First thing you should do is check your destination’s tourist requirements. Are you required to fill out any paperwork prior to your trip, purchase a visa, or get any vaccinations? Be sure you bring all the proper certificates and documentation to customs—with extra copies.
Next, be sure your passport is up to date. If it’s time to renew, do it well in advance or you could wind up paying an additional $60 for expedited service.
Do you need travel insurance or will you be driving a car while you’re abroad? If so, check with your auto insurance provider about international rental car coverage and be certain your driver’s license is qualified for international driving. Research travel insurance companies to be sure you’re getting the best coverage AND the best price.
If you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, be sure you arrange for all your bills to be paid on time. Most service providers and major credit cards allow you to schedule payments in advance. If you aren’t able to do this, write post-dated checks and ask a friend to mail them out for you. Also, be sure to enable an auto response on email so people know when to expect a reply once you’ve returned.
Check your cell phone to see if you’re able to make calls internationally and if so, what the charges will be. If you have a smart phone, you may want to disable data services while abroad. If your cell phone won’t work internationally, be sure to bring a calling card. If you’re bringing your laptop (or if you have a supported mobile device), download a service like Skype, which allows you to make international calls from your computer for about ten cents a minute.
Make sure you purchase the proper travel adaptor for your electrical devices (including your cell phone charger). Every country uses a different wattage so you’ll need to purchase an adaptor that also converts the wattage to the proper amount.
Bring copies of hotel or any other reservation confirmations you may have and your flight itinerary. Provide copies of these to a friend or relative as well, so someone is aware of where you’ll be at all times.
If you’ll be hiking or spending any time outdoors, pack the essentials: water purification tablets, first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellant, etc. Also, don’t forget to pack any medications you’ll need.
Weigh your luggage and check your airline provider for restrictions and fees. Before you leave, empty your refrigerator, unplug your appliances and adjust your thermostats.
There’s a lot to remember before you travel abroad… not the least of which is a camera! You want your trip to be safe and memorable, so take precautions early on and you won’t have to scramble to gather the essentials.
Did we miss something on your international travel checklist? Let us know in the comments below!