Globetrotter Teresa Wolande’s 5 Tips for the Avid Traveler
Exploring our vast and beautiful world is a thrill that very few of us are lucky enough to experience with any regularity. Rather than sate one’s thirst, getting a taste for the wider world only seems to deepen most travelers’ hunger for further global journeys.
Retired executive Teresa Wolande is one of those avid travelers, being particularly fond of viewing the animal kingdom in all its natural splendor on African safaris. She’s also a devoted golfer, making sure to hit the links while abroad whenever she can.
The former CFO shares some of her most important travel tips below, which have been gathered over a lifetime of international travel.
Learn the Local Language
It may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising number of travelers fail to put any real effort into learning local languages when they travel overseas. It’s true that translation apps have made it easier than ever to get by without knowing a lick of the native tongue, and Teresa Wolande recommends having several good ones on your phone like TripLingo regardless of your proficiency.
However, while they may work well for getting directions to a tourist hotspot or ordering some food at a restaurant, those aren’t difficult things to learn on your own. Conversing through an app certainly isn’t an ideal way to have any kind of meaningful chat with locals, depriving you of the full flavor of a region, including its history, traditions, and stories.
Inform Your Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans
If a foreign purchase suddenly pops up on your list of transactions without warning, your credit card company typically concludes only one thing: your card has been compromised. In response to that threat it often takes the safest immediate action available, which is to freeze your account.
Needless to say, if you’re relying heavily on that card to get you around the area and to pay for your meals and other purchases, having it frozen for any amount of time could be a disaster.
As a side note, Teresa Wolande recommends that avid travelers who like to use plastic for their foreign purchases take the time to find a credit card that rewards travelers with great perks, such as bonus air miles, travel insurance, and no foreign transaction fees. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card are two leading examples of traveler-friendly cards.
Always Buy Travel Insurance
Speaking of travel insurance, it’s an absolute necessity to have medical, accident and evacuation coverage when traveling abroad. It’s not uncommon for travelers to become ill in foreign locations, which may play host to viruses, parasites and bacteria that the traveler hasn’t been exposed to before. Other insurance options include trip cancellation or interruption, baggage loss or delay, and cancel for any reason.
Avid travelers, particularly those frequently abroad on business, would be well-served by purchasing an annual travel insurance plan, which covers all trips for one year. These plans usually include full coverage save for trip cancellation. Allianz is one of several insurance companies that offer annual packages.
Don’t Over Plan Your Trips
It can be tempting to plan for as many sights and activities as possible at your travel destinations for fear of missing out on a great spot. However, Teresa Wolande cautions that packing too much onto your itinerary can transform your vacation from an enjoyable jaunt into a frenzied, stressful mess.
Instead, Teresa Wolande recommends using a few key spots you absolutely don’t want to miss as anchors and working around those. This will give you the time to truly enjoy those experiences without having to check your watch every five minutes to make sure you’re on schedule to check off every box on your list.
Depending on how your day unfolds, you can improvise and add further stops along the way, including some under-the-radar locations you may never have visited if you were steadfastly following your meticulous schedule.
Get a Good Cell Phone Plan for Travelers
Data roaming fees can be exorbitant and if you’re like most travelers, your phone is pretty much glued to your hand while you travel, using a ton of data in the process. There is texting to be done, Google Maps to check out, things to translate, local webpages to be searched, photos to upload to Instagram, and a hundred other ways to use up data. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile all offer travel-friendly data plans, with Sprint’s free global roaming plan being one of the best options.
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