Things To Do Before Your International Trip
International trips are fun and exciting, but there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done after you book those plane tickets! Follow our to do list to make sure you have everything taken care of before you go!
Check your passport validity
Most countries will not allow entry if your passport expires less than 6 months after your departure date, so be sure to check your passport's expiry date! You should also be sure to have at least one full page available.
Apply for a visa, if necessary
It’s important to know if you'll require a visa when you arrive. Check with the official government customs and immigration website of your destination to know if you need a visa. These official websites will also tell you how to obtain one and what to present upon arrival.
Check for travel advisories
This could be anything… Weather advisories, terrorist threats, health threats. If there is an advisory, it doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn’t go on your trip, but it is important to know what’s going on and what to look out for.
Contact your bank
Let your bank know the dates that you will be overseas. This way your card won’t stop working all of the sudden, due to fraud protection. This could literally save you hours on the phone overseas to your bank, potentially overnight, depending on the time difference!
Turn off your cellular data
To avoid roaming charges, turn off cellular data before landing at your destination. You can still connect to wifi without cellular data turned on. If you purchase a SIM card overseas, assuming your phone is unlocked, all you have to do is turn cellular data back on and you’ll be connected to your holiday provider.
Contact the post office
If you are going away for longer than a business week, contact your post office to hold your mail while you are away.
Handle your finances
If you have bills that will be due during your trip, pay them off before you go to avoid any late fees.
Make copies of your passport
Make two copies of your passport. One to leave at home with a family member or trusted friend, and another to carry with you, separate to where you usually keep your passport.
If you are heading somewhere that requires up to date shots, be sure to get them well in advance. Most doctors recommend getting vaccinated at least 4-6 weeks before your trip, as it takes some vaccines time to become effective. Also, if you’re heading to Southeast Asia, Africa, South America (any malaria zone), be sure to get those pills well ahead of your trip. Doxycycline requires you to start taking it 2 weeks before you depart.
If you require prescription medication, especially if it is a necessity, be sure to have your doctor write up a letter. This will help avoid any issues with customs. Also, pack some OTC pain medications, cold and flu pills, and travelan, just incase you encounter an unexpected sickness on your trip.
Buy travel insurance
Travel insurance is one of those things we tend to forget about until the last minute. Most health insurance providers do not cover overseas trips, so check with your insurance provider first. Emergency medical care, evacuation, trip interruptions, lost or stollen goods can all be covered on travel insurance, depending on who you choose.
Remember your electronics
The electrical outlets will likely be different to those yours home. For starters, you will need to buy an adapter that converts your prongs to your destinations prongs. It is possible to purchase a multi-prong adapter, and this is something worth considering if you are doing a lot of travel. Also, if you are using an Apple laptop, you can simply purchase a World Traveler Adapter Kit. This will give you the ability to replace just the prong from your existing charger. This will really help when it comes to the computer chargers that sometimes can’t hang on to the adapter in the wall.
Know the name & address of your hotel
It’s not good for anyone to finally make it up to the immigration officer without having your form filled out because your accommodation reservation is on your phone, which you aren’t able to access because you do not have service. Take a screenshot of your reservation, print it out, write it down... anything to make sure that you can fill out your customs and immigration form and give the officer the correct information they require.
Have a departing flight booked
To avoid any issues with immigration, it is best to have a flight out of the country. Most visas only allow a certain amount of time, and immigration officers like to know when you will be leaving.
Research how to get from the airport to your hotel
Simply know what to do when you get off the plane. Your hotel will most likely be able to help you with this, and they may even provide a car service! Nonetheless, at least have an idea if you will take a taxi, public transport, or a shuttle service.
Have local cash on arrival
Before your trip, exchange some cash into the local currency of your destination. It saves you hassle after you land and clear customs. You tend to pay a higher exchange rate at the airport, and there aren’t always ATMs at arrivals. Plus, if you get into a cab or onto public transport that does not accept credit card, then will be in trouble!
Learn a few key phrases before you go
If you are heading somewhere that speaks a different language, take 5 minutes to learn the basics. Hello, yes, no and thank you go a long way.
Download tv shows, movies, books & apps
Download anything you may want for the duration of your stay (or at least a good chunk of it). One, you will want something to keep you busy on the plane, and two, there is no guarantee that your first hotel will have great internet!
Check your packing list
Consult your packing list and be sure to have all of your necessities! See our Packing Essentials post to make sure you have the most important items.