Money and Insurance
Credit/debit cards are the best way to access your money abroad. Most cards will charge a small fee to withdrawn money in a foreign country. Check with your bank what are your options, and use google to find the options that do not charge this fee. It might be worthwile to apply for a new bank account/credit card depeding on your current situation. Also in some countries, the bank owner of the local atm will also charge a small fee to withdraw money.
Take more than one card and keep them in separate safe places.
Call your bank/card issuer before you leave and let them know of your itinerary. This will prevent your card being blocked by suspect fraudulent activities.
It's wise to bring some hard currency (USD or Euros) in case you have any problem with your card. At least enough for the taxi to the hotel and a few meals.
Also bring some some hard currency (USD or Euros) going thru land borders, as ATM are less common.
If your internet banking uses an sms code to confirm some transactions, make sure to take your phone/sim card with you. And make sure that roaming is enabled on your phone.
Traveller checks are dead.
Don't leave home without travel insurance.
Selecting a travel is one of the most boring things to do when planning your trip, but very important. There is no escape from reading the full contract. The strategy that I use to minimize the work is to to use a comparison website, sort out by price, and use the summary provided by the comparison website to filter out the ones that don't offer the minimum of cover I need. Then I select the cheapest and read the insurance fine print carefully. If I don't find any issue, I sign up for it, otherwise I move to the second cheapest. Repeat these step until you find the cheapest insurance with good terms.
Some key things about travel insurance:
- Declare any pre-conditions you might have
- You won't be covered for accidents while drunk or using other drugs
- You might not be covered by some activities (snow sports, water sports etc) unless you pay extra
- It might not cover your expensive eletronics unless you declare them separately. And you should have the invoice for your gadgets
- You'll not be covered in an accident if you're driving a vehicle you're not licensed for
- If you're going on open ended trip, make sure you can extend your insurance
- Always call your insurance before using any medical service unless you have a very, very, very good excuse
Remember that even good travel insurance companies will give you a hard time when making a claim. They don't have as good customer service as car insurance, which you're probably used to. So make sure to follow everything in the fine print of your contract, and document everything with written evidences.
It's hard to recommend an insurance company as it varies by where you're from and changes frequently over time. A good starting point is to google "travel insurance" or "travel insurance comparison. But WorldNomads is company that's usually available to many people and have been in business for a long time. They focus their marketing on the backpacker, independent traveller - but their insurance policies are suitable for almost anyone.