My parents (average age 60), though well travelled in their 20’s, recently took their first overseas trip in a number of years to Adelaide.
After we’d negotiated the expired passports, flights and accommodation bookings and determined whether it was best to train, bus or rent a car to get to the Barossa Valley (train, getting a car there), mum still had questions.
While they were things which might seem obvious to me, as I patiently answered them it occurred to me that there must be many people every year in similar situations, having not travelled overseas before or not having done so over a period of significant technological advance.
So here they are – travel questions from my mother.
Will my bank debit card work when paying at restaurants/ hotels in other countries?
No. While it will work at an ATM on the street (for a fee!) you won’t be able to use it to pay for items in a store.
How can I avoid the credit card transaction fees from the hotel?
I’ve found that sometimes by paying before arrival this will be waived. But if there is a fee and you want to avoid it you’ll have to pay with cash instead.
Should I buy foreign currency at the airport?
No this is generally where the worst rates are. Do the maths and work out whether to get cash before you leave, withdraw money upon arrival or load up a pre-paid travel card.
Will the ATM overseas give me my home currency or the local one?
It will give you the local currency by default. There are some fancy ATMs now though where you can select to receive foreign cash instead.
Can I use my phone overseas?
It will work, but don’t roam, use WiFi instead and aps like Whatsapp (if you’re not making contact between iPhones) are brilliant.
With some mobile providers you can now pay a daily fee while travelling to use the texts/calls/data your home plan. If you need to text/call a lot this may be worth doing, or buy a local SIM card.
Despite me turning her data off, teaching her how to join a wifi network and explaining roaming charges (80c per text in this example), mum ripped through $42 in three days because my Nana ‘kept texting’ her back. Be selective about who and what you respond to.
Can I top up my pre-paid phone overseas?
Yes, you’re best to do it yourself by logging into your account online through rather than paying the costs to call to have it topped up.
If my iphone is turned off will the alarm still go?
No. Swipe up from the bottom and select either the airplane or the moon icon. Your alarm will go so you won’t miss your flight but you won’t be disturbed by texts or calls.
What travel related questions have you been asked by a parent or first time traveller?