I'm sure you have read it several times on our site by now, but our most favorite type of travel would have to be international travel. There is something magical about boarding a plane to another country to connect with another culture and way of life outside of what we consider normal. While it can be an exciting venture, it can also be a bit stressful if you do not plan for the little things. In this post, I plan to take you through a number of things to think about before you get ready to leave on your next international trip.
One thing to consider is your passport expiration date. This is a little known fact that can save you a lot of stress. The U.S. DHS (Homeland Security) will always honor your passport until its printed expiry date. The same cannot be said for some foreign countries. Some countries will not honor your passport if it is within 6 months of expiring. The main reason is that they do not want your passport expiring while you are still in their country. While we have never had this problem personally, there are some testimonials online where this has occurred. While this may make you want to clinch your passport in your hand and shake your fist into the heavens cursing the travel gods... Take a breath... The Travel and Leisure website suggests renewing your passport during travel down time. They suggest at least 9 months prior.
Money is another issue that can cause you issues while travelling abroad. Exchange rates can cause issues for people who do not plan for them ahead of time. You should always look at the exchange rates for the countries that you are visiting to see how far your dollar will take you. Please Please PLEASE stay away from currency exchanges in the airport. While they may seem like a convenient idea, they are like anything you buy in an airport; a huge ripoff. And while we are on the topic of money, you should call your credit card company and tell them about your overseas trip. You should really tell them about any trip outside of your local area. Most credit card companies will put an automatic block on all purchases if you do not inform them that you are spending in another country. While it is a great feature, it can be frustrating when trying to make purchases. Also, make certain your credit card has the chip feature embedded in the card. This is the new practice with most cards in the U.S. but it is a standard in continents like Europe where they have almost done away with the magnetic strip entirely.
Technology is one of those things people cannot live without. Everyone is tweeting and snap chatting the most mundane content on the internet and getting 1 billion likes and shares. When you are on vacation, you want to share as much content as possible. While I would much rather enjoy seeing your vacation on the interwebs rather than random celebrity X does random celebrity thing; you might want to check your carrier plan. Most people do not realize that their cell phones do not work abroad. Some carriers will offer international plans, but you should only use those if you absolutely have to. Also, turn your data roaming off! I cannot stress this enough! Turn it off! ...OFF! Use free wi-fi when it is available, or just simply wait until you are stateside to share your adventures. Your wallet will be happier for it.
Travelling in an unfamiliar country can feel threatening at times. While I don't want to scare away clients; travelling abroad can be dangerous. Especially for those who are a bit riskier in their international excursions. One thing you should always check before leaving is US Department of State Travel Warning Site. It can tell you if the countries on your itineraries have a travel advisory and what to expect if there is one. Another resource you should definitely use is the CDC Health Travel Advisory site. And how convenient! We have both on our Main Page! Fancy that! Also, you should travel with others you know and stay away from areas that aren't associated with tourism. While it may be cool to wander off the beaten path, you could find yourself in more trouble than you care to be in.
One of the more boring tips, but extremely vital, is checking with your health care provider. You want to make certain that you can receive treatment in a foreign country should something happen to you. You also want to fill all prescriptions that you have to regularly take. You don't want to run out in another country with no access to medical facilities. And while this is not necessarily health related, you should also look into your car insurance as well. Always make sure you are covered for international travel!
While we look forward to your vacation stories and all the good times you had on your trip, we want you to stay safe at all times. Please keep these tips in mind when travelling. And as always:
-The No Excuses Travel Team.