Updated: Jun 18
Traveling abroad is one of my favorite hobbies - I love exploring unique cultures and experiencing other parts of the world. However, if you are unprepared for your international trip, it can quickly turn into a disaster. To make the most of your international trip, be sure to read the list below and check off each item before your departure!.
1. Ensure Your Passport is Up To Date
(And Visa, if needed)
Fun Fact: Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months after you return back home!!
Yes, that means if your passport is set to expire in 4 months, you will not be allowed into some countries! It's always a good rule of thumb to ensure your passport has 7-8 months until it expires for all international trips. I typically begin the renewal process about 1 year out from expiration just to get a jump start on the process (sometimes it can take months for your passport to get processed).
Also, research to find out if the country you are traveling to requires a Visa. Some countries, like Vietnam, require a Visa for any vacation, while others require it only for extended stays. A list of all countries is featured HERE with information on visas, and more.
Wanderlust With Lisa Tip: Bring a copy of your passport and photo ID just in case you lose it! I save a picture of both on my phone as well.
2. Update Your Phone Plan
Before traveling abroad, think about what you'll need to utilize your phone for... will you need it for navigation/GPS? Will you need it to text/call in the country you're in or the country back home? Will you use your phone to research activities in the area?
Some people can get by with just utilizing WiFi at local cafes and restaurants. However, I much prefer to have the option to use my GPS throughout my trip, so I update my phone plan to allow me to use it internationally. Most major phone companies (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon) have a daily plan that you can pay into as needed.
Wanderlust With Lisa Tip: I have AT&T and pay $10/day when traveling internationally - this allows me to use my phone and data just the same as I would in the states.
3. Download Traveling Apps
Before you leave home, go ahead and download some key apps that will help you when abroad.
WhatsApp or GroupMe
4. Learn Key Words of their Language
It is immensely helpful when you can read/speak key words in the countries language. i always find it useful to learn: hello, please, thank you, no thank you, goodbye, bathroom, and how much.
Plus, download the Google Translator as back up just in case!
5. Notify Your Credit Card Company
Before traveling abroad, call your credit card company to notify them of your travel plans. This way, they don't think your charges overseas are fraud and cancel your card. Always bring 2 Credit Cards with you just in case one doesn't work abroad. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted cards internationally.
Wanderlust With Lisa Tip: Always research your credit cards to see if any international fee charges will apply when using it abroad. Those tend to add up quickly.
6. Get Necessary Vaccines
Yep, you read that right - your next vacation may require a few extra shots! Be sure to check out the CDC's Website (HERE) to learn exactly what vaccines are recommended per country. Also, here are some tips I learned from previous trips:
Some vaccines, like Typhoid, are not covered by insurance. It costs over $100+ so budget accordingly!
Some vaccines, like Yellow Fever, have a limited supply. Call ahead to see where you can get your vaccines and schedule an appointment in advance. Don't wait until the last minute!
Some vaccines, like Malaria Meds, come in a pill form that require you to take it before your trip starts. Plan accordingly!
7. Buy an Electrical Outlet Converter
Electrical outlets vary from country to country. Buy an electrical outlet converter from Amazon and research the voltage in the country you are traveling to! Some people opt to buy a hair dryer or hair straightener overseas so they don't have to worry about the plug or voltage.
8. Register Your Trip
Always register your trip with the US Department of State. This is a completely free process that will allow the US Government to know of your presence in another country and how to contact you if there is an emergency there. There is also an option allow family and friends to access your location if necessary which can ease the minds of those back at home.
9. Pack a Good Carry On
International Trips typically involve long flights. Start your trip on the right foot by be prepared for your flight.
Read More: The Ultimate Carry on Packing List
Shop Amazon: My Carry On Necessities
10. International Driving Permit (IDP)
If you plan on renting a car abroad, be sure to look into an International Driving Permit. AAA offers IDP's for $20 and it's valid in over 150 countries! The drivers license is good for 1 year.
11. Avoid Making Classic Travel Mistakes
Learn from me, making any of these 12 Travel Mistakes could really ruin your vacation. After paying a fortune to fly abroad, don't forget a small detail that could really dampen your plans.
Related Post: The Biggest Mistakes Made When Traveling
12. Bring a Safety Kit
Bringing a Safety Kit is so important when you travel internationally. You never know when you can get sick and there is nothing worse than trying to find a pharmacy overseas and understand the language when you're feeling ill. Instead, pack the necessities like pain reliever, stomach relief, motion sickness, and more. I always create my own DIY Safety Kit so I can customize it to my needs.
Related Post: DIY Safety Kit
by following the 12 steps listed above, you are setting yourself up for a successful trip abroad!
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