There’s more to traveling internationally than just hopping on a plane and going. You need to make sure you have everything in order, from your money to your documents and your luggage.
For a first-time international traveler, this can equate to a lot of pre-travel stress.
Here are 11 helpful tips on how to travel internationally.
1. Familiarize Yourself With the Country You’re Visiting
It always helps to do some basic research on the country you’re visiting.
Read up on their customs, laws, and culture. Figure out what might be appropriate to wear, and to bring along with you. You don’t want to come off as offensive to the local people.
For example, certain countries will restrict you from using services like Facebook and Instagram. If you’re traveling to one of these countries, be prepared for that. Don’t plan on doing any socializing through social media messengers.
You might also want to learn a little of the local language. You don’t need to be a master before traveling, but learning a few keywords and phrases will help you navigate day-to-day.
2. Make a Copy of Your Passport
The worst thing that can happen on an international trip is losing your passport.
If you lose your passport, you won’t be able to return back home without getting a new one. Always make a copy of your passport before international travel. Store it somewhere safe within your luggage and don’t touch it unless necessary.
You should also keep a copy back in your home country.
Give it to a loved one. That way if you end up losing the passports with you, they can ship one over to you. This will keep you from having to deal with the embassy.
3. Call Your Bank Before You Travel
You should always call your bank before traveling internationally, especially if you plan on using your credit card abroad.
Sometimes your bank will think a transaction is fraudulent if it happens in a foreign country. This may lead them to put a hold on your credit card. Let them know where you’re traveling and how long you’ll be gone so they know your card hasn’t been stolen.
4. Take Your Hotel’s Business Card
If you’re traveling to a foreign-speaking country, take a business card from your hotel.
That way, you have the address and name of the hotel in its native language. You can show this to taxi drivers and locals if you get lost. That way they can more easily point you in the right direction.
5. Bring an Outlet Adapter
Did you know different countries have differently shaped power outlets?
You can’t just plug your U.S. iPhone charger into a wall in England. You’ll need to buy an adapter. You can buy region-specific adapters or more universal adapters that allow you to switch between multiple outlets.
6. Register With Your Embassy
If you want to make sure you’re cared for in a country you’re visiting, register for your country’s embassy.
The embassy can help you if any issues arise while traveling. They’ll help you get your passport back and set up emergency travel documents so you can get back home. Familiarize yourself with the location of your country’s embassy before taking off.
7. Contact Your Doctor & Health Insurance
Before you take off, it’s always a good idea to contact your doctor and health insurance provider.
You may want to go for a check-up to make sure you’re in tip-top shape for traveling. You’ll need to get any important prescriptions filled out and see if there are any necessary vaccinations for the country.
It’s also important to make sure your medical insurance covers you overseas. That way if you get injured while abroad, you can still get medical treatment. You may need to change up your insurance if it doesn’t cover you.
8. Figure Out Conversion Rates
It’s important to know what your local dollar is worth in the country you’re visiting.
Sometimes your dollar is more valuable, but other times it’s far less valuable. If your dollar is in the latter category, this can be an unwelcome surprise when you touchdown. You’ll have to spend a lot more money than you probably planned.
9. Get Your Money Converted In the Country Visited
You’ll get the most exact conversion using an ATM or bank in the country you’re visiting.
Conversion processes in airports are almost always rip-offs. ATMs are worse, as you have to put up with ATM charges. To get the most bang for your buck, visit a bank once you land.
10. Carry Local Cash
Credit cards are very helpful when traveling abroad. Conversions will automatically happen when making a purchase, which takes a little stress off your shoulders.
However, not everywhere in the country takes a credit card, especially a foreign one. It’s important to always have at least a little cash with you just in case.
11. Get a Global Phone Plan
A lot of phone plans don’t allow you to text or call internationally.
Contact your phone provider to find out if your plan allows international talk and text. If not, you may have to change your plan or unlock your phone. This will cost you, but it’s worth it for longer trips.
You can also plan to use alternative contact methods while international. You can talk over wi-fi using services like Skype or Facebook Messenger, or call from payphones. It’s up to you!
Learning How to Travel Internationally
Learning how to travel internationally can be a lot of stress for first-timers. Follow these 11 helpful tips above to make your trip as stress-free as possible. The more you travel, the easier it’ll get.
For more articles on traveling abroad, check out the rest of our blog. We’ve traveled to over 15 countries and 40 cities, and we’re sharing our adventure with you.