The Survivor Guide for International Travel

Traveling to foreign countries is a great way to meet new people, see new places, and explore different cultures and ways of life. Gaining new experiences and opening yourself up to new things can be exciting, scary, and challenging all at the same time, but if you make the most of each situation, and allow yourself to just go with the flow, there is no telling where you could end up or who you could meet. Before you leave for your adventure, however, you need to take a second to make a check list...or you could just read this one. There are certain precautions you will want to take as well to ensure your travels go as smoothly as possible, and you don't have to worry about any hassles or fusses trying to move from place to place, or even to get back home. Follow this list of 7 tips and make sure every item is checked off before you go. Happy Travels!

1. Make Copies of your Passport 

It is important that you have multiple copies of your passport while traveling abroad. Consider making several copies, so that you can carry up to two on your travels and leave one behind in case of a real emergency. You can also scan it and send an electronic copy to your email for extra security. 

2. Register with the Embassy 

When traveling abroad, it is a good idea to let your embassy know where you will be going. If some international, or local crisis occurs, your registration will make it much easier for US Embassy Ambassadors to find you and get you to safety. 

3. Visit Your Doctor 

Before traveling, check with your doctor about vaccinations that are necessary before visiting the particular region. You should also put in a call to your insurance provider to make sure you are covered for injuries while traveling in foreign countries. If you are not, look into some traveler's insurance policies. 

4. Get Foreign Currency 

Before you travel, or when you arrive, visit the local bank or ATM to convert your American (or national currency) to that of the country that you're visiting. Banks and ATM machines provide a more accurate conversion and tend to charge much less for these services than vendors you find at the airports or in the city. Be sure you are aware of the conversion rate beforehand so you aren't ill-prepared in terms of having enough money. 

5. Notify your Creidt Card Company 

If your credit card company notices transactions on your card on foreign soil and are not aware that you have decided to travel there, they may hold transactions on the card and attempt to contact you. Letting them know that you are traveling so they aren't inclined to turn off your card. While you have them on the phone, ask whether or not your current card will be accepted in foreign countries. If you have recently acquired a credit card, you are likely familiar with the new chip-and-PIN technology that offers a more secure transaction than magent-strip. Because this technology is so new, however, not all vendors will be using it. At the end of the day, you should always have cash on you at all times. 

6. Check For Entrance/Exit Fees

Some countries require travelers to pay a fee to enter and exit the country. These are not necessarily included in your airline ticket, and may also be processed if you are traveling by boat or train. Not that it happens everywhere, but it is something to be aware of. 

7. Remember the Essentials

To be fully prepared for your travels, do a little research before you go. Look for special events or celebrations that are happening at or near the place(s) you plan on going. If you see an event or attraction you know you want to go to, consider purchasing tickets before you leave, just so you have no hassles when you arrive. Be sure to check the amount of luggage each passenger is allowed on the airlines you are using, and maybe bring an extra pair of clothes in your carry-on, just in case something gets lost. Finally, before you leave for the airport, remember to pack your: 

  • Passport and Itinerary 
  • Electronics charger and adapter (if you don't have an adapter, you won't be able to charge your electronics) 
  • Cash/Credit Card/Traveler's Checks 
  • Guides (if you've invested in any)
  • Pre-purchased itinerary (consider purchasing tickets for landmarks you want to visit ahead of time to save time and money)
  • PASSPORTS!!! - this cannot be stressed enough