5 Essential Things To Do Before You Travel Abroad

Nothing beats the excitement of traveling abroad. From the new cultures you’ll learn about to priceless memories you’ll make, international travel is something everyone should experience at some point. However, if you’re about to travel abroad for the first time, here are some essential preparations you need to tackle before you leave that you may not have known about:

Plan for Passport Processing

This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often trips have to be postponed or even canceled due to the passport process taking longer than expected. According to the Department of State, it takes between six to eight weeks to process a passport application or renewal. The process can be expedited to two to three weeks, but you’ll have to pay an extra $60 on top of the application fees. Plan ahead of time and start the passport application or renewal process as soon as you can!

Call Your Bank

Avoid frozen credit cards by alerting your bank before you leave. Since most banks monitor cards for unusual charges and identity theft, unexpected international transactions will raise red flags. Let your bank or credit card company know where you will be traveling to and for how long so they can add a note on your records.While you’re at it, ask them about potential fees to withdraw money in foreign ATMs. Plan to bring more than one type of card with you (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) as some cards may not be accepted everywhere. Also, bring cards that include the newer chip technology, as this is the norm in most European countries.

Check Electronic Devices

Purchase any necessary adaptors for phone, tablet and laptop chargers. Different countries use unique voltages in their power adapters that can ruin chargers and device batteries. Outlet converters and adapters are easy to find but will be much cheaper if bought beforehand as opposed to once you’ve arrived at your destination. Before leaving, download any apps you’ll be using to communicate with travel companions or to navigate during your trip. Some apps require cellular data to activate and therefore cannot be downloaded while abroad. Check with your phone carrier to see what it costs to activate your phone network’s global capabilities. If you don’t want to pay to use this service, find out how to turn off data while traveling so your phone only connects with wifi.

Schedule a Health Check-Up

About a month before your trip, head in to your doctor for a check-up. Depending on your physical health and destination, certain vaccinations may be recommended or required. Your doctor will be able to tell you what vaccines you should get before your trip. Additionally, your physician can ensure you’re healthy and in good shape to travel before your trip starts, helping you avoid the need for medical care while overseas. While you’re at your check-up, make sure you have enough of any prescription medicines to last your entire trip and ask for refills if necessary.

Prepare Your House

No one wants to come home from a trip abroad to a messy house. Before you leave, clean out your fridge and chuck any perishable items. Be sure to take out trash in every room and do all the dishes so you aren’t greeted with any unpleasant smells when you walk into your house. Wash your sheets the day before your trip so you can come home to a fresh, comfortable bed after a long flight. Either call the post office to pause mail delivery while you’re away or arrange for a neighbor to pickup your mail daily until you return. Finally, give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or family member so they can easily get into your house in the event of an emergency.


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