Top 10 Tips For International Travel
International travel is both a thrilling and scary event. You’re expanding your reach in the world, experiencing a new country, and adding more wonderful memories to your travel bank. However, when you are planning on traveling internationally there’s a lot of work and research that goes into it. Failure to do so will may impact your ability to even enter the country or cause problems once you’re in the country. Here are the top 10 tips for international travel.
1. Do Your Research
It goes without saying that you have to do your research prior to booking any tickets or hotel accommodations. You have to do research on the country you’re planning on visiting, if there are visa entry/exit requirements, any vaccinations needed, special medical tests needed, the local language, currency, weather, food, environment, etc.
The last thing you want to do is be turned away when you land in the country because you do not meet the visa entry requirements or be stranded in a new country. Websites such as Travel.State.Gov, cbp.gov, cdc.gov, usa.gov are some resources that will help you with global entry, travel advisories, international travel, and any medical/vaccine things to take into consideration when traveling internationally. I’ve dedicated a whole blog post on doing research so I highly recommend you check that out here.
2. Passport Expiration
Prior to traveling internationally be sure to check your passport for the expiration date. It goes without saying that if your passport is expired you won’t be able to travel and any future plans will be delayed because you have to go through the long process of renewing your passport. I’d say check about 6 months to a year prior to ensure your passport is up to date, and if it isn’t, this will give you ample time to get it renewed.
3. Notify Your Banks
If you are planning on traveling internationally you will need to notify your banks, and your credit card company if you have any, about your travel plans. Nowadays, if you have your bank/credit card app(s) downloaded on your phone then you can easily log into your account and add your travel plans. If you do not have the app, or if the app doesn’t have a feature to add travel plans, then go onto the desktop website or call the company to notify them of your upcoming travel plans. If you don’t, then your cards will be declined if you attempt to make a purchase abroad or it will be flagged as fraudulent activity.
4. Make Copies Of Your Travel Documents
It is important to make copies of all your travel documents: passport, visa papers, travel insurance, license, anything that you need. I’ve heard so many horror stories about students or people who traveled abroad, had their travel documents stolen or lost, and had a difficult time returning home.
I recommend making 3-5 color copies of your travel documents, leave a copy with your family, friends, and or significant other. Of course, leave a copy for yourself as well. When you are abroad, ensure the copies of your travel documents are in a safe place. When I studied abroad in London our dorm rooms have safes in them. I kept my copies locked away in our safe for those “just in case” moments. I recommend you do the same so if something were to happen, not only do you have copies of the documents but your family/friends/significant other back at home has a copy as well and can provide the embassy with the information to help you get home.
5. Phone Carrier International Coverage
Prior to traveling internationally, reach out to your phone carrier and check if you are covered for international charges. With my plan through my phone carrier, I have data and texting for 210+ countries. If your current phone plan does not cover international data, calling, or texting, then talk with a representative about adding coverage for the duration of your trip (just for that trip only) or adding that coverage to your overall plan so you have it for whenever you travel outside the country. It will come in handy and save you so much time and energy so you’re not without service in a foreign country.
6. Currency Exchange
Once you’ve done your research, and you know the currency that country has, then find a currency exchange location, or utilize your bank if they are able to exchange currency, and get that currency prior to traveling. You will be better prepared and you’ll save some money by avoiding exchange locations that charge you an arm and a leg for the transaction.
7. Health Checkup
If you are traveling internationally it doesn’t hurt to go to your doctor and ensure you are healthy and can travel. You can also talk with your doctor about your trip and any medication, immunizations, vaccinations, bloodwork, or exams needed prior to traveling. You don’t want to risk any health complications while abroad.
8. Carry Extra Cash
It is a good idea to bring extra cash, in the currency of the country you’ll be in, to have on hand. I made a YouTube video on some of the problems I face while traveling and this is something I talked about in the video. I’ve had experiences while abroad where I didn’t have enough money on my debit/credit cards and had to rely on cash. There have also been instances where I didn’t have extra cash on me and I struggled with my trip as a result.
So, I recommend bringing extra money with you to have on hand just in cash cards are not accepted, they’re declined, or you’ve reached your credit limit.
9. Bring An Adapter
Bring an adapter when you travel internationally. Some countries have different types of outlets and voltages, so once you’ve done your research on the type of outlet a country has go out and invest in an adapter to bring with you for your trip.
10. Download Travel Apps
Travel apps are amazing! It’s a good idea to download travel apps that are essential to your trip and can help you when exploring. When I went to London, I downloaded the London tube app and an app on the types of activities to do there. Even when you arrive in the country, you can still download the app(s) you need. Everything from where to find food to hostel/hotel accommodations, transit, Ubers, airlines, events and activities in the area, currency converter, translator, and so on.