Best tips to know before traveling abroad

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As the old adage goes, good travel is the result of good planning. That is especially true if you are planning a long, international trip. Traveling abroad is one of the great joys of life for many. It is an experience to interact with different people, places, cultures, foods, art and so much more.

That being said, if you’ve ever travelled abroad before, you probably have a few horror stories to tell. Personally, my most anxiety-ridden memories involve leaving my family’s passports under a couch in Tuscany, Italy.

Another memory involves getting lost in a not-so-pleasant part of Paris late at night.

Experiences like this are hard to avoid if you don’t know what you’re doing. That being said, if you plan really well, you can make sure that the stress of your day-to-day life does not board your plan along with you and your family during your exciting international vacation.

So, if you’re preparing for an international trip, here are the best tips to know before traveling abroad.

Check your passport and apply for any necessary visas

This should be one of the first things you do, ideally before you even book your flights for your trip. Passports and visas can take weeks – or even months – to actually arrive. If you do not have the necessary identification, you simply won’t be allowed into the country that you are planning on going to.

If you have an American passport, the State Department’s website is the best resource to figure out whether or not you will need a visa to visit a given country. While some do not require any type of special visa to visit as a tourist, some require stringent requirements. It’s important to keep in mind that applying for one can be costly and time consuming. Which is why any top travel blog will tell you to start the process well before you even book your flights!

Get necessary vaccines and stock up on first aid

If you are traveling to first-world countries, chances are good you will not have to worry about contracting any serious illnesses. That being said, if you are traveling to some parts of the world, you may want to protect yourself by getting vaccines. For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding these health precautions, make sure to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see what they recommend regarding travel to a specific country or region.

Additionally, it is also useful to stock up on any first aid or prescribed medicine you may need during your trip. Even if it is emergency medication, you want to be sure that you have it on hand if you should need it during your foreign vacation.

Prepare your finances

One nightmare scenario is heaving oversees and finding that you simply do not have enough money to enjoy the many things that you planned on enjoying while traveling. One of the most common ways that this happens is that credit card companies freeze a card because they see it is being used in an international country.

In order to avoid that from happening, make sure the alert your credit card company that you will be traveling aboard.

Also, you want to make sure that you have enough local currency to walk around with. However, as a rule, it is never smart to walk around with too much cash. In some countries, locals prey on tourists and potential pickpocket victims. Even though you may want to keep your $1,000 Euros on you at all times, it is best to leave well over half in a safe place in your hotel room so that even if you are unfortunately pickpocketed, you aren’t flushing hundreds of dollars down the drain at once.

Make copies of your travel documents

Remember when I mentioned that story of leaving my family’s passports under a couch in Tuscany? Sure, there was a lot of panic (and a lot of fast driving) when we realized that we had arrived at the airport without them, but there would have been far more panic (and even faster driving) had I not remembered to bring copies of all our important travel documents. These copies can of course not act as replacements during your travel, but they can help in aiding your time of renewing necessary documents should you lose them.

In the digital age, it is also smart to take pictures of said IDs and simply keep them on your phone. Just make sure that if you do go that route, you are storing them on a safe and protected device.

Stock up on converters

One of the most perplexing things that you learn during international travel is the variance of electrical sockets all around the world. There are tons of different sockets all over the world and it will certainly help you if you research which countries have which sockets.

Getting a universal converter is a good way to go. Just purchase one and leave it in your suitcase for whenever you are set to travel.

Learn key phrases

There is no shame in getting a diary and learning some important phrases regarding the countries that you plan on visiting. Phrases like “Hello,” “Thank you,” and “Where is the…” can go a long way in helping you get the information you need to find that famous café, visit that national landmark, or simply get back to your hotel!

Get health and travel insurance

This is a lot less fun than some of the other tips on this list, but it might be the most important. No matter where you are traveling, if it is abroad you need to be sure that you are protected. It is possible that your health insurance already offers international coverage, but if it does not you will want to purchase a short-term policy to make sure that you are covered during your time aboard.

Beyond that, a smart way to protect your trip and your money is to purchase travel insurance.

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