Preparing for an international trip can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. On the one hand, you’re about to embark on an adventure that will leave you with lifelong memories. On the other hand, getting ready isn’t always as fun—especially if you’re traveling long-term. But one misstep during the pre-departure stage could negatively impact your trip. No matter what type of trip you’re going on, preparation is key. Here are a few great pre-departure trips for traveling abroad:
Use Packing Apps
Packing for an international trip is something of an art. And you never want to get to your destination and realize that you’ve left something crucial behind. Even when you think you’ve got it all down packed in your head, it’s natural to forget something. Take advantage of technology by downloading useful packing apps. PackPoint, Packr, and the Vane are all great options to choose from.
Call Your Bank & Credit Card Companies
Your bank and credit card companies will need to know where you’re traveling and when. This way, they don’t flag your card for fraud. If your card is flagged while you’re abroad, you could have serious issues trying to fix it. Call the appropriate companies to set a travel a travel alert, and let them know which dates you’re traveling. This will prevent you from being unable to use your cards when you need it most.
Order Foreign Currency from Your Bank
One of the most cost-effective ways to take out foreign currency is to order it directly from your bank in advance. Currency exchange booths will almost always take a fee for the exchange, some more than others. Airport currency exchange booths are notorious for their outrageous fees, although many travelers don’t realize this. For example, when you exchange dollars for euros at an airport kiosk like Travelex, you could end up paying 27% more.
Whether you’re taking a short international trip from one European country to another, or taking a 12 hour international trip from New York to Dubai, you can never go wrong with the right snacks. Airport snack prices are grossly inflated, and many airlines charge for decent snackboxes. To save yourself some money and to enable yourself to eat the foods that you want to eat, bring your own snacks. Green tea chocolate can satisfy your sweet tooth—not to mention the benefits associated with it; chocolate is known to increase serotonin and endorphins. Granola bars, nuts, and trail mixes are all great options. The key is to take a snack that’s light and versatile, and doesn’t get you messy.
Buy Travel Insurance
Even if you’re going on a short vacation, travel insurance is necessary. Going without it could be a huge mistake. Travel medical insurance will cover any complications that occur while you’re abroad, and for this reason, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And unfortunately, there are many medical horror stories about people who have traveled without health insurance.
Purchasing health insurance could certainly be a lifesaver. One Australian family nearly found themselves $700,000 in debt when their young daughter had to be evacuated by helicopter after her lung collapse. But because they had paid for a $180 health insurance plan, every penny was covered.
See The Doctor
Before you start booking flights, head over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to find the vaccination requirements and other health information necessary for you travel destination. If the country you’re traveling to does require or recommend certain vaccinations, you should get them several weeks ahead of time. The CDC website will also provide helpful information on any health risks concerning food and water in a particular country.
Additionally, some prescription drugs are illegal in other countries, and you’ll want to double check whether you’re carrying those prescriptions. As a traveler, it’s up to you to do your due diligence. Research the regulations of your destination country.
Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Japan are known for being quite strict, for example. In the UAE, you are not permitted to travel with a drug like Xanax without a notarized prescription and authenticated permit from your home state. If your prescriptions will not be an issue, be sure to pack enough for the duration of the trip, and take them with you in your carry-on. You should always have copies of your prescription as well.