Traveling is fun, unless you forget to bring an important item with you. Traveling internationally when this happens can be even more problematic, as other countries may not have the items you need on your trip. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a list of the important items you will need beforehand.
If you are traveling abroad, review our recommended list of items to travel with below.
Travel visa requirements depend on the country you are visiting. Visa requirements vary from showing officials your passport to presenting a signed invitation letter from a consulate. Do some research and find out in advance what the travel visa requirements are for the country you are visiting. This way you are not left stranded at a foreign airport without the proper documents.
In your travel plans, include making sure your passport is valid and up to date. Adult passports in the United States are valid for ten years after being issued. Because it takes several weeks to renew passports, aim to renew your passport at least nine months in advance to be prepared. Not to mention, several countries require US citizens to hold a passport with more than six months’ time left on a passport.
There are many countries that use different electrical plugs with varying amounts of voltage that are not used in the United States. By getting an adapter right away, you won’t arrive at your hotel and see it doesn’t fit any of your appliances.
Before you leave the country, read the fine print on your health insurance to make sure you are covered internationally. If you have international coverage, bring the health insurance ID card and a claim form in case something happens.
If your medical insurance doesn’t cover international travel, consider purchasing travel medical insurance. Travel medical insurance can be bought up to 24 hours before your trip, and will cover any medical expenses you incur throughout your time overseas.
Making phone calls from a foreign country is easier and cheaper today than in previous due to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling cards. With VoIP, a regular phone is used but the connection is routed through the Web. VoIP helps you avoid the pitfall of using your cell phone and returning to a bill with a few more zeros than usual.
Most VoIP cards are also rechargeable. Below are three of the top reviewed VoIP providers:
Credit cards are a great way to safely make purchases while traveling abroad. Avoiding high currency rates are also a benefit of paying with credit cards – some credit cards waive international fees altogether. To avoid any fraud alert situations, notify your bank about using the card abroad. Also, make sure that purchases are made in the country currency, not US dollar. Foreign merchants that convert their prices to US dollars are typically trying to get a few extra bucks out of the transaction. Bringing a backup card is also recommended.
Always make sure to have at least enough cash in the currency of the country you are visiting to get you from the airport to the hotel and back in a taxi. If you need extra cash after you arrive, use a local ATM because they tend to have very low exchange rates. Above all, avoid currency exchange kiosks found in airports and tourist areas. The exchange rates at these establishments are high.
Unless you’ve already learned the language or you plan on staying in a foreign country for a long period of time, there’s a slim chance you will become fluent by the time you leave. To navigate the language barrier, bring a phrasebook and if you own a smartphone, download an application with helpful phrases.
The only required vaccine for international travel is yellow fever, and this applies to travel in South America or sub-Sahara Africa. Even so, it is recommended to get booster shots before the trip, particularly leave, especially if you are traveling with children.
Finding a pharmacy to buy medicine in a foreign country can be an ordeal. Avoid buying the wrong medicine by packing your prescription or over-the-counter drugs beforehand.