I live a truly blessed life! I have been so fortunate to have traveled to many places both foreign and domestic since I was 4 years old. Having spent a lot of my summers in Germany I learned over the years what makes for an easy fun trip and what could be a disastrous trip. Here are my top 25 things to do before traveling internationally.
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Top 25 thing to do before traveling internationally
Applying for or renewing a passport: Receiving a passport is like getting a free pass to the world. You suddenly feel like there are no limits! Not making sure you have enough time to get or renew one is a whole other story. Make sure to leave at least two months time when applying for or renewing your passport. Click here for the link.
Make copies of your ID, passport and itinerary and give copies of everything to friends or family: Loosing your vital information is nothing short of a nightmare while overseas. Make at least two copies of your passport and ID. Leave one copy with friends or family and take the other copy with you. And don’t be a dummy! Keep the copy separate from your original passport.
Apply for visa: Not every country requires a visa be sure to research and apply for it before you go. Makes going through customs a breeze.
Prepare your house: Shut off the water, clean out the fridge, take out trash, let security alarm company know you’ll be gone, lock windows, adjust heat/ac, unplug electronics, set timers for lights or buy a device so you can control it from wherever you are.
Do NOT announce your trip on Social media: Seriously people! This seems like something that shouldn’t even be a thing. There are sooooo many people out there trolling for just this thing. Announcing your travel plans sets you up for all sorts of trouble. But I don’t have my address on any of my accounts? Um…duh! Google your name, go ahead I’ll wait. Yup, there’s not only your name, address and next of kin but your mom’s too. Please don’t post your plans online. Go ahead and post pics when your there with NO dates or descriptions attached if you must!
Research what’s going on while you’ll be in the country: So you find yourself soaked to the underwear. What? Well you decided to visit SE Asia during their water festival. Maybe you didn’t want to be wet your entire trip? Do your research and plan accordingly. Running with the bulls is fun if you’re prepared.
Buy tickets for stuff: By stuff I mean bus tours, theater/concert tickets, museums, attractions and much more. Try to purchase tickets before hand if possible ensuring you get to see and do what your heart desires.
Go see your Doctor: Get a check up and update your immunizations. If you need prescriptions get those as well. Some countries need a note from you physician saying that you require those prescriptions.
Check your health insurance for travel coverage: Not all health insurance services have travel insurance. Check before you go to ensure coverage. Both my sister and father in-law needed to see a physician while traveling oversees. Don’t get caught without it.
Call credit card companies: I try to only travel with 2 credit cards. One of those being my ATM card. Call your credit card companies to let them know when and where you are traveling so there is no interruption in payment services.
Call your cell company: Taking your cell phone could result in a MASSIVE cell bill. Make sure that you know what coverage you have before you go. Personally we use our iPhone’s to FaceTime and iMessage for free while on wifi.
Make arrangements to have bills paid: Set up auto pay or have a friend or family member hold onto checks and mail them out accordingly.
Check travel warnings and register your trip: Registering your trip is important when planning travel to politically volatile areas. Even if you are maybe just going to a remote part of a country it is important for someone to know you are there. By registering you trip the US embassy is aware of you and your travel parties whereabouts and can give you a heads up of impending trouble. Click here for the link.
Visit your bank: Like I mentioned before, I only take two cards with me when traveling. Both cards are from the same bank. If you are traveling to countries that are developing make sure to take lots of small bills. A costumer service rep will ask you some questions and make all the pertinent notes on your account to ensure you have no interruptions in service during your trip.
Check for entrance or exit fees: Not every country requires a visa but rather require fee’s either entering, exiting or both. Some of these fees can be hefty. Prepare to pay all fees and taxes before leaving for your trip. Click here for link.
Make pet/house/plant sitting arrangement: Kind of a no brainer but maybe you forgot to prepare for Fido’s vacation from you. If you don’t have reliable people in your life there are services that can help.
Custodial permission: When traveling with children alone you may need documentation of custody or written consent from the other parent. My mom had to get a letter from my dad when she took all four of us to Germany. Click here for link.
Charge everything: Super self-explanatory. Charge everything that is able to be charged before you go. Some countries do not have reliable, consistent electricity.
Apply for an international driving permit: That’s right, you can cruise down the Autobahn at break neck speeds. Not all countries will allow you to drive with an international permit so do your homework BEFORE leaving home. You may be required to get a license in that country. Click here for link.
Download and print everything while on dependable wifi: Download everything! Whether it’s your travel documents, hotel reservations, tickets to museums, visa information, app’s, map’s, car insurance, medical insurance, music and little Jimmy’s favorite movies. Wifi may be spotty or non-existent. Take all hard copies with you and leave a copy at home with a friend or family member. Trust me, I’ve recently made this mistake. I strongly recommend downloading a map app that doesn’t require wifi like this one.
Confirm everything: Just like the downloading everything, confirmation of all your accommodations and activities is super important. Call at least a week before you leave to make sure your special hotel room overlooking the Grand Canal is still yours to have.
Check the weather: Most people at least do this. Don’t get caught in the middle of summer in a snow storm in the Alps. I have experienced this one as well!
Put an ICE in your phone: No I’m not talking about Vanilla ICE, rather your IN CASE OF EMERGENCY contact. I have had one in my phone since I’ve had a phone. Most countries will recognize this in your phone.
Weigh your luggage: Don’t get caught at the airport trying to choose between keeping your underwear or those amazing new shoes you just bought. Every airline is going to be different so check your airlines website for all wights of check-in and carry on baggage. Also if you are doing secondary travel once at your destination check to make sure your luggage is the right size and wight to go on the boat, bus, train or airplane you will be on.
Traveling is such an amazing privilege. I hope this list sets you up for successful on your next jaunt around this amazing world of ours.
Cheers and happy travels.