Travelling internationally can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, if you have no idea where to start, it can be quite overwhelming. If this is you, you are in the right place! Below is a complete step by step guide on how to prepare for your international trip.
THE BIG STUFF
Passport: Make sure you have at least 3 months (preferably 6) validity left, as well as a couple of blank pages left.
Visas: Check if you will need a visa for the country you are visiting. Make sure you check this well in advance, as visas can take several weeks to process. If you will need a visa on arrival, carry the required amount of cash as well as a few passport photographs with you.
Travel Advisory: Are there any travel advisories issued for the country you are planning to visit? Check this and plan accordingly.
Immunisations: If you are travelling to a region with malaria, yellow fever or any other such diseases, you will want to get the required shots/booster doses before you travel abroad. Click here to check out the CDC website and see what you need.
The fun stuff: Book your hotels and any tours you want to go on. Explore Pinterest, Instagram and travel blogs for inspiration. Get excited for all the amazing places and cool experiences!
Copy important documents: Leave copies important documents such as your passport with someone you trust. Having copies will make replacing any lost documents so much easier. You can also email them to yourself or put them in a password protected folder in a cloud storage system.
Travel insurance: It’s better to have it and not need it rather than the other way around.
Get local currency: Generally you get the best rates by ordering through your bank, or by withdrawing money at an ATM at your destination. Double check if you will incur any charges if you use your card abroad. While you are at it, make sure you have a rough idea of what the currency exchange rate is, so you don’t get a huge bill and a nasty shock when you return.
Getting around: If you plan on renting a car and driving in another country, check if your license is valid. Quite often you might have to apply for an international driving license. If you plan on using public transport at your destination, downloading route planning apps can be extremely helpful!
Connectivity: Double check with your carrier if your phone will work at your destination, and if this also applies to data. High roaming charges might mean that is cheaper to buy a prepaid sim card at your destination, especially for longer trips.
Electronics: Most electronics like phones and laptops these days can work on dual voltage. However, things like hairdryers and curling irons might not. Be sure to check if the voltage rating on your gadgets is compatible with the output at your destination. It is also highly likely that you will need a plug converter, which can be easily purchased on Amazon. I highly recommend getting a universal adapter like this one, which works in multiple countries.
Bills: Pay off any bills or set up recurring payments so you don’t have to worry about it while you are away.
Also read : Tips for visiting Mexico for the first time
THE OFTEN FORGOTTEN
Order medications: This one is especially true if you are going on a longer trip. Refill any prescriptions and have enough of any medication to last your entire trip plus a few days. It may be a hassle to get exactly what you need overseas, so it’s best to be prepared. And make sure to pack it in your carry on.
Notify your bank: The last thing you want is your card being declined because your bank thought that lovely handmade scarf you were trying to buy is a suspicious transaction. Let your bank know your travel dates and destination. Most banks will let you do this online, so there is no reason not to!
Pack light: You need a lot less than you think you do. If you happen to forget anything, they do sell sunscreen, umbrellas and phone chargers in other countries too. And always pack comfortable shoes!
Brush up on the local etiquette: Gestures that are common where you live might be considered impolite somewhere else. Avoid unintentionally offending people by learning a bit about the local customs before you go. A great resource for this is Culture Crossing Guide.
Learn a few words of the local language: While Google translate is an excellent resource to have on your phone, knowing a few simple words (especially “thank you”) can go a surprisingly long way. By making this small effort, you are much more likely to connect with the people who live there; and isn’t that really what travel is all about?
Most importantly keep an open mind! With travel delays, taking a wrong turn, or crowded tourist spots, travel can get stressful. But finding that hidden gem might turn out to be your favourite memory of the entire trip!
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