Good traveling only comes with good planning. But how do you plan a trip to a country you have never been to? You can talk to people about their experiences so you know what to expect, but it doesn't always seem to give you the relief and preparedness you need.
Thinking about housing, restaurants, shopping, activities, and so on has already brought you stress and all you want is a stress-free vacation.
Fortunately for you, we have made a list of the top 15 things you need to do before stepping off the plane. These tips will help make your international getaway everything you hoped it would be.
1. Check your passport and apply for any visas you may need
Verify that your passport hasn't expired and that you know where it is. Getting a new passport and applying for visas can take several months so it is best to take care of that as soon as possible.
2. Get vaccinated and stock up on medicine
There are certain vaccinations that you should take depending on where you are traveling. This will prevent you from picking up an unwanted disease ruining your vacation. Also picking up the appropriate medications to bring with you like aspirin, Imodium, etc. is such a crucial tip because you never know if you will be able to find it in the country you are going to.
3. Check travel warnings
The State Department's Consular Information Program has travel alerts and warnings that let you know the short-term issues that are occurring in the country. This can help ensure your safety and prepare you for what you may encounter.
4. Prepare your finances
It is important to let your bank know where you will be so that they can be prepared for the foreign charges that will show up on your account. Oftentimes to ensure your safety companies will freeze your card assuming that the out-of-country purchases are "suspicious."
ATM's do not exist on every corner of the street in many countries, so be sure to have the correct form of cash or traveler's checks to purchase all of the necessary items while you are there.
5. Make copies of your traveling documents
Whether you are having a paper copy or a digital one, it is important to have extra copies of your passport, visas, train tickets, hotel reservations etc. You can leave the information with a family member, friend, or at your home safe and locked. This is important not only for your records and verification, but just in case anything were to happen to you, someone knows where you may be.
6. Get an international driving permit
What type of transportation are you planning on using? If you are hoping to drive, you need to have an international permit that you can get from AAA or the National Auto Club. Renting cars will be a lot easier if you have this taken care of beforehand. It is also a good idea to familiarize with the driving rules in other countries.
7. Find the right electronic adapters
Electronic outlets are different all over the world. The adapters you will need in one country will be different from another so it is important that you prepare accordingly. Along with this, prepare yourself with chargeable batteries and the correct tools for your phones and cameras so you can still take pictures galore without having to worry.
8. Purchase health and travel insurance
It is important to check and see if your insurance includes coverage internationally. If not, consider buying a short-term policy to cover you while you are traveling abroad.
Choosing to get travel insurance can protect you and your money while you are vacationing.
9. Check entrance fees
To enter a country, there are often times entrance fees. Be sure to check the fee so you are prepared if that is the case.
10. Buy tickets to events before you go there
To get the best deals and plan your vacation successfully, buy your tickets in advance. Keep a receipt with you for proof of purchase just in case.
11. Activate your phone's global capabilities
This costs a small fee, but it is much better than accruing the roaming charges you will be surprised by when you get home.
12. Pack lots of snacks
Not only for the plane ride, but while you are traveling and having a great time sightseeing, you don't always have time to stop and get a bite to eat.
If you are a picky eater, snacks from home may be all you really eat, so it is important to prepare yourself and stock up on these.
13. Contact the house sitter/pet sitter
It isn't always easy to find someone who is willing or able to watch your house or cute little puppy. Make sure you have this secured weeks in advanced.
14. Stop your orders
Whether it is the mail, newspaper, housecleaner, landscapers, or all of the above, it is important to either have someone come by to pick up what you need or to let the housecleaners in the house. If you are only going to be gone for a few days this isn't as big of a worry. But multiple weeks of mail piling up in your mailbox doesn't sound like fun for either you or the mailman.
15. Check the weather
The weather forecast adjusts your packing strategy significantly. Failing to pack the rain jacket, snow boots or swimming suit could make for a pretty soggy traveling experience.