An international trip is on the bucket list of every one of us. It is a pleasing feeling to travel to another country and discover new cultures, people, and facts about the world that we’ve never known before.
However, before taking off, there are a lot of things that should be taken into consideration. Traveling overseas doesn’t only mean to save up money, contact our real or online travel agent, and packing our bags; the process needs more efforts than that.
In this article, we will present to you some tips and hacks on how to have the utmost of your travel experience. We will show you how to save up on the cost of your vacation, how to remain in contact with your family and friends, and most importantly, how to avoid a lot of problems related to traveling internationally.
Contact Your Bank
Before leaving overseas, make sure to give your bank a call or a visit in order to let them know you are leaving the country.
This is an important step so that they won’t consider any transaction done from your travel destination as fraudulent, as well as so that you won’t risk getting your credit card blocked when you are in need of money the most.
You may do that by calling the number on the card and provide a description of the dates of your trip, as well as information concerning your destination. Some banks even provide the option to do this online.
Exchange Your Money
If you want to save up money on your trip, then you’d better exchange your money upfront. Debit and credit cards fees can be soaring quickly depending on your vacation destination, and there are some transactions that may cost you around 1-3% of your purchase price.
The worst part is that some banking institutions may charge you fees for your ATM withdrawals (around $1-$5), it is what they call (international service assessment fees).
Therefore, we recommend that you exempt yourself from all of these unnecessary fees by having hard cash. Experts state that when you are visiting the city, you should have at least $40 to $60 in your wallet on any given day.
You should also bring more cash if you are visiting remote areas where there is a big chance you may not have access to ATMs. Moreover, if you bring a lot of cash to your trip, don’t have it all on you at once; instead, try to take what you think is enough cash and leave the rest in a safe place: your hotel’s safe for example.
Get An International Phone Plan
We understand that you and your cellphone are inseparable, and the best time you will need to use your phone is during a vacation. When you have a lot of free time and you are having joyful hiking trips, for instance, you like to snap some pictures with your smartphone and share them on social media.
However, what you should know is that using your phone to log in online overseas will make your phone fees rack up quickly. This is why you should turn off your cellular data as soon as you reach the airport. You can have access to the internet through Wi-Fi networks and save money, but it may be difficult in some rural or even urban areas.
You may also get in touch with your phone provider for an international phone plan; however, it doesn’t mean that you can have as much access as you have back home; you still need to limit the time you spend surfing online.
Make some calculations on how much data you need: see how much the bank’s mobile app costs in terms of data; if you visit so many websites, be aware that each site costs you 1MB; if you post so many photos on social media, the rate is 10 MB for every 30 photos. Moreover; try to use Whatsapp as much as possible for it substantially helps saving data.
Certainly, when traveling abroad, you’ll need to bring your electronic devices with you; namely, phone, tablet, and computer. However, before taking the rip, make sure you check the country’s outlets and voltage in order to see whether they are compatible with your devices or not.
There are some countries that use multiple types of outlets, which means you’ll need to bring more than one adapter.
Mostly, there are two types of outlets in the world: 110/125V and 220/240V. Thus, make sure to check out the tag on your device and compare it to the voltage settings of your travel destination.
This is a really serious matter since a higher voltage may lead your device to burn, and a lower one may cause it damage and lower its performance. Also, try to purchase a converter that will help you convert the voltage to be compatible with your device settings.
Sometimes, when we wish to travel overseas, we make sure to do everything right: we check out the best online travel booking sites for inexpensive short or long-haul flights tickets, we make sure to purchase traveling health insurance and try to have a thorough baggage packing.
However, there are many times when we forget to check the most important thing: our passports. Imagine going through all of these steps to find out that your passport is not valid; we bet it is going to be a disaster.
Even though there are many countries that don’t require you to have a passport valid for a period of six months, there are some who insist on it; and we insist on it too.
Travelling is full of unexpected events, you may be taking the plane to a certain country and then -for some unfortunate circumstances- your flight has to be diverted to another country.
If this country has a strict passport policy, then you’ll be stuck at the airport unable to check in to the hotel you were offered. In addition, make sure to always carry a certified copy of your passport, or keep a picture on your cellphone in case it got lost.
Being an adventurer with a trekking backpack is not enough sometimes to get you through the airport’s security. There are many countries that require a visa to visit them.
therefore, make sure you check specialized websites to see if you must apply for a visa or any other type of administrative procedures before taking the airplane. There are even some countries that impose fees upon arrival in the airport; these charges are referred to as visa fees.
You can check what you may owe in the countries’ official websites, or you may contact your travel booking agent for further information.
Travel and Health Insurance
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Among the most important things that people seem to neglect, we find travel and health insurance. Travel insurance providers’ services include coverage for unfortunate incidents such as losing your luggage, having your flight canceled, and missing the flight due to illness.
This is the first type of travel insurance –which is considered the standard kind. On the other hand, we find comprehensive health insurance that covers incidents related to medical care needs.
For instance, in case you have a health issue, need to be transported back to your country or to a hospital. Moreover, the insurance company also provides coverage in case of accidental death.
However, don’t fall into the trap of purchasing cheap travel insurance, to save on your travel insurance doesn’t mean sacrificing the most important services.
Compare travel insurance policies and see which one is going to cost you less while providing the most services; the same thing goes to health insurance. Most importantly, make sure to read your insurance contract so that you can be aware of the services you will get.
There are many countries that require taking some types of vaccinations before entering their soil_ there are other vaccinations that you should take them as a precaution even if you don’t have to.
You may consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ website in order to have information about the compulsory and recommend vaccinations you need to take.
Moreover, have your sufficiency of prescription medications before traveling in case you run out. You may be running into several problems with pharmacists during your vacation even when you bring a prescription and enough money; which could be due to differences in the medical system or a simple misunderstanding.
In addition, it is not advised to purchase medicine abroad since you cannot guarantee the same quality and the same components. Most importantly, always carry your prescription at the airport in order to avoid issues with the customs.
Get a driving permit
If you are planning on an international road trip and would like to be the driver, you should take into account that it is illegal in some countries to be driving without a valid driving license and insurance policy.
The good news is that there is a possibility to have a Driving Permit from The American Automobile Association (AAA) which is valid internationally in 150 countries and contains your identity information in so many languages.
You can fill in the information form on their official website and send it by mail or bring it to the nearest branch. Also, you’ll need to provide the following documents: your driver’s license and 2 passport photos, in addition to $20 for the permit’s fees.
You can also get it by mail if you are already overseas, but it will take you between 4-6 weeks unless you choose to speed up the process.
Register your trip
Even though you are going on a relaxing vacation, you may leave behind friends and family that are concerned about you; especially, if this country is unknown to them. Thus, make sure to consult the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will let your loved ones know you are fine all the time.
You can register your travel schedule, take a look at travel advisories at your intended travel destination, and get help and assistance by the U.S officials in case of an emergency.
This way, in case your family and friends are having difficulties to remain in touch with you, a local official will use the registered information to contact you, and he or she may even inform you in case of a family emergency.
Take care of housekeeping
Before you leave your home on a long vacation, you’ll have to take care of many tasks related to your house. For a start, make sure that you will not come back home to find bills issues, that’s why it is recommended to pre-pay them.
Moreover, put together a list of the things that may cause harm to your house while you are away: Unplug all unnecessary electronic devices such as hair dryer, computer, and TV in order to save up on your bill and to prevent power surges.
Also, you don’t want to leave your garbage at your house for a long time; unless you can handle the stinky smell when you get back; also, clean the garbage can. Put everything that may get to you by mail on hold because nothing says you’ve left your house for a long time like mail piling up at your door.
Try to download airline’s apps before leaving so that you can have the latest information concerning your flight, or you can check their website for updates.
Make sure to do enough research concerning your rights for compensations in case a flight got delayed. Also, there is a big possibility to get compensated with cash if you are traveling to or from Europe.
In case you have TSA Pre-Check make sure to indicate this on the airline’s website along with your Known Traveler Number, this way you will be exempted from getting through security lines.
If you don’t have a confirmed seat, address it to check-in since sometimes they are the ones responsible for seating arrangements. It is better if you contact the airlines directly in case you have some days before taking the plane.
You need to take care of your food allergies. Thus, contact the airline about your meal specifications at least 24h before the flight.
Make sure to buy everything you need before reaching the airport. It is a known fact that airports’ prices are sometimes unbelievable and may double or triple the regular price. Bring a refillable water bottle so that you can fill it up after going through security.