The thought of throwing a t-shirt in a bag and hopping on the plane puts a smile on your face, leaving you overwhelmed with excitement. Before making the plunge, there are several things you need to take into account. Experiencing a different country and culture can benefit you in many ways whether it’s learning how to adapt to something new, learning a language, or finding independence. Don’t ruin your experience traveling abroad
by not preparing ahead of time.
1. Prepare Your Documents
Attaining all the necessary documentation is crucial not just for entering another country but even for getting on the airplane. If you do not have a license or passport, TSA will reject you immediately. Some countries may require only driver’s license but when returning to the U.S., you MUST have a valid passport.
Other Important Documents:
• Boarding Pass
• Traveler’s Check Serial Numbers
• Hotel Confirmation
• Visa (if applicable)
2. Understand Foreign Currency
Before you travel overseas
, learn about the exchange rate to avoid confusion when you arrive at your destination. It’s best to change traveler’s checks only when necessary and to never display large amounts of money when paying. Notify your bank and credit card company prior to moving. If they see activity on your card abroad without knowing you have been traveling, the bank assumes your card is stolen and freezes your account.
3. Take Care of Your Health
Certain countries require an International Certificate of Vaccination, proving that you have had all medical tests before entering the country. In case of an emergency, check to see if there is a nearby hospital or doctor close to where you will be staying. Contact your health insurance to see if anything will be covered during your time abroad. Some health insurance agencies pay for a medical evacuation back to the U.S. or “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad.
If you are on any medications, get a prescription in advance and enough to last you a bit longer than expected. Label each container and pack medications on a carry-on because sometimes checked baggage is lost or delayed. Some countries will not allow both prescription and non-prescription medication into the country without medical documentation, so ask your doctor for a letter beforehand.
4. Remember Important Phone Numbers
Once you arrive at your destination, store some emergency numbers in your phone. These numbers include nearby hospitals, police, fire stations and the cab company.
5. Purchase a Cellphone with Free Roaming
Keeping in contact with loved ones is going to be on your mind. Purchase a global data plan so you can stay connected at any time. Staying in touch with friends and family plays a key role in staying safe.