Are you the spontaneous type that is so excited for your traveling adventures to begin that you don’t properly research the foreign lands that you are about to embark on an adventure to? I am “THAT” guy who doesn’t want an itinerary or detailed schedules getting in the way of the of type of adventures that I want to have unfold before me… However, there is a line of common sense that even the most adventurous of travelers need to prep for.
International Travel Preparations Tips Everyone Should Be Aware Of
- What is your state of health? – You may not be as young as you used to be, and the hiking expeditions you have envisioned in your head may no longer be a reality. Be honest with yourself and what you can handle. Have you checked your health insurance to see if you are covered with other countries? What about emergency services? Maybe they won’t cover you for diseases (like Dengue Fever for instance) that are more prevalent in the tropical paradise that you are wanting to go to. If you aren’t covered adequately by your insurance, you will want to check out the travelers insurance policies that you can get when you arrive to the country you are going.
- Money – Can you afford where you are going for the entire duration of your stay. Your trip will likely cost more than what you think that it will. You will experience unexpected costs and there really isn’t a way to get around this. If you have your dollars stretched (or whatever currency you use) to the limit, you may run into some problems. You do not want to be without money in a foreign country. How far will your currency even go?
- Will the country you are going to accept your credit cards? I took a trip to the Philippines and my American Express card was essentially useless. There were VERY few places that accepted American Express. Fortunately I had a Visa just in case. Does your credit card charge you international fees? Maybe you need to consider getting a credit card that’s not going to charge you extra every time you use it… It will add up fast… unless you want to make the unwise decision to carry large amounts of cash (not smart.. don’t do this!)
- You will want to get most of your “cash” from the ATM machine. However, where you withdrawal cash from makes a big difference. Find out the places that will give you the best conversion rates. Using an actual bank, malls or other secure locations are likely to give you the best rates. The moment you get off the plane at the airport you will see plenty of ATM machines, but your not going to get a very good deal at airports.
- Notify your credit card company about your trip! I can’t stress this enough.. Do this twice in the coming days or weeks to make sure they have it right. I was in the Philippines and my Visa debit card was declined at 2AM in the morning. Fortunately, it was 3PM back in America and I was able to get in contact with them. I notified my bank that I was leaving before I left and I STILL had my card blocked after it worked fine the first few days.
- Check out what fees you will have to pay when you enter and leave countries. You get charged when your coming as well as when you are going. Each country and airport has their own set of rules. Do some preparation so you know about the extra expense that will be coming out of your travel budget.
- Have your doctor fill an extra prescription for you before you leave… Most doctors will work with you if you tell them about your trip abroad. You don’t want to run out of your medication when you are abroad. My last international travel adventure I had planned to come for two months. I requested to my doctor to fill 3 months worth of medication. This wasn’t a problem at all. I had the security that if a bottle got stolen or lost I still had my reserve..
- Don’t “burn up” your electronic devices.. I roasted my electric toothbrush because I forgot that the voltage was higher in the Philippines than what it was back in the U.S. Smart phones and/or laptops will work fine at either these days, but you still need voltage adapters for electric shavers, hair dryers and appliances of that sort.
- Set your smart phone to not allow “roaming charges”.. This way you don’t have to worry about unexpected roaming charges. If you aren’t ina WIFI location, your phone won’t allow you to call or text. If you need to make that phone or text then you should activate your phone’s global capability options. It is cheaper than just incurring roaming charges!
- Bring snacks for the airport layovers. Instead of paying for overpriced airport food, bring some snacks in your carry-on luggage that will tide you over between flights.
These are just some of the travel preparation tips that you should consider before your next international vacation. Be sure to like “Travel Without A Map” on Facebook for more tips and recommendations. You will get the added pleasure of experiencing me and my wife’s world travel experiences along the way 🙂