Vacations Unpacked: Trips Abroad

 Today, Erika and I are sharing PART THREE of our three part series where we chat about what we pack and how we operate when we head to certain destinations with our families.

Once a month, we’ve been sharing tips, tricks, dos and don’ts we’ve learned as we’ve traveled/planned other people’s travels.  Erika and I talk to people all day, every day at our travel agency, and one of the most popular questions we receive is about packing and just day to day “how do we…” for their trip.  So, we’ll share our tips and then PLEASE SHARE YOURS TOO!  This can be a great resource for all of us!  Because isn’t the worst feeling ever arriving at your destination and realizing you packed all wrong and planned incorrectly?

funny

In April, I shared about packing for/planning City Trips and Erika shared about Ski Trips. Then in May, I shared my tips for Cruises and Erika shared about Walt Disney World.

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips/strategies for TRAVELING ABROAD and Erika is sharing all about BEACH VACATIONS!

These are just a few of our favorite suggestions and ideas, but please, please, please comment and share yours too!!

Here we go, packing/navigating trips abroad with your family…

IMG_7610

Hello China.

I mean…traveling abroad is basically like packing for all of these other trips…just maybe a little more intense since you’re leaving the country.

IMG_0571

Hello Switzerland.

I would say people’s number one question is: HOW AM I GOING TO TALK ON THE PHONE/USE THE INTERNET?

Does that sound like a 2017 kind of question or what?  People want to know how they’re going to be able to talk to their friends/family back home and post pics on Instagram.  I always suggest two things, but if you have other ideas, PLEASE CHIME IN!  First, you need to call your cell phone company before you leave the States.  You can upgrade your data plan for the time that you’re abroad so that you can use your phone freely.  Just make sure you call them first AND make sure you ask the price.  We personally NEVER upgrade our data plan because for some reason, our cellular plan is so darn expensive if we use our phones overseas.  It’s like 7 billion dollars a minute.  (Or at least it might as well be. #holycow)  So, we strictly adhere to Plan B: we connect to WiFi when we can (like in our hotel) and are able to FaceTime (or even just the audio portion of FaceTime) instead.  Now, this means that we can only communicate with iPhone people…but that’s basically everyone we know, so that works for us.  If you turn your cellular off and place your phone on airplane mode, then you won’t accidentally call/text someone overseas…but if you connect to WiFi, then you can text, FaceTime, post pics on social media, use the internet, etc.  I’m not going to lie…it’s also really nice to get away for a few days without your phone ringing or pinging, so we don’t go to great lengths to get a better data plan because we like the phone break.

IMG_1210

Hello England.

And I would say the number two question is: WHERE DO I KEEP MY STUFF ON MY BODY WHILE I’M OUT?

I get this one all the time too.  Unfortunately, pick-pocketing is a real thing, so I understand why people ask.  Some people like to wear their money/passports around their waist in one of those belt things under their clothes.  I tried that once and it annoyed me around my middle, so instead, I wear a crossbody bag and keep it in front of me the whole time (and not on the backside of my hip).  I would never suggest wearing a backpack.  In crowded places (museums, subways, waiting in line, etc), backpacks are easy targets.  Andrew always wears a crossbody bag when we travel and he keeps all of the major stuff in there (our passports or copies of our passports, money, anything we’ve bought throughout the day, sunglasses, antibacterial, maps, etc).  We figure the odds of someone coming up to the 6’5″ guy and trying to steal stuff is less than them coming up to the 5’3″ girl.  Now, we almost always carry our passports with us at all times overseas and leave the copies in our hotel room but you could do the reverse.  We feel more comfortable having those on us than leaving them behind.  That’s clearly a personal choice, but for us, we’d rather always have our identification on us in case of any sort of emergency situation.

This leads me to another question about stuff I carry around on a trip…

DO YOU TAKE AN ACTUAL CAMERA?

I stopped traveling with an actual camera several years ago and only use my iPhone for pictures now.  I do this for several reasons:
1. I’m lazy and it’s easier to just carry one thing.
2. I am less likely to pull out my camera than I am my iPhone.
3. My iPhone takes fantastic pictures.  They’re probably better than my camera pictures!
4. It’s just easier to upload things to social media/my blog from my phone than a camera.

Now, all of this iPhone talk leads me to another frequently asked question…

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR IPHONE CHARGED?

We (and by we, I mean Andrew) carry around a portable charger.  These things are life-savers!  We carry one of these, so that if the battery on our phone goes way down, we can charge it.  You just plug your phone into the charger and off it goes!

IMG_8019

Hello Spain.

Another question that I’m asked a lot is: HOW DO YOU CONVERT MONEY?

The answer is: I try and let my bank do that for me.  Most places in the world accept a good old-fashioned credit card, so we try to stick mostly to that when we’re abroad.  This way, my bank is doing the conversion and when I get my credit card statement the next month, it’s all right there on my statement in US dollars.  Now, what if we need actual money for things and not a credit card?  Then, we get money out of the ATM there so that once again, my bank is doing the conversion for me and it will show up on my next bank statement.  Now, sometimes, we exchange money other places (so we give them US dollars and they give us Euros or whatnot) like at a hotel, but for the most part, we just walk right up to a bank and use their ATMs.  It’s basically just like using an ATM at home.  We click “English”, we swipe our card, we enter in how much money we need and it pops out.  This keeps us from having to carry around a bunch of US dollars and exchanging them.  Make sense?

IMG_7166 (2)

Hello Thailand.

 So, how do we actually pack our suitcases when we travel abroad?  Well, not to sound repetitive or anything, but we pack just like we do for cruises…we pack our suitcases by days.

Allow me to explain once again:

Let’s say you’re going to be gone a week with your family of four and you decide to take three suitcases for the seven nights.  I would pack a third of everyone’s stuff in one suitcase and then repeat with the other two suitcases.  So, in this scenario, when we arrive, I would immediately, put away suitcases two and three (probably under the bed to get them out of sight) and only unpack or open suitcase number one which has everything everyone needs for the first two days.  Then after two days, I put all of the dirty clothes back in suitcase number one and shove that under the bed while at the same time removing suitcase number two and opening it for days three and four.  And then I repeat with the last suitcase for days 5, 6 and 7.  Make sense?

I love this method for several reasons:

1. If your luggage gets lost, at least all of you have one or two suitcases with a third of your things in it.  (My parents went on a cruise just this past September with their best friends and the wife’s suitcase was lost for 5 days of the 10 day trip!  Speaking as a travel agent, let me assure you, suitcases do get lost.)

2. You’re not cross-contaminating dirty clothes with clean clothes.

3. You save room in your hotel.

IMG_0374

Hello Austria.

Now, here are things I pack every vacation:
1. Baggies (both large and small).  They corral items, they hold stinky items, they keep things organized, they’re good for trash…the list goes on and on.
2. Trash bags.  For dirty laundry.  It keeps your dirty stuff away from your clean stuff.
3. A lint roller.
4. A portable charger for iPhones (because sometimes, you just cannot find an outlet to charge your phone and you need it charged.)
5. Band-Aids, Band-Aids, Band-Aids.
6. Fingernail clippers and tweezers (because sometimes, you just need these things!)

Now, it’s your turn!  Tell us your secrets for traveling abroad.  I know you have tips!!  Share please!!!

And let’s recap all of our lists:
SKI TRIPS
CITY TRIPS
CRUISES
WALT DISNEY WORLD
BEACH VACATIONS

And if you missed this…

Adoption Packing List

…you can read that post HERE.

If you’re a new client and are interested in a vacation by Mix and Match Travel Agency, we are offering our services to Walt Disney World, Mexican all-inclusives, and cruises departing after September 1st. Email us at mixandmatchtravelagency@yahoo.com with any questions!

 Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog June 5, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I’ve long ditched the idea of a big camera while travelling. I think it’s a different story if you’re travelling for photography, but at certain times, I prefer to just be in the moment. iPhone quality is really good nowadays!
    _
    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Megan June 5, 2017 at 4:52 am

    I agree that not having unlimited access to your phone is so refreshing on vacation. In addition to FaceTime we used WeChat in China to communicate with family at home and the Viber app has worked well for us in other countries as well when people don’t have an iPhone. I learned the packing by day’s truck from you and it has been a game changer!
    http://www.lettinginthelightblog.com

  • Kara June 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

    ATT and Verizon have a new option where for $10 extra a day, you can use your regular home cell phone plan. So, if you have unlimited data, talk and text, you can use that while abroad with this added international feature for $10/day. Although, it is refreshing to be without constant connection, this option is nice for people who may need full access to their phones.

    • Hillary Kinzel June 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      My husband and I just used this feature when traveling in Europe in April. $10 a day made our phones completely the same as in the US. There were no additional charges for data, phone, or texts. It was a great way to stay in touch with our kids and family while not breaking the bank. Also, if you have a Samsung phone there is an option to turn of international roaming. Using this, you won’t pay for any data and your phone will only connect when you are on WIFI and not being charged an additional rate.

  • Sarah J. June 5, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I usually totally agree with the cross-body bag rule. But, there are circumstances when a backpack can come in handy (if you’re doing more strenuous walking and don’t want something hanging around our neck.) I found these great day packs on Amazon a few years ago for a trip to Peru – they fold up in a little pouch so you can just toss it in your suitcase and use it if you need it.

    I usually just turn my cellular data off. My international texts get billed at the domestic rate (unlimited), so that way you can kind of monitor if something needs an immediate response or not.

    Make sure you know what kind of foreign transaction fees your bank charges ahead of time for both credit card & ATM withdrawals. There are plenty of options that don’t charge those fees, and is a great way to save a little money.

    Your tips were all great! I’ve had a few friends recently ask me about tips, and I will definitely refer them to this list!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 5:47 am

      You just have to be so careful with backpacks because they are such an easy target. Anytime one of my clients gets pick-pocketed, it’s always out of a backpack.

      • Ami G June 5, 2017 at 7:32 am

        Also, carry your cross body so that it is away from the street side of your body. Many thieves ride scooters or motorcycles and the person on the back grabs the bag…even in traffic they can be away in seconds. This is a good practice even in large US cities.

      • Samantha Kostamo June 5, 2017 at 9:13 am

        What were the packing cubes you mentioned a while ago? The zippered ones?

    • Susy Watts June 5, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Yes to ATMs for exchanging funds but do choose the bank you use carefully. Your everyday bank may not have the best rates for exchange. A little homework goes a long way. And the same for credit cards. Your everyday credit card may not have the best rates, and you can literally save hundreds of dollars in fees by researching the best credit cards to use abroad, some with no fees. Unless you have unlimited resources don’t ever use hotels for exchanging funds. They charge exorbitant fees, costing precious funds you can use for a great meal or special excursion, or for us it might be a wonderful local guide to unveil special stories or cultural understandings.
      We usually choose two times on a trip for a private guide which for two couples or a family costs under $100. We have used a private guide sometimes for 1/2 or whole day and research them in advance. We did so at Macchu Pichu and again on the Island of Chiloe. Each time we learned things not in guidebooks plus we sat on the edge of the terraces while he played an ancient flute and we had lunch, or in Chiloe ate in a local’s home, walked a remote beach, and secured a boat for penguin finding! In Rome our guide led us right past the lines and shared so many back stories and ideas about the art with our granddaughter. Precious moments and worth the investment.

  • Cat June 5, 2017 at 5:50 am

    A tip on cell phones for Verizon customers: For many international destinations, they offer a “Travel Pass” service. You sign up ahead of time (you can do it by their live chat, so handy), but there is no charge unless you actually use cellular data while abroad. If you do, there is a flat fee per-24-hour-period (triggered by the first minute you use cellular data in that period), per-line, which varies by destination. In Canada I think it was $5, in the Caribbean it was $10.

    We also leave our phones in wifi-only mode for the duration of the trip (I don’t even post pictures – I prefer waiting until we’re back home for safety reasons). But, in the event of an emergency / if we got separated, it’s nice to know we wouldn’t be completely gouged by per-minute or per-MB pricing that would otherwise kick in.

  • Laura June 5, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Now I want to go on a vacation!!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams June 5, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I also look forward to having my phone on airplane mode and only answering messages when I’m on WIFI when I’m abroad! I’ve gotten better with packing clothes for traveling abroad. I realize I wear the same things over and over again, but it’s important to pack the correct outerwear. I’ve gotten stuck without rain boots/rain jacket when I needed them most because I thought I would “manage”. Nope, way more comfortable when I have those items. Now, I always focus on packing them first and then fill in a few bottoms/tops. Great series!
    xo
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Sarah N June 5, 2017 at 6:08 am

    These are great tips! We are taking our 80 student high school choir to Ireland in March. I’m saving this blog post as we get close to departure. They will FREAK over not being able to Snapchat or IG on the spot ? Thanks for all the tips!

  • Leslie Z. June 5, 2017 at 6:09 am

    This post comes in perfect timing! We’re leaving in a month for Italy! Thanks for all the tips!

  • Kelly Sites June 5, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I’m an international disaster response nurse so I travel a ton and all over the world, and the above tips are exactly what I do. I also always call my credit card company BEFORE I go to let them know the countries I will be traveling in so they won’t deny my charges and think it’s fraud. I also take a picture of my passport on my cell so in case I lose a copy or the actual one, I still have a photo of it on my phone.

    Finally, I always grab a business card of the hotel I’m staying at in another country- so that I can give it to a taxi driver or whomever, to get me back to the hotel. The business card always has the phone number and address on it.

    • Darcy June 5, 2017 at 9:46 am

      The business card idea is so smart! 🙂 You could also just take a picture of it on your phone, so you’d have it too.

  • Alexis deZayas June 5, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Love this!! Definitely saving this one. So helpful!

  • Kerry June 5, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I be read several of your travel posts and they are filled with great tips! Going abroad for a mission trip next week and I’m not sure what to wear on the plane for the 20 hour flight. I know to pack my night time routine (thanks for that tip) and to set my watch to their time when we leave Houston. Any suggestions on attire? Thanks!!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Layers and comfy!! I like stretchy, comfy jeans or maxi dresses. Also, make sure you can strip down to like a tank if it’s warm on board or add some layers if it’s cold. Plus, don’t forget to bring warm and cozy socks for inflight!

  • Courtney June 5, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Great information! I love the tip about packing your suitcases in days, that’s brilliant! And I had to laugh about the belt under your shirt thing. If it’s super hot outside, that is definitely not a good idea – you end up with sweaty stuff! 🙂
    XO
    Courtney
    http://www.greywoodmama.com

  • Tiffany June 5, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Plug converter and power strip. That way you only need one converter that you can plug the power strip into and voila, you actually have multiple outlet options for charging all those electronics after a long day!

  • Emily June 5, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Get the WhatsApp app for your phone if you don’t have an iPhone or need to connect with non-iPhone users. It’s free and it allows you to text (and I think make voice calls) over wifi.

  • Beth June 5, 2017 at 6:31 am

    I was just at the store yesterday going to buy this super cute black purse backpack. It was so cute, but I couldn’t pull the trigger! Now I’m thankful I didn’t because I hadn’t even thought of someone pickpocketing on our trip! Thank you!

  • Leslie June 5, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Thank you!!! I am traveling to Europe for 8 days with my two teenage children and am intrigued by your packing method. Wondering how you feel about checking bags vs carry-on … assumed using only carry-ons would be better.

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 6:33 am

      It depends on how long you’re gone. When we’re traveling for long weekends, we always carry on, but for longer trips, we need the extra room and check our bags.

    • Terrie June 5, 2017 at 6:46 am

      I’d do carry on. We did 12 days in europe recently and on one train travel that was overbooked I’d have no idea how we’d have managed anymore than our carry on. We also had laundry at our airbnb so that was awesome. Have fun!

      • Jan June 5, 2017 at 8:22 am

        Yes, if you are traveling by train, be sure your bags are not too large. I like to keep my bag near me on the train
        So it needs to fit overhead or under the table.

  • Chelsea June 5, 2017 at 6:33 am

    One other tip for phones is to look at getting a local pay-as-you-go SIM card. You can usually buy them at the airport or order them online before you go. It is an affordable way to use data on the go (access to Google Maps is a lifesaver!). Note that your phone needs to be untethered to change the SIM card.

  • Sharon June 5, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Packing cubes have been a game changer for us! The other thing I always recommend when travelling abroad is to bring any and all medication that you may use at home. Some medications cannot be found overseas of the ingredient list may be different.

  • Stephanie June 5, 2017 at 6:34 am

    My fiancee and I are going to England for our honeymoon next year, so a lot of this helps so much! I hadn’t thought about our cell phones/data plans in regards to them costing more over there. I’ll definitely have to call our provider before we go.

    http://aneducationindomestication.com

  • Erika Slaughter June 5, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Everything you highlighted-I’m pretty sure I asked before heading to China. Were you taking notes when I asked questions?! LOL!!

  • Terrie June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Love the suitcase tip!!
    Also Verizon does a $10 a day and your phones are fully functional. Just do one phone and goodness that make google maps available alll the time and makes finding trains and subway lines so much easier
    Also I make sure all kids have a copy of their passport, photos of the family and money on them, along with their itinerary. In case something happens they have what we call their “immigration” papers. Made me feel very secure knowing they could share with a policeman info to help them get where they were going.
    We also carry the real passports too.

    Hope your traveling soon again. I love your travel posts!

  • Sarah June 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

    I really need suggestions for a portable iPhone charger! Please help. Thanks!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 7:24 am

      We bought ours at Best Buy!

  • Sheaffer Sims June 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Can you do tips list for what I should pack for the ranch? I overpack every single time. 😉

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 7:24 am

      I just LOL, Sheaffer Sims!

  • Narci Dreffs June 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I love the way that you pack for trips! It’s so smart! Such great trips for traveling! Xo

  • Whitney Pegram June 5, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I always pack too many outfits … & I always blame it on not knowing what I’ll be in the mood to wear! ? Happy Monday, girl!

  • Meredith Stewart June 5, 2017 at 7:04 am

    As far as using your cellphone when you travel abroad, there are SEVERAL apps you can download and you can text for FREE! Your family, friends, or anyone else you want to text while abroad will also need to download the app. They are constantly changing, but just do a quick google search and several pop up! I have personally used viber (I do still think the person who is abroad has to be connected to wi-fi).

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 7:24 am

      I tried Viber when we went to China the first time but could not get my friends and family on board to download the app and use it to connect to us. That was my problem with those kinds of apps…getting others to use them too.

      • Julie June 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

        That’s so strange! When we went to Uganda to adopt our girls alllllll our friends and family downloaded WhatsApp to keep in touch with us. Actually, my family still uses it because we can have a coherent group text for iPhone users and non-iPhone users. Also, it uploads pictures and videos wayyyyyy faster than iMessage (which is super important when you’re adopting cute kiddos and grandparents are dying to see them ;)!) and the phone call connection was consistently better than FaceTime audio. It’s also super handy because WhatsApp is used a lot in other countries, so if you’re trying to get in touch with people from that country it’s just one less step. We used it a lot to contact our Ugandan friends :). Can you tell WhatsApp is my #1 recommendation for traveling? Haha! We just got so much use out of it!

        • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 9:03 am

          Nope! We could not get people on board. We ended up texting and using FaceTime instead.

      • Meredith Stewart June 5, 2017 at 11:15 am

        True!!!

  • Colleen June 5, 2017 at 7:06 am

    These are great. So far, our abroad trips have been without kids but we are quickly approaching taking them with us! The last time we were in Europe in October, Whatsapp was a lifesaver. I had an international plan on my phone, but it had limited minutes and texts. If I was on wifi, I could call anyone on any phone through whatsapp. If the person you are trying to reach has the app as well, you can text through it on wifi. People in the US can also call you through it if they have the app. The app and the use of it is completely free!

  • Molly June 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for the tips! The cell phone thing was a debate before I went to Barcelona. I chose to rely on wifi like you. Unfortunately, there was an emergency back home and my parents couldn’t get ahold of me for about 10 hours to let me know and help get me back to the states. I will pay the extra for a cell phone plan in the future (even though it’s an arm and a leg!). I also had a girl I was with purchase a go-phone when we arrived in Spain so she could talk to her family back home. That seemed to work well, too.

  • Laurie June 5, 2017 at 7:15 am

    These are all great tips! I will be trying out your method of organizing suitcases by days on our next trip. Sounds better than rummaging through all of the suitcases to find items. How do you pack your beauty items and hair care products?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 7:23 am

      In small bags (one small bag for makeup, one for hair products and one for bath/toiletry items). I pack them in small makeup like bags.

      • Laurie June 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        Ok! Good to know. Also, needed to share that I have not only read Crazy Rich Asians but China Rich Girlfriend and can’t wait to read his new book. Great book suggestion!

  • Alicia F June 5, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Do you have a link of what type of bag Andrew uses? We are planning our trip to China to go get our girl and they said that backpacks were easier when carrying the baby around and so forth, but I like the idea of using cross bodies for safety. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 7:22 am

      I believe he bought it at Fossil several years ago. It’s just a man’s canvas crossbody. I think it was Fossil???

  • Ava Graves June 5, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Hi Shay! Did you use a VPN to surf the web and post pics to Instagram in China? If so, which VPN brand do you recommend? Thanks so much!!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Yes!! We use BetterNet :).

  • Kathryn R June 5, 2017 at 7:26 am

    When we were in Rome and using the bus system, groups of pick-pocketers would crowd the bus so you’re squeezed in there and it’s very easy for them to access your cross body bag. They can slice the straps OR they can slice the bottom of your cross body bag or backpack. So really and truly, I think it’s silly to not wear a money belt (like a flat fanny pack that goes under your clothes)! We keep our passports in there as well as credit/debit cards that we won’t be using that day. I think it’s totally worth it and really does not add bulk! I wear it in the back instead of the front 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 9:04 am

      It just made me hot and itchy!

    • Andi June 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      I completely agree with always putting passports and credit cards in a money belt under clothes. I would never put those valuables in any bag/pack outside my clothes. Especially when it’s pretty obvious you’re a tourist.

  • Francie June 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I went on a cruise overseas a few years ago and I left my phone on. When we finally got home and saw those charges.?!?!!OMG!!! Thanks for the advice. http://www.supersimpleways.com

  • Sarai Gilbert June 5, 2017 at 7:42 am

    We recently returned from a 16 day vacation in Great Britain, in which we rented a car and relied heavily on GPS. We opted to purchase European SIM cards for our (Android) phones and it worked perfectly. We purchased them ahead of time, packed them in our carry on and just before we landed in London, put them in our phones. We still had the ability to be reached at any time by family back home (we only gave our numbers to our parents so we didn’t get bombarded with calls and texts), had access to navigation and were even able to check reviews and such for local attractions and restaurants. It seems to be a much more cost effective solution than using our American cell carrier.
    We also opted to have our dirty clothes washed halfway through the trip to save space and weight.
    And always, always, always take a raincoat!

  • Jill Batson June 5, 2017 at 7:46 am

    The only thing I would add is blister BandAids! BandAid makes at least two sizes of the hydracolloidal type that are waterproof and stay on so well. They are perfect when kids’ (or adults’) shoes rub. We have used them in D.C., Disney World, Six Flags… You really can’t believe
    How amazingly they work until you try them!

  • Allison mullins June 5, 2017 at 7:49 am

    We always travel with several outlet converters. I made the mistake once when traveling to Israel that we’d be good with one. WRONG! We never travel with less than 4-5 (because they do break & you need backups!)

  • Brooke June 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

    In some countries you can buy SIM cards with prepaid minutes/data for cheap. You have to ask your cell phone company to “unlock” your phone ahead of time so that it can accept cards from any carrier. Then you buy the card when you get there and switch it out with your regular SIM card.

  • Susy Watts June 5, 2017 at 8:04 am

    And my tips for traveling with grandchildren: 1) Journal together by writing/drawing on one side of the page; they draw/ write on the other side of the page–read on the plane together on the trip home. 2) travel with a glu-stick to paste in ephemera from the trip into their journals–and yours! 3) make a grandchild/child sandwich with one person behind and one in front in tight quarters or crowds so a child is fully protected; 4) Co-plan with them choosing restaurants and hotels together before the trip within a budget–children will be fully invested!

  • Ashley June 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Great tips!! I would also tell your clients that bringing an outlet converter is so so so important!! I forgot one when I went to Spain and it was impossible to charge my phone. I bought one there for $5 and it saved my life! If you are traveling to several European countries some converters are able to adapt to the different outlets.. for example I was able to use the same one in Switzerland as I did in Spain 🙂

  • Carol June 5, 2017 at 8:29 am

    We recently took a long distance trip and purchased the Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Chargers so we could keep our iPads and phones charged on our long flights. My husband and I each have one and they worked great. I found them on Amazon and they had good reviews.

    Also, a suggestion for traveling with “littles” is buying small inexpensive toys for them to unwrap every hour or so on a long flight. Our daughter-in-law is a teacher and did this with our little grandson on our family trip. We thought it was a great idea and kept him distracted.

  • Barb June 5, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Do you worry anymore about European outlets or do most places have international outlets these days?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 9:02 am

      I should have included that! We always bring a voltage adapter but find most hotels supply them as well.

  • Susy Watts June 5, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Always check for the best bank exchange rates when you choose a credit card to use abroad; some have no exchange fees. The best choice may not be your everyday credit card. Always research and choose the best bank ATM card with limited or no currency exchange fees. You can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a couple weeks. Avoid exchanging funds at your hotel. They charge exorbitant fees for convenience. You can spend what you save on a great dinner. ‘Pack’ a preresearched and chosen local guide for the day or half day, usually at very reasonable rates. Our local Machu Picchu guide shared amazing cultural perspectives and played the flute while we sat overlooking the terraces. Our Chiloe guide led us to find penguins early in the season. Our local guide in Rome led us past long lines and directly into the Vatican museum to share great stories about the art tai,or made for our granddaughter.

  • Amlakar June 5, 2017 at 8:39 am

    My 20 year old son is in Italy for six weeks doing an internship. He went to a phone store there and bought a SIM card and 2 month plan for only $45. He has 8gs of data and has unlimited calls, texts locally. He just connects to wifi to reduce data usage but it is a great option for us to be able to reach him whenever his crazy mom wants to talk Hahaha!

  • Jessica Z. June 5, 2017 at 8:44 am

    For people who tho abroad a lot or are just super paranoid (ME!), I love the PacSafe brand of bags. They’re lined with wire mesh so they can’t be slashed and the zippers lock making it hard for anyone to get in unnoticed. They also can hook onto chairs in public so you can actually enjoy a meal without wearing your bag. They come in all sorts of styles sizes, from wallets to backpacks to luggage!

    • Kelly June 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Those bags are really cool. Great tip!

  • Sonia Patel June 5, 2017 at 8:57 am

    My husband and I just got back from a 2 week trip across Europe and we did the suitcase thing! We divided things up into what we’d need the first week and what we needed the second week and it was REALLY helpful. The other thing is that we have T-Mobile which allows us to use slow data speeds and get free texting while abroad with calls costing 10-20 cents a minute. Whenever we enter/land into another country, we get a text from T-Mobile welcoming us to the new country and letting us know that texts and 2G data is free and that calls are 20 cents/min. This was great for us since we were staying with friends during a portion of our trip and knew we wouldn’t have wifi then. Also, nothing like being able to Facetime Audio your mom for mother’s day while you’re actually at the Colosseum in Rome!

  • Angela Ellingson June 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

    This advice is GOLD. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Dana June 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Great ideas! Some random things from hosting lots of US friends here in France:
    -AT&T has the best international data plan supposedly. We had Verizon when we moved back over here last summer and the $10 international plan didn’t work! The Go phone thing might be a good option, too.
    -We communicate with almost everyone we meet up with here via facebook messenger. Lots of people have it and it uses data, and now it has audio and video calls as well. Be careful with using free wifi though, we’ve seen online security things that say it really leaves your personal information vulnerable.
    -Bringing US dollars isn’t really a great idea. You have to pay to exchange them and most ATMs only charge a couple of dollars to just withdraw directly from your bank. You can also order foreign bills ahead of time from your bank, usually for a small fee.
    -A back up charger is a great idea, just don’t forget to bring the charger cord if necessary!
    -If you must use a backpack, at least wear it on the front. This screams tourist, but lots of people do it. Also, watch your actual pockets for pickpockets! We’ve had friends get their phones stolen from their pockets, too. And steer clear of anyone doing ‘petitions’ or pretending to be blind and deaf. These are a tourist trap and the people can be aggressive, too.
    -Speak quietly. Unfortunately (at least in France), you can spot American tourists right away by how loudly they speak!
    -It is best if your credit card has a microchip on it. Most do now, or you can ask your bank if you can order a new one with one on it. International vendors are hesitant to accept foreign cards sometimes because they think they will be charged extra. The microchip gives them more confidence to accept it, and some machines are not equipped to ‘swipe.’ Sometimes you might have to do a little gentle convincing they can accept it, too. 🙂 We try to gently point out that it’s still a Visa or MasterCard. A lot of companies won’t take American Express either.
    -Leave small appliances at home unless they are specifically made to be ‘international.’ The converters don’t always protect them and they can burn out the appliance!
    -Check the weather report and believe it if it says it’s cold or hot. 🙂 I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to envision being cold when I’m hot, but several times I’ve underestimated how cold it actually is and ended up freezing! (This especially applies if you’re from the South and are used to hot summers. )

  • Roopa L. June 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Such great tips and so many things I hadn’t thought of before…thank you! We are going to London this Fall with our (will be) almost 2 year old. Do you suggest bringing our baby gear (car seat, stroller, etc) or renting it while we’re there?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      I always bring my stroller but have rented car seats overseas before!

  • Priscilla June 5, 2017 at 9:11 am

    My daughter has been in college, in Rome, for the past two years, and we use WhatsApp to call each other and FaceTime each other, and it’s a free app. It’s been a lifesaver for us.

  • Ella June 5, 2017 at 9:12 am

    What kind of clothing do you pack? Do you leave accessories at home?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      I try to limit my accessories and wear the same ones day after day. It just makes things easier!

  • Megan Jeffries June 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Have you heard of a mobile hot spot? My friend got one when we went to Iceland. It provides wifi anywhere and works off satellites. We just carried it in our pocket/purse and then our phones would work. I thought it was a real travel game changer!

  • Kristen June 5, 2017 at 9:23 am

    This has nothing to do with today’s post….I wanted to thank you for recommending the London Fog drink from Starbucks! I tried one yesterday and it was delicious!!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Yay!!!!! Happy to help :).

  • Brooke June 5, 2017 at 9:24 am

    We always travel with over the counter medicine and make sure to have some for the adults. I was 22 weeks pregnant in Rome and got a headache that made me cry. I didn’t have tylenol with me and I had to find a pharmacy and try to explain that I needed acetaminophen for my head. I didn’t get any and had to head back to the hotel to sleep it off while the kids and hubby went to dinner.
    If travelling in Europe and not staying at the typical American chain hotel always pack wash rags .European hotels​ don’t have them and it drives me crazy.

  • Kayla B June 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Great tips! I would add to not be afraid to invest in nicer items. A year or so ago, I bought a nice, lightweight, Columbia rain jacket. I’ve used it so many times since purchasing. It was a bit more pricey but so nice to have! Same with a slash proof purse. Everything is double clipped or zippered, so unless a thief grabs the whole thing (which is very difficult because it is cross body and can’t be slashed), it’s very protected. I’ve used it on three continents now and had zero problems! Worth the investment.

  • Kasey Holloway June 5, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Wow! That makes exchanging money super easy! Great to know!

  • Jen C June 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

    My family and I rented a pocket wifi that we had delivered straight to the hotel! It was about the size of a pager from back in the day 🙂 For 2 weeks, the total cost was about $65 USD and accommodated 6 people to connect. The battery lasted about 8-10 hours but as you mentioned, a portable battery pack is always a must! Once you’re done with it at the end of your trip, the company provides a return envelope and you can drop it off at your hotel or nearest post office to return.

  • Kaci June 5, 2017 at 9:45 am

    You can also “FaceTime” through Facebook messenger between different devices. When my husband was over seas we were able to communicate from a Samsung to an iPhone with no problems. It also works well when you are in a low service area. I love all your tips!

  • Melissa June 5, 2017 at 9:57 am

    We don’t have iPhones, so when we travel internationally we use the ap “whatsApp” to communicate. It uses data or wifi to send messages, images video, etc and can make and receive calls with or without the equivalent of FaceTime. We typically don’t upgrade our phone plans, we just use the ap when we have access to wifi. Before we leave for a trip, we make sure our parents and closest friends have downloaded the app. Many of our friends also use it here on an everyday basis because it allows iPhone users and non iPhone users to group text/chat more easily.

  • Alexa Benson June 5, 2017 at 9:58 am

    We just came back from a trip from Europe. I was hoping you would post this before we left, but I ended up doing a lot of these things anyways (probably from your tips on past posts)! We put international data on our phones but it did not allow for calls. We did not have any guided tours planned so we were on our own to find our way everywhere. With data we were able to use maps on our phones which made the trip so easy! We also rented a car so we needed directions a lot, but the maps also worked great for showing us the fastest public transportation while in cities. We also didn’t stay in the fanciest hotels and sometimes the wifi didn’t come through in our room. We also used What’s app to connect with family back home. I second bringing portable cell phone chargers with you during the day!!

  • Hanna June 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    when I go to china, I also use the app “GroupMe” on my iPhone to use wifi to chat with non-iPhone people! And Skype on my MacBook because I found it to be less lag-gy than FaceTime.

  • Mary June 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I just went to London for the first time recently and I purchased a curling iron at the drug store when I was there so I wouldn’t have to worry about burning out my own. It cost under 10 pounds and I brought it home with me since i am sure I will be back in the UK in the next few years!

  • gail w. June 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

    – I agree with Dana in regards to the ATM. Do a little research on exchange rates and then call your local bank branch in advance to see if they have the currency you need in stock. We do all of our banking (checking, mortgage, etc.) with one institution, so there was no fee to order currency. As we ran out our of euro’s with 4 days left (no pickpockets, just Italian bags 🙂 ) we used an ATM. Important – be sure your ATM PIN code is only 4 digits. My husbands was 5 and thankfully our bank let us know when we picked up our euros and changed it for him.

    – Also, a few countries require a travelers visa along with your normal passport. We are going to Cuba later this year and will need to get that through our travel agency; cruise lines and airlines can provide it as well. There is a fee , but you can’t enter the particular country without it.

    – When we were in Italy the first time ten years ago, we bought a phone card from a magazine stand. It cost about 10 euro, but we got 400+ minutes of landline talk time. Yes, you need to dial about a gazillion numbers, but it was so worth it! We could check in every night with friends & family. We had about 80 minutes left when we departed so we gave it to the front desk so they could pass it on to another traveler to use.

  • April J. June 5, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I just got back from Italy (LOVE!) and before we left, we discovered the Ziploc space bags for luggage. It’s just like the storage bags for comforters, sweaters, etc, except no vacuum needed! Saved a lot of space in our luggage. Plus, it was easier to separate clean and dirty clothes for the trip back and the stinky travel clothes smell didn’t get all over the clean clothes. 🙂 The only issue is with more space, the more souvenirs. ha! We brought along a luggage scale to check if we were overweight on our bags. Also, I usually take pictures just with my phone, but for Italy, I wanted to ensure that I got really good photos, so I bought a new camera. And cameras these days are now bluetooth enabled! I was able to download all the pictures to my phone each day for uploading to social media. It was so cool!

  • Sarie L. June 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I currently live in Europe with my family and found myself nodding and saying “yes, yes” to almost all your points. 🙂 Pick-pockets are notorious at all the major European tourist sights so never, ever carry anything in your pack pockets that you don’t want taken. They are professional thieving rings and will take your wallet right out of your pocket without you even noticing. Also RFID skimming is big over here, so I always travel with an RFID blocking purse/wallet. There are special purses that are theft proof (locking zippers, RFID lined, anti-cut straps) that are inexpensive and a worthy investment if you travel a lot (I live Travelon brand, but Safepac is another good one). For traveling, I carry the cross body bag with all the important information and my husband usually has a backpack with the water bottles, jackets, umbrellas, etc. And also, my husband has a few “travel pants” from Eddie Bauer that have zippered pockets for extra protection. We have found the best exchange rates are right out of the ATM, just double check what your bank’s fees for international purchases/withdrawals are first. And if you can’t find a tour or guide you like through your hotel, we’ve done several tours through viator.com and have had a wonderful time.

  • Jackie Lee June 5, 2017 at 10:38 am

    A tip for AT&T customers (and my experience is with an iPhone). Wi-Fi calling. It allows you to voice call normally (ie not through FaceTime audio) to any phone number — you just need to be connected to Wi-Fi. Just make sure to turn the cellular data off so that it doesn’t automatically connect to the cellular network in the middle of the call. I kept my phone in airplane mode and turned the wi-fi on. You need to turn a switch on with your iPhone to enable wi-fi calling. On the iPhone, it’s Settings>Cellular and scroll to the very bottom to Wi-Fi Assist. This was a major game changer so that I could make my work phone calls to the office while I traveled internationally.
    https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/features/wifi-calling.html

  • Sandy Manning June 5, 2017 at 10:46 am

    If one is carrying their passports, people need to be sure to put them in an RFID protected sleeve or a bag with a protective pocket so a reader can’t pick up your info. Sometimes people don’t realize how easy it is for someone to read that info.

  • Krystal June 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Hi Shay!
    So, I’m not much of a reader, but I do love a good thriller/suspense/mystery type of book. I took your suggestion and got Behind Closed Doors from the library….I read it in THREE DAYS. I couldn’t put it down. Oh my word, that book was crazy! ? I have a trip coming up and I’d love to know if you have any recommendations for other books in this genre that you liked. Thanks!

  • Bridgette June 5, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Great tips! For international trips, I always keep a folder in my carry-on of every document I might need to quickly access. This would include flight itinerary/reservation codes, hotel reservations, copies of passport, rental car confirmations, etc. I keep the papers in order of use on the trip. It provides peace of mind if I’m unable to access documents on my phone.

  • Hollie June 5, 2017 at 11:49 am

    These are all helpful tips. I would add that if your bank is a large bank, like say Bank of America, they often belong to an affiliation of banks around the world, which by using an affiliate ATM waives all fees. So you’ll get the best exchange rate with no fees. We did this first in New Zealand, and now I check ahead each time we travel.

  • Leslie S June 5, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    LOVE the idea of suitcases packed for “days.” Then having the empty suitcase hold the dirty clothes? Genius. And I always pack way too many outfits, and packing in days would keep me focused and organized.
    I also like crossbody bags for traveling aborad. Another tip: If you’re taking a long rail ride where you might take a snooze, I either sit on part of my bag or wrap it around my leg so no one can come and swipe it.
    Great tips, everyone!

  • ishalc June 5, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Now that wifi is available so readily, I agree that’s a really easy way to still communicate (text and social media posts) when traveling and that would be the cheapest. Whenever we travel though, I get my cell unlocked by my provider and buy a local SIM card in the airport once I land. Most have unlimited text packages that way and that’s handy for communicating with people whose phones are local to that country.

    I also buy “pocket wifi” from the country I’m in, and then have wifi available to me even if I’m in a bus or taxi. Fits in my pocket/purse. It’s basically like a jetpack that Verizon sells in the US.

    Also, my favorite find when traveling during football season was that you can subscribe to the NFL Game Pass for watching internationally! I remember traveling when my team was in the playoffs and was so worried about how to watch live (because of poor internet in our tiny town in the Philippines). I remember you posted Andrew watching the Cowboys on Sling from China. The NFL subscription prorates for how many games are left in the season and the quality was perfect. For me, that’s a travel essential when traveling during football season.

  • Bev June 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Great ideas, Shay. I highly recommend using a Travelon anti-theft bag (Walmart and Kohl’s sell them). Not only are the straps made with wire in them so that they cannot be cut, the special material also protects your id (passport) and credit card information from being stolen. There are hooks that you use so that zippers cannot be opened quickly or easily. I purchased a bag that could be converted into a backpack because one of the days of my overseas travel included a 5 hour hike. When in the airport and traveling on the other days, I converted the straps back into a cross-body bag. My husband has a wallet that also has the hooks and special material that blocks information from being stolen. His wallet has straps that his belt goes through so again it cannot be taken from his body easily or quickly. In Rome, my friend had her wallet lifted on the subway (luckily she saw it in the hands of the pretty teen and got it back) and we believe she was targeted because she was the only one who didn’t have her money ready when purchasing the ticket. The rest of us had our money ready BEFORE we entered the subway. Another recommendation: when taking pictures, also beware of pickpockets. They see that you are focussed on something so you could be an easy mark. The last precaution: be wary of people with flowers. They like to “give” them to women and then pressure the male to pay for them. Again, it’s a great way for them to see where he keeps his money. Hopefully this helps; traveling is an awesome adventure but unfortunately, you have to be so careful.

  • Karen Ward June 5, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    All these suggestions are great and very helpful. My daughter is studying abroad in France for fall semester and I’ll be visiting her during the first week of November. I’m soooo excited as this is my first trip overseas!

  • Zoe June 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Google maps has a function that allows you to download a specific area (say Paris, or Rome) ahead of your trip and then use the app while offline. This means you can still use google maps while keeping your phone on airplane mode. It is nice to know that you can wander the city without getting lost or being dependent on finding wifi (which is also pretty easy, as mentioned!).
    I also have found that having a credit/debit card with a chip AND pin is important. Many ticket machines (at places like european train stations + gas stations) only accept payment if your card has a microchip and you can enter a pin when prompted.

  • Maureen June 5, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Our phone carrier (at&t) offers international temporary packages to add to your regular plan. You choose the amount of data you need and it’s a one time fee (with overage fees if you exceed it but we never have) for 30 days. You can turn it on and off as you need it and it’s perfect. For an extra $40 you don’t have to worry so much about finding a wifi spot (of course we look for those too, but it isn’t always practical). We’ve used it for years as we travel; all over the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, se Asia, India, Sri Lanka, it’s the best of all worlds. And it can all be done from the att app, no phone call required!

  • Maureen June 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    We also number our suitcases (I make our own suitcase tags with the laminator) when we do an international move. Easy to count off and know exactly which is missing. Paired with keeping a list of which bags have what items and a picture of each, you are well prepared to report missing luggage. We’re in the middle of another overseas move now and this one saves my bacon every time!

  • Diana Yost June 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! How do you and your family deal with language barrier when traveling abroad? Do you pack a pocket dictionary to help translate or do you try to learn a few key phrases in whatever language before you go? I don’t know if packing a foreign language dictionary is worth it or not? thanks! 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama June 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Honestly, it’s really pretty easy to get by. It was a little harder in China and Thailand, but even there, so many people spoke English, that we were able to navigate. In Europe, we always find English speakers to help us.

  • Caitlin June 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Some great tips! Now I want to go on a vacation!

  • Ann Marie June 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    That suitcase tip! GOODNESS! Thats perfect!

  • Kristin June 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I used your phone charger advice and 2 stroller advice for a trip to Disney. Genius!

  • Caitlin June 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I noticed last summer you brought your Hunter rain boots to Norway. I am travelling there this summer, did you wear them on the plane or pack them? Just curious how you managed, because they are rather bulky and heavy, but I would love to have them as an option should rain be in the forecast 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:10 am

      I packed them and put stuff inside of them (undies, pajamas, socks, etc).

  • Megan June 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    You have mentioned this before but I can’t remember, do you place all your makeup and hair products in the first suitcase?

    Great tips!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:10 am

      I carry my makeup on and put my hair stuff in suitcase number one. I carry on the makeup because that stuff is too darn expensive to lose/be broken in my luggage!

  • llsnrnnls June 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Love your blog and all your tips but that picture of your family on elephants makes me physically ill – please be a good steward of animals and educate yourself on the horrendous process elephants must go through in order to become tame enough to have humans ride them – it’s called the phajaan process (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_crushing) and once you learn about it, you can never forget. Your blog readers deserve to know this information so that anyone traveling to an Asian country can avoid supporting companies that allow elephant rides. There are much more humane ways to interact with elephants, like spending the day at a rescue organization (https://www.wfft.org/) like my husband and I did on our honeymoon. Thanks!

  • Maria June 5, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    If you could just come stand in my closet and pick out outfits that will look as cute as yours do while traveling, that would be super helpful 😉 Just kidding. But I am a total over-packer because I have almost no fashion knowledge.

    Also, yes, to ditching the DSLR on vacation!!! My husband always insists on bringing it for wild-life photography purposes but I make him be in charge of carrying it!

  • AJ June 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Do you have any tips for protecting your luggage from bed bugs? I keep reading that so many hotels in NYC have bed bugs, and that freaks me out!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:08 am

      Urg! I don’t!

  • Heather June 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    What do you guys do with your bags with passports when your at a beach in a different country such a Mexico or Carribean?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:07 am

      At the beach, we leave those items in the safe in our room. You’ll notice, we don’t hit the beach that much 😉 .

  • Dania June 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    A question and two suggestions! First, when you go in to airplane mode, do you not miss any texts that come thru during that time? That has been the case with me and it really bugs me!

    As far as passports, I scanned mine in several years ago and emailed it to my gmail account. Should I lose it overseas, I can get to a copy of it from any computer in the world!

    And, as far as money. No reason to ever pay any exchange fees-use a credit card that doesn’t have them.

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:06 am

      I don’t miss any texts from other iPhones!

  • Deb S. June 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I usually hit up a local drugstore and get a phone charger that works in that country and a curling iron. Thye are cheap and are better than hassling plug converters! I also bring my car charger for my iPhone if we are renting a car. It helps if you are using your phone for GPS. (But beware of data roaming charges.) I now have UK plugs and European plugs on my phone chargers and curling irons so I can look like myself and have my phone ready for pictures at all times.

  • Ashlea Ruff June 5, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Shay, did you use a cross body bag in China for a diaper bag as well? We leave soon and I was planning on a backpack. Now I’m thinking that’s not a great idea! Do you have a picture/link of the bag you use?

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 5:05 am

      Yes! I used a diaper bag and a crossbody! I would not use a backpack!

  • Mary Jane McNeill June 6, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Regarding the money belt, I bought the Rick Steves silk money belt a few years ago, and I even went to the bathroom once and forgot it was there! It’s very comfortable and if it’s hot, it doesn’t stick to you. And I always use a room safe if there’s one to lock up my iPad and passport while I’m out for the day.

  • Andrea June 6, 2017 at 12:40 am

    LUGGAGE CUBES!!! I went to Europe for 3 weeks last summer and was in a new city every 2-3 days. It was a lot of packing and unpacking in hotels/hostels and the “cubes” saved my life. I had one cube for undies and socks, one just for dresses, one just for shirts, etc. and rolled up all my clothing before putting it in the cube. It was so nice to know where exactly each type of clothing was and saved so much space. It was also SO much easier to stay organized (I knew exactly where to put something after I wore it) and my suitcase wasn’t a jumbled mess! I’m just now realizing you could also bring an empty cube and fill it with your dirty clothes! They sell the cubes at places like the container store but I got a cheap set like this on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01E923S26/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1496727572&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=luggage%2Bcubes&dpPl=1&dpID=61WDkZRogJL&ref=plSrch&th=1&psc=1

  • Bethany June 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    I’ve been blessed to travel a lot and I’ve lived in both Europe and Asia (from Mississippi though). I agree with the cell phone upgrades. Just don’t do it. We keep our cell phones on wifi the entire trip and use wifi.

    Also, never exchange money at the airports. They have the WORST exchange rates. We use our credit cards and get cash out of the ATM.

    I like to carry my real camera in a cross body purse. Purses with a zipper are a bonus and try to keep it in front or under your jacket.

  • Briana N. Lee June 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I always use Viber or Whatsapp to make calls when I’m abroad. Both use WiFi calling and the reception is usually pretty good!

    Briana | youngsophisticate.com

  • Tiffany June 6, 2017 at 10:38 am

    My grandmother told me to always stick to the same color scheme when traveling. For instance, stick with mostly black or mostly browns so it cuts down on the amount of shoes and jewelry. Plus you can mix and match pieces that may be worn again for a totally new outfit!

  • Devon June 6, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    If anyone is looking for a free app that connects on wifi and allows you to chat with any phone user then download Whatsapp! I live between the states and Africa and this app is awesome! You can text, call or video chat and as long as you are on wifi it is free!

  • Jen June 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Wow. SO many great tips and the questions and comments were spot on. What a valuable post! Thanks all!

  • Jen June 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    What’s a good jewerly bag/holder? I swear I’ve tried using my little kendra scott bags and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost some nice jewelry b/c the bag was either too small or it got lost somewhere.

    • Mix and Match Mama June 6, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Urg. I don’t have one. I was just thinking today how I need one though.

  • Sanna June 7, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Safety tip: find out ahead of time what the alarm phone number (their 911) is for all the countries you’re visiting and share them with your kids. Write them down and have the number on you at all times.

  • Sydney June 7, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    What kind of cross body bag does Andrew wear overseas? My boyfriend and Andrew have similar styles (at least from the pictures I’ve seen of your hubs) and I thought it would be a great idea for him to wear our valuables as he’s a taller guy as well and I am also 5’3. I’m just trying to talk him into wearing a bag period!!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 8, 2017 at 5:00 am

      I believe his is from Fossil. It’s just a canvas bag!

  • Maria W. June 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Hey!!
    My husband and I are actually moving to Italy for the next three years in a couple weeks.
    I was just wondering, what cross body bag your husband uses? I am thinking we are going to need it!
    Thank you!!

  • Jaren June 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    We just went on our first Disney cruise, and I totally overpacked! I was just so worried we would need more and wouldn’t be able to wash. Always love your travel tips!!