Five tips to ensure a relaxing international cruise is by planning ahead
An international cruise itinerary offers up the best of both worlds: the opportunity to explore foreign cultures combined with the familiarity and ease of traveling on a cruise ship. Though international travel is exciting, it can also pose unexpected challenges. Exchanging currency, communicating with locals, and handling paperwork can all add unnecessary stress and delays to an otherwise enjoyable holiday. Luckily, a little planning and foresight before you embark can help make your cruise vacation abroad actually feel like one.
Here are our five tips for making your international cruise stress-free from start to finish.
1. Pack for Your Destination(s)
They say the best way to experience a city is to live like the locals. Casual clothing like shorts, athleisure wear, and college sweatshirts are likely to broadcast that you're definitely a tourist. For European travel, consider taking your style up a notch. In the spring and summer, women should opt for skirts or dresses rather than shorts, combined with flats or fashionable sneakers. Men should consider khakis or jeans paired with leather shoes or sandals, rather than shorts or sweats.
It's always ideal to pack light. Leave valuable watches and jewelry at home, and opt for accessories that you won't miss if they go missing. If you plan to spend any overnights on shore, remember to pack a converter for any electronics. If you are traveling to countries in multiple continents, such as Europe and Asia, you will need a new adapter or converter for each location.
2. Send Your Luggage Ahead of Time
International voyages are usually longer than domestic ones, and often require more substantial packing. Avoid the hassle of hauling your luggage through cars, airport terminals, baggage claim and ground shuttles with Seabourn's Personal Valet Luggage Service®, powered by Luggage Forward. This program eliminates travel stress by picking up your luggage at your doorstep before your cruise begins and automatically delivering it to your ship. Staying at a hotel before or after a cruise? The service can send luggage to the hotel, too. Best of all, Luggage Forward will send your bags back home once the cruise is over, so you never need to lift a finger.
3. Use a Language App
"Hola" and "Bonjour" are simple enough, but your trip will likely be even more enjoyable if you expand your language skills. Luckily, portable phone apps are easy to use and widely available. If you have any children, having them learn basic phrases like "my name is Katie" and "do you speak English?" can be a great way to bond and create anticipation for the travels to come.
For situations that require more communication, many apps offer translation on the fly. Some, like SayHi Translate and TripLingo, allow you to speak directly into your phone and convert your speech into a translated voice recording. Others, like Google Translate, can interpret pictures of signs and menus into any language you choose. To make life easier for travelers, these apps are often accessible offline, meaning that the spotty or nonexistent Wifi that comes with traveling won't be a problem.
4. Keep Information Up To Date
A great way to memorialize international travel is by getting your passport stamped, but that won't be possible if you leave it at home. Remember to make sure you have an up to date passport before embarking on your international cruise. For some countries "up to date" means that it can't expire in less than six months from your arrival. Depending on your destination and length of stay, you may also be required to secure a visa.
Your bank or credit card company might consider a new purchase made halfway around the globe unusual. Notify them that you are planning an international trip ahead of time to avoid any long phone calls. Many banks allow you to report your travel plans online, down to the country and amount of time you plan to spend there.
5. Exchange Currency Ahead of Time
Vacation time is precious, and the last thing you want to do is waste an hour looking for a bank or ATM. Local banks and credit unions in your home country offer the cheapest way to exchange currency before your trip. Many banks offer this service in person, but for extra convenience you can call by phone or go online to have your vacation money delivered right to your door. If you're already in transit, sticking to your bank's ATM network is the best way to avoid unnecessary fees at hotels and airports.
The best way to ensure a relaxing international cruise is by planning ahead. Having the right clothes, currency, papers, and language skills can make your experience abroad all the easier. Though complications are sometimes unavoidable, following a few easy steps can make a world of difference as you sail around the globe. After all, the entire point of a vacation is to escape.
Global health note: Due to the shifting nature of COVID-19, Seabourn highly recommends checking in with all of the above venues before visiting to confirm hours of operation and pertinent regulations.
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