Getting ready to leave for any trip requires thinking and planning, but extended international trips are next level. The currency, weather, culture, driving and even power outlets can be different. There are so many little important things to do before traveling internationally, it can be hard to remember them all.
I just returned from a 16 day trip to Italy and you better believe I was spinning my wheels trying to make sure I had everything packed and prepared.
Based on my most recent personal experiences, here are some important things to do before traveling internationally that will give you some peace of mind and help your trip run more smoothly.
- Order any currency. I have an account with Bank of America for this reason. You order it online and 2-3 business days later, you pick up your wad of foreign currency at your local bank. I like this because then you don’t have to worry about foreign ATM fees or currency exchange fees when you are abroad.
- Alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling internationally. This way your account won’t get flagged for fraud. This is also a good time to double check any foreign transaction fees. My favorite card to use abroad is the Chase Sapphire Preferred (soon to be Reserve!) (This link is my personal referral link, so if you decide to get a card using this link, I get a kickback).
- Make a rough budget. Check on what has been paid for, what still needs to be paid for, and make it work with your bank account/budget.
- Confirm hotels. If it is a long trip, I like to print my confirmations and stick them in a binder or folder, just for my own peace of mind.
- If renting a car, get an international driving permit (if required). This costs about $20-$30 at Triple AAA and you walk out the door with it in under an hour.
- Purchase travel health insurance if you want that extra peace of mind while traveling. We used World Nomads.
- Assemble and print important travel docs: passports, vaccine cards if needed, international driving permits, travel insurance policies. Contact your cell phone carrier to make arrangements for service abroad.
- Contact the post office to place a hold on your mail.
- Collect any books/maps about your destination.
- Learn some basic phrases in the language of your destination. I like to have a little cheat sheet to refer to when I have downtime in the car or on the plane so I can practice. I also use the Duolingo app.
- Arrange for people to watch your house if you are going to be gone for awhile. Make sure those plants get watered!
- Work on eating any food in your fridge before it spoils.
- Plan outfits/make sure you have clothing for all the things you are doing. For this trip to the Ryder Cup, I needed to make sure to pack red, white and blue. For your trip, it might be hiking boots, or fancy outfits for dinner out in the city. Whatever the case, start checking your closet.
- Check that you have enough storage on your phone to hold music and movie downloads, and all the photos you will take on your trip. Back up any photos on your phone or computer.
- Buy or find your power converter and power adapters after researching the voltage of the country you are traveling to.
I’m sure I have left some things out, which is why I recommend you do your own research and check other sources. But having this list of important things to do before traveling internationally made me feel more calm and prepared for my trip.
What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.
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