Spontaneous travels are great, but more often than not, ill-planned vacations will end up in disaster which will cost you more than you have bargained for. It is only in chick flick movies that risky adventures turn into something beautiful. Thus, it is always better to plan your trip, especially if it involves going to a foreign country.
6 Essential Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad
Prepare Your Passport and Necessary Visas
You do not necessarily have to memorize the expiration date of your passport, but it would be helpful to know if it is near its expiration date. If you plan on going on international travel, it would be prudent to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after entering a foreign jurisdiction.
Although it is not a universal requirement to secure a visa, there are a number of countries where U.S. citizens need to get a tourist visa before entering. These countries include Australia, Bolivia, China, and Vietnam. Since applying for a visa can be time-consuming and expensive, it is best to do it as soon as possible.
Get Vaccinated and Visit Your Dentist
Although it is never fun visiting your doctor and dentist, doing so will save you from a lot of hassle. Schedule your wisdom teeth removal before leaving the country. Imagine how difficult it would be to get a check-up or tooth cleaning in a place where you do not speak the language.
You should consider getting vaccinated as well, especially if you are going to travel to a third-world country. Diseases like dengue, malaria, typhoid fever, and bird flu are common in those areas. Do not leave this step to the last minute since there are vaccines that need a week or two to fully kick in.
Check for Travel Advisories
Before getting overwhelmed with excitement about your international vacation, make sure you have also checked with the government’s website for any travel alerts and warnings. It is worth checking on these notices before hopping on your plane to help you properly decide if you should go to a country at all.
It is also advised for U.S. passport holders to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to make it easier for the State Department to help you out in case of an emergency. It is also better to note the contact details of any American embassies in your travel destination in case you need to reach them. ;
Ready Your Finances
Another important consideration before heading out of the country for your vacation is to arrange your finances. Notify your bank and credit card provider that you will be traveling overseas. You would want to avoid the hassle and embarrassment when you are trying to pay for dinner only to find out your cards are frozen.
Developing a budget is also crucial, especially if you are planning on spending an extended time overseas. Find out about the cost of living in the place, how much you have to spend each month on groceries, rent, transportation, and entertainment. Be realistic about how much you can afford and how much you actually need to use.
Learn About Your Destination
No matter how adventurous or open-minded you claim to be, you will experience culture shock in some of your destination countries. Even research could not prepare you for a first-hand experience. Nonetheless, knowing the norms and culture of the country you are visiting is crucial not only to avoid committing a faux pas but also to make your cultural experience more profound.
Research also of any upcoming festivals while you are there vacationing. Look up must-see attractions and must-try cuisines. It is also helpful to learn key phrases in the local dialect. In some countries, people are much more helpful to foreigners who try to speak the local dialect.
Prepare Your Electronic Gears
Even your electronic gears have to be prepared for international travel. Electrical outlets vary all over the world, so it is best to pack adapters with you. To avoid the hassle of buying a new adapter every time you travel to another country, invest instead in an adapter that has different settings.
Another consideration is the compatibility of your device to the electrical current. If it is not compatible with either a higher or lower current, then it is best to just leave it at home. Also, you should opt to carry with you a power bank or spare batteries for your phones and other electronic gadgets. With good preparation, you will surely have a wonderful experience overseas.