Travel Fuels Life Podcast and Show Notes
Tina and Keith Paul | Checklist for Travel Domestically and Abroad
With a busy travel season ahead, wouldn't things be a lot easier if you had a checklist to go by, to make sure you aren't forgetting any important details before your big trip?
Tina and Keith Paul join me to discuss almost out of date passports, visas, immunizations, arranging transportation to your hotel, and more. Those things that can make your trip go from a pain in the neck to a dream.
- The inspiration for the checklists book
- The first thing, do I need a Visa?
- How long in advance and where do you find the information?
- Immunization and how layovers can trip you up
- The importance of having travel insurance
- Schengen Zone and the $7 fee European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS)
- Global Entry fail between Canada and the United States
- Having a 6-month cushion on your passport and blank pages
- Having a spare copy of the passport
- Passport in the cloud and off-line
- Keeping an itinerary with a friend
- The RealID and making sure you get your driver's license renewed in the US
- Baggage subterfuge. Making sure your bag is the right size and weight
- 50.7 pounds (23 kg)
- Being incoginto to save some money on plane tickets
- How to handle money for your trip
- Not having money when you arrive
- Ask your hotel to arrange transportation from the airport
- Make sure your PIN numbers
- Use Google Street Maps to visualize and see where your hotel is
- Knowing how to prepare for tipping
- Where it is rude to tip
- Knowing the country customs
- Be careful of who you photograph
- Preparations for Internet
- Why the SIM Card isn't always the best
- Making sure you have a cushion of time
- Book: A Travel Checklist of the Most Important Things You Need to Know Before Traveling (on Amazon)
- Follow them on Twitter here.
- Find them on Facebook here
- See their photos on Instagram here.
- Read their CVs on LinkedIn here.
- Or connect with them on Pinterest here.
- Pack Point App
- Camry 110 Lbs Luggage Scale (on Amazon)
- Globe Tips App
- Culture Smart! Books (on Amazon)
- AirHelp App
- Drew's European Travel Checklist
Hi, this is Keith and Tina Paul. We're from Retire early in travel.com and you're listening to us on Travel Fuels Life.
Everybody and welcome to Travel Fuel's Life, to show we share stories, tips and inspiration to help you live a travel lifestyle. I'm your host, drew Hamish, and I'll tell you what, last year I was doing all sorts of travel. At this time my Facebook page keeps telling me about all these exotic places I went to from Cancun, Hawaii and I went to Florida and Las Vegas and Philly. And this year I have been at Home Suite Home and try to catch up on some stuff. I'm actually working on my first book and this has been a very interesting experience. It's taken twice as long, probably four times as long as I expected that it would, but May the fourth will be the launch date for the travel Guide to experiencing Kentucky Bourbon. And I am working on the audio book right now. So lots of excitement behind that and I can't wait to share that with you guys coming up.
I'm gonna be traveling also. I'm going to Texas, new Orleans, Spain, Ireland, tons of travel to come with all this domestic and international travel, it's time to start getting prepared again and get back in sync with my checklists. I mean there's a lot of things going on such as real ID here in the United States where your driver's license will no longer get you on a domestic flight and EU contemplating some changes to the non visa countries. Lots of stuff. So I was looking at my Facebook page cuz of course I have to divert myself from busyness occasionally. And I noticed that two people that I met while I was out at Tex in Billings have just released their own book. And it's Tina and Keith Paul. There are two American expats that live in Ecuador and the book is called A Travel Checklist of the Most important Things you Need to Know before Traveling domestically and abroad.
And so what better book for me to go through and read and get caught back up and get back into the travel mode again. And I found all sorts of stuff in there that I really haven't even thought about adding to my own checklist and it's all important stuff. So I wanted to have 'em on the show have a chance to let them tell you some of these things that they have discovered over the years. And so it is a real pleasure for me to welcome to the show Tina and Keith. Paul, welcome to the show guys.
Thank you. Thanks for having us.
I saw you posting cuz I follow you on Facebook and I saw you post that you had a new book out And the book is about checklists for travel. And I find this interesting because I lived by my checklists now when traveling because there's just so much stuff that you have to keep in mind when you are planning to travel just within the United States, not including going outside of the country. So what brought the idea of this book to you?
Well we've made mistakes just like anybody else traveling. We've actually missed entire trips because we didn't leave a day early and the airline canceled a flight and there just wasn't another flight to get us to the next point so we could make it was a cruise. So there's been many mishaps along the way, but if you learn from each of those, they don't ever have to happen again. So while we advocate travel so much, if you don't plan right and prepare, it can be frustrating, especially the international travel. So we thought, put this book together, this checklist of all our experience with some of the think most frustrating things that could happen to you on a trip. And by just a little bit of preparation and knowledge, the trip could just go through off flawlessly.
So I'm gonna tell you what got me started on doing checklists, but I wanna find out from you two. I had done my first checklist after I boarded a plane for Hawaii and realized that I didn't bring a pencil with me and I needed to fill out the agricultural forms <laugh>. And that struggle of looking around and going, who do I ask? And nope, the person next to me doesn't have one and the next person in front of me doesn't have one. And all of a sudden you're like, what do I do? What do I do? And I'm like, ah, I need to have a list of some form. What got you guys started on this concept of checklists?
Well it's kind of the same thing that you just said there. I mean we even have a packing checklist. So the book is more about checklist of these things outside of what to pack know. But we started with a packing checklist cause we'd go on trips in darn if we didn't forget something that we took on the previous trip. But we forget, forgot it on this trip. So we actually use an app call, I use an app called Pack 0.0 that I create my custom path list for my carryon for my passport folder and all the things I have there, which includes a pen and reading glasses. Sometimes these forms are so microscopic. Small
<laugh>, right? <laugh>. So do you break it down into here's the stuff that we need to do three months in advance and the stuff we need to do a month in advance and the stuff we need to do a day in advance.
I don't think we're that organized that way. And from trip to trip we would like to be buying our airfare at least four months in advance <affirmative>. But that doesn't always happen. So I mean the packing list is, we just do that when we're ready to pack. But the things that we put in our book with dates we are probably not real rigid, but there are certain things that we know we have to do in a certain amount of time. So we do have things by time like visas for country that that's really, really important. Some countries you need actually need extra time and you actually have to get a visa and it takes a little more time. Yeah, it's not something you can do last minute. So if you're gonna go to a country, I think that should be the first thing. It's a foreign country. Do I need a visa? And what are the time restrictions for
That? Yeah, so when you're doing that, cuz visas are something I've not had to deal with because I've gone to Mexico and I've gone to Canada and I've gone to the eu. So I haven't had to deal with that too much. How long in advance do you usually tend to start hunting down visas and where's a good spot to go find that information out?
Yeah, we really like i visa.com. Even if you don't use their services, you can go there, type in the country that you're traveling to and it'll come back and tell you if you need a visa or not. Then it gives you information and how long it might take and that sort of thing. And if they can't help you, because there's some things that a third party can't help you with, they'll direct you to the website of the country. You're going to their MSC or whatever that has the visa information. Sometimes a visa is just paying a fee and then you're gonna be fine when you get there. But other times you need a physical visa like we did for India, we needed one. Right? Yeah. Well that was something. But India wasn't actually not that hard. But you do need to do a process. You can go online and apply for it and pay and then you get a piece of paper that you gotta bring with you when you enter into the country that there wasn't much of a time constraint there. But some countries can be a little tougher. Like Bolivia might be a country where you're gonna need more time for the processing.
And if you're doing stuff like needing immunizations and stuff like that, is that all kind of tied into the visa process or is that something they just check once you come into the country? Well
You need to do your research to know that the country you're going to, if immunizations are needed and there are some things you need to watch out for and it it's from the country you're from. So now the fact that we've even we live in Ecuador is a little bit different than if we lived in the United States or what countries require immunizations. We have an interesting story about some friends that kind of shows you how you really need to do your research, how you could get burned. Cause it really messed up their trip. They were traveling from here, Ecuador? From Ecuador, I think they were in the United States and then they went into Brazil. It was a weird flight plan. What was their destination? Oh I'm sorry. Africa. They were traveling to Africa and there are many places in Africa that require immunizations, especially from Ecuador for South America. And so since they were coming from Ecuador to South Africa, they did not need the yellow fever South Africa. Okay. And did not need the yellow fever vaccine. They knew that however, but they didn't realize or factor in is because they had a layover in Brazil that now meant they were also in Brazil. And if you were in Brazil it required a vaccination to go into
South Africa. Oh wow. Mean did they even leave the airport?
No, no, but they were there for 10 hours.
And so there must have been a thing that said how much time you were spending in Brazil. So they wouldn't let them board the plane and there was no way they could give yellow fever that quickly. So basically their trip got scratched because
So that's something you gotta consider. You got not only from the country you're from where you're going to think about if you have layovers anywhere in between, how that could possibly impact your travels with the required immunizations and how much time do you have to have had the immunization before you enter the country. That is also a factor that's different for every country.
So an interesting question, would travel insurance have covered that scenario for them for making a mistake and not having their, or not being aware of their immunization?
Oh, good question. Good question. I think some tribal insurances would cover that. It seem to imply as even though it was kind of your fault. Yeah, I think that would be considered as a trip interruption incident that it could be covered.
Probably something to ask the insurance company that you're working with whether cuz that would really be a nice safety net and definitely a reason to go ahead and get that travel insurance. Yeah.
Yes, yes, absolutely. Especially the insurance that comes with people's visas. <affirmative> trip interruption, insurance trip to cancellation insurance. A lot of times that's included with the visa that you purchased. Credit card visa. Yeah, I'm sorry, credit card visa that you purchase. Your MasterCard has the same thing. So that would definitely be something you might wanna look into cuz I'm pretty familiar with all the rules on the troop cancellation and they don't actually spell that out. So that would be something I probably would wanna ask just to verify.
So another thing that's coming up the sheen zone, I guess in Europe now they are talking about, or maybe this is already official that even though they don't require a visa for Americans traveling there, they are adding in this $7 fee. This thing you have to sign up for. Is that in effect yet this European travel information authorization system, do you know if that's kicked in yet? Have you signed up?
Yeah, no they it's not. And they don't even have a date set. All they're saying right now is last we heard is still 2021, but they haven't said when in 2021 and that $7 fee, some people you might see it referred to as a visa that you're buying and it's really not a visa, it's just a fee to do a pre-screening process that will allow you to travel in those countries in the EU visa free.
And it's kinda like a cheap version of our global entry kind of a thing.
That's exactly what, it's probably easier to travel in the EU than it is to go to Canada.
No, they're tough on who they let in and who they don't let in. Yeah
I've learned the hard way. I actually got the global entry. They have it to where you're supposed to be able to just drive your card and go through from Canada into the United States. That didn't work for me. They still had me, they'd searched my trunk, they still made me sit there for 30 minutes, ask me questions. They sit there leisurely, they're just asking you questions off the cuff as your friend. But <laugh>, the questions they're asking you are like, oh so why you traveling here and what? And I think it's cuz I'm a solo traveler and so it seems odd that a solo traveler is
Yeah, I think it was. Yeah because we were just in Canada two years ago and we got right through no problem. I mean they asked what we were doing there but that was it and went right through.
Think they profiled you Drew.
That's it. <laugh>. Well I do have an interesting last name. So who knows <laugh>. So another consideration, and I found this interesting, this is what I say when I read through your book, I was like, even for somebody who travels a lot, there's some good reminders in here such as the passport and the idea that you need to make sure that you have at least a six month cushion on your passport to get into some countries. I mean there'd be another headache of a reason to get denied access to a country because your passport is five months from cancellation and they decide to not let you through. What are some other things that we should be paying attention to with our passport?
Well I would also have a color photocopy of your passport. We each have one and we have it laminated when we're at a hotel, we'll put our passports in the safe and then we'll walk around with that copy <affirmative>. Because losing your passport in another country is, it's probably the hugest headache you could ever have. Having it lost or stolen. The other thing you wanna make sure you have besides a six month cushion before your passport expires is make sure you have enough blank pages. Some people who travel a lot or speak for business for pleasure may not have places for the stamps. And that'll get you a stop too going or leaving a country. It used to be you could buy extra pages, but you cannot do that anymore. So yeah, you need a new folding passport if you've run a
Well. Something I was thinking of too is that I usually will keep it in itinerary with a friend of mine so that they know where I'm traveling. I've got a backup here, but I was thinking it also probably be a good idea I use Google Docs or Dropbox is to maybe put a copy of that into some kind of cloud service so that you could pull it down from any country that you went to. Yeah,
We are also big fans of that. We use Dropbox and all my documents are in the cloud like that. My receipts from the airlines to hotel reservations, hotel reservations, I can have everything at my fingertips. And also before I go for Dropbox, I make sure that that entire folder is available offline because if you're in another country, you may not have access to internet right away. So make sure it's available offline. So it's on your phone store so you have it.
Yeah, well something else, and they're now starting to tell you this when you go to the airport, but I understand now that by October 1st, if you don't have as a US citizen, your driver's license up to date with the real ID that you can't fly
Or Well I think the rule is you'll be asked to your passport.
Right? Okay. Yeah.
With just your driver's license domestically. Yeah.
And so that's probably something like as soon as I read that in your book, I'm like oh yeah, that's a good reminder because they did tell me about it at the airport and if I wait until September to do this, I'm gonna be in a massive line at the DMV waiting to get this thing.
Exactly, exactly. And I think if you reading the book to know if your current driver's license is real IT compliant, they'll have a little star in the upper right hand corner of your driver's license. And that means your ID is already real ID compliant.
Another thing that I had happen, I like to go on the airlines where I can avoid baggage fees and just take a nice little light bag with me and then get the really low fares. But I had this circumstance when I was in Reno, I had been in the area for a few days and I had bought a couple of things and I was trying to pack all this stuff into my little bag and I was on a discount airline and I had this moment where I thought, oh crap, I wonder if this bag is too big. So when I was looking, I saw there was a place for me to put my bag in to measure it, but I thought I don't want to do this at the gate that I'm at because they might spot me doing that and see that it doesn't work. So I actually walked three gates down and found their little container down there and did the test and luckily it fit. But have you ever had any kind of baggage situation come up where you just fined out, oh crap, now I have to pay this fee to get through? Yeah,
Not really know we're we're not big fans if we don't travel light because we travel as bloggers. So we have lots of, I could never carry on my clothes because I have to carry on our camera equipment and video equipment. So no, we really haven't had that problem. I can tell you though, a little tip is when you're weighing your suitcases in United States they say you get 50 pounds, it's really 50 pounds or 23 kilograms and if you weigh your suitcase and measure by the kilograms, you actually get 50.7 pounds. And I don't know, but single airline that ever will say something to you as long as you're under 23 kilograms.
You get a little extra weight that way if you go by the kilograms.
So do you have a little weight scale at home that you use before you hit the road?
Absolutely. And we take it with us too when we go to a destination because if you buy things you don't wanna be overweight you. Yeah, that's very expensive. Yeah, it's one thing you don't wanna do is you don't wanna be overweight on an airline cuz it's just so expensive. Sometimes it's better to take two suitcases than to take one overweight
They're so high. And yeah, I really recommend weighting your suitcase with a luggage scale at home before traveling to avoid that. Don't think you can carry it on your bathroom scale. Because we've heard people do that and it's just not accurate enough yet. And they end up getting to the counter and they're overweight and now they're like, oh my god, what do I do? You see 'em like pulling stuff out, trying to put it in their carry on and
Yeah, I get this. Did you ever see the movie up in the air? Yes.
That moment where he's ripping her bag open and she's throwing the stuff into the trash here, you don't want that scenario <laugh>
Less than a $10 little luggage scale off Amazon and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.
Right. So something else I found interesting in your suggestions was in buying a plane ticket, you talk about using incognito mode or the private browsing mode for price increases. Have you that an airline will actually raise the price on you if they see you coming into the site multiple times and doing comparison shopping? Have you had firsthand experience with that?
Oh absolutely. Absolutely I will. Oh yeah, just on this last airline ticket we bought. It happened. Yes. And you'll speak tomorrow. Cause I've seen people say that's not really true. Airlines will deny it. I have firsthand experience that that's what happens. Not every airline, not every time but it does happen. So do all your research, but when you're ready to buy, go into incognito mode or in some browser that's called I think it's in private mode and this way there'll be no cookies on there. They won't know. They'll think you're a first time visitor and that will ensure you're getting the best price.
So something else that we have to consider when we're going on a trip is money. And I've fought this battle a few times during my first few trips to either the UK or to Europe where I'm like, okay, how do I get money? And I mean if I go to my bank and try to get money, they'll give me money at an exchange rate that's probably a bit higher than I'd really want to spend. How do you guys handle money in terms of having it either when you get there, figuring out how to get it when you get there or before you go?
Yeah, in our experience, absolutely. The best way to get money is to get it from a bank ATM when you're in the country and withdraw from a bank atm, preferably with a card that doesn't charge you any fees that we have a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. Okay. Yeah. And if there's any kind of ETM fees that actually reimburses you, and that's actually a Charles Schwaba savings account. But there are times when you actually need the money before you even hit the country. And in that case, we buy just enough at an airport.
We tell a story in the book about not having money for a cab and the cab didn't take credit cards. Well we actually got back to, we actually looked it up when we were gonna do Uber. Oh that's right. From the train station to our hotel. And it said Uber was in that country. Well when we got to that country, this was Slovakia there was no Uber available. That was not true. Maybe it was at one point, but it's not, wasn't anymore. And we had no money it was only us money. We didn't have any of the local currency. It was a Sunday. It was a Sunday. There
Was no exchange
Machines or ATMs at the train station. And so we were kind, the taxis didn't take Visa credit cards.
So I had to wait there. Actually, Tina went on a mission, started walking down the streets to actually find a bank atm. I had to find people who I could talk to who spoke English to direct me which direction to go for a bank. It was just a nightmare. So yeah, it's our recommendation to go into a country with a little bit of the currency, at least enough to get you to your hotel where you're gonna be staying that first day. Cause don't assume that Uber will be available, one of those kind of ride share apps. I wouldn't assume that the taxes take credit cards and don't assume they will take American money. Although tips, everybody will take American money for tips, but certainly not to pay a taxi. So get some money and you can do it in an airport. Sure. The exchange rates gonna be a little bit higher or you can do it from your bank, bank of America actually you can actually order money online for Bank of America and they'll deliver it to your house.
Here's ways I would have enough to get you to your hotel when you arrive in your canoe country that you're
Visiting. Well, and I'll give you another scenario, which was when I went to France the last time and France seems to always be on strike for some reason. And I to had this whole plan that I was gonna ride the rails everywhere that I went. And as soon as I landed and got to ne they said, well sorry, but there's a strike today and then in two days is a holiday so there's gonna be limited runs of the train, so wouldn't you rather rent a car? And so I thought, well yeah I can rent a car but France is full of toll highways and I don't have any euros, so how am I gonna pay? I don't know whether these tolls are gonna take credit cards or not take credit cards. Yeah, I mean there's definitely some scenarios. Luckily Google Maps allows you to check mark, avoid tolls, but then you end up driving through the middle of nowhere to get to where you want to go.
Oh right. Another thing that we now recommend, I think we mentioned in the book again, the first time you get to the new country to get to your hotel is contact the hotel you're gonna be staying at and ask them to help arrange transportation from the airport. Even that Slava Slovakia trip that we were at, even though we got money out of the ATM eventually and got him a cab, the cab guy ripped us off. He charged us way too much double. Yeah. Wow. And that city is known for that. And our hotel said, oh you should have asked us, we would've called you a cab. So now we're going to Italy in two weeks and when we get the airport, the hotel is gonna arrange for a driver or a cab to pick us up at a fixed fee. We know what the fee is already and we know it's a fair fee. So that whole headache of trying to get transportation to our hotel once we arrive in country is solid because we did it ahead of time. So that's something to consider.
That's great. Yeah. I mean we sometimes forget the resources that we have at our disposal and the hotel is gonna want to have you have a great experience when you come to the country so you come back again. So absolutely
Take advantage of the hospitality of that hotel. Cause they'll help arrange that kind of stuff. And I'm not saying once you're there you can do different things, but just when you first get off that plane, the last thing you want to do is try to figure out how you're gonna get to your hotel and you make sure you're not gonna get ripped off. So that arranging at that time and it's so easy cuz you just work over email with your destination.
Well another thing that I would throw in there if you're taking cards with you to rely on those is make sure your pin numbers are working <laugh>. Cause I got all the way to Scotland and then found out that my pin number wasn't working and I had to live off of those credit cards with no cash in my pocket for three days before I could finally get to a bank where I could do a cash advance off of one of the cards and get the number reset. So Oh my
God, that's rough because as a America we think credit cards are taken everywhere. But in Europe, I mean Mexico, Europe. So the miracle Cass is king,
Right? Yeah, yeah,
Yeah. Big things like hotels you can probably use a credit card for, but after that restaurants and stuff, many of 'em don't take credit cards.
One of the things that you talk about that I found interesting was plotting out before your trip how you're going to get to your hotel. And I think that's so important. My first time driving in England, I was worried about driving on the left side of the road. So I would use Google Street maps and I would kind of visualize while going click by click down the road, what's it gonna be like to take a left turn and what's it gonna be like to take a right turn and kind of get a feel for it that way. But it also helped me when I went to Belgium because as I was driving in the parking area was in a weird spot. So I found it kind of interesting that I could visualize it and see frame by frame where I was gonna be exiting off and to try to get comfortable with that. But I also do that for trains. If I am staying in town when I went to Amsterdam, I would make sure I went online and find out what trains are leaving a particular airport to get to the area that your hotel is in. Is that the kind of thing that you normally do and how do you research that? You just use Google to figure that out?
Yeah, we're big fans of Google Maps also. We use Google Maps a lot in the tip to make sure you download the map so it's available offline to where you're going. <affirmative>, you may not have internet so you still want to go into the Google Maps of course. I dunno if you were referring in your discussion there at all up to using the street view. Yes, on Google Maps. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That's so helpful. Cause you can visually see what the building looks like that you're going to. And so yeah, we do that a lot. Google on the street view is that is really a cool feature.
So let's talk a little bit about tipping because that's probably one of my biggest frustrations as an American is going to other countries and trying to figure out how much to tip, whether I should tip. Because there are some countries where it's actually seen as an insult to tip. How do you prep yourself for figuring out how you're gonna be tipping from place to place?
Yeah, well I'm a fan of an app. There's apps out there for your phone. I use Global Tips and you can download that for iOS or Android and you put in the country there and it'll tell you tips for taxis for what it's customary for restaurants, for tour guides maybe. Yeah. Porter Sal with your luggage because yeah, not everybody is a generous Americans are in the us 15, 20%. Well a lot of countries pay those people higher wages. In Europe, the restaurant people don't make less money. But in the United States, our wait staff, they make less than minimum wage, right? So for instance, in Ecuador a restaurant tip is like 5%, not 15 or 20% like the US <affirmative> and then tour guys, people always wonder about what you paid for when you go on a tour, what's the appropriate tips? So an app like Globe Tips is a great app to use to kind of give you that information and you can Google it by the country and see other things, but you should do the research before you go. So one, you don't come across, you don't over tip waste your money. And two, you don't under tip and become across as a rude American. If you're American <laugh> or you tip in a country where that is extremely rude, there are three or four countries that tipping is not okay.
Depends. South Korea maybe minimal tips in South Korea or China, but nothing huge or else they feel that's rude.
So does global tips also give you ideas on customs and things that you should pay attention to beyond tipping that are considered rude versus not rude?
No they don't. Okay. That's where you wanna do some, again, research on the internet. We recommended a book in our book that we found to be very good about customs because one thing that you have to really be careful of when you're traveling abroad, maybe not in Europe but in the rest of the world, is taking pictures of people. They're in beautiful clothing, they look beautiful, they're very different, but some people just having a photo taken, it's against the religion. They just don't like it. So you need to ask if you could take a picture of somebody and you need to really be aware of what might be a cultural no-no. And the series of books that does a good job of that you can buy on Amazon are called Culture Smart.
The series of books. And yeah, you may spend a little money or time doing this research, but if you research this kind of stuff and know stuff about your destination country ahead of time, it makes the experience so much more enjoyable. And obviously if they can write a book about a whole country, there's too much, too much for some app to tell
You. Yeah, that's true. That's true. Well let's talk about something else that I deal with. I travel and need to still do business, so having internet is important to me. How do you handle internet? Do you have any preparations for that?
Yeah, we pretty much exclusively use a device that Sky Chrome. Yeah, it's called Sky and it's a device that gives us access to the internet in over 150 countries or a hundred. I mean you have 20 countries and it allows you to connect up to five devices to it. So when we travel, we turn this on and we can connect our cell phones to it, our iPad or our computer. And it gives us internet just about in every country that we've traveled in. We live in Ecuador now, so we have Ecuador cell phones. So we have a phone when we go back to the US and this Sky Room saves us because we can use Skype or WhatsApp if we need to make a phone call. And then Google Maps works and the fee can anymore be, the fees are from maybe 6 99 say $7 to $9 a day for unlimited internet using the Sky Room device.
And you can either buy the Sky room or you can rent it if you're just going, I don't know, for a week and you wanna rent it for a week. However, since even being outta the states for four years the self phone companies and the plans you can get in the States now are so much different than when we left four years ago. Now we see people traveling and they just can add on a international plan for their cell phone when they travel and it's, many times it's reasonable to just do it that way. Cause it's not really phone calls you want access to when you're traveling the data, the data plan, that's really where you wanna be able to do. So yeah, you wanna post something on Facebook or Instagram or you wanna go out to Google and find out where a restaurant's located or something. That's what we find we use it the most for. Or TripAdvisor to find out with some of the top restaurants to go look at. So yeah, I think having data is really valuable to us. Some people can get by though, it's just using the free internet at their hotel or if they go into a restaurant and that can work too.
Yeah, well when I was in Ireland, I saw that there was a service there that you had to go to the Dublin airport, pick it up and then you could take it with you. Then when you come back you gotta make sure you drop the piece of equipment off. So Sky roam a piece of equipment that you purchase and you just always have it around and then you just activate it whenever you want to use it.
Yes, that's exactly it. You purchase it or you can rent it and like I said, they'll send it to you in the mail and you just activate it when you want. You activate a day pass it's called. So you buy a day pass for six to $9 depending on if you wanna buy quantity, they have sales and you can get 'em cheaper and you just activate 'em for the day and it gives it, it's active for 24 hours if you're traveling for, I think maybe the break even point is two weeks or more. You can do a monthly for $99. You can activate it for a month and have unlimited access to data in 120 countries.
I was gonna say back, what I don't recommend is buying a local sim card that just, we just, we've used to do that and we know people who do it now and it just never seems to work out. They seem to spend way too much money lots of times it's hard to understand. People will say, I bought a local SIM card and in a couple hours I was out date already and go put more money on it, recharge it. And it's just weird how those things work. I don't really advocate doing that. I don't think there's a need now.
So of all the stuff that we've talked about now, what have we neglected, what is something that you would say is probably top of the list thing that you should have on your checklist that we haven't really discussed here?
I think I alluded to it in the beginning when I said we missed a cruise, but planning a day in advance, let's say you're going to France and you need to be there on the third, that's the first day everything is starting. Get there on the second <affirmative> because if along the way one of your flights are canceled or delayed, your trip will still be great. So go in a day early leave and do that in the United States. We had another problem in the US where we didn't miss a whole day, but we actually got to our destination 12 hours late because we're a blogger. Is that meant we missed 12 hours of something we shouldn't have? Yeah, I mean especially only if you have a tour plan, you're gonna go off in a tour group, you know, don't wanna miss that start of it. So you may wanna go in a day early. Airlines today, consistently now more than ever overbook their flights and rarely do we see seats empty on an airline when we fly now and there's not as many alternatives flights available if one gets canceled. So I think you need to, if getting there a day late really jeopardize something of your trip, you should plan on getting there a day early.
Okay. And you mentioned something called Air Help, which I'd not heard of before. Have you had to, have you used that and describe what that is?
Yeah, so Air Help is an app you can download actually I think you can do it actually on the website too air health.com. And what they'll do is if you had a problem with a flight, it was delayed for a really long time, it was canceled, they had mechanical problem, they lost your luggage. There's a bunch of different reasons, just airline problems. What you do is you go into the app, you put in your information, the airline, your flight number, what happened, and the app will come back and tell you if you have a claim that is justifiable. And then what they'll do especially with European flights, I mean the rules are so much more strict and on the side of the traveler, but it's also in the US too. But Europe's even better. And what they'll come back and tell you if you have a claim to get money back for damages, maybe you had to, you were late for 15 hours and it caused you to miss something or you had to pay for meals in the airport cause you had to wait a long time or you had to get a hotel.
It'll come back and tell you if you have a claim and then they'll file the claim on your behalf and they take then a commission, maybe think it's like 15% but they do all the work for you and they tell you if you have a claim. So it's easy to go on and just see if you have a possibility of getting money back or not. A lot of people really don't know. The airline gives you a couple of vouchers for a restaurant because they, something's happened and you accept that, but in reality you might be owed more. Yeah. They're never gonna tell you what you're really entitled to by
Law. Right, right. Okay, good man, we have got just a ton of great information here. I really appreciate you guys passing along all this information. So how can people get the book and how can people keep in touch with you and where you're traveling to?
Well first of all, our blog is Retire Early in Travel dot dotcom and you can go there and check out all our latest adventures and where we're going and what we're doing. And not only on travel, but just travel tips, travel destinations and articles on how to retire early and what we've done to be able to retire early. And you can also find, just on YouTube, we do a lot YouTube video at least for every destination we go to. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> actually on every social media focus anywhere.
Good. And you can go to Amazon to get our book. It's a travel checklist of the most important things you need to know before traveling domestically or abroad or just type in Keith and Tina Paul and we'll come up.
All right, perfect. And then I will also put all of these links on the show notes page and also all these other apps and things that we've talked about on the show. I'll put the links to the ones that we talked about and then link to your book as well so that people can get that. Cuz like I say, it's just full of a ton of really good information. Even if you've been traveling for a while I found a lot of stuff in there that I thought, wow, that's great. It's somebody else's perspective and we all kind of find our own tools that work right for us. But there are some out there that, how are you gonna find out about 'em unless you talk to people or do some reading. And so you got some great stuff out there.
One last thing is we encourage people to email us if they have any questions about where we traveled or what we did or about early retirement. Living in Ecuador, living in Ecuador, we probably, I think just this last month we've met, we actually had three different people over to our house here in Ecuador that we met via the internet and people who wanted to come and possibly live in Ecuador. And so we love meeting people and helping people retire early and that, so please feel free to email us with any questions you have and you can get our email address on our website.
Perfect. Perfect. Well thank you so much for sharing your time today and giving us such great information, food for thought, and for putting this book together so that people can get a better idea of how to stay out of issues that they might run into and have much more fun doing the traveling instead of worrying that they've missed something. I appreciate you guys sharing your time and your information.
Yeah, thanks for having us on Drew. We appreciate Yeah, thank you Jar.
Well, I hope you got some great information out of the show this week and head out to travel fuels life.com/podcasts and look for season two episode number five to get all of the apps and all of the information that we have out there for you from this week's episode. And I'll even put a link out there to my European travel checklist. It's something that I did just to have something you go back and refer to each time I plan on a trip to Europe to look out three months ahead, a month ahead and make sure that I have all of the stuff that I'm gonna need taken care of for the trip. Including that stuff that you want to make sure that you have packed stuff like stopping your mail, all that fun stuff. So if you like checklists this one you can just adapt it to work with however you do things, but for me it's invaluable to check that thing before I go out on a trip.
Also, if you go out and get Keith and Tina's book, make sure to leave him a review on Amazon and normally be harping on that a lot when my book comes out. Those reviews are very important to help people find these great resources, so make sure that you do that for those guys as well. And don't forget, if you haven't checked out Whiskey Lore and the Whiskey Lore podcast, you can do that right now. It's up Season one is available. I am starting season two in March, so make sure that you're subscribed for that. If you love whiskey and you love history one or the other or both, it's a great show. I hope you will check that out. Until next time, safe travels everybody and thanks for listening to Travel Fuels Life.