And if your regular health insurance that you have here in the United States does not cover you. Well, overseas hit me up. I will sell it to
3 (14m 49s):
You. It’s only, I think ranges from like 10 to 30 bucks, depending on how, who you
6 (14m 53s):
Are. Yeah. So it depends on your age and the duration of your trip.
2 (14m 57s):
Yeah. So check it out guys, if you are someplace like Mexico or Australia, and I’m talking specifically that you are from the United States and you have a policy here within the United States with one of our insurance carriers, you go to Mexico, you go to Australia, you get hurt. You go to the hospital, your insurance, isn’t going to cover it,
3 (15m 15s):
Continuing on the topic of health. There’s also vaccinations that you’re going to want to prepare yourself for that. You can go on the CDC website and type in the country that you’re going to, and they’ll tell you what recommended vaccines or medications to bring that they recommend.
6 (15m 27s):
Yeah. And along with that, they’ll also tell you, like, if you don’t get these vaccinations, for whatever reason things you can do to help avoid getting sick. So, you know, while we were in Africa, they recommend not to eat unpasteurized dairy because you don’t want to get typhoid. Jamal’s mom actually got typhoid.
2 (15m 44s):
She did in the seventies, in Lebanon during the civil war.
4 (15m 47s):
Yeah. My mom got typhoid and
6 (15m 49s):
4 (15m 50s):
She ate ice cream and I don’t think she had her typhoid immunization. So definitely want to avoid eating certain things. If you haven’t gotten certain vaccinations, but again, wherever you’re going, you can always look at the CDC website, which is the center for disease control. And they pretty much will tell you exactly what immunizations they recommend based on what country you’re going to. And as a matter of fact, certain countries do require you to have certain immunizations. If they allow you into the country to even get in. There were a few countries in Africa, not ones that we went to, but do require you to have a yellow fever, vaccination. If you’re going to be out of the airport
6 (16m 28s):
And they will not let you in the country, if you don’t prove that you’ve been back since
3 (16m 32s):
Interesting. And depending on what kind of health insurance that you have here in the states, there’s different ways you can go about getting those vaccines. I know Kaiser has its own system for getting people prepared for travel. There’s different travel clinics that health organizations will offer. So just do your research for your area and your insurance.
6 (16m 49s):
Yeah. I can speak to the Kaiser specifically. It was super easy for me to use. I basically called a number and told them that I was going to be traveling. And then they said, okay, set up a phone appointment. So I set up a phone appointment in the future a few weeks before we traveled, they asked me all of my information on where we were going, how long the trip was going to be specific areas we were going to stay in. And then after that, they asked if I wanted to come in for the vaccinations I, at that time denied them. And they asked if I wanted to get Traveler’s diarrhea medication, which I did accept.
3 (17m 25s):
They basically they’ll ask you those questions. You can come in and get your vaccines, and then they will prescribe whatever medications you need for the place you’re going.
6 (17m 33s):
And then you can pick that
3 (17m 34s):
Super. I love Kaiser for that reason.
4 (17m 36s):
Xena does not have Kaiser. So why don’t you tell us just a little bit about going to an outside travel clinics? I know
2 (17m 42s):
I had to go to an outside travel clinic because I tried to get immunizations with my doctor, but immunizations for travel related, things are not covered under my insurance. It’s only for maintenance and what you actually need living here in the United States. So I made an appointment and you can always find a travel clinic, just Google it. You’ll find a local one go in the last year, a whole bunch of questions about where you’re going. They’ll make the recommendations. And then you get to decide whether or not you want to roll the dice or go with the recommendations.
6 (18m 11s):
So another thing to know before you travel is make sure to contact your banks prior to you traveling and make sure to pick up a small notes because you don’t want to travel with a hundred dollars, $50, especially if you’re going into countries where the cost of living, isn’t very high. They’re not going to want to give you change. If you’re pulling out a 50 or a pulling out a hundred and
3 (18m 31s):
It also kind of puts a target on you pulling out a hundred dollar bills. But the reason you want to contact your banks is if you’re going to be using your card, sometimes the very first time you try to use your card without notifying them, they’ll decline the charge. Sometimes it takes one or two charges before they cut you off, but they will cut your card off.
4 (18m 46s):
Yeah. So even your credit cards or your ATM, like I said, I love to pull local currency out when I’m there. So I always have to advise my bank, Hey, I’m going to be traveling on these dates to this location. That way they don’t decline my card for fraud activity, because believe me, they will do that. If you live here in the United States and don’t tell them all of a sudden you’re going to be going to Mexico. I
3 (19m 8s):
4 (19m 11s):
If they think anything’s fraudulent, so you got to let them know of the travel and even your credit card companies as well. Again, if you’re going to be charging things as opposed to paying for cash, got to let them know so that they do not hold or freeze your card due to fraud. And the last thing you want to do is be in another country and not be able to call that one 800 number without paying a lot of money to let them know, Hey, you need to activate this. This was me trying to use the card.
2 (19m 34s):
I learned this one the hard way. I was probably about 24 years old. And I was in Europe by myself. I had already spent about a month and a half and I was good with what I needed to use my credit card for. I didn’t notify my banks because I didn’t know that I had to, that was in Croatia. And then I bought a ticket on Croatia airlines into Italy. So when I tried to leave Italy and get a flight to be roots, I couldn’t. And when I got to the airport, I thought, oh, maybe I can just do at the airport instead of online. And they still wouldn’t run my cards. And it’s because when I bought the Croatia airlines ticket, my bank was flagged for fraudulent activity. So I guess it was good everywhere. But as soon as I went to a Croatia, they weren’t having it. So I had to wait all day for the credit union to open up here in California, before I can purchase a flight to leave the country.
6 (20m 22s):
2 (20m 23s):
All day at the airport. So
6 (20m 25s):
You probably won’t make that mistake again.
2 (20m 26s):
Never, but you know what? You only know what you know. Now I know
3 (20m 30s):
No, my biggest story, it’s not international, but I wasn’t expecting them to cut my card off in Vegas. So I was at a pool party and
6 (20m 36s):
3 (20m 39s):
Chelsea ordered these like $50 drinks And her card was cut off and the lady was looking at us like we were so stupid. And so I was like, okay, I’ll pay with my card. And then I went up to give her my card and it was shut off too. She was
6 (20m 54s):
3 (20m 54s):
Are you here for? Bitches are trying to get drinks. They have no money. So I’m at the pool party on the phone with my bank. Like it’s me. I’m trying to get drunk When they turned it back on. But yeah,
4 (21m 6s):
In general, embarrassing to have something like that happen. So,
3 (21m 9s):
And also could really screw with your car.
4 (21m 11s):
So definitely advise your bank that you’re going to be going.
3 (21m 16s):
The big question of exchanging money. Do you do it before? Do you do it there? Where do you do it? What should we know?
4 (21m 21s):
I’ve mentioned this in numerous episodes before, and I’ll say it again. My favorite go to is to pull out money in my location from the ATM in the local currency. I believe this is the best route because it does give you an even exchange rate. You will have the ATM fees, but depending on how much money you’re pulling out, your ATM fee may be less than the commission when you’re exchanging real cash for real cash. Because a lot of places in the airports will have a spot for you to change as an example, dollars to whatever local currency is, but they don’t give you even exchange rates. They take a commission, you lose some money. That ATM fee is usually less. And again, squad tip, ask your bank to have them reverse those charges more often than not.
4 (22m 6s):
I’ve been successful in getting those charges reversed.
2 (22m 8s):
Yeah. And the stations at the airport that will exchange your money. Like Jamal said, they do take a commission and often times it’s a really high commission.
6 (22m 17s):
Yeah. So for example, if you’re strapped and you have to exchange money and you have to do so in the airport, just exchange a very small amount. Once you get to the city center and you find another place to exchange the currency, that’s where you can exchange more or find an ATM to take out more money. I found that while we were in London or England, it’s more beneficial to take out a large amount of cash from the ATM and just pay the ATM fee temporarily. But let’s say Cusco, Peru, the exchange rate that they were taking, the commission that they were taking was very minimal because they want American dollars. It wasn’t very expensive there that we could have paid in all cash and exchange money that way and bypass the ATM.
4 (22m 57s):
Yeah. And I do want to just say, we always do bring cash in American dollars, one to exchange in worst case scenario, but two it’s always good to just have American dollars on you for any situation that potentially may arise. Even if you exchange it or not. I
2 (23m 13s):
Learned that one in Africa.
4 (23m 14s):
Yes. American dollars go a long way.
6 (23m 17s):
Another quick tip is before you go on your trip, take out any unimportant stuff from your wallet. So your library card, your rewards cards for grocery stores here in America. You’re going to want to take those out, keep your wallet light so you can easily find things. So you’re not losing a lot. If you were to lose your wallet while you’re there.
4 (23m 37s):
Yeah. And credit cards that you have no intention on using, you know, take one or two specific ones, ideally ones that have no foreign transaction fees. If you have any, even if you’re a traveler, not some cards that are non travel-related cards do have no foreign transaction fees. So highly recommend to use those. But again, to Brittany’s point empty out anything that you’re not going to potentially need, or definitely don’t need, like she said, a library card or anything miscellaneous like that.
3 (24m 3s):
You’ll also want to make copies of things to put in your wallet or your luggage with you. Things like take a copy of your passport, any travel documents that you need to print out, print those out reservations, things like that, that are important that you can’t count on your phone working to pull up
4 (24m 19s):
Right. Or copies of your credit card just as well. So any time I go out of country, I will always take a copy of my passport. You would think that I should keep that one copy that I always make for all my trips, but I don’t want to come back. I just read it. But nonetheless, I need to make a copy of my passport. God forbid I lose it or something happens. I want to have that to take to the embassy or consulate. So they know my passport number. They could see I’m an American, et cetera. God forbid, you get pickpocketed. Your wallet’s gone. You need to call your credit card companies to tell them that you’ve lost your cards. You don’t know your numbers. Well, now here you are having a copy of it or those reservations. So anything important pertinent information definitely make a copy of keep in your personal bag that you always have on you while traveling like your backpack.
4 (25m 5s):
But definitely leave that information behind you. Don’t necessarily need to take it out with you while you’re exploring the city necessarily.
2 (25m 11s):
And then another tip is make sure that you contact your embassy and let them know where you’re at.
6 (25m 16s):
We typically don’t when I know we’re giving this as a tip. So, you
3 (25m 20s):
Know, what’s recommended
6 (25m 21s):
It is what’s recommended. So if you don’t do that, make sure that you give your itinerary to someone that you trust. And that is not going with you. So if something were to happen, they know some of the details from your trip.
3 (25m 32s):
Although we don’t do this or we haven’t yet, we are planning to do this for our trip to Lebanon because the country is having some of its own civil issues. It’s just a safety precaution for anywhere you go. Just so the embassy knows something happens. They know where you are. They can come and get you out.
4 (25m 47s):
Yeah. God forbid a situation where they’re starting to evacuate people. You know, I mean,
2 (25m 52s):
What I was going to say was I was in Lebanon in 2005, in 2006 and I left two weeks before the war broke out in 2006. And it was a six week war and America did come and extract the Americans because the airport was bombed. So airplanes couldn’t leave the country. And I believe the Syrian border was being bombed as well. So people who are trying to flee there, they weren’t able to. So they packed up the Americans on the boats to take them to Cyprus. And the first people that they took were the people on the list at the embassy, because those were the people known in the country.
6 (26m 24s):
Great examples know.
4 (26m 25s):
And what would the Travel Squad be without talking about researching of bathrooms?
2 (26m 30s):
6 (26m 31s):
So crucial to research your bathrooms beforehand. Like you don’t know what you’re going to get in some of these different countries, like in China, we got the Squatty potty, but
3 (26m 40s):
We were prepared for them. And
6 (26m 41s):
We were prepared for them in Europe. You got to pay for the bathrooms. Like if you’re in a public space, you’re most likely going to have to pay for the bathrooms.
3 (26m 48s):
And it’s like a dollar or Euro. So you want to have small because if you give them five-year-olds, they might not have changed.
2 (26m 55s):
I remember crossing the border from beliefs into Mexico. We were crossing by land. I was with my girlfriend, Nicole who’s in Mexico city. And we really needed to pee before we went into the area to show our passports. And it was about 20 or 30 cents or something like that. And, you know, luckily we had changed, but you know, it’s stuff like that where you don’t realize how important changes until you really have to go.
6 (27m 19s):
Exactly. So as a first time traveler, one other tip that we would want to give you guys is make sure to check out your terminals and airports beforehand because different airports in different cities can be massive. And it’s important to know how long it can take to transfer between terminals. So like, if you’re going from domestic to international, you might have to take a bus or a tram, or you might have to walk, but the airport might be huge. You know, it might take 20 minutes to get to the other side of the airport. So it’s really important to know your route and to know your layout in advance.
4 (27m 51s):
Yeah. And that goes into transfer times as well. You know, if you’re traveling somewhere new for the first time and let’s just say, it’s not somewhere direct, you know, you have a layover of some sorts have to change the plane. Well, it’s good to not put a connecting time or book a flight that has a small window such as 45 minutes or even an hour and a half, especially if you don’t know the layout and haven’t done the research of travel time and what terminal in my landing, in what terminal am I going to be taken out from? The last thing you want to do is go on your first big vacation and Mr. Connecting flight, because you weren’t expecting the airport to be as big or didn’t take that into consideration.
2 (28m 30s):
Do you guys know the biggest international airport in the United States with the most traffic
4 (28m 35s):
2 (28m 35s):
6 (28m 37s):
The big airport,
2 (28m 41s):
Big example of how you can have a connecting flight all the way across the airport. I mean, it’s huge.
4 (28m 48s):
All right. What about the day before travel ladies
3 (28m 51s):
The day before and travel days, some of these tips apply to both of those. So when you’re actually traveling or preparing to travel, we like to make lists before we start packing so that we know we got all the essentials in there. You don’t want to forget that change of underwear.
4 (29m 5s):
I don’t want to forget that I always pack one of my carry on not
3 (29m 9s):
Jamal that put that in
4 (29m 10s):
The note. I did not put that in the show notes, but let me tell you something. I always pack underwear for long haul flight and my carry on
2 (29m 16s):
You never know essential.
3 (29m 18s):
So I know Brittany makes a list that she reuses. It’s kind of like the standard list. I always make a new list every time
2 (29m 24s):
Meet too. I
3 (29m 25s):
Haven’t liked them. All this password coffee.
4 (29m 27s):
I was going to say, that’s exactly like me throwing away my photocopy of my passport for every time. I just need to keep it in the same folder. But I got,
6 (29m 33s):
I just figured what if I forget to put something on my list that I need, and then I’m solely using my list. And I forget it because I didn’t put it on my list. So if I have my standard list, I’m not going to forget it. Good.
3 (29m 45s):
2 (29m 45s):
I feel like I have a list for the main things like phone charger, fibroid medication, stuff like that. Like I cannot forget, but in terms of clothes, I feel like it always varies depending on where you’re going. Especially even shoes, jackets,
6 (29m 60s):
Things all customized.
3 (30m 1s):
So we always try to put everything in a carry on, but you’ll want to look to see if your airline charges for luggage. If they don’t charge, maybe you can bring a larger bag and not have to put it all in a carry on, but then you have to think about the place that you’re going. Do you want to lug around a large bag with you? Or are you going to be moving to city to city? Is it going to be inconvenient for you? Maybe even still though they don’t charge. You do want to bring a carry on size. So less is more in my opinion.
4 (30m 25s):
Yeah. I feel like anytime I could do a carry on, if I’m traveling internationally are always like to do that. Because again, you know, if you have a transferred flight, not to say that even on a non transferred flight direct, it can’t necessarily be lost or delayed or not make it on, but you don’t want to. Yeah. You don’t want to be on a trip and then have it not make that transfer. So I’m not saying that I don’t check luggage. I definitely do. And sometimes it’s essential, but if I don’t have to, I definitely don’t for that reason. But again, most international flights do not charge for that check. So if you need to check it, definitely check it. But that goes back to our point of knowing connection times. Think about it realistically, you know, do you think your luggage can make it from this terminal to that terminal itself?
4 (31m 7s):
Even by the couriers on the tarmac to make that flight, if it’s such a short connect,
2 (31m 12s):
You want to hear a weird story? I remember one time I was going from San Francisco to Beirut and I had a layover in Germany and our flight was delayed because someone checked their luggage, but they didn’t make their flights. So they had to go. I know, right? Well, it’s a safety hazard, right? So now they have to go find the sky’s luggage, take it off. So we were delayed and I’m like, who checks their luggage? But doesn’t make their flight.
3 (31m 36s):
Well, it could happen drinking in the airport.
4 (31m 37s):
Somebody in the draft room. Yeah.
6 (31m 40s):
So speaking of getting to the airport in a timely manner and making your flight, how long do you need to get to the airport early? Oh,
3 (31m 47s):
About 30 minutes.
4 (31m 49s):
That’s Kim like the full and clothes. Like she always does know the recommendation is three hours. However, for international international, however us with the squad, we usually do do it as two hours, sometimes two and a half, but I don’t really think you need three necessarily, but again, it goes to show of, do you know your airport? If I’m flying internationally here out of San Diego, I know how big it is. I know how fast I can get through TSA more often than not. But two hours is about right for international travel.
6 (32m 19s):
I can tell you one story about when we needed three hours and we got there three hours and it took the entire three hours, Jamal, myself, my niece and my sister were flying out of lax to go from lax to the Philippines and headed to Manila. And we got there three hours early and we needed every single minute of that three hours to make our flight. What
2 (32m 39s):
Happened just a long line to go through security.
6 (32m 43s):
When you’re going to the Philippines, everyone that’s going there is bringing boxes and boxes back to their families. So imagine every single person is bringing one to two boxes per person. And so they’re checking that in. And so it’s not just an easy drop your luggage off. It’s checking in all of these big ass boxes.
4 (33m 1s):
And how do you tag a box? So it’s like, is the address written on the box? If it gets lost? So people are they’re writing the address. If it gets lost, shipped to this place, let alone the tag that they have for the airline itself. So everybody truly is coming with the full allotted amount of checked luggage, but it’s not even luggage. It’s boxes of goodies. So we
2 (33m 20s):
Would write it on the box though, before you got to the airport.
4 (33m 22s):
But let’s just think about it this way. Not that it’s not a common flight, but it’s not like Philippine airlines has 10 flights a day leaving from Los Angeles to Manila. You know, there’s one, one big flight a day. So their checking area is only so few people. It’s not like a big one, like Southwest or United, where it’s like counters, length wide and multiple people. So it was super, super long line. And I think we were standing in line for an hour and a half just to check our legs.
3 (33m 49s):
I have a similar story. When we were coming back from Bangkok, we did get there two or more hours before. And we had to stand in line at the check-in desk too. I don’t even think we were checking our luggage, but we had to get a ticket. They didn’t have kiosks. And so that’s what we had to do. The line was super long and it didn’t even open until like an hour before the flight took off. So we were waiting in there for an hour before the line even started moving. And then we had to like rush in and we wanted to get food so bad before we got on the plane and we had to hurry, get the food and we couldn’t even eat it before we got on the plane.
6 (34m 21s):
Yeah. Sometimes it happened. If
3 (34m 23s):
We had been there three hours before we would have had a spot in line much farther up and then would have had more time to sit and chill before the
4 (34m 29s):
Yeah. So I mean the three hour rule can and is good, but for the most part again, if you know your airport necessarily, it’s your local one, you know, two hours is good, maybe two and a half, if you are checking luggage. But if you’re not checking luggage, have that carry on them too.
3 (34m 42s):
I want to myth bust the travel pillow myth
4 (34m 45s):
2 (34m 47s):
I was just about to say it, but I was I’m late to the party by like two seconds.
3 (34m 54s):
So travel pillows are a luxury, but you do not need one. You know, half the time I bring mine, I don’t even end up using it because they can be really comfortable and really nice when you want to lay your head down. But they’re not necessary because I didn’t know this until I saw Jamal do it one time on a flight. But a lot of the headdress on planes will bend so that you can lean on either side. And I find that to be so much more comfortable than the travel pillow.
4 (35m 19s):
I’m so glad I gave you that little tip by seeing me do that. Yeah. So some of them, like Kim said, the head rest will lift up so that you can adjust it and you can fold them into keep your head in place.
6 (35m 30s):
You’ve also used someone else’s shoulder that you felt more comfortable than a travel pillow.
3 (35m 35s):
See, you don’t need the pillow. So you don’t think, oh, I don’t have a dribble pillow. How am I going to survive this 12 hour flight? Like you will. A lot of times they’ll, if they’re red eye flights, they’ll even give you a little pillow and a blanket too. Brittany loves to steal those blankets.
6 (35m 48s):
Dude. They’re so useful. You use them all of the time in the back of my car. When we go on road trips,
4 (35m 54s):
Another thing to prep and have the day before or day of travel is be sure with you to bring your sustainable reusable water bottles to the airport.
6 (36m 5s):
We have Kim enough shit about this, that she started bringing one with
3 (36m 9s):
Environmentally conscious now. Okay.
4 (36m 11s):
I’m glad to hear it. I’m very glad to hear that it warms my heart to hear Kim get an eco-friendly over here. But the reason why we say that is two fold one on a long flight, you’re definitely going to get thirsty. They give you the little plastic cups that are not even eight ounces of water. So the stewardesses will barely give you any water. And on top of that, a lot of the food is super, super salty on planes. There is a specific reason for it without getting into too much detail. It is because you lose taste buds and taste sensitivity at higher altitudes. So they make it saltier to actually have a little bit more flavor come through, but saltiness makes you thirsty. So definitely have that water to stay hydrated on that long flight and have that reusable water bottle because the airline stewardesses can refill your big water bottle as opposed to those little baby cups.
2 (37m 0s):
And now some airports are even taken out the option to buy bottled water like San Francisco. So you have to bring a sustainable water bottle so you can fill up the water stations. Otherwise you’re going to be thirsty.
6 (37m 13s):
So moving on for tips when you’re in a different country, now that you’ve made it there, congratulations,
4 (37m 18s):
Survive that long haul flight we are now in travel destination.
2 (37m 23s):
Hmm. So first learn a few key phrases such as please thank you and bathroom. That’s gonna go a long way and you weren’t going to believe how important it is until you find someone who doesn’t speak any English. And you need to say something like that.
4 (37m 38s):
Yeah. It’s just so important to know those key phrases that on top of that, it just goes to show that you aren’t expecting people to cater to you when you’re not even in your own country, you’re in their country. You know, nobody cares that you don’t speak their language. Like honestly, they could care less. I’m not saying some countries aren’t friendlier and people don’t want to help you because they definitely do. But no one is necessarily concerned that you can’t communicate with them.
3 (38m 1s):
Well also, like if they don’t understand you, they just don’t understand you. So whether they want to help you or not, they literally would not be able to. So do you guys remember how happy the Chinese ladies would get when we would say Niihau?
4 (38m 13s):
3 (38m 14s):
Their smiles are so cute. They were just so happy that we knew one Chinese woman,
4 (38m 18s):
Even when we would say thank you to them. Or I remember, and I don’t remember what episode this was, but I remember Zane even saying it when we were in Japan, I would even tell the elder ladies on the subway, like please have a seat or after you. And I would say in Japanese and they would just get so excited for that. You know? So just showing the effort to be accommodating in somebody else’s country and learning those key phrases is very, very important.
3 (38m 43s):
And there’s plenty of free apps that you can download that are for language translation or good old Google will teach you many things.
6 (38m 49s):
Yeah. And if you don’t have Wi-Fi or data, make sure to download offline maps prior to going. And when you do have a wifi connection, this was essential. The first time I use this actually was when Jamal and I were in Paris and we wanted to walk the city, but we didn’t pay for an international package for data. We didn’t have wifi while we were exploring the city while we were in the hotel, I downloaded an offline map and I was able to use my Google maps to get us around the city. But the other option would be, is to rent a pocket wifi. So literally it fits in your pocket. It’s a wifi connection and it stays with you. So you have wifi with you while you walk the city all day long,
3 (39m 29s):
Where would you rent a pocket? Wifi? I’ve never heard of this. Besides when you told me about it
6 (39m 34s):
In Japan, they had them rentable at the airport. And a lot of countries now are having them rentable at the airport, or they can deliver it to your home before you leave for the trip
3 (39m 44s):
Who delivers it,
6 (39m 45s):
Like depending on the specific website or the company that you go
3 (39m 49s):
Through. Okay. So you can go online,
6 (39m 50s):
You can go online. And some of them will say like, do you want this delivered to you? Do you want this delivered to your hotel? Do you want this available for pickup at the airport, depending on the air.
3 (39m 59s):
Wonderful. And then if you go that route, you just mail it back to them
6 (40m 3s):
And we’ll give you like a pre-packaged envelope to mail it back to them. So they make it super easy.
4 (40m 8s):
Yeah. And the pocket wifi, so many features, one can use it to utilize your translation apps. When you don’t have data, instead of downloading the offline maps, you would have your data to use Google maps. So it definitely comes in handy and super, super essential, especially if you’re traveling to a foreign country.
6 (40m 26s):
And it’s great for it looking up like train times buses, all of those routes that you would be able to look up. When you have wifi, you have the access to right away, right in your pocket. And typically more than one person can connect to the pocket wifi at a time. So it wouldn’t just be like, you have to rent one. I have to rent one. We could rent one. Sometimes they hold two to five people.
3 (40m 46s):
I also want to give a shout out to T-Mobile. There are many countries across the world that T-Mobile will give you free data usage in included with your plan. This isn’t sponsored by them, but I became a T-Mobile customer this year and in Italy, it was amazing.
2 (41m 1s):
Oh yeah. I remember back in 2016 when we went to Mexico city over my birthday weekend, I remember Brittany having to make a few calls and she’d always used my phone cause it was free under T-Mobile. Thank
6 (41m 11s):
4 (41m 12s):
Yeah. And now we’re all T-Mobile people because of the fact that they have international data and text messages and a lot of countries. So we’ve touched on this a little bit earlier in this episode when we talked about currency exchange, but I do want to re bring it up because once you’re there, if you haven’t already, again, you need to find a location or pull it from an ATM, but I cannot stress enough if from an ATM or whoever you change it with only gives you big bills. Do try to find a bank to break it into smaller change again, pending on where you’re going. You may be interacting with local vendors. They can’t necessarily break big bills. You need to go to the bathroom. They charged for it. You need small change.
4 (41m 52s):
So definitely go to the bank and break some bills.
3 (41m 54s):
Change is another key term crucial to know in the local language. Yeah.
6 (41m 59s):
So some other things to bring our like outlets and converters, make sure you’re doing your research beforehand.
3 (42m 4s):
I don’t think you’re going to go to Europe and use your American plugs. No,
6 (42m 8s):
I do not think that. So make sure you’re looking up what outlets they have and what you need so that you can plug in your devices.
4 (42m 15s):
Yeah. That’s a very big, I don’t want to say misconception, but a lot of people who’ve never traveled. Really don’t think about that. Like, oh, there’s different plugs to plug in. Yeah. I think there definitely are. And not everybody uses the American style outlet that we do. So your outlet is definitely not going to work in Europe or Asia or anywhere else
3 (42m 35s):
In Asia, in China and Thailand and every country I’ve been to, except for Italy and Copenhagen, European countries, all of the other ones. I was able to use my American plugin.
2 (42m 45s):
I was just thinking that I feel like most hotels in international places like nice international hotels, they are starting to have, they still have the regular outlet for the locals, but they also have an extra plug.
3 (42m 58s):
We stayed in like apartments and hostels and all that too. So, but it’s just not to be assumed everywhere. So check
2 (43m 6s):
It out. Make sure you’re prepared. Yeah.
6 (43m 7s):
And now a lot more places are incorporating using USBs charging port.
3 (43m 12s):
Oh yeah. That’s a good point.
4 (43m 13s):
All right. What happens if, when we are there, somebody gets sick.
3 (43m 17s):
We’re going to have a whole episode on this because it’s so important. And there’s so much to know, but any country you go to is going to have a pharmacy,
2 (43m 23s):
Either that, or hit up Brittany for her diarrhea travel pills that she mentioned at the beginning of
3 (43m 28s):
The DMS on Instagram and nurse, Brittany’s got you back.
4 (43m 31s):
And again, we’ve touched on this in previous episodes, but we always do travel with a medical kit of sorts, little mini first day, plus ibuprofen antibiotics. Yes.
2 (43m 44s):
4 (43m 46s):
If something were to happen to you and you don’t have those medications, a lot of places internationally are not like the United States where you need prescriptions for certain type of drugs. So more often than not, depending on where you are going, they’re a little bit more lax with the requirement of a prescription. So just go to the pharmacy, tell them what’s going on. I don’t want to say this always, but usually someone who is a pharmacist is a little bit more better educated and will know potentially a little bit of English to communicate with you. I mean, it’s hit or miss again, depending on where you’re going, but I would say more likely that’s the case. But again, it depends on where you’re going. Yeah.
3 (44m 22s):
Yeah. I’ve gone to a pharmacy in Thailand where we wanted eyedrops and we just kind of did body language to show what we wanted and they gave it to us. They didn’t English. And then another one in Italy, I got sick on that Italian trip. I went on and I needed a cough drop because my throat was hurting. So we went in there. He didn’t speak English, but we were kind of just like body language showing like cough drop it. And he gave us the right thing.
4 (44m 45s):
See, I feel like when we were in Peru and I needed to go to the pharmacy, he knew English there. I know, but I’m just saying,
3 (44m 53s):
We went to the one in Mexico and we were trying to get something and they didn’t speak English. She kind of figured out, Zena had said a couple of phrases in Spanish and we got what we needed.
6 (45m 1s):
So touching back on what we said earlier, you know, there’s a possibility that you might lose your passport and or visa. So what should you do? Make sure to keep a copy of those documents with you or in your personal bag. So you can refer back to them if you do lose those documents.
4 (45m 16s):
Yeah. And if you lose your passport, you’re not getting out of the country and
3 (45m 20s):
If it gets stolen
4 (45m 20s):
Or if it gets stolen, yes. You’re not getting out of the country. So you’re definitely going to want to know, even if you registered with the consulate or embassy or not, that you’re there, you’re going to definitely want to know wherever you’re visiting, where the closest consulate to your native country is so that you can go there and God forbid, something happens. You can have them reissue you a passport and embassies and consulates are usually good at being able to get them same day in emergency situations. Luckily we’re all fortunate enough. We’ve never had to experience something like that.
6 (45m 49s):
So we have two more tips about while you’re in another country, traveling, one of them is to look up, to see if in this country they do have rideshare services. You don’t always have to use taxis. Sometimes you do, but there are places where it’s easy to hail an Uber. And again, if you have a pocket wifi, you can go on the app and request yourself a ride if needed.
3 (46m 9s):
I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at the number of countries that have things like Uber and Lyft.
6 (46m 15s):
Yeah. They’re great. In other countries, super cheap, super affordable, especially in Mexico.
2 (46m 19s):
Yeah. I think Jamal said another episode we’ll find out soon enough, but in Dubai, I think it’s going to be more expensive.
4 (46m 25s):
Yeah. Doing research on our trip to Dubai. I’ve definitely seen that Dubai is not an inexpensive place to take an Uber. It’s more expensive than a taxi.
6 (46m 34s):
Well, that’s an outlier, but yeah, it’s great to know beforehand and do your research.
2 (46m 38s):
And the second tip is to find a local restaurant recommendation from a local, rather than the hyped up stuff that you’re reading here in the states.
3 (46m 47s):
I always ask our taxi driver or the Airbnb host or the concierge at the hotel. Those are the people I usually ask. Even like tour guides.
4 (46m 55s):
Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely good to ask, but one thing that I just want to reiterate to any first time traveler who’s going, you know, depends on how adventurous you are with food. But when you ask somebody for a recommendation, they’re going to tell you someplace that they think you would like, and they may be under the perception that, oh, this is where a lot of tourists go. A lot of tourists like it. But if you want to try local food, you have to ask them where’s someplace you like to eat, or where would you go to eat? And that will give you a good indication of where locals go, where you’ll find really good food. And usually the local establishments are a lot more affordable and cheaper than the touristy places that somebody may recommend
2 (47m 35s):
Agree. And just remember to, like when you’re in a city center, it’s going to be popular for tourists. The prices might be a little bit higher versus if you were to venture out from the city center and go to someplace where it’s not so filled with tourists,
6 (47m 49s):
Even just like a block or two can make a huge difference on price. So now moving on, we want to give a few tips on how to prevent getting scammed while you’re in another country. And even in your own country,
2 (48m 1s):
Nothing’s going to make your trip more miserable than getting scammed.
4 (48m 4s):
Yeah. And we’re just giving this information as a precaution. Not necessarily it’s going to happen again. We’re not trying to intimidate anybody or make them feel fearful of traveling scary or it’s dangerous, but you know, any place where tourists flock there is the potential for scams getting ripped off pickpocketed, et cetera. So definitely very useful tips to know
3 (48m 26s):
And keep your stuff close to you. Your purse, keep it zipped up, have a cross body bag your wallet. If it’s not safe in your back pocket for men or your front pocket, maybe put it somewhere else.
4 (48m 35s):
And they should never be in a back pocket. I mean a front pocket. Can you get picked but never in a back pocket?
3 (48m 40s):
Yeah. It’s, you’re just asking for it. Don’t keep your phone in your back pocket. Even backpacks. If you have that kind of a situation, I wouldn’t put valuables in the front pocket of your backpack
2 (48m 49s):
Or even consider when you’re on a subway, putting the backpack on your chest instead of in the back that way, you know, especially when you’re on a really crowded subway, except in Japan, never written a subway, more crowded and more respectful.
4 (49m 2s):
Oh yeah. I’ve never felt more safe of my personal belongings in space than when I was on the subway in Japan, even as crowded as it was such a friendly culture, but anywhere else, other than Japan, I just want to say even here in the United States or any other country definitely be wary. Yeah.
2 (49m 19s):
So if you do have a person it’s not a body like Kim was suggesting, make sure that you have your purse, not just under your shoulder and then tucked behind your arms, but like more in front of your arms. Just keep your stuff where you can see it when you’re in crowded areas.
3 (49m 32s):
And then obviously common knowledge. Like I wouldn’t leave your purse on a chair next to you when you’re turn the other way, talking to someone, things that should be common knowledge would just be more aware of them when you’re traveling.
6 (49m 42s):
So I know that three of us at the table have been scammed. So let’s just hear a quick synopsis of what happened.
3 (49m 49s):
I was scammed in the Bangkok airport and it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, when you get scammed, you can kind of get bummed out, but it’s like life goes on and like take the hit and whatever, move on. It’s not going to ruin your trip. Even if your phone and wallet gets stolen, like, which seems like a bad, big deal, but life goes on and just try to enjoy your trip regardless. So my story being scammed, we just landed in Bangkok, walking through the airport. This was the last piece of this Thailand trip. And this guy at a kind of like a office kiosk, kind of a station who is a tour company, came up to us talking about the floating market. And that was something we wanted to do in Bangkok. And we were kind of just telling him, oh yeah, we were thinking about doing it. We might just get a taxi go out. And he starts telling us how it’s about an hour drive.
3 (50m 30s):
And it’s very hard to get to. And we kind of knew that. So we were listening to him and he said, oh, I have this tour. Here’s the cost of it. It goes to all these different things. One was like a tiger thing and elephant thing. Some of their local people put the rings around their neck and have really long necks. And that was one of the attractions. So he’s like, oh, we just want to show you our country. And so we’re like, wow, it does a lot of stuff. And you get to ride, you get to go in the boats, all that stuff. So we bought it, they picked us up in the morning. It ended up being a very long day, which we kind of felt like wasted our day. And we did go to the floating market, but you had to pay to go on the boats through the market. So that was extra. And then really, it was just a lot of shopping in this sales market. The price was hiked up more than you can get it in a different market. And then it did go to the tiger thing.
3 (51m 12s):
But you had to pay if you wanted a picture with the tiger and or a picture with the elephant, which we’d already done, elephants is no big deal. So we’re kind of just waiting around for the bus to hurry up and go. They did go to the thing with the lady with the rings around her neck, but you had to pay extra for that. So everything was extra and just ended up being like a day where we were just like, let’s go. We want to get out of here and get back to the city. We’re ready to be done with this. So in hindsight, we would not have purchased it. Had we known all those things and kind of felt a little scammed.
4 (51m 38s):
So pretty much they sold you on we’re going to do all this, but it was really just the transportation. And once you were there and pay for everything else
3 (51m 44s):
Basically. And so in the airport, it sounded really good. So if something sounds really good and too good to be true, trust your gut. That it probably is
2 (51m 54s):
When I was in Italy, I needed to get to a certain location. I don’t know if it was a hotel. I don’t know. But in any case, there is a guy who saw me looking at a map and he was like, oh no, no, no, no, come into my taxi. And he was saying, it’s way too far, you weren’t going to be able to walk. And so I believed him and I didn’t really ask any questions about it. And I’m like, okay. So he said, it would be about $20. This is a long time ago. So even as I’m saying this, I’m thinking to myself, why wasn’t there a meter in the car and why did I just get in? But again, this is like way over 10 years ago. So I get in the car and I realized that he’s kind of going in circles. And in the end I paid $20 for him to take me around the block. Yeah, he did.
2 (52m 34s):
And then it’s one of those things where it’s like, I can choose to be mad or, and like, it’s not like, I’m happy that that happened. I’m not happy that that happened, but it’s a learning lesson and you can only laugh. It is what it is, you know? Yeah.
4 (52m 46s):
Yeah. For me, I got my phone. Pick-pocketed from me trying to get on the Metro and Mexico city. We’ve touched upon this in our Mexico city episode. It definitely does happen. It’s really crowded. I didn’t even feel it go in because it was in my front pocket even, you know, should I have had my hands in my pocket potentially. Yes. But I was carrying luggage and had other things in front that I was protecting. Brittany had her, yeah. Insanely crowded. We were packed like sardines just on the platform. I was more concerned about you ladies, making sure your bags weren’t being touched. And it just happened. Didn’t even feel it lost my phone, but going back to things that sound too good to be true. When people up to you, one thing I remember, and I wouldn’t say I got this scan, but just be wary of this.
4 (53m 30s):
When Brittany and I were in The Bahamas, we were on a cruise. We docked in Nassau. We started to go walk to a place that we wanted to go. And someone comes up to me is like, oh, we’ve made little shell bracelets and necklaces. They’re free. Do you want it? I was like, they’re free. And he’s like, oh yeah, they’re free. Like, all right. And then he put it on my wrist and I was like, thank you. And I was like, oh, that’s $5. And I was like, I thought you said it was free. And he’s like, they are, but it’s just a donation. I was like, I don’t want it. And then I tried to take it off and he tried to insist on keeping it on my wrist so that I would have to pay for it. I was like, I don’t want it. And I took it off. And so now anytime somebody comes up to me with anything, I’m just like, no,
3 (54m 6s):
We’ll see that a lot on the shoot. We’ll try to give you a CD or a bracelet or this or that. Or take a picture with someone and all of those things, they always expect money. Don’t even if they say it’s free,
2 (54m 17s):
Don’t let anyone put anything on you. And then the other thing is when we were in Zimbabwe, when we were walking through one of the markets, our tour guide was telling us don’t touch anything. As soon as you touch something, they’re going to tell you that you bought it.
6 (54m 29s):
Yeah. Look with your eyes,
4 (54m 31s):
Look with your eyes. And again, depends on where you are for certain situations like that. But in terms of getting scammed, I’d never seen this in person before, but you read about it a lot. Seeing documentaries about it on the subject of travel. And they’ll always talk about how there’ll be people working in pairs who will see tourists. And you’re either still at the airport or out in public somewhere. And you’ve maybe sat down a bag. They don’t come swipe that bag right away while you’re sitting by it. The people working in a team will drop something and make it so noticeable that you see it and try to go return it to them being a generous human being. And then somebody from behind will come and steal what you left when you’re gone for just a split second, or they’ll try to talk to you, distract you and then take something of yours.
4 (55m 13s):
So anytime someone approaches you, and again, it’s not be fearful of travel, it’s be mindful of potential for anything to
3 (55m 21s):
Be mindful. I
6 (55m 21s):
Mean, this can happen in any country, including the United States.
4 (55m 25s):
It definitely does happen here
2 (55m 26s):
And just make sure that you’re not pulling out money in front of people. And you know, when you have valuables, you’re making yourself a target. So be very mindful of what you have in your hand.
3 (55m 37s):
Jewelry, just being mindful of where you’re at, if you want to wear it or not, because you’re traveling, usually do have a lot of cash on you. And whenever I pay for something, I don’t pull out my wallet and pay for it. Like I would here. I always pull it out when it’s still in my purse and give them as much as needed, but I don’t want people to see how much money I have because it’s not just the checker that will see it. It’s everyone around you as well.
4 (56m 0s):
Yeah. And I guess again, it does depend on again where we’re talking about where you’re at, but as I’ve mentioned, Brittany, and I always do bring American dollars cash, but I don’t always take that cash out with me all the time. I’ll leave a majority of it back at the hotel, locked in the safe and I’ll take what I feel is the minimum amount I need out for that day. God forbid something happens. Like all my cash isn’t gone. I
3 (56m 23s):
Usually put some in my wallet and a different pocket of my purse in my pocket. If you’re really wanting to come put some in your shoe and just like having different places,
2 (56m 31s):
Fanny packs are really awesome too. I use those when we were in Cuba for clubbing and it’s just a flat Fanny pack that I could put under my shirt and I could put my phone in there and I can put my money in there. And then I felt safe and secure while we were out all night. Clubbing, nice and drinking.
4 (56m 46s):
Yeah. And another just safety. Precaution is any valuable items that you want to leave back at the hotel. Again, they do have a safe, but even those safes can be opened by hotel management. So those potentially can have something to be taken out of it. One thing that I would recommend, anytime we travel internationally with check luggage, we do have the zipper locks to keep the big compartment from opening up. So any valuable items leave in your luggage, lock it when you leave, have that key with you as well. If it has a key or if it’s a combo one, it’s irrelevant, but you will definitely know if somebody from the hotel cuts into that. So that’s a good spot to leave it and definitely lock it up.
4 (57m 26s):
2 (57m 27s):
And all of this said, don’t let that intimidate you because you know, I’m thinking of like the first city that on the top of my head Rome, you hear about a lot of theft there. But if it was that bad people, wouldn’t be flocking to the city to see the ruins, to see the Coliseum.
3 (57m 42s):
I can say I’ve been to Rome and nothing happened to me there. Right?
4 (57m 46s):
Yeah. It can happen to anybody. And this is for you to be mindful and just protect yourself. Not because something is going to happen, you just have to play it safe when you travel.
6 (57m 55s):
So you’ve gone out of the country. You’ve learned all these tips and now it’s your first time coming back inside the country you left from. So what is customs like
3 (58m 3s):
4 (58m 5s):
You have global entry,
3 (58m 6s):
Which is amazing,
4 (58m 6s):
But that’s another topic for another time. So when you come back into the country, or even when you’re going to your first travel destination, you will go through customs. And it’s pretty much an immigration checkpoint where they’ll ask you, are you bringing anything into the country? What was your purpose there? Because sometimes they’re going to interrogate you to be like, what were you doing in this country? What are you wanting to do here? Are you bringing anything back that you shouldn’t bring back? So just expected. It’s a normal part of international travel. And like Kim said, it’s a big, long line. So just be prepared to wait in that
3 (58m 39s):
More often than not, the line is like the worst part of it. Once you get up to the customs officer, there’s very minimal questions and they can seem intimidating, but you don’t need to be intimidated by them unless you’re trying to like smuggle drugs or something,
4 (58m 51s):
Would you do not condone?
3 (58m 54s):
You really don’t have anything to worry about. And they have very little questions for you.
2 (58m 58s):
Just smile and say hi, most people are going through treating them like sardines. So you just say, hi smile. There’ll be nice.
4 (59m 5s):
But after the travel is all said and done, it’s very disappointing because you’re no longer traveling. But at the same time, it’s a really, really good reflecting period to just embrace and think about your trip. That’s one of my most favorite things about traveling is coming back and reflecting on the experience that I had
3 (59m 21s):
Most of the time I’m ready to come home and see my dog and sleep in my own bed and drive my own car. But I do feel sad leaving a vacation when a vacation ends. I’m just like, no.
4 (59m 32s):
Yeah, because it’s so nice to go see a place, but traveling is an experience to broaden you as a person, not even just visit to see, yes, we do want to do that, but travel should be about expanding and broadening who you are as a person opening you up to the world as being a world citizen, as opposed to just an American and Australia
3 (59m 52s):
In vacation mode is so splurgy, you know, you’re like the dinner and the one, the dessert, and it’s like, I’m on vacation
6 (59m 59s):
Again. We’re on vacation. And it’s such a great opportunity when you’re traveling to be immersed into another culture, like try to be the local, eat the late dinner and eat the late meal, go out into the parks.
3 (1h 0m 10s):
6 (1h 0m 11s):
Do all of the things that the locals would do and be immersed in their culture. And I have a confession to make guys while we’re on our trips. I am always starting to plan for the next, like at
3 (1h 0m 23s):
The end, we know that at
6 (1h 0m 25s):
3 (1h 0m 25s):
6 (1h 0m 27s):
Well, maybe to our listeners, we’re on our bus to the airport. And I’m like, so where did you guys say we want to go next? Are we booking a weekend trip in February to go to Bubba? Bubba?
3 (1h 0m 36s):
When we were coming home from Chicago, we booked a trip to Idaho in the airport,
2 (1h 0m 40s):
On the airplane too, before we even took off, got
6 (1h 0m 43s):
3 (1h 0m 43s):
A place before we have one books. Exactly. So that makes coming home easier when you have something else to look forward to.
2 (1h 0m 49s):
Okay. So just know you are going to get lost. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. You’re going to get homesick. You’re going to do a lot of walking, but you will be changed forever. So take the trip.
3 (1h 0m 59s):
Is it time? It’s
4 (1h 0m 60s):
Time for question
3 (1h 1m 3s):
Of the week.
4 (1h 1m 5s):
Okay. All right. What do we got here? We got Emma B from London. Emma’s asking us, have you ever been robbed? And we just kind of touched on this when we were talking about how to avoid being scammed and just being wise. But yes, I had my phone womp womp taken from my pocket one time. Luckily it was at the end of the trip, but it’s still, never good when it happens. So again, that just goes back to the point of being mindful of your surroundings.
3 (1h 1m 32s):
I’ve never been robbed on a trip.
2 (1h 1m 34s):
Me either knock on wood.
6 (1h 1m 36s):
So next question, Jack T from LA, he asks us, how do you handle people who don’t want you to travel? Because they’re scared for you?
2 (1h 1m 45s):
Well, Jack, my friend, this is the story of my life. I used to go to Lebanon all the time in my early twenties. So I mean everyone all the time, except for my parents. But like, aren’t you scared? What if something happens? It’s so dangerous.
3 (1h 1m 58s):
We get this all the time from Mexico too. You’re going to close the border. There’s murders. There’s the cartel.
4 (1h 2m 4s):
It’s funny. You mentioned the Lebanon one Zana because we’re getting this now or Lebanon coming up because they are having a little bit of an economic crisis, some protests going on, granted, they have been peaceful. So it’s not dangerous in that sense. But again, that goes back to what we were saying about the news. People just hear something assume it’s unsafe, but I don’t let what people say to me, dictate what it is I’m going to do. I know that I feel safe in my travels and my decision. So I just tell them it’s not a mindset to have, I’m going to go. And I just, I really don’t pay much attention if you want me to be honest, because if that’s their mindset that they have, then there’s no convincing them otherwise. Truly.
2 (1h 2m 42s):
Yeah. I just sent a message to my girlfriend, Layla in Beirut telling her that we’re going to be there soon. And she said, I can’t wait for you to come.
3 (1h 2m 50s):
I get it from my family, from Mexico all the time. And when they tell me that, I try to tell them you’re wrong. And this is why, you know, my first time ever leaving the country, I actually packed up my car full of my girlfriends and drove down to Mexico half an hour to Rosarito. None of us had internet on our phones. We just had written directions from my friend who was already at the Airbnb in Rosarito. And we were fine. And like, to hear people say, you’re going to get killed. You’re going to get taken. You’re they’re gonna close the border on you. Like they don’t know what you know. And I mean, I try to tell them who knows if they really believe me or not, but I know what I know. So I’m not influenced by other people’s
2 (1h 3m 26s):
And we’re not telling you to go into dangerous territory. And we’re not telling you that every single place in the world is safe, but we’re saying that we’ve made the decisions that we’ve made based on our comfort level. And you should be doing the same and make sure that you do your own research before you try
4 (1h 3m 43s):
Even just our experience of traveling to places that have been said or dangerous. Like, it’s a perfect example that you’re saying of Mexico, Kim you’ve been there, you know, the hype, isn’t what it is. So you have that experience going into somewhere else where they say, oh, it’s potentially dangerous, but we’re not talking about going into war zones. Or
3 (1h 4m 1s):
There are places in Mexico that are dangerous and I wouldn’t go, but I know I would go to the places that I would.
6 (1h 4m 7s):
I mean, it can be for anywhere. We’ve heard it from Mexico. We’ve heard it for China. We’ve heard it for the Philippines, for Lebanon
3 (1h 4m 13s):
Places in the U S
4 (1h 4m 15s):
Not only that. Yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say. We just want to Chicago, there’s places in Chicago. You shouldn’t go walking on the street. I remember when Brittany and I were in new Orleans, when we got checked into the hotel, our concierge said, okay, you know the French quarters right around the corner here, but definitely don’t go one block over on this street. It’s definitely a lot more unsafe. So even here in the United States, there’s certain spots that you shouldn’t go. So it’s just being mindful and doing your own research, but don’t think everywhere you go is dangerous.
2 (1h 4m 44s):
I remember when we were in Chicago trying to find that hot dog stand and we were going down the right street, but in the wrong direction. And then all of a sudden we walked one block past what we probably should have. And we’re like, Hey guys, let’s turn around probably in the other direction. Yeah.
6 (1h 4m 58s):
Do you remember that? So we have one last question for this episode, Abby from New York asks us what was the first international trip you ever went on?
2 (1h 5m 6s):
Good one, Abby, I was 20 years old and I went to Lebanon by myself for my study abroad year.
4 (1h 5m 12s):
Mine was actually a road trip that I had with my friends to the great white north, our beautiful neighbor to the north Canada. We had visited our friend and Spokane Washington. And from there, we drove specifically to Calgary Alberta because the drinking age there is 18. Whereas in British Columbia, which is closer, if we wanted to go to Vancouver, it is 19. So some of us were 19, but not all of us were. So we drove to Canada to go do some drinking in the great white north. That
3 (1h 5m 40s):
Was the purpose of the trip.
4 (1h 5m 41s):
Well, the purpose of a trip was to go visit our friend from Woodland who had recently moved to Spokane Washington. So while we were there, we said, let’s make a road trip and let’s go to Canada. The
3 (1h 5m 53s):
Purpose of the Canadian leg.
4 (1h 5m 54s):
Oh, the purpose of the Canadian leg was for sure to go drinking in Calgary.
3 (1h 5m 58s):
4 (1h 5m 59s):
It would have been proud of me, Kevin,
6 (1h 6m 2s):
My first big international trip as an adult would have to be visiting the Philippines after graduating from UC Davis in 2011.
3 (1h 6m 10s):
Very cool. I just said mine was going to Rosarito, but that was just a weekend trip. So I kind of don’t count it because I feel like Rosarito is almost California, but my first international trip where I had to fly and use my passport was to Peru. When I was like 24, I was a late bloomer look
4 (1h 6m 26s):
At us now,
3 (1h 6m 26s):
But I’m covering all the ground. Now
2 (1h 6m 29s):
You’re talking about being a late bloomer. And I’m like, you’re so young.
3 (1h 6m 32s):
Like I said, if I would have known all of these tips in this episode, when I was a lot younger, I would have traveled a lot more, but there’s no time like the present.
6 (1h 6m 42s):
Any final thoughts, any last advice we would give to a first-time traveler,
4 (1h 6m 46s):
You will never regret the first big trip that you ever take. So take it.
3 (1h 6m 50s):
Yeah. I was going to say no last advice, but I just really hope that this episode inspires you to take that leap and book a trip and really get out of the country because there’s just so much out there that’s different from what you know, and you have no idea. The ways travel will change you just by learning about other cultures, eating other food, seeing other places. And there’s just so much cool stuff to see and do.
2 (1h 7m 11s):
So go out and do it and make sure you’re tagging us on Instagram when you do. Yeah.
3 (1h 7m 15s):
Thank you guys for tuning into this week’s episode, keep the adventures going with us and follow us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast. And like Dana said, tag us in your adventures and send us in those questions of the week.
2 (1h 7m 27s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or you thought that we were as funny as we think we are, please share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.
4 (1h 7m 36s):
Please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every Travel Tuesday for new episodes.
6 (1h 7m 41s):
Make sure to pack your bags and your car. Because next week we are taking you on a weekend getaway to Palm desert for a girls trip.
3 (1h 7m 50s):
4 (1h 7m 51s):