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5 things everyone forgets to do before an international trip

5 things everyone forgets to do before an international trip

Are you ready for your trip? My response on my first few trips was, “uhh, maybe…” If you’re like me, you may feel a little unsure if you’ve thought of everything.

Of course, you need to figure out bookings, a different currency, and a new language, but what else? When you’ve got a million things to do, it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks.

After planning countless trips of my own, and helping my clients plan theirs, I’ve learned a thing or two. I compiled for you the top 5 things everyone forgets to do before an international trip. We’ll cover a simple checklist plus all the questions you may not even know to ask.

#1 Triple check your passport and visa

Before you hit the “Book It” button, be sure to check your passport expiration date. And then check it again….and again to be sure. The last thing you want is to show up at the airport with an expired passport.

If you don’t have a passport yet, or you need to renew yours get started on that today. The process usually takes 6-8 weeks, but can take longer so plan ahead. If you waited until the last minute, you can pay extra for a rush order and get a passport in as little as 48 hours.

More things to remember…

  • For some countries your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your arrival date. Others ask for a certain number of empty pages.
  • A good safety measure is to save a digital copy of your passport  in case you lose it while abroad.

If you are traveling out of the country it is important that you confirm if you need a visa to travel. Your visa is your permission slip that says, yes you’re allowed to visit and you can stay for up to this long. Check this early, in case you need to apply and get approval for a visa.

A few countries where you may need a visa in advance of arrival are:

  • India
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Nepal

For entry visas, check with your local embassy or state department. Some visas are available to buy on arrival, others you need to buy in advance and that can take days or weeks.

#2 Check for immunization requirements

Several regions of the world have recommended travel vaccinations. If you’re visiting tropical areas or will be around animals on your trip you may need some shots.

Some countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa have recommended vaccines. Check with your doctor or a travel clinic to see if you need any. You can also check the Center for Disease Control website for more info.

Common vaccines that I’ve had are for yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A and malaria. It’s an easy process, but many forget this step.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time since it can take up to 4-6 weeks for vaccines to take full effect. And budget for these, as health insurance may not cover voluntary travel immunizations.

This is also a good time to get any prescriptions, prophylactics or birth control you may need for your trip.

#3 Notify your bank and credit card company

Credit cards and debit cards are the easiest way to access and protect your money when you travel. A good combination to carry is two different debit cards and one credit card.

To avoid a fiasco, always alert your bank that you will be traveling. They may flag international purchases as suspicious activity and freeze your card. This used to happen to me all the time. I once forgot to tell my bank I was going to Paris. After paying for dinner the waitress came back with an awkward note to tell me my card was declined. Whomp, whomp.  

Be sure to tell your bank when and where you’ll be traveling. This will prevent your card from getting flagged or frozen from a fraud alert. The nice thing is, most banks allow you to add a travel notification in their online banking portal.

Remember, even if you’ll be spending cash, having a credit card is a good backup plan. Find out if your card charges international transaction fees. This way you can plan for those fees or get a new card. Your card may also include travel benefits like travel or rental car insurance. If you get perks like these, be sure to book your travel with this card to reap all the rewards.

#4 Download useful travel apps

There are hundreds of great travel apps out there that can help make your trip easier.

Apps like Duolingo and Nemo can help you learn basic words and phrases. Google Translate and Jibbigo allow you to translate between two speakers. And remember to download a few to keep you occupied on the plane!

A few of my favorites travel apps:

The other reason apps are great is because they ease you into a new city. Arriving in a new country is exhilarating and a little scary. You can make that introduction a lot easier by having an arrival plan.

Key things to decide are:

  • Where are you staying the first night
  • How are you getting from the airport to your accommodation
  • Where you are going to get local money from when you arrive  

Apps can help with all these things. From using Uber to find a ride to you hotel, to getting a last minute stay with HotelTonight. And, a banking app can help you find an ATM or check currency conversions.

#5 Get travel insurance

Imagine what happens if you’re sick in another country and need medical treatment…

What if you need to cancel your trip because you lose your job or someone in your family is in the hospital?

What do you do if your cruise cancels your trip and you spent money on non-refundable activities?

If you don’t have the right trip insurance, a dream holiday could turn into a nightmare.

Travel insurance, who needs it? EVERYONE.

Most health plans won’t cover you overseas. But for a few dollars a day you can have peace of mind. Plus you won’t get stuck with a giant hospital bill or lose all the money you’ve spent on your vacation.

Before you buy insurance check if your current medical coverage extends overseas. And check your credit cards to see if they offer trip cancellation insurance. Double check to see what is and is not covered in case there are holes you need to cover with more travel insurance.

Again this is a must! Do not skip this step.

Your travel insurance will also cover things like lost or delayed luggage. If you’re taking valuables with you, like electronics, look into insurance with Trōv.

Get the whole shabang… I’ve created a DETAILED, free pre-trip checklist for you…

With this you won’t have to worry about forgetting a thing as you plan your trip. You’ll have a timeline for each action, so you can breathe easy and relax. Stress-free travel is the best kind!

Whether it’s your first trip or your fiftieth, this checklist will make your process easy. You can get rid of that nagging, “Am I forgetting something?” feeling. Click here now to get that checklist!

Natasha co-hosts the No Foreign Lands podcast, and has yet to meet a carb she didn't like. She hails from the Pacific Northwest, a.k.a., home of the best seafood, the best apples and the best ode to booty ever. Natasha doesn't believe in snow or too much hot sauce. While she's usually too busy living inside a moment not taking pictures to save it, you can sometimes find her on the net @heynatashaboo.

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