Guest Post by Kacey Bradley
Whether you’re travelling alone or with a companion, travelling internationally is a fantastic and unique way to see the world — as long as you’re prepared. There is, quite literally, nothing worse than ending up stranded in a country where you don’t know the language or have the wrong type of currency in your pocket. To that end, we’ve gathered a few well tested tips and tricks to follow when you’re travelling internationally to make your trip easier and safer.
1. Check for Travel Warnings
Before you even consider buying your tickets, take some time to check the State Department’s website for travel warnings at your destination. These warnings aren’t designed to scare you away — quite the contrary. They’re issued so that you can be aware of what is going on in your destination country. If the issue is extreme, the State Department may recommend postponing trips until the situation has calmed down.
2. Set Up Your Cell Phone Plan
Don’t get stranded in another country without the use of your cell phone. If your phone company offers an international plan or an international sim card that you can swap out when you arrive, set that up before you leave. Otherwise, look for a phone store in your destination country and purchase a pre-paid sim card that you can use for local calls and internet while you’re visiting.
3. Be Prepared
This is especially important if you don’t speak the language of the country that you’re visiting — make sure you’re prepared with everything that you might need, up to and including medicine. If you can’t say “headache” or “vomiting” in the local language, you might be hard pressed to find the correct medication to help you feel better. Bring some basic mediation, like Tums, Imodium, and Nyquil, so you’ve got everything you need on hand and you’re not fighting with Google Translate to tell you how to say “Help me, I’ve got diarrhea.”
4. Call the Credit Card Company
We all know how picky credit card companies can be — they can decide they don’t like a store or a website, and suddenly block your transactions. This is all done in the name of protecting you and your money but if they decide to block your card at the McDonalds drive through, it can be extremely inconvenient. Before you start travelling overseas, call your credit card company and let them know where you’ll be travelling and where you’ll be using your card.
5. Be Prepared With Local Currency
Having some local currency will come in handy — you may find plenty of stores, hotels and restaurants that are able to accept credit or debit cards, but there are just as many places that are cash only so you’ll need to have some local cash or coins to get anything done.
First, don’t load up on cash at the airport — it might be tempting, especially when you consider conversion fees and out of network ATM fees which can add up quick, but you don’t want to be wandering around a foreign country with a huge wad of cash in your pocket. There are already plenty of people who target tourists — don’t make it easier for them.
Talk to your bank and find out what their international policies are. Now is also a good time to ask if they’ll buy any leftover foreign currency when you get back — otherwise, you’ll have to make sure you spend it all when you’re travelling!
6. Check On Your Insurance
You’ll definitely want to check in with your doctor before you travel abroad — he or she can let you know if you’re healthy enough for travel and hook you up with any necessary vaccinations you might need, depending on your destination.
While you’re doing that, check in with your insurance provider as well. See if your plan includes coverage for emergencies while you’re overseas. If not, you might want to purchase supplemental insurance to protect you while you’re travelling.
7. Be Aware of Entry and Exit Fees
Depending on where you’re travelling, you may be responsible for entry or exit fees when you arrive or leave your destination. Research your destination and make sure you have enough money. In some cases, they may be included in the cost of your airplane ticket, but you don’t want to be stuck at the end of your vacation unable to cover your departure fees when all you want to do is go home.
8. Secure your Passport
Passports and other identifying information are often targets for thieves and scammers. Keep your passport secure at all times, either on your person or in a locked hotel safe if you are confident that the hotel will keep your stuff safe. Keep copies of your passport as well — in case it is lost or stolen, this makes it easier to prove your identity and citizenship. If you lose your luggage, consider making a digital copy of your passport to store in your email account or somewhere else that can be easily accessed on a public computer.
9. Bring a Power Adaptor
In a lot of countries, you won’t be able to plug your phone charger into the wall without an adaptor — different places have different plugs and even different voltage, so if you’re bring electronic devices along, you want to make sure you can charge them. Pick up an adaptor for the country or countries that you’re travelling to.
10. Pack Smart
No one likes to consider the idea of losing their luggage while they’re travelling but let’s face it — it happens! Pack smart — don’t put anything valuable or irreplaceable in your checked luggage. Pack smart by carefully packing your carry on bag or bags with your valuables and your essentials like a change of clothes, toiletries and more.
Hopefully these tips and tricks help make your next international trip a little bit smoother. Spend less time worrying about bank fees and passports and more time enjoying everything that the wide world has to offer you.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!
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