Planning an international trip can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a checklist I use to prepare for my international travels.
- Make sure your passport is valid!!
- Then visit http://travel.state.gov/ and search for the country or countries you’re visiting. This site features travel alerts, entry/exit and passport requirements and health and safety information. If the country you are visiting requires a visa for entry, make sure you apply at least 2 months in advance of travel to give yourself enough time to get your paperwork in order.
- The CDC website provides detailed information regarding health risks and vaccinations by destination. Pay special attention to the food and water precautions for tips on how to eat safely abroad.
- Register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). By registering, you will receive info regarding safety conditions and emergency situations via email or text. In case of an emergency, the local consulate will be able to contact you easily to provide information and next steps.
- Make multiple copies of your passport. Leave one with a friend or family member and take the others with you. Keep one on your person and keep the other hidden safely in your luggage or hotel safe.
- Call your bank and ask them to put a travel notice on the cards you will be using while you are away. Let them know what countries you will be visiting and for how long. Failure to do this may result in your cards being shut off due to “suspicious activity”.
- Contact the post office to stop your mail for the duration of your trip or arrange for a neighbor to collect it for you.
- Leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member including contact information in case of an emergency.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to check in on your home while you are away.
- Do your research! Read about local customs and cultural faux pas.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to pack and enjoy your trip!