Preparing for Travel Abroad
Your traveling experience depends a lot on the efforts you put into planning. And while this is true for every trip, proper planning is especially important if you are heading out to a foreign country. As such, simply booking your plane ticket is not enough. The following are ten tips to help make your trip a success.
1. Check Your Passport While Applying for Any Necessary Visas
Before you make any international travel plans, it is best to confirm whether your passport is still within its expiration date. Typically, you should aim to have a passport that has a validity period of over six months from the date you enter the foreign country. Nevertheless, some countries can let you get away with fewer, but it is best to refer to the State Department’s website so you can be certain. You will have to renew the passport before your trip if its expiration date is near. While not a global requirement, a tourist visa is going to be demanded by most countries.
2. Look Out for Any Travel Advisories or Warnings Before You Register Your Trip
Before you make any overseas trip, you should always check the State Department’s Consular Information Program for any travel alerts. This is a list of short-term events that you should be aware of about the country you are planning to travel to. Also look out for travel warnings before you make a decision to travel. Checking these details is crucial for determining whether the nation you want to go to is tourist-friendly or not. If you decide to proceed with your plans despite any warnings, ensure that you sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program as this will help the government assist you in case of an emergency. Moreover, jot down the phone numbers and addresses of the American embassies or consulates in your travel destination, just to be safe.
3. Have Your Finances in Order
To avoid financial pitfalls in your overseas trip, call your bank as well as your credit card providers beforehand to let them know of your intentions. This is because these institutions typically freeze cards when they notice foreign charges yet the owner hasn’t notified them that they are abroad. It is a security measure to safeguard you against fraud.
In addition to notifying those institutions, ensure that you are aware of the exchange rates plus the cost of living in the country you are visiting so that you can have an idea of how much money you need.
4. Make Copies of Your Travel Documents
You should have copies of the ID pages of your passport stored in separate places in your luggage. Moreover, it is important to create copies of the visas pertaining to your travel. Other travel documents such as tickets and hotel reservations need to be duplicated as well. It would be a good idea to have digital copies of these documents stored somewhere in your devices.
5. Ensure that You Have Adaptable Gear for Your Electronics
You will find that different locations around the world tend to have different electrical outlets. To ensure that your devices can plug into sockets, it is best to have an adjustable adapter that can plug into multiple kinds of outlets. Moreover, it is important to check the electrical current strength to ensure that it is compatible with your devices. If not, you may have to purchase a transformer. Also, carry portable phone chargers as well as spare batteries to ensure that you’re always on.
6. Learn Some Key Phrases
While learning the basics such as ‘Hello’ in the local language is good, it might not be enough. Learning more useful phrases is important as you never know the kind of situation you might find yourself in. Learn a bit more of the language, especially phrases that could help you in matters safety or health. While learning a new language is not easy, you can always cheat and print out a document that contains all the necessary phrases you might need.
7. Get an International Driving Permit
When you are in foreign lands, that U.S driver’s license is not going to be recognized. This is because of issues to do with insurance as well as driving laws. Thus, in addition to getting the international driving permit, familiarize yourself with the driving laws of the country you are planning to visit beforehand.
8. Look Into the Entrance and Exit Fees
In most situations, the country you are visiting is going to levy an entrance as well as an exit fee against you. To know if this is applicable in your case, visit the Consular Information Program to determine whether the nation you are planning on visiting charges these fees.
9. Purchase Health and Travel Insurance
It is imperative that you check whether your health policy offers international coverage. If that is not the case, consider purchasing a short-term policy to ensure that you are covered. Travel insurance is also important.
10. Get Vaccinated and Obtain any Necessary Medication
You might need a special vaccine or medicines depending on where you are traveling to. Moreover, if you are on any prescription medicine, it is best to ensure that you have enough to take you through the entire duration of your trip. Also, it is recommended that you carry non-prescription medicine with you such as Imodium and aspirin, especially if you will be visiting remote areas.
Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do. Nonetheless, to ensure that you do not hit any snags in your travels, it is best to plan ahead. Utilize the above pointers, and you will most certainly have a safe and enjoyable trip.