If you’ve been searching for an international travel checklist, then the chances are that you’re planning a vacation abroad, and you want to know exactly what to do before your next trip. After all, keeping yourself safe in an unfamiliar location is about more than simply using a secure money pouch to protect your valuables, it’s also about checking off a number of important tasks and chores at home before you make your way to the airport.
While we know that you’re probably excited to get heading off to that exotic destination for your vacation, we also know that having a carefree experience often involves investing some time and effort in making sure you’ve covered all of your bases. International travel is more sustainable than ever, but that doesn’t mean that you haven’t got challenges to face. Follow this international travel checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared for the weeks ahead and you should be able to enjoy your trip with the peace of mind of knowing that you didn’t forget to deal with something important.
1. Make Sure Everything is Up to Date
When it comes to determining what to do before your next trip, checking your passport is a big deal. Most countries – regardless of where you’re hoping to travel, will require that your passport is valid for at least six months following your return date. The state department also recommends that you renew any passports you might have at least nine months before they are due to expire.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to check the expiration date on your passport the moment you decide to start planning your next vacation. The quicker you recognize a potential problem, the more likely you are to get it sorted out long before you actually need to renew. If your expiration date is looming, you can check the U.S. Department of State’s website to discover your nearest passport facility.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to allow a period of six weeks for your new passport application to be processed, though there is an expedited service for people in something of a rush. You will need to pay a fee to use this service, but it can get your passport to you in two or three weeks.
2. Ensure You’ve Packed Appropriately
The next step on our international travel checklist, is making sure that you’re packing properly – or at least that you’ve got the idea of what you should pack right. Other than the essential electronics like your smartphone and tablet, try to avoid carrying any valuables with you, as the less you have to store in your secure money pouch, the more likely it is to blend seamlessly behind your clothes.
It may also be worth taking the time to empty your wallet of unnecessary items before you leave- such as credit cards that you aren’t going to use and old receipts.
Once you know what you’re packing, purchase a TSA-approved padlock and make sure that you keep your luggage as secure as possible at all times. The last thing you want is to deal with the hassle of missing items simply because your bag had to be cut open and then came undone during a flight.
3. Fill Prescriptions and Get Vaccinations
Vaccinations might not be on everyone’s international travel checklist, but they are an important thing to check out if you’re wondering what to do before your next trip. If you’re unsure about the vaccinations that may be needed, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site to access more information. For the best protection, it’s usually a good idea to get any shots you need around six weeks before your scheduled departure time. What’s more, if you’re travelling to a country where there may be a lot of disease, you might want to consult a medical professional.
While you’re checking up on information about vaccinations, remember to ensure that you’re fully stocked on the prescriptions you’re going to need for the coming weeks, as well as any additional medications you might want to have on hand just in case.
4. Stock Your Wallet Properly
One of the most important items on any international travel checklist – is money (despite the changing stock markets). Remember to choose one or two credit cards that you’re going to take with you, rather than carrying every possible source of cash that you have. Once you’ve selected these cards, you’ll need to contact your bank and credit card company customer service department to alert them that you’re going to be travelling outside of the country. If you don’t do this, you could find that some of your transactions get stopped simply because your bank assumes that your card has been stolen.
Keep in mind that travelers checks have become somewhat outdated over the years, and they are no longer accepted universally. Your best bet is to use your bank card to withdraw money from ATMs, or take plenty of cash with you in your chosen currency which you can keep in your secure money pouch and your hotel safe when it isn’t being used. One interesting point to note is that many people find their best exchange rates using a local ATM at their destination.
5. Make Sure You Have the Right Documents
Finally, before you leave for the airport, be sure that you have all of the correct documents at hand for travelling, these should include:
- Details of your medical insurance
- Your driver’s license and passport
- Your itinerary for travel
- Reservations and confirmations of purchases
- Tickets for the plane, and any attractions that you may have pre-purchased for
- Copies of credit cards and listings of numbers to call in the event of theft or loss
Knowing What to Do Before Your Next Trip
International travel can be a worrisome and stressful experience if you’re new to the world of long-haul flights and unfamiliar destinations. However, with the right travel tips, you might find that your next international adventure is the experience that gives you some of the best memories of your life.
Let us know what you include on your international travel checklist in the comments!