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International Travel Must-Haves

Date Published: 02/18/2018 | Author: Best Buy

It's the the trip of a lifetime. Ancient cities, world-renowned sights, new languages, authentic cuisine — without a doubt, traveling to foreign lands is exciting, but it can also be unfamiliar and maybe even a little intimidating. So let's go beyond the usual travel tips (everyone already knows they need an up-to-date passport, and to let the bank know they'll be out of the country) and offer some advice on how tech can help you travel safer, cheaper and more enjoyably.

Getting There

One thing about this trip of a lifetime: with long plane rides, customs agents, currency exchanges and more between you and your destination, it can feel like a lifetime before you actually get there. Be prepared by asking yourself, "What can I take on a plane to pass the time?" If you'd like to catch up on some reading, but don't want an armful of books, an e-reader is a great portable option. Or, if you're a movie or music junkie, load up a tablet with lots of content, so you'll have a go-to option for whatever mood you're in. Some streaming services allow you to download movies beforehand so you can watch from anywhere without paying for in-flight Wi-Fi.

The best way to speed your journey along, and hopefully combat jet lag on arrival, is by penciling in some time for sleep. Of course, there's always a difficult passenger nearby, an extra-talkative pilot on the intercom, or an unfortunate seating assignment near the engines that makes getting some shuteye easier said than done. This is when the latest noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver, drowning out the ambient noise around you. Pop them on, tune into something relaxing, and enjoy some much-needed R&R on your long flight over the ocean.

Getting Around

Packing plenty of in-flight entertainment options is a great idea, but resist the temptation to overpack and unduly burden yourself with stuff. If it's feasible, try to limit yourself to a carry-on and personal item that can fit under your seat. This will be especially important and cost-saving if you have multiple destinations planned. While the up-front rates for air travel around Europe can look surprisingly affordable, be aware that those airlines aim to cash in by charging a lot for luggage. Waiting until the check-in counter to pay for overweight or oversized bags can be especially costly. Do your homework and make sure your bags conform to the size and weight restrictions on all the intra-European flights you have planned. Of course, you may leave home within the weight restrictions, but you never know what souvenirs might catch your eye. To be sure you don't have a nasty surprise waiting for you, invest in a luggage scale so you know exactly how much to put in each bag.

Soaking in the Sights

In the old cities of Europe, there's something to see around every corner, and you're probably planning to take a ton of photos. While you can get plenty of great shots with a cell phone, some unforgettable moments deserve to be captured in every detail, and the spectacular HD photos you can get with modern DSLR cameras are well worth the price tag. It could be the most valuable piece of tech you bring on your trip.

To ensure you can keep snapping to your heart's content, also bring plenty of memory cards for photo storage. That way, you don't have to waste any time on location sifting through your photos and deciding which to keep and which to delete. Save that chore for when you're back in the States.

Don't hesitate to you make yourself a part of the scene. While all those monuments and landscapes have all been photographed before, what will make these memories truly special is the fact that you were there. A selfie stick is a useful tool to get yourself in the frame and put your own unique spin on the moment. And don't be self-conscious or worry about looking like a tourist, because almost everyone else will be doing the same thing.

Staying Connected

Of course, just because you're a stranger in a strange land doesn't mean you can't stay connected to home. But there's a smarter way to go about it than paying an arm and leg on roaming charges from your home cellular provider. Purchase an unlocked cell phone before you leave, and you can pay the local rate for calls by purchasing a SIM card when you arrive at your destination. In addition to making calls, you can use map functions on your phone and make sure you receive any kind of fraud alert from your bank right away. No phone will do you much good if it dies, so be sure to pack a portable charger for an extra infusion of battery life when you need it most. Lots of these portable power packs can hold enough charge to top off multiple devices, or one device multiple times, without ever needing an outlet. Lastly, when traveling abroad, it's a good idea to bring a travel converter kit along, to ensure that you'll be able to plug into the various types of wall outlets throughout the world.

Tech gadgets have truly transformed what international travel can and should be, so stop in to Best Buy before you finish that packing list for Europe.

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