You’ve got your plane tickets and a series of hotel reservations. Your brand new passport just arrived in the mail, complete with a (really goofy looking) self-portrait inside. Your first international trip is looming on the horizon!
While anticipating your initial foray abroad is definitely an exhilarating time, the fear of forgetting to pack essential items or not taking care of the right stuff ahead of time can be worrisome. These five tips will help ease your mind and plan for your trip abroad.
When you travel overseas, it’s essential to have all your documents in order — and to be ready to present them when asked, which may be often Before you go, make several copies of the first pages of your passport and visa. You should also take two copies with you and leave a copy at home–that way, if these documents are lost or stolen, you’ve got backup.
Give a copy of your itinerary and your airline confirmation numbers to a trusted friend or family member so someone always knows where you’re going to be. If you’re planning on driving while overseas, you might need to get an international driver’s license; if you do, make copies of this important document, as well.
Getting sick is bad enough when you’re at home and you’ve got easy access to doctors and medical facilities. Getting sick abroad, however, is no cake walk — and getting injured can be even more of a hassle. Make sure that you’re protected before you go by purchasing international travel health insurance from a reputable company like Atlas International Insurance. That way, in case the unthinkable happens, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve got medical coverage, wherever you may go.
Speaking of staying healthy, be sure to pack all of your personal prescription and over-the-counter medicines in your carry-on bag. Don’t pack them in your checked luggage; if it gets lost en-route, you’ll be stranded without your medications.
Depending on which country you’re visiting, you may need to see your health care provider several months ahead of time in order to get the proper vaccinations. You may need to start taking malarial medication before you leave. Gastrointestinal upset is an issue in many less-developed countries, so be sure to pack some antidiarrheal medicine, too.
The days of traveler’s checks are quickly passing, so bring your credit or debit card. You may want to exchange a bit of U.S. currency for the currency of the country you’re visiting before you leave. Most international airports offer currency exchange booths.
Remember to pack those little odds and ends that’ll just make your trip that much more comfortable, such as:
- An electrical adapter and plug converter in the shape your destination country uses
- Ear plugs to help you sleep in noisy settings
- Water purification tablets
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and a protective hat
- Cheap flip-flops to wear in showers of questionable cleanliness
- An empty water bottle to fill after you make it through airport screening
A bit of planning will make your first international adventure even more exciting — in a good way! Creating packing lists and double checking them before you lock up your suitcase will give you peace of mind. Once your planning is done, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!