Foreign Travel 101
Traveling to other countries involves more than just buying a plane ticket. I’ve seen lots of people make mistakes that have hindered their travels – mistakes that could be easily avoided.
Here’s a list of the most basic things you’ll need to do to make traveling to a foreign
country a little bit easier.
1. Don’t forget your passport.
Even if you don’t have an impending trip on the calendar, get your passport and keep it up to date. (Each one usually lasts ten years.) Check your expiration date! To travel overseas, your passport usually needs to be good for another six months after your travel dates. Make color copies of your passport – keep a copy at home and take a copy with you as well.
2. Call your bank and credit card companies.
In order to use your cards in a foreign country, you need to let your card companies
know ahead of time. Otherwise, they’ll think your card was stolen and someone in
another country is trying to use it fraudulently. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere with no ability to access your money!
3. Alert your phone company.
Most phones nowadays work overseas – BUT you need to let your phone company
know before you travel so they can unlock it to be used abroad. (And don’t forget – turn off your data roaming before you leave the States!!!!! This is so important!)
4. Pack your adapters and/or converter.
Smartphones, laptops, and notepads have built in converters in their chargers, so you will only need a simple plug adapter for those. BUT, most hair appliances, shavers, and electric toothbrushes need an actual converter to change the voltage. (You CAN buy hair appliances that work on all voltages, though. My travel sized curling iron works on all voltages. Read the box before you make your purchase.) If you try to use your old curling iron with just an adapter, you’ll be bidding a fond farewell to your treasured device.
5. Put your name on your luggage.
I have been so often surprised at the number of people that travel with NO luggage tags on their bags. If your airline puts your bag on the wrong flight, how will you be able to get it back without a name tag? If you are boarding a cruise ship and you have nothing with your name or room on your suitcase, how will they know it belongs to you? I include two identifiers with all my luggage – standard luggage tag on the outside, and a paper tucked inside. Both have my name and contact information on them.
Some of these things are common sense to well-seasoned travelers, but I have seen too many mistakes from folks to know that this list warrants posting. Everyone was a novice traveler at some point in their lives!
For more helpful travel advice, check out some of these other posts from my blog: