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Are You Fully Prepared for Your Overseas Trip?

Are You Fully Prepared for Your Overseas Trip?

LIFESTYLE, TECH, TRAVEL

Planning well is the key to a smooth travel experience. Even if a travel agent, tour company, or cruise line will be planning the mechanics of your trip, there are some steps that you need to take to prepare. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin, but if you start with these tasks, you’ll have the most important bases covered.

Arrange Your Documents

Image via Flickr by seantoyer
Image via Flickr by seantoyer

Even if you feel sure that your passport is safely in your sock drawer, it’s a good idea to hold it in your hand and check the expiration date well in advance of your trip. Check the visa requirements of all the countries you’ll be visiting — most require that your passport is valid for six months from the date of entry, and some require two blank facing pages for their entry stamps. While you’re looking at visa requirements, note whether you will be able to get the visa on arrival or if you’ll need to apply at the embassy or online before your trip.

Research the Risks

International travel is much safer than many people think, but it’s still wise to be familiar with any local dangers, typical scams, or health issues before you leave home. Travel.state.gov is a great resource that will fill you in on everything from political unrest to typical cons you might encounter. The site is pretty thorough about detailing all the dangers of any given location, so don’t let it frighten you. Remember that thousands of people who take sensible precautions travel safely every day.

Stop by the CDC.gov/travel website for health information too. The CDC will tell you what immunizations are recommended, whether you can drink the tap water, and what other health risks you should be aware of. While you’re thinking about your health, make a list of medications to pack.

Call Your Banks

International travelers used to buy traveler’s checks for security and order foreign currency from their bank for convenience. Things today are much simpler; you can use your credit cards almost anywhere and your debit card lets you access local currency from any ATM. However, if you don’t notify your bank of your travel plans, they’ll probably lock down your card for fraud protection the first time you use it overseas. Many banks and credit cards let you enter your travel plans on their website, or you can call the phone number on the back of your card instead.

Make sure that you have at least two options for accessing cash (a debit card and/or a credit card with a PIN). Snap photos of each of your cards and the ID page of your passport, and e-mail them to yourself for backup in case they get lost or stolen.

Purchase Travel Insurance

A comprehensive travel insurance plan will give you tremendous peace of mind while traveling. A great travel insurance plan gives you a toll-free number to call for a referral to an English-speaking doctor or hospital wherever you are, or help you find a way home if necessary and cover the costs. Your policy will also cover your medical expenses and canceled flights if you get sick and will reimburse you for a stolen cell phone or lost luggage.

Figure Out Your Calling Plan

Will you be able to make calls and receive texts while you’re abroad without incurring roaming charges? You’ll need to make sure that your calling plan is international-friendly. If you have a solid, versatile service such as the unlimited data plan from T-Mobile or if you carry a T-Mobile International Calling Plan, you’ll be able to call home as well as call down the street in Paris for dinner reservations.

Load Your Phone With Travel Apps

Your phone is not just a communication tool, of course. You can use your GPS anywhere in the world or download apps that will help you arrange ground transportation, translate languages, convert currency, and find great restaurants around the globe.

Taking these simple steps before you board the plane will help you stay safe, sane, and happy on your overseas adventure.

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

18 Comments

  1. Christie
    March 10, 2017 at 8:46 pm
    Reply

    Great list of important things to do before a trip! It is amazing how helpful certain travel apps can be, especially the currency converters. Also remembering to call banks ahead of time sure can save a lot of headaches.
    Christie recently posted…Floreana – Galapagos IslandsMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Yes, currency converters are so helpful!

  2. Amanda @ The Travelling Blizzards
    March 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm
    Reply

    These are great tips! It’s important to be prepared when setting out on an adventure. I also suggest people make photocopies of all important documents, and leave them with a friend or in their dropbox just in case something happens!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Oh that’s a great tip, Amanda!

  3. Rebecca
    March 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm
    Reply

    Yes, travel insurance is a must. I went to Colombia a couple of years ago and my luggage didn’t make it and I wasn’t reunited with it for 2 days after my arrival. I didn’t have any toiletries or warm-weather clothing on me so I had to buy everything. Thankfully, my travel insurance policy covered everything and I got a couple of new dresses and sandals out of it as well.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 12, 2017 at 7:48 am

      See… it really comes in handy!! Glad to hear they took care of everything.

  4. Evie
    March 12, 2017 at 5:53 am
    Reply

    A great checklist for first time travellers!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Thanks, Evie!

  5. Sandy N Vyjay
    March 12, 2017 at 9:56 am
    Reply

    Traveling overseas is always a different ball game than traveling in your own home country. One needs to aware of the procedures and documentation of the country you are visiting so that you do not get stuck. You have provided some valuable pointers that would stand in good stead when planning an overseas trip.
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Fly for Flavors: 5 Must Visit Indian Cities to Relish Divine FoodMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 15, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      I’m glad you found them valuable, Sandy!

  6. Suruchi
    March 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    I always say that Best trips happen when they are not planned. But the points mentioned in your post are so so valid for planning an overseas trip. Even a single mistake in these can spoil the whole trip. A great write up. And Yes the travel apps and google maps is a must.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Yes, it’s good to be spontaneous but I think things like travel insurance is a must!

  7. Emily
    March 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm
    Reply

    Some really useful tips – lots can go wrong when travelling and this list helps with being prepared for all eventualities. I especially like travel apps – they are so useful now and save carrying around lots of guidebooks and maps. If you’re travelling abroad long term you could also look at getting a local sim and using a VPN to keep your web browsing secure.
    Emily recently posted…Camels and Camping: Taking the Kids to Wadi RumMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      Great tips, Emily! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Where Monica Goes
    March 13, 2017 at 11:48 pm
    Reply

    Interesting post! I have a similar article sitting on my draft file waiting to be posted on the blog as well. We have similar points and I agree to all you have shared above. I would add communication apps to stay connected with family and friends left behind 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 15, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      Great tip, Monica! Looking forward to reading yours.

  9. Fábio Inácio
    March 14, 2017 at 6:14 am
    Reply

    Awesome tips you have here, some people don’t care about it but they are really important.
    I know some people who travel without travel insurance, they said it is a waste of money, but unfortunately one of them have an accident while traveling and spend thousands of euros because he didn’t have insurance!!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 15, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      I feel like it’s something people never regret! Better to be safe than sorry.

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