I wouldn’t call myself an avid traveler, rather more of an aspiring one. I live within the United States of America and I find myself traveling within my own country more often than not. Though occasionally, both time and expense permitting, I like to visit other countries. There is a certain appeal to visiting countries other than your own, you can experience cultures and nuances that you didn’t even know existed. I’ve found the most interesting of cultures to be outside of my own continent, when I visited Europe for a two week stay. This has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. I always tell my wife that I want to take her there before we have children so that she can experience the culture, sights, and food as I did. There is one catch, traveling abroad carries expenses with it that you not have considered. Let me help you learn from my experiences so that you can make your trip as fiscally friendly as possible.
When traveling from country to country it can become a little confusing as to when you should exchange currency. The correct answer here is to never exchange money. In fact, this could be the biggest waste of money your entire trip. We traveled from London, to Belgium, and to Amsterdam. We simplified our money exchange by using no fee credit cards, and debit cards at the ATM’s. This always gives you the best exchange rate. I suppose an alternative would be purchasing gold and silver at BullionVault Italy and then paying with gold bars, but that could be a little hard for the average vendor to liquidate.
Figuring out where to stay can be a whole other headache. I don’t advocate travel agencies simply because I have had too many bad experiences. I also have trouble with Trip Advisor reviews because even the 5-star rated hotels and restaurants have led me astray. However, the Frommer reviews have never steered me wrong. I find their tips and reviews to be spot on, and anytime I travel I pick up the latest copy of their reviews.
If you plan on using the planes, trains, or subway system in these countries try and do some online shopping before you go. It helps to preplan your schedule prior to leaving, and purchasing as well as printing out your boarding passes before leaving home. I booked every flight, train, and mass transportation you could imagine about two weeks prior to my vacation. Everything went smoothly and I didn’t have to struggle with last minute travel issues, or finding a printer to retrieve my information.