We met the folks from Small Planet Travel Cards at Portland’s Here & There Travel Fest, and we really liked their product — business card-sized country information cards that are practical, very budget friendly, and easily packable.
Sets of five cards come packaged in a little brown paper sleeve that could even be shared among a group of travelers. Three of the cards contain country information and useful phrases, one card focuses on language pronunciation and metric conversions, and a blank card is perfect for making your own notes.
The information cards contain basic country information as well as cultural tips to help you avoid faux pas, such as “don’t touch anyone on the head” or “don’t point or beckon with fingers”. As a traveler, being culturally aware is important, as you don’t want to inadvertently offend the locals you’ve come to visit.
The information cards also have emergency phone numbers and a tipping guide. Tipping can be a tricky business, as it’s a practice that varies widely from country to country. Americans, for example, are used to tipping when eating out, taking taxis, or having luggage handled by a porter. In other countries, however, the norms may be very different. Again, the Small Planet cards provide this information at a glance.
The guide to important phrases shows the words written in the local language as well as phonetically. These simple phrases include hello, please, thank you, excuse me, where is…, the check, etc. Practicing them before you leave home is a fun way to prepare for your trip, too.
Often, travelers don’t read or speak the language in the country they’re visiting. But we’ve found in our travels that if we make even a small effort at speaking the local language, people respond quite positively. (And, it’s a great icebreaker!)
The language pronunciation guide is useful for words not on the important phrases list, and the blank card would be very helpful for writing certain phrases on, such as, “I am a vegetarian” or, “I am allergic to shrimp.”
These cards will not replace a guidebook, and they’re not meant to. They are a discreet, portable source of valuable, basic travel information that you can access at any time. Cards are available for over 60 countries and can be purchased for less than $3 per country at their website! If you’re planning to travel, check them out.
Whichever corner of the globe you visit, enjoy your next travel adventure — whether it’s for a week or a weekend!
Disclosure: we received several sets of Small Planet Travel Cards in exchange for our review. However, all opinions are our own.