Many people forget several important details when they’re preparing for a trip abroad. Having a successful and stress-free trip comes down to careful planning—these preparation tips for international travel will ensure you don’t overlook anything.
1. Research the Destination
Once you’ve booked your travel accommodations, it’s time for some research. You’ll need to research a few things before the trip. Check to see if you’ll need any vaccines and that your passport is up to date. In addition, don’t forget to pack clothes according to the climate—you’d pack a lot differently for a trip to Iceland than you would for a trip to Guatemala.
2. Prepare Your Health
Doctors strongly suggest that travelers update their vaccinations before going abroad. In addition, accidents can happen, so check with your insurance company and see whether your plan covers international emergencies. When you’re traveling, always keep extra bottled water with you—some countries don’t have safe drinking water, which is one of most common culprits of illness (traveler’s diarrhea, etc.)among tourists.
3. Keep Safety in Mind
One of the most important preparation tips for international travel is to have a photocopy of your passport just in case it gets stolen, lost, or damaged. Your passport is really your only form of identification once you leave the United States, so keep it safe. In addition, you’ll need to have some understanding of any unsafe areas you should avoid. Tourists are among the most targeted people when it comes to identity theft from RFID scanners and pickpockets, so have RFID blocking in your wallet and bags.
4. Get Your Finances in Order
If you’ve traveled internationally before, then you know you need to get your money sorted out. The majority of foreign countries won’t accept U.S. dollars as payment, so you’ll need to get your hands on that country’s currency. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Use an ATM once you’re at your destination.
- Talk to your bank before you leave. Many banks can get foreign currency for you.
- Transfer foreign money directly to your bank using a currency conversion website.
Whatever option you choose, talking to your bank should be your first step for two main reasons. First, some banks have few to no international transaction fees, while other banks have relatively high fees for international use. Secondly, if your bank doesn’t know you left the country, but they begin seeing international charges on your account, there’s a good chance they’ll lock your card.
5. Prepare Your Tech Essentials
We can’t live without technology anymore, so you’ll have to keep several factors in mind when you’re prepping for your trip. First, check that your cell phone plan includes international use—if it doesn’t, you could have a rather shocking bill the following month. Additionally, many countries have different outlets than the United States does, so be sure to get an international power adapter to charge your electronics. (Also, check out our power adapter socket guide to make sure you choose the right one!)
Lastly, you probably don’t get the chance to travel internationally every day, so bring a camera!
A lot of planning goes into any big trip, but going international adds a few additional steps. Before your trip abroad, you should contact your doctor about vaccines and let your bank know you’ll be going out of the country. In addition, you’ll need to do some destination research to plan a safe trip and get some extra tech essentials.
For more like this guide on preparation tips for international travel, visit our ultimate list of travel tips, and have yourself a safe trip!