International travel is one of the most rewarding types of travel a person can undertake. Visiting other countries, experiencing other cultures, seeing historical sites and eating exotic cuisine are a few of the many pleasures of traveling abroad.
However, as you prepare for international travel, it’s important to keep in mind tips that can lead to a safer, more rewarding experience. Read on to learn some important tips for taking a trip outside of the country.
Before You Leave
Make sure to use the Internet to learn all the details about where you will be traveling, including the best and safest places to stay and any local issues you need to be aware of (some cities in Europe, for example, have areas notorious for pickpockets).
The U.S. State Department advises that people check to see what documents you need in addition to your passport or visa. For example, some over-the-counter medication purchased in the United States may be illegal in other countries and may require you carry documentation.
Many countries may require that your passport is valid for as much as six months after your trip dates, so check on this issue, as well. Take a picture of your passport and put it into your cell phone just to have a digital copy.
Also, check with the State Department to see if there are any travel alerts for any of the places on your itinerary.
Notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans so they will not deny any purchases you make. Many banks will allow you to use your debit card in another country. However, check to see what the fees are for foreign ATMs. Depending on the bank or the country, they can get very high.
Travel & Medical Insurance
You’ll want travel insurance to protect your belongings if they get lost. However, you may also want medical travel insurance in case of an accident. Check your current policy to see if it covers the cost of, for example, medical care in another country or medical transportation to a hospital in case of an accident. This is also an area where you want to consider contracting a non-emergency medical transport company, especially if you are traveling abroad and have a disability or chronic medical condition.
Make sure to get all the required vaccinations for international travel as early as possible. You don’t want to wait until the last moment only to discover that the vaccination is not available in your area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides an easy-to-use webpage to determine what shots are required and recommended.
Protect Your Home
You don’t want to be walking down the Champs-Elysees in Paris and suddenly remember that you forgot to have the mail delivery temporarily stopped back at home. Make arrangements well in advance to stop mail, get pets fed and have any chores you need done handled. It’s not a bad idea to have a house sitter or a trusted friend come by and check on your house regularly while you are out of the country.
You can buy a World Phone in advance and use this while traveling. That can be a cheaper alternative to international rates for your cell phone – if your service is even available. However, some cellular providers have good plans for travel, especially in Europe. This is one that will require some legwork to determine which method will work best for you to stay connected.
Quick Travel Hacks
Here are some other travel tips to keep in mind.
Break-in new shoes. The last problem you want is to get blisters on vacation because you are wearing those new travel shoes for the first time.
Pack light. The less you carry, the less you must keep track of at airports, on planes, in taxis, buses and in hotels. Most people overpack, so take the time to toss out things you aren’t sure you will need, especially a lot of extra clothes and shoes.
Also, things people often forget to pack include:
- Phone charger (bring two)
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Sweater, even in summer (it gets cold on an overseas flight)
These tips and travel hacks should help you get started on a good trip. Remember, the more planning you do in advance for international travel, the more you can enjoy your trip once you are on it!