How to Prep for International Travel

Traveling abroad provides a fantastic opportunity for experiencing new cultures and seeing the various wonders of the world. Even so, making travel arrangements and trying to plan for the many things that could possibly go wrong can be a little intimidating. By taking some tips and suggestions into consideration, you may be able to avoid the hassles that can interfere with your good time.

Prepare Your Documentation in Advance

As soon as your travel plans are set, you should begin assembling your documents and renewing those that have expired. This means making sure your passport has been renewed within the past six months. Additionally, consider applying for the Global Entry card, which can help you get through the security checkpoints with greater efficiency. The card doesn’t just help you get through TSA checkpoints in the U.S. faster. It also helps speed your waiting time in customs and immigration lines at international airports.

Credit Card Usage

Before you leave, notify your credit card issuers that you’ll be traveling outside of the country and to expect unusual transactions. This can help avoid having your card blocked for suspicious activity, when you need it most. You may also want to consider getting a special credit card just for use on your vacation. Most credit card companies charge a 3% fee on all transactions made outside of the U.S. Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card and the Platinum American Express card are two cards that don’t charge this fee.

Bring a Fully Supplied Medicine Kit

You should not expect to find the same products abroad that you can get at home and, if your destination is not a primarily English-speaking country, finding over the counter medication can be especially problematic. In addition to packing ear plugs and bandages, also supply your medicine bag with ibuprofen, antacids, cold and flu medicine, and any other OTC product you use normally. You should also contact your doctor about any prescriptions that may be running low. Refilling them in advance can save you problems abroad.

Dressing for Travel

Heading for an international destination means a longer flight, so wearing your best clothes probably isn’t a good idea. Try to avoid wearing anything restrictive, since you’ll probably be trying to sleep at some point during the flight. Even if it’s not cold at home, bring along a jacket for the flight. It can double as a pillow or blanket. It’s also a smart idea to layer your clothes, so they can be added or removed, depending on the temperature and weather conditions at your location. If possible, try to book an aisle seat, so you can get up and stretch your legs as well. Staying relaxed and comfortable aboard the flight can help reduce jet lag, once you arrive at your destination.

Bring Your Smartphone

It may be too costly for you to call home on your vacation, but that doesn’t mean your phone or other wifi enabled device won’t come in handy. There are many apps you can download to help you find the best dining deals, taxi services, bus routes, hotel accommodations, and area events. A trick you can use to avoid data roaming charges is to use the wifi in your hotel room to research things to do and search for driving directions. You can take screenshots of the directions and maps, which you can then use out on the road.

Bring Non-Perishable Snacks

Save your money for the dining experiences you really want to indulge in on your trip. For lunches and snacking, bring a supply of nuts, seeds, crackers, and other non-perishable items. This can curb your hunger and keep you from spending money on fast food in the airport terminals.
Visiting foreign lands can be an exciting experience, but it’s especially important to prepare in advance. You’ll be far from home and may not have access to the same luxuries that you enjoy at home. In addition to bringing along necessities and planning your trip as meticulously as possible, it may also be worthwhile to invest in travel insurance. This can help you protect the money you spend on flights and hotel accommodations, as well as ensuring you’ll be taken care of in the event of a medical emergency. Going prepared in this way will help you relax and enjoy a worry-free trip.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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