Things You Must Do Before travel abroad.
Are you preparing to travel abroad? Finland – The happiest country in the world in Europe, huge metropolitan California in America, or Asia?
You may start to feel overwhelmed by all the things to remember. The key is being prepared. Before you get off to faraway lands.
01. The most important precondition – MONEY
- Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Finding out that one Danish Krone is equal to just 19 cents … bad surprise. Make sure you do your math before you travel abroad to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.
- Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.
- Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. The conversion centers in the airport or around the city tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.
- Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses.
- Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.
- Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket and can range from $25 to $200.
02. Passport and visa.
Apply for or renew your passport. Typical passport processing times in the US range from six to eight weeks, but it’s best to allow more time. If your passport will expire less than six months after your proposed departure date, renew it. Some countries will not allow you to enter unless your passport will be valid for at least six months past your entry date. When your passport arrives, sign it, fill out the emergency contact information and make two copies of the passport, one to take with you and one to leave with a family member or friend.
Find out whether you need a visa to visit your destination countries. You may need a valid passport to apply for a visa. Check the expiration date of your passport and allow plenty of time to complete the visa application process.
03. Travel Insurance.
Ask your medical and homeowner’s insurance providers whether your policy applies overseas for emergencies. For instance, your medical policy may offer emergency flights or your homeowner policy may cover loss or theft during travel abroad.
If it doesn’t, or if you want to add extra coverage, buy travel insurance. It’s quite affordable.
Some countries won’t let you enter without proof you’ve been immunized against certain diseases, such as yellow fever or malaria. All immunizations must be recorded and presented on an official International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as the “yellow health card.”
So double-check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask your medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.
05. International Driving Permit
If you plan to drive while you are overseas, obtain an International Driving Permit. You may never need to show it, but many countries require you to carry it.
06. Maps / GPS Devices
Decide how you will navigate in your destination countries. Some travelers prefer paper maps, while others bring or rent GPS units. Travel guidebooks and smartphone apps are also useful. It may be expensive to rely on your cell phone alone to provide maps and travel tips (see below). Paper road maps are handy if you plan to drive, while detailed city and town maps, available from tourist information offices, are your best bet for walking around.
Activate your phone’s global capabilities. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t.
Two cheaper alternatives:
- purchase and use a local SIM card
- download instant messenger applications for calls and text.
08. Learn Some Common & Useful Phrases
Learn a few words and phrases in the language of your destination country. “Please,” “Thank you,” “May I?” “Where is (perhaps with ‘bathroom’),” “Help,” “Yes,” and “No” are the most important phrases to learn. If you have food allergies, you should also memorize the words for the foods you cannot eat, and you should carry a card with those words written out under the word for “no.” If you struggle with foreign languages, consider bringing a phrasebook on your trip.
09. Study Up on Your Destination
Whether you’re a travel app connoisseur or more of a paperback guidebook person, having some source of knowledge about your destination is invaluable. Read about the region you’re traveling to in advance to gain insight into important information such as currency exchange rates, useful phrases, tipping norms, appropriate clothing, and cultural/legal customs. It’s best to be prepared so you don’t land yourself in a compromising situation.
Trying to explore countries around the world? This video channel might make it easier to prepare upcoming trips.