Things to do before traveling abroad
1. Check the validity of your passport
Before traveling to any country, first, check whether your Passport is valid. Most countries will state that your passport should at least have 6 months before its expiry date. Some others will require you to at least have 2 free visa pages in your passport for you to be granted entrance into their country.
To make sure your passport is valid according to the country you’re traveling to, check the consular website to see all the requirements about the passport.
2. Check the visa requirements
Among the things to do before traveling abroad is to check the visa requirements. For some countries, you might need to apply for a visa and to others, you might not if the country you’re traveling to exempts visas for the passport you hold. It might be an e-visa or a visa on arrival. The only way to find the exact visa you need is to check with the nearest embassy of the country you’re going to or check on their website for more details.
3. Inform your bank or credit card provider about your travels
Other than just informing your bank to pay out your bills, inform them that you’ll be traveling to a certain country. This will prevent your bank from freezing your credit cards in the assumption that someone is committing credit card fraud in another country. For some banks, it’s as easy a filling out a form online but if your bank doesn’t have that provision, call or email them to find out how best you can go about it.
4. Research the political and security situation of the country
It would be such a shame to go into a country with political turmoil all over the place. So instead of running into a chaotic and most definitely insecure situation, research about the political situation of the country to judge whether you’ll be safe if you decide to go or you’ll have to reconsider your decision. This can be found out by watching international news on the TV or reading newspapers. Read this post to find out how to stay while traveling.
5. Check the vaccinations requirements
Even though this might not be a requirement for all countries, vaccinations are certainly required in some countries before you can be allowed to enter. The most common vaccination is usually the yellow fever vaccine, and you prove that you took the vaccine by owning a yellow fever card.
So, find out the types of vaccines needed in that country and get them before you go.
6. Research the cell and data plans of the country you’re traveling to
We all know roaming can be extremely expensive, so the option of roaming should be thrown out of the roof right now. The cheapest and advisable thing to do is to buy a local sim card with a prepaid data plan. With the changing world, many countries have started introducing prepaid sim cards for tourists which comes with a certain number of GBs (data), a number of text messages and prepaid minutes to call internationally.
So before you travel abroad, find out the cell and data plans for each service provider in that country, compare them and decide on one that gives the best value for your buck not forgetting the coverage of that network.
7. Check if you need an international driving Permit.
If you plan to drive in a foreign country, it’s better to out find if you need an international driving permit commonly known as the IDP. Different countries have different rules concerning this, so find out and see what’s required of you before you go. Almost all countries recognize the IDP, all you have to do is apply for it and pay a small fee.
Find out more on how to get an International driving permit from the official International Driving permit website to avoid buying a fake permit.
8. Get travel insurance
Travel insurance is one of the essential things to bring when traveling abroad. In some cases, credits cards come with insurance, but if not, then buy one which covers health, theft, canceled flights and any other aspect that you deem necessary.
9. Register with your government
This may not be a requirement for some countries but if your government has a provision of registering nationals that are traveling out of the country, then do it.
This helps have a larger body look out for you if God forbid something were to go wrong hence putting in place a safety measure.
Related post: How to stay safe while traveling
10. Check the local currency and how it trades with your home currency
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects that should be on your checklist for traveling internationally! It is important to know how the currency of the country you’re traveling to trades with your home currency- It helps you plan for the activities and how much you’ll need to be able to have a fulfilling trip.
11. Check the weight requirements of your airline
If you don’t want surprises when you reach the airport and you have to pay more money because of the extra weight, then its better to check the weight requirement with your airline before you even start packing.
You can buy this travel scale to help you weigh your luggage so that it doesn’t exceed the weight requirement
12. Download apps required for that specific country
Aside from the general travel apps that can work in literally all countries, there are apps that were strictly developed for a particular country and are bound to make your trip easier. So before you travel internationally, download the apps you’ll need for that country. There are so many blog posts on the internet with different apps needed in each country- just make sure you read them to know which apps to download.
Related post: Free Travel apps that work offline
13. Pre-pay your bills or have them scheduled out
There is nothing as bad as going back home from your trip and find out that you’re in trouble because of some bills that you didn’t pay while you were away. To avoid all this and the inconveniences it comes with, pay your bills prior to your trip. If you pay rent, pay it in advance or make a standing order with your bank to pay it out directly while you’re out of the country.
14. Get the medication you need as prescribed by your doctor
Other than just getting a vaccine that is mandatory to the country you’re visiting, if you have any illness, make sure you consult your doctor for prescriptions so that you can have the medicine you need before you travel abroad.
The good news is that TSA (Transportation Security Administration) allows medication in a carry on as long as you follow the rules. For example, Solid medication is allowed in the carryon without any limit in quantity, however, liquid medication has a limit of ounces you can carry. So before you travel abroad with the medication, find out all the information about flying with medication from here.
15. Book your hotel at least for the first few nights
It is so exhausting to reach a new country and start struggling to find where to stay. No one wants to go through all that after hours of flying.
So make sure you book your hotel in advance to kick off your trip in high spirits.
16. Get a solution for your emails
If you’re going for a vacation where you want to disconnect from all hustles of life including receiving emails, then find a solution for it before you go.
You can set up an autoresponder to let the person sending know that you’re away and how far long they will need to wait to get in touch with you. Or you can set a redirect to make sure all your important emails get redirected to someone else so that urgent issues are worked upon.
17. Get a solution for your mailbox.
This normally happens when you plan to be away from your home for quite a long time. So instead of having mails sit in your mailbox for long, why not redirect all your mails to a trusted friend or family. This way if there is something urgent or perishable, they can deal with it.
18. Make an itinerary
Before you travel out of the country, find out the activities you’ll be doing and come up with an itinerary. Even though sometimes plans change a bit as you travel, an itinerary helps you stay organized and keep you on track as you travel.
This doesn’t mean you should forget about being spontaneous if something fun comes up- just go for it, why not?
19. Research public transportation
The means of Public transportation differs from country to country, so find out how good/ bad public transportation is in the country you’re traveling to. This will help you decide on how best you can navigate through the country.
In addition to this, find out the means of getting from the airport to your hotel. You can arrange for an airport pick up with the hotel or plan to just grab a cab from the airport.
20. Check the weather conditions
It is always a good practice to know what the weather is before you go. This will help you decide on which activities to do and the clothes to pack for that specific weather. It would be such a shame if you carried summer clothes only to find out that it is pretty cold.
21. Do extensive research about the destination
This is probably one of the most powerful things to do before traveling abroad. There is so much information on the internet that will give you an idea of the country your visiting.
Start by finding out the major tourist destinations, highly recommended restaurants to eat at, customs and culture, appropriate dress code and so many other things.
22. Learn a few words and phrases of the local language
I am personally terrible at learning new languages but every time I am traveling to a new country, I try to learn a few common words and phrases beforehand. This won’t just make you more confident traveling in that country but even locals will be more friendly to you given the fact that you made an effort to learn a few words in their language.
23. Research common tourist scams in the country
Most scams that happen in any country always target tourists. So not to fall a victim, do research about the common tourists’ traps and how to avoid them.
24. Print out your travel documents
This is a safety measure that should be put in place in case you were to lose your original documents. I mean try to protect your travel documents with your life but in instances where you lose them, at least you have where to start from with the photocopies.
25. Find out what you can bring in that country
Before you travel, research on what is acceptable/unacceptable to bring in that country. This ranges from country to country as each country has different laws that govern it. So instead of assuming that since a certain item is allowed in your country, it is automatically allowed in another country. This could be alcohol, a certain type of medication or anything else. Just make sure you know what you can’t bring before you go.
With that international travel checklist, I am now confident that you know all the things to do before traveling abroad.
Is there anything else that you do before traveling overseas? Let me know in the comment section and I will add it to my personal travel checklist.
More Travel tips to help you travel better.
- Tips on how to travel on a budget
- Tips for packing light
- Weekend packing list
- Tips for first-time flyers
- How to survive a long flight
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