I have traveled to Argentina, New Zealand, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Italy, and Canada.
When I travel, I only carry the essentials with me.
When I pack, I only pack clothes I need and enough underwear to last my trip.
The reason I don’t tend to stress out before my trips and vacation is because I always have the 5 most important thing I need when I travel.
These 5 things are what saves me money when I travel, and I definitely have saved hundreds of dollars with just these 5 things.
When I travel I always bring the following:
1. iPhone 6S
The 2 apps I use the most when traveling are Google Translate and Google Maps. They have helped me so much during my years of travel because I don’t always speak the language of the country or area I’m visiting. Not only that, I don’t always know my way around and Google Maps have proven to be very accurate when finding an address. I also use Google Maps to find things I want nearby, such as the pharmacy or McDonald’s haha.
You may be wondering how I can travel outside the United States and still use my smartphone. You’re right, most mobile phone carriers charge for international roaming and data. However, I have T-Mobile. They are the best because they’re one of the only carriers that offer free international data and texting. This means I can still use my phone outside the U.S. without paying extra for it! Other carriers like AT&T and Verizon both charge $10/day (as of June 28, 2017) if you want to use your smartphone internationally! T-Mobile? It’s free! The only downside is that I don’t get the same super fast speeds I get in the U.S. but that’s not even a problem because I’m not browsing social media or watching videos while I’m on vacation. Besides, I can do all that by connecting to Wi-Fi at the hotel, hostel, or AirBNB. Check out which countries T-Mobile covers for free international data and texting.
You may be wondering, what about getting a local SIM card when traveling? That’s definitely a solution, however let me share a story about my last trip to Italy with my friends. My friend Dion brought his old iPhone 5S and his newer iPhone 6S on the trip. Why? Because his iPhone 5S was unlocked but it would cost him extra from his carrier to unlock his newer 6S. He decided to get a local SIM card with unlimited calling, texting, and data. Guess how much he paid for 1 week’s worth of service? 200 Euros! That’s $227.75 US Dollars (as of June 28, 2017)! That’s more than what I pay in a month for my T-Mobile One Family Plan that includes my mom, sister, and my own line!
Also, I’ve been to Beijing, China and my service still works! If you don’t know, China has a “great firewall” that blocks people from accessing a lot of social media sites that normally work in the U.S. With T-Mobile, that wasn’t even a problem. I was still able to browse Instagram and check my Gmail without any issues.
So if you’re not already on T-Mobile, I definitely recommend the T-Mobile One plan. It’s the plan I’m currently on and I can use it wherever I travel to! Check out which countries T-Mobile covers for free international data and texting. I highly recommend switching to them if you’re a frequent traveler like I am!
2. Chase Sapphire Credit Card
I have the Chase Sapphire credit card which I use as my primary card and I continue using it when I’m outside of the US because it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.
What are foreign transaction fees? Well your credit cards bank charges you a percentage or flat rate for every purchase you make on your card. However, some cards have NO foreign transaction fees which means you save money and can continue using your credit card even when you’re outside your country! I like the Chase Sapphire even though they have $95 annual fee because I’ve been using it for years and they have amazing customer service. Also, their card looks beautiful and it’s made of metal!
Another good card, I would recommend (if you have Amazon Prime) is the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card.
If you shop a lot on Amazon, this is a no brainer and you should definitely use this card. It comes with 5% cash back on your Amazon purchases, has no foreign transaction fees, and is also a metal card. Metal cards weigh more than regular plastic credit cards, so they give off a feel of luxury and premium class. You can learn more about the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card here.
3. Capital One 360 Debit Card
Another card I keep with me is my Capital One 360 debit card for ATM transactions. Not every place accept credit cards. This is the same in the US as is outside of it.
Whenever I travel, Capital One 360 lets me withdraw cash from any ATM without ATM fees or foreign transaction fees. Like credit cards, not all banks offer this service and may charge you a percentage every time you withdraw. I prefer Capital One 360 because I’ve had it for a long time, has one of the best saving account interest rates, and can be used for ATM withdrawals outside the US without fees.
If you’re exchanging money at the airport or even at the local banks, you may be charged a fee for every exchange. Don’t get charged these fees and check out Capital One 360!
4. Universal Power Adapter
One thing I definitely need is my universal power adapter. It works anywhere for any electronic device.
It plugs into any outlet and also has 2 USB ports!
The power adapter supports all the major regions including:
- The United States
- The United Kingdoms
This is all I bring with me if I need to charge my devices because I don’t need to worry about getting multiple adapters. I just need this one!
5. Foldable Duffel Bag
This is a bag I bring with me just in case I need more space or if I end up buying a bunch of gifts for my friends and family.
It fits in my bag and if I do use it, it can be brought back on the plane as a carry on or personal item that can be stowed underneath a plane seat! No need to lug an extra suitcase when traveling!
I have one from Eagle Creek but they no longer make them anymore but I think this one is just as good as the one I have!
These 5 things have saved me hundreds of dollars. I always carry them with me on my carry on or backpack whenever I’m traveling.
I hope I was able to help you on your travels!