My husband and I flew to Holland for two weeks after we got married to spend our honeymoon there. We learned a lot about travel!
Make sure your passports are in order. If you just got married, your tickets MUST reflect the same name as your passport. So be very careful and use your maiden name if that’s what you bought the tickets under. It’s exciting to put down your new last name but it will not be accepted. Make sure every travel document you have has the same name!
Have a back up plan for currency. Everyone in the U.S. told us that all we would need is a credit card. We got a credit card with zero travel fees and thought we were golden. Newsflash, pretty much NO ONE takes credit card in The Netherlands. They only have “chip cards” which is the equivalent of a debit card here. Thankfully we were able to go to a credit union and use our credit card to draw a cash advance. They did charge us a small fee, but we were just thankful to have some money! It’s also VERY IMPORTANT that you find out what your credit card company charges for overseas transactions. Some of them say they have coverage but it turns out to be very minimal and then you get slammed with a ton of fees when you get home. Go to the bank or call the company your card if from and make sure you understand their policy.
Choose your layovers wisely. Since we live in the U.S. we flew to Boston and then straight to the Netherlands from there. On the way back I had the “great” idea of flying back through Paris so we could see the Eiffel Tower from the air. Just know the more countries you stop in, the more times you have to go through customs. The line was inching along and almost made us miss our flight! We had to run to our gate to catch it. And then it was so cloudy we couldn’t see anything from the plane anyway. It would have been much easier to just fly straight to the U.S. and go through customs there.
Check what the country allows you to bring in. If the U.S. airlines lets you put it in your checked bag, that does NOT mean you can bring it into the country. For example The Netherlands has a very strict weapons policy so we could not bring in any pocket knives. I keep Pepper Spray on my keys so I had to make sure and ditch that, too.
Make copies of your ID and give it to your emergency contact. Copy your passport, driver’s liscense and travel tickets and give them to someone you trust. That way if your passport is stolen you can have the copy wired to the U.S. Embassy and they can back you up.
Pack one change of clothes in your carry on. That way if your bag is lost, you at least have one pair of clean clothes you can change into.
Make sure you always keep emergency money on hand. I don’t know what would have happened if we had not done this! On our way to the airport we took a bus and bought a 12 hour pass. This was about 5:30 in the morning. We then waited at another bus stop for our connection. We got on the bus and got in trouble because we had “night passes” NOT “day passes” even though on them it said they were good for 12 hours. Thankfully we had just enough money to scrape together and buy two more “day passes.” The guy was mad, too! He was going to kick us off at 6:00 in the morning in a random part of town and we definitely would have missed our flights! Emergency money is important!!!
Research what is wrong with the surrounding area. For example, theft problems and such just so you know what you are up against. The Netherlands has a horrible sex trafficking problem especially with children. There were advertisements everywhere to remind parents to keep close watch on their children! It’s better to know and be aware of what goes on then be oblivious and caught off guard.
Consider purchasing a travel phone plan. We did not do this, but we kind of wished we had. We could not call or text anyone in the U.S. or use our data. You can use wifi apps to text BUT you have to be connected to wifi. We did not find a lot of places that had it and if it did, it usually did not work well. If we had got separated we couldn’t have called each other! It also would have been so nice to access Google Maps. It can tell you how to walk anywhere and it can calculate bus routes for you. Super helpful!! Most companies let you upgrade to a travel phone plan for a month and then you can cancel it. I think this is totally worth it!
Buy a charger adapter cord. Europe does not use the same wall plugs we do! That means you can’t charge your phone or use anything that plugs in the wall like a hair dryer or straightener. Research and purchase an adapter so you have what you need!
Check and see what the U.S. allows you to bring back. It’s always fun to pick out souvenirs to bring home! However, there are many things you are not allowed to return home with. Read up on what you can and can’t bring otherwise they will confiscate it from you when you return home!
I hope you find these tips helpful! Spencer and I had a fabulous time in The Netherlands and hope we can go back someday!!! Are you planning a trip? Where would you travel if you could go anywhere? Do you live outside of the U.S.? Comment below and tell me all about where you are going, been or live! I also love to hear travel stories! 😊