Travelers abroad often assume they need to add a small, but weighty, converter to their packing list, but a converter often isn’t required.
Why? Well, first, a quick vocabulary lesson:
Converter: this little box actually converts the voltage of the appliance or electronic item from your country’s typical voltage to that of the country you are visiting. The USA, most of the Americas, and Japan operate on 110/120 voltage. Most of the world, however, runs on 220/240, to include Europe, Africa, Australia, and most Asian countries.
In recent years phone companies have made international service much more simple and affordable.
To stay in touch with loved ones back home, it's usually easy to make free internet-based calls via complimentary WiFi in hotels and other hotspots. Skype, WhatsApp, and iPhone's Facetime are great options for messaging and calls.
If you have a need to text to numbers outside your carrier or call landlines in the USA, you can purchase a temporary International calling plan from your phone service provider.
Americans are used to tipping in restaurants and for certain services, but when traveling abroad we are easily confused by what is customary and considerate. Every destination varies in tipping practices, but in Europe you can generally consider:
Self-drive options when traveling abroad give the most flexibility to travelers. Yet it’s important to consider whether it’s the best option for your particular destination and needs.
Here are 8 tips for making your decision and following through should you decide to rent a vehicle while traveling.