The key to traveling abroad is being prepared
You’re thrilled that you are heading to that exotic place for your upcoming vacation, but in order to have a carefree time, it’s important to spend some time upfront to make sure you are prepared. Follow this list to ensure that you’ve packed appropriately, your finances are in order and your travel plans will go off smoothly.
1. Make sure you visa and passport are valid
Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months after your return date. The best idea is that you renew your passport no less than nine months before it’s set to expire.
If you plan to drive at your destination or rent a car, find out whether an international driver’s license is required or if your existing license is valid. Make a photocopy of the information page of your passport and the visa page for your destination. Pack them separately from your passport.
2. Fill your wallet with acceptable methods of payment
Take one or two credit cards with you, and call the bank shortly before you leave to tell them which countries you’ll be visiting. Otherwise, your credit card could be blocked, as the bank may find the international activity doubtful.
Write down your credit card numbers, but don’t keep the list in your wallet. Find out how to contact your bank from abroad.
3. Purchase travel insurance
It’s likely that your health insurance will not cover you while you’re traveling abroad. Depending on where you’re heading to, consider buying emergency medical insurance. Also, if your trip requires a large deposit or is booked few months in advance, trip interruption and cancellation insurance can provide valuable protection from the unexpected event.
4. Pack appropriately
Other than the essential electronics, don’t bring valuables on your trip. High-priced jewelry could attract thieves who are professionals at targeting tourists. If you do bring valuables, always take them in your carry-on, or keep them locked up in the hotel safe.
If you wear prescription glasses, pack an extra pair. Put your phone number, name and address both outside and inside your luggage.
Never put valuable stuff in your checked luggage, and check after going through security to make sure that all of your valuables are still in your luggage.
5. Always do your homework
Do your research. The more you know about the customs, culture and history of your destination places, the more you will enjoy your journey. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Know whom to tip and how much.
- Don’t wear tank tops, miniskirts and shorts if you’re going to a conservative country.
- Learn how to say phrases in the native language, such as “good morning” and “thank you.”
- If you’re going to a place where you will have to take your footwear off all the time to enter tourist sites, pack slippers.