Any veteran traveler knows that preparation for a trip abroad should start long before take off. Stay on track with these top 10 travel tips for before you ever leave home.
1. Travel Insurance – As the age old expression goes better safe than sorry. I try to avoid thinking negatively as I believe negative thoughts attract negative energy, but at the end of the day anything can happen while abroad. Although some things are unplanned and/or unavoidable travel insurance is a safety net that will make you feel secure when the unexpected occurs. Picture this, your frolicking on the beach in a far away country miles from home blah blah something. Still not convinced, read Travel Resources: Why is Travel Insurance Important?
2. Order the Local Currency – Avoid long lines and lower exchange rates at the airport and order currency in advance.
3. Set Travel Notices – Be sure to set travel notices with all of your banks and credit cards in advance. At some point during your trip chances are very high that you will run out of the local currency and will either have to charge something on your credit/debit card or withdraw funds from your checking account at a local ATM. In both of these scenarios it would be necessary to have given your bank advanced notice of your travel, otherwise they will block any transactions made overseas and flag them as suspicious activity. Trust me, the last thing you want is to be a million miles away from home with no cash, and without use of your debit and credit cards.
4. Research – I don’t like going into any situation blind. Although you don’t have to plan every detail of the trip in advance and should leave room for spontaneity, it is a good idea to make note of what you really want to see or do and make sure you manage your time. It’s also important to research the country prior to arriving so you are familiar with the customs, language, transit system, etcetera. If you have friends who have previously visited the same location reach out to ask for any advice, suggestions, recommendations or tips.
5. Book Activities in Advance – If you have something in particular you want to see or do make sure you don’t miss out due to poor planning. Popular activities/attractions will book up fast, so whenever possible buy tickets in advance.
6. Learn simple phrases of the local language – It’s good to familiarize yourself with your destination’s language and what I’ve noticed is the locals appreciate the effort, even if it’s just hello and thank you. Not sure what phrases to learn, read Travel Tips: 10 Simple Phrases To Learn In The Local Language
7. Passports and Visas – Always check the tourism policies for each country you are visiting, some will require special visa’s which you will need to obtain in advance. Also be aware of the expiration date on your passport, if it is within a couple of months there may also be travel restrictions depending on your destination.
8. Medical Vaccinations – There are different recommended vaccinations for every country, and most doctors suggest to be vaccinated at least 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
9. Photocopy Travel Documents – Make sure your passport is always in a safe place while travelling, but just in case keep photocopies of your travel documents in your carry-on.
10. Enroll with the Smart Traveler Program – If a US Citizen, or the equivalent program with your national embassy.