Yes, it’s exciting to think of all the attractions you’ll get to see and new foods you’ll get to try. However, being well prepared for your travel will help make your trip go smoothly and ensure that you won’t run into any issues when you come back.
Investing time now to ensure you’re packed properly, double checking your travel plans and taking care of your financials will ensure you have a worry-free trip.
Use the following list of advice to covered all your bases.
Look at travel advisories and warnings
Checking the international travel section of the U.S. Department of State website is important as you never know if the place you’re traveling to is really safe. Look to see if there are potential issues such as any threats, risky environments, or even extreme weather warnings. A lot of travel insurance policies won’t cover instances like those, so traveler beware.
Check to see if your passport and travel visa are valid
If you need a visa before you travel, make sure that you apply for one in time so you’re not scrambling last minute. Check to see approximate times for visa approval at your local consulate. Don’t assume that all countries will issue visas on arrival or you’ll risk being turned away at immigration.
As well, most countries require that a passport be valid for six months after you intend on returning.
If you need to renew your passport, allow a minimum of six weeks to do so. You could expedite your visa application, but you may need to pay extra for that option.
Make copies of important documents
In case any important documents get lost, you’ll want to have copies on hand. That way, you have all necessary information so can call your credit card company or similar places. If you happen to be going on a long trip, not having access to money is a major issue, so knowing your credit card number can get you mailed one at your destination that much faster.
When you do make copies, have a few extra. That way you can leave some with trusted friends or family members. As well, make sure to pack these copies separately from your important documents. That way, you won’t lose those if your documents get lost or stolen. As an extra precaution, you can scan your important documents and save them digitally, such as in a secured cloud server. Even if someone only has a paper copy of your documents, you could easily get your identity or money stolen.
>> READ: 7 Steps to Prevent Financial Fraud
Purchase travel insurance
Your current health care plan probably won’t cover you if you’re traveling overseas.
No matter where you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to have health insurance in case an emergency happens.
You may want to add on extras if you’re participating in high risk activities or are in extremely remote areas. Options include emergency evacuation, travel accident and comprehensive trip insurance.
Before doing so, check to see if your credit card company includes any form of insurance. Even if they don’t have health insurance, they may have things like trip cancellation insurance. If you’re renting a car, you may be covered if you use certain credit cards.
Arrange a house sitter or someone to stop by your house
When you’ve finalized your travel dates, you should find a housesitter to make sure someone’s in the house. He or she could help you with the garden, feed pets (if you’re not putting them in a pet kennel) and even getting the mail. If not, you could ask someone to stop by.
If none of the above options are available, you can ask your post office to stop mail delivery for the duration of your trip. You can also purchase inexpensive timers so the lights in your house can turn on at a certain time. Other things to consider include parking your car in your driveway and bring houseplants to a neighbor’s house.
Tell someone where you’re going
Telling someone about your travel plans is helpful in case of an emergency. After you finalize your plans, print out your itinerary, including flights and hotel reservations. Leave these with a trusted friend or family member.
If you rather be safe than sorry, you could register online with the U.S. Department of State.
This is a good idea especially if you’re traveling to remote or high risk areas. If there is an emergency, the government will know where you are and help you. If necessary, they could also contact friends and family of your whereabouts.
Get all necessary vaccinations and prescriptions
Certain countries may recommend that you get certain vaccinations due to diseases. Other places may recommend various medicine, such as malaria medicine. If you’re not sure about your destination, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to find out vaccination requirements and other relevant health information.
Those that have regular prescriptions will need to make sure to refill them well in advance of your departure date. Pack plenty to last for your trip in case you can’t get it filled abroad. You’ll also want to make sure whatever medicine you take isn’t considered illegal where you’re going. It’s probably not fun to be dealing with authorities while on vacation.
Plan how you’ll access cash
No matter where you travel, make sure you stop by your bank before you travel. You can get some cash exchanged in the local currency. That way, you don’t need to scramble to exchange money at the airport or when you arrive, risking unfavorable exchange rates. Also, ask your bank to see if there are any perks to using your credit card overseas. Some banks may have partnered up with places overseas meaning you’re not paying too many fees.
Having a travel credit card on hand is always a good idea. You don’t want to carry too much cash in case it gets lost. In case your card does get stolen, you’re protected against fraudulent purchases, whereas with cash you’re not.
Try to bring one with no foreign transaction fees to help save you some money.
Don’t forget to let your bank and credit card company know about your travel plans. Many will keep track of spending patterns and may think that an overseas transaction is fraudulent. You don’t want to be stuck unable to use your card. It would be a shame to have to waste time to call your credit card company to fix it instead of enjoying tourist attractions.
The bottom line
A trip should be fun and filled with unforgettable memories. It’s never fun to think about what may go wrong, but being as prepared as possible is always a good idea. There’s nothing wrong with over preparing, because you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy your trip. Use all of the above tips as your checklist. You can bet that you’ll be bragging about how awesome your trip was instead of what went wrong.