Our experts get a lot of questions from people traveling and requests for advice from those planning trips. We have consolidated some of the most useful travel queries attended by UNIGLOBE experts. These cover a wide range of subjects that should make your travel experience better and easier for your future trips.
Use ATMs For Cash Overseas: Clients enquire more about currency exchange than any other single topic and amazingly many frequent travelers make the biggest mistake, exchanging money at the hotel front desk (usually a terrible rate) or at airport exchange counters (questionable rate and often fees). Instead, withdraw money from foreign ATM machines using your bank ATM card. You usually get a better exchange rate and no exchange fee. Another benefit is that you can take out money in safer, smaller increments, reducing exposure to theft or loss to what you have in your pocket for the next day or two, versus bringing a big bag of cash to exchange. Always carry some local currency (Your UNIGLOBE experts can facilitate this) on trips as a backup in case you go some place where your ATM card doesn’t work.
But Skip Cash Overseas and Use Credit Cards As Much As Possible: While overseas ATMs are convenient, many banks charge exorbitant transaction fees, so when overseas, the better option would be to make purchases with credit cards (vs. cash) as much as possible. Plus, when using a credit card, you get the very competitive ‘wholesale rate’ on the exchange. You also get a degree of protection on purchases, especially anything you have shipped home, if it arrives damaged or not at all.
Use Hotel Concierges to Make Advance Dining Reservations: This is especially useful if you are a foodie who researches where you want to eat in advance, or if you are celebrating an anniversary at a top restaurant. Even though many foreign restaurants now have websites that take bookings, lots of great ones still don’t, and if you call they often don’t speak English. Instead, just email the concierge at the hotel you are staying before you leave home, tell them when you want to eat and where and let them take care of it. Even if you can do it yourself, the concierge at a top hotel like the Four Seasons or Peninsula has more clout and is likely to get a better table and the time you want. One more thing – don’t forget to tip the concierge when you arrive.
Get a Local or International SIM Card & Use Skype or Similar: Another question frequently asked by the travellers is about phone calls when overseas. If you have an unlocked phone, great, if not buy a cheap extra cell phone, then either get a SIM card from the country you are visiting upon arrival, usually the cheapest solution and rates for a single visit. If you travel a lot to different places, you can get a discounted multi-national SIM that works in over 100 countries at rates much lower than other main line carriers offer travelers, with all the bells and whistles like voicemail and data. Your UNIGLOBE experts can help you identify a international calling card service that fits your requirement and can also ficilitate one for you. And for calling home, now that just about every hotel and lots of other places offer WiFi, there is no reason to ever pay more than the ridiculously low rates for Skype and other internet based calling, whether it is through your smart phone, tablet or laptop. I recently used Skype on my iPad to do a video conference call for the first time from Ireland, and it could not have been easier (or cheaper).
Booking travel through a travel expert (and More): Multiplying travel search engines and airline comparison sites have given the average traveler the illusion that they can beat the market. They cannot. There is no fare or routing you will find that a good travel management company cannot also get, but the opposite is far from true. Progressive TMCs like UNIGLOBE Travel routinely perform airfare “miracles,” and can even redeem your award miles when you can’t. And now that many airlines won’t let non-frequent customers book aisle or window seats in advance, or charge extra for them, this is another “upgrade” UNIGLOBE experts can offer. Travellers can benefit from using a TMC for booking their trips – especially when something goes wrong, which it often does. If your flight is cancelled, you will do better calling your UNIGLOBE expert for help than waiting on hold at the airline’s 800 number – along with everyone else.
Places we have blogged about
- Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
- Africa, Anywhere
- Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
- 84011 Amalfi Salerno, Italy
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Apple Valley, Mn, United States
- Auburn, Ca, United States
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Austin, Tx, Usa
- Baja California, Mexico
- Bali, Indonesia
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Barcelona, Spain
- Beerwah, Qld, Australia
- Beijing, China
- Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
- Beverly Hills, Ca, Usa