9 Musts for International Travel
as much fun as traveling is (though i’ve already admitted it’s not always glamorous) it can also be stressful to remember everything, especially when you are going abroad. here are the 9 musts for international travel so that you are prepared to leave the country!
1) get appropriate visas
always double check the country’s official website where you are headed to see if you need a visa. thankfully we did this (2 weeks) before left for australia because it turns out you do need a visa to visit that country! thankfully that one was electronic and inexpensive so it didn’t throw us off too much. however, when visiting china you need a letter of invitation in order to get a visa and your passport has to be sent off to get the visa. allow appropriate time to get it sent off, processed and returned. you will be stranded at a foreign airport if you don’t have a visa and it’s needed for entry (this is one of my worst fears).
2) call your credit card company
this one is so important because they will put a block on your credit cards if they are being used abroad without a travel alert being put on them. really it’s a good thing because it’s protection that if someone abroad is using it, you want it blocked…unless that person is you. then you’re just mad you can’t buy hipster jackets or turkish rugs! make sure you give them both yours and your spouse’s debit and credit cards with the travel dates and country. also be sure to include any business credit cards you might use. generally you don’t need to include layover countries but it doesn’t hurt to add it anyways.
visa and mastercard are the most wildly accepted credit cards abroad.
3) put a hold on your mail
this one is so important for us because we live in an apartment complex so we have a super tiny mailbox that would overflow if we didn’t stop our mail. you can do this online (in the USA) 30 days before you leave (or by 2am CST the morning you leave). if you live in a house, this will also stop packages coming from the USPS to be dropped off and left on your porch so they don’t get jacked!
4) pay your bills
make sure all of your bills are paid, scheduled to be paid or dealt with before you leave. this will be the second time we have to pay rent from abroad (curse you $2.50 fee) but at least we can do it online when the money is in our account. if you have to pay bills online while abroad, set a reminder on your phone and make sure you are on a secure wireless network!
5) get plug adapters
ensure you have packed or picked up the right adapters for the various countries you are going to. since we are headed to london and morocco, i asked someone at the travel store to make sure i was getting the right ones. turns out morocco uses two different types of outlets so i had to buy them both (they are $10 each so thankfully it’s not breaking the bank). pay attention to which plug adpaters you purchase because your computer will most likely require a 3 prong while phone chargers, razors, curlers, etc. will be two prong. you may also need a voltage converter and can often find a plug + voltage converter in one package.
6) copy passports
i always carry a laminated copy of our passports with me and lock up my real passport in the safe in the hotel. if you are backpacking/camping, i would recommend getting a passport holder that goes on a different part of your body than your purse should your purse get stolen (i’m sure it won’t but you never know). keep the copy of your passport and real passport separate because…duh. i also like to print out our airline and hotel confirmations because it’s good to have them (and i’m sort of anxious).
7) exchange currency
call or visit your bank a few weeks before you leave to request a currency exchange for where you a traveling. they can often get you a better exchange rate than at the airport. however, if you forgot, still grab dollars from your bank and exchange them at the airport anyways. you absolutely want to have local currency on hand when you land should places you are expecting to take your credit cards not accept them and you have a meltdown.
8) set “out of office” status
everyone who tries to contact you via email or phone should be alerted that you are out gallivanting around the world! i suppose it’s also to let them know you may be a while before you respond to them. my husband and i always set our “out-of-office replies” the night before we leave and change our voicemails right before we leave for the airport that day. remember to leave on there when you’ll be back to normal hours again (i leave a day or two of jet-lag recovery).
9) double check your packing list!
i am always terrified i’m going to forget something so i’ve shared my printable packing list so you can calm your mind. it’s helpful to lay out what you need and what you still need so you can get the party started and be well on your way to exploring the world!
what else would you add to this list of musts for international travel? do you have a dream destination overseas?