International Travel Essentials – Never leave home without them

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While I have started taking domestic travel very casually, International travel is something I prepare for. I am not talking about remembering my passport and travel guide, but other accessories that make my travels more comfortable and more importantly less expensive. Here are some of my must haves:

Laptop/iPad with WiFi:

With easy access to WiFi, a laptop or an iPad with WiFi (are there any other type) are a must have. This is especially true for someone like me who hates to be not perpetually online.

Currency and loose change:

One of my pet peeves is losing money on the exchange rate. This can be a big expense on credit cards, which not only charge a exchange fee, but also do not give the best exchange rate. So, I like carrying cash in the local currency. Another tip I suggest is to carry loose change, if you can.

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Credit card:

While cash is king, Credit cards are a must have. There is only that much cash you can carry and not that safe either. I suggestion, check with the credit cards you have to see which one is the best when it comes to foreign currency.

Unlocked cell phone:

I always get my cell phone ‘unlocked’ (you can get it dome legally, by your cell phone carrier. Unless you have an iPhone) and purchasing a local SIM card. This sure beats paying international roaming charges. Of course, this only makes sense if you are staying at a place for a long time and plan to spend a lot of time on the phone.

Phone cards:

When I travel, I love to call home and call and call my mom in India on a regular basis. I have been slammed by some very big bills for international calls. So, whenever I travel overseas, I carry some US and India phone cards for the country I am in.

Power plug adapters:

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In today’s world of ubiquitous USB ports (there are USB ports in United’s Business class seats IFE), I find it amazing that countries have not come to agreement on a standard power plug. So, when I am in one of the beautiful hotels in London City Centre, I need to make sure that I have the right powers plug adapter, as opposed to the power plug adapter I would need if I was at Frankfurt Airport. I carry a multi-country adapter. I covers all different power plug types.

Airline Miles Card (Elite Status):

If you have Elite Status and want access to the airline lounges, you need to have the actual airline miles program card in hand that shows your elite status. While most airlines will accept the Elite Status printed on your boarding pass, more and more are requiring that you show your Elite Status card.

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  1. Excellent list!

    I like to include a high-quality, small monocular as a travel essential, too. The high quality aspect is important because “cheap” ones won’t give enough detail to be able to read a street sign two blocks away or a shop’s hours from across a four- or six-lane street and saving those footsteps is a very practical reason for having the monocular along.

    It’s also a winner when we’re in museums and want to see something much closer than the barriers allow us to get. With a good monocular, it’s like we’re practically “on top” of the item or painting!

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