In today’s post, I’d like to share my top 15 things to consider when traveling abroad.
As I see it, everyone should experience travel to another country in their lifetime. Some of the benefits of traveling abroad include:
- Learn about other cultures
- Taste new cuisines
- See beautiful and amazing sites
- Meet new, interesting people
- Build lifelong memories
However, before you plan your first trip to travel abroad, there are some things to consider. That’s what I will cover in detail in the paragraphs below.
15 Things to Consider When Traveling Abroad
Here are the top 15 things to consider when traveling abroad.
# 1: Passports & Visas
This must be an absolute top of the list consideration. Getting your passport and visa renewed and updated can be not only somewhat frustrating, but time consuming too.
Keep in mind that the majority of countries require that your passport is valid for six months after your return date.
It can take up to six weeks for a passport application gets processed so do not procrastinate.
Thanks to the pandemic, the time to get a passport renewed is 18 weeks. It’s 12 weeks for expedited service, which costs $60 more. According to the U.S. State Department, “In-person appointments at our Passport Agencies are extremely limited. We are prioritizing customers who must travel internationally within 72 hours due to a qualified life-or-death emergency. If you need this service, you must call us at 877-487-2778.” ~ Johnny Jet.com
# 2: Vaccinations
It is wise to visit your doctor and tell them where you are traveling and to make sure you have all vaccinations you may require. Also make sure that you have renewals on any medications you need.
When traveling to another country be aware your doctor may not carry a travel vaccine and you may have to visit a medical clinic.
Many travel vaccines require multiple shots or take time to become fully effective. But some multiple-dose vaccines (like hepatitis A) can still give you partial protection after just one dose. Some can also be given on an “accelerated schedule,” meaning doses are given in a shorter period of time. ~ CDC.gov
# 3: Read & Study For Safety And Security
It is wise to check for travel advisories and alerts. You can find those at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html
You should also know entry and exit requirements, local laws, customs, and driving safety. The more you learn ahead of time, the better your trip will be.
# 4: S.T.E.P.
First and foremost, you should have the addresses and phone numbers of American embassies or consulates in the countries you are traveling to. To make this even better, enroll in the free program called S.T.E.P. (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). This way, the embassy will know you are there.
# 5: Flight Prices
You should start early searching for the best deals on flights. Sometimes it can take a lot of stress off if you just use a trusted travel agent to handle this particular area.
Among all the costs involved in travelling, air tickets can be the most expensive item which sometimes avoid you from planning a holiday. If you travel as a family with few family members, flight tickets can be a considerable amount. This is why you need to be smart and save money on your air tickets. You can easily use these savings to other travel expenses such as hotel rooms and attraction tickets making your holiday more meaningful. ~ Leisureandme.com
# 6: Bring Multiple Copies of Important Documents
You should have multiple copies (2) of every important document. This can help you if any of them get lost or stolen. Carry one set of copies with you in a separate area from the originals and leave one set of copies with loved ones who are not traveling with you.
If something does happen, you will have proof of the existence of those documents and it can speed up the replacement process. You can also digitize some of these documents and save them on a USB drive, or to the cloud.
# 7: Do Carry Some Cash
While many places overseas do accept credit and debit cards, especially if they have a chip, it is still a good idea to carry some cash for any emergency situations. And when I say cash, make sure it is local money; your dollar bills probably won’t be accepted.
If you are ever given the opportunity to charge your purchase abroad in U.S. dollars, decline. In fact, you should insist that you be charged in the local currency. So-called dynamic currency conversion not only offers lousy exchange rates, but it also includes hidden fees, and your own credit card will charge you its own foreign-transaction fee on top of the cost of the purchase. In effect, you will be paying double the fees and getting a bad exchange to boot. You might pay a 10% premium for a purchase. ~ Fodors.com
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# 8: Purchase Adapter Plugs
The United States is somewhat unique with the type of electrical outlets we have compared to Europe and other places overseas. Before you travel internationally, you will want to research what type of outlets are used in the location you are visiting, and purchase adapters that will allow your electronic items to work.
# 9: Insurance
Before you travel overseas you should check with your insurance carrier and make sure you are covered medically while traveling out of the country. You may want to discuss travel insurance to ensure you are covered under any emergencies.
Nobody wants to pay for added expenses after splurging on a vacation, but a trip to the hospital overseas could leave you on the hook for a medical bill in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Each year, there are countless headlines about Canadians who’ve run up exorbitant medical bills while on vacation without travel insurance. Even a quick jaunt across the border to shop or catch a ballgame carries the risk of a crippling expense — and while your provincial health insurance may reimburse you for a small portion of the cost, your coverage is capped at the provincial fee limits for the treatment you received, if that treatment is covered at all. ~ Sunlife.ca
# 10: Contact Your Credit Card Company & Bank
I remember the second time I tried to use my card when I first came to Puerto Rico and I was denied. Why? My bank had no idea I was here and assumed someone had gotten my credit card number and was using it. It took several days and about a jar of Tylenol to overcome that problem.
Don’t go through what I did. Contact the banks and/or credit card companies beforehand so they know you are the person using the card in the country you travel to.
# 11: If Your Children Are With You
If you are traveling with your children, make sure you have documents that show you are the parent. Bring a copy of their birth certificate.
# 12: IDP
Many countries will not recognize a United States driver’s license. It is wise to just get an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Getting an IDP — a real one — is easy. Only certain organizations are authorized to sell the International Driving Permit. In most countries, the authorized seller is the national automobile association. In the United States, that would be AAA, and in Canada it’s CAA. You do not have to be a member of the automobile association to apply for an IDP. You can just pop in and take care of things in a very short amount of time, with no appointment necessary. ~ Travelawaits.com
# 13: Pack For The Weather
It is a good idea to check the weather where you are traveling to and also research past weather conditions during that season. Pack accordingly. You probably will not want shorts if it is snowing. With that being said, don’t overpack. You can buy additional clothes at your final destination if you need to.
# 14: Learn Some Of The Language Basics
Knowing some words such as bathroom, hotel, embassy, money, and food in the native language is wise. I love an app called Duolingo that can help you learn basic, intermediate, and even expert language levels.
Use your social network to determine if any friends know a native Spanish or Russian speaker, for example, or if anyone is in touch with an expat who is new to your city. Sometimes these types of people may be looking for a native English (or other) speaker with whom to practice on the regular.
This is a free way to make a new friend and to also learn about the culture of another country from a person who is from that place. These days, when we head to a new city, I immediately join Facebook groups for expats, travelers and language exchange meetups. ~ HalfHalfTravel.com
# 15: Carry Extra Toilet Paper
If you find yourself in one of those moments when you will have to drop some change in and use a public Water Closet (Restroom), you probably will not see any toilet paper. It is just smart to carry some with you everywhere.
In conclusion, these are my top 15 things to consider when traveling abroad. Just use common sense and you will do just fine.
Travel and enjoy yourself without having unneeded stress. Just follow these tips and you will have a fantastic trip. What are your thoughts? What things do you think someone should consider when traveling abroad? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.