Travelling abroad can be a highly rewarding and life-changing experience, but if you happen to become victim of unfortunate circumstances, it can quickly turn into a nightmare that seems to never end. There are certain things one should do prior to any trip so far away from home. The following tips will help you to ensure that you are well prepared for your trip, so you can relax and enjoy your visit, knowing you are prepared for the worst.
1. Check Travel Warnings – The State Department issues travel warnings when it is advisable to postpone travel to certain areas. This can happen during times of civil unrest, terrorist activity, or other emergencies, so check the State Department’s website ahead of time.
2. Gather & Organize Required Documents – Gather all necessary documents, including passport, birth certificates, any travel visas, hotel confirmation, traveller’s checks, driver’s license, etc. and be sure to make photocopies. Keep the photocopies packed separate from the originals, so if one set gets lost, you have access to your backup set.
3. Emergency Preparedness – Gather all phone numbers and addresses to the US Embassy in the country you are visiting, along with information for their offices in Washington, DC. This can be found on the State Department’s Specific Country Information page.
4. Keep Finances Safe – Rather than carrying around wads of cash, it’s best to get traveller’s checks or use your debit/credit cards. Be sure to let your bank know that you’re travelling overseas, so they don’t block your account, due to suspicious activity. You should also check to make sure you will be able to use your debit/credit card at your travel destination.
5. Learn the Law of the Land – Just because you’re from another country doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the rules. Brush up on the laws and cultural customs of your destination country to avoid unnecessary drama and hardship. In some countries, they may go harder on you, just because you’re American or a foreigner.
6. Plan & Setup Necessities for Communication – Make sure your cell phone plan includes International calling. Some companies will allow you to pay a little extra to add it on temporarily for your trip. This will help you avoid outrageous roaming fees. Also, carry with you a bilingual dictionary in the language that is used in your destination country. There are some smartphone app that have a bilingual dictionary that will help make things convenient and easy. SayHi Translate or Voice Translate Pro are great apps that could prove quite useful. Also, don’t forget to pack your phone chargers and extra batteries.
7. Medical Care – If you take any medications, be sure to carry enough to get you through the trip, plus extra in case there are delays. Also, get a letter from your doctor stating what medications are prescribed and that they are medically necessary, as some medications are illegal in some places and you don’t want to end up in a situation where they take your meds from you. Plan ahead where you will get medical attention should the need arise while you are on travel. Call your insurance company and explain you’re travelling overseas and ask for their recommendations.
They may not be romantic, but by utilizing these 7 tips, you can relax on your trip knowing you got all of your bases covered. Happy travels!