Travel dos and don'ts

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Don’t bother with 'skip the line' tickets in Rome, as we found out the hard way at the Colosseum!  (Source: Rosanne Coloccia) Don’t bother with 'skip the line' tickets in Rome, as we found out the hard way at the Colosseum! (Source: Rosanne Coloccia)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

This happens to even the most experienced travelers.

Or so I kept telling myself when one of my trusty travel gadgets bit the dust in Barcelona. 

I’ve been a travel professional for almost 20 years now and have been lucky enough to experience many interesting and exotic destinations, but even the most seasoned among us can get caught up in some exasperating or confusing situations.

While there have lots of changes in the industry since my last international trip, many lessons learned over the years still remain true. Before you pack your bags for your next big vacation, read on and learn from my experience.

Ro Says Go Travel Dos

1. Keep your smartphone in airplane mode and unless you have an international data plan, leave it that way. You can still connect to WiFi in this mode, so don’t let unexpected roaming charges mean an ugly end to your wonderful vacation.

2. Complete you pre-cruise paperwork (and attach your luggage tags) before arriving at the pier. Our recent experience with Royal Caribbean’s online check-in was wonderful - and highly encouraged by the cruise line. But we still saw folks who waited until they got to the ship to complete the process, greatly delaying the boarding process.

[RELATED: Ship review: Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas]

I’d probably been to my cabin, started to unpack, and gone to grab a late lunch before some of those folks got on board!

3. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your plans. Sure, there’s always that one credit card company that "doesn’t get the memo," but fortunately, our bank was on the ball, and so was our backup card. It may seem like a pain, but it’s well worth the time, and knowing your credit card company is trying to prevent fraud kept my irritation in check.

4. Pack a nightlight or small flashlight. Either one will come in super handy in strange hotel rooms, and let’s face it, those cruise cabins can be dark (particularly inside staterooms)! Neither one will take much space and either will prevent stubbed toes and dented shins.

5. Bring your own wine, champagne, and water onboard your cruise. The policy varies from cruise line to cruise line, but most lines allow you to bring two bottles per stateroom on board when you start your cruise.

[RELATED: How to choose your cruise]

We embarked with two inexpensive but delicious Spanish wines and enjoyed spending the evenings on our balcony sipping and talking. It was one of the highlights of the trip.

Ro Says Go Travel Don'ts

1. Don’t bother with "skip the line" tickets in Rome, as we found out the hard way at the Colosseum! Unless your ticket has an arrival time stamped on it or you’re with a guide or group, the "skip the line" line is the longest one of all! I heard from other travelers the situation was similar at the Vatican Museums.

2. Don’t have your credit card transactions converted to dollars; have them charged in the local currency. Converting to dollars might sound like a great idea to avoid a foreign transaction fee, but that's not how those fees work.

[RELATED: Money on the go]

Because you’re outside the US, the transaction is "foreign," and while I firmly believe the friendly server offering this option legitimately thinks he or she is helping, that restaurant or shop won’t be able to give you the bank-to-bank exchange rate.

3. Don’t be afraid to wing it in port. My husband and I did that in two ports (Palma de Mallorca and Naples) and thoroughly enjoyed it. While we enjoyed our organized excursions, there’s something to be said for exploring on your own or just wandering at your own pace, taking in the beauty of these famous cities.

4. Don't use change bureaus. Always go to a local ATM. Even with your bank’s "out of network" ATM  fee, you’ll still get a far better exchange rate and you won't pay a commission.

5. Don’t forget to check your converters and adaptors. This goes for all your travel gadgets, really. Look them over to make sure they’re in good working order. The only thing that suffered in Barcelona when I realized my converter was dead (no curling iron!), was my hair. Fortunately for me, our cruise ship had American plugs. Hair crisis averted!

And remember...

There are others, of course, like make at least two photocopies of your passport and stash them in your carry-on and suitcase. Also, don’t fly Condor Airlines out of Sky Harbor if you’re going any farther than Frankfurt (long story).

But those five dos and five don'ts have helped me many a time while on the road. I hope they help you, too!

And before I say sayonara for this blog, I’ve posted two amazing travel deals over on my agency page, www.preferredtravelservices.com. They're under my Ro Says Go tab. Check out my upcoming Irish Pub Tour, May 7-18, 2019, along with a fantastic "fly free to Jamaica" deal with one of Montego Bay’s prettiest resorts.

Give me call at 602-603-9300 or drop me a line at Rosanne@preferredtravelservices.com. I look forward to hearing from you!


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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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