Doing your homework and planning ahead of time for a vacation in a foreign place can mean the difference between having a good time and having a bad experience. It only takes a couple of hours to “know before you go” on a variety of vital topics that will come in handy on your travel. Check out the following:
If you’re visiting another country, you’ll almost always need a passport or equivalent to enter and exit. Make a photocopy of the photograph page to preserve in a different location, and make sure yours is valid for at least 6 months until the end of your trip. You should have your printed schedules, tickets, tour vouchers, inoculations certificate (if necessary), medical insurance, and travel insurance on hand (with you). Place everything in a tiny sealable folder.
Vaccination will be required in some countries and locations. For each country, you plan to travel to, consult your doctor or official websites. Make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations and that you can prove it. Always bring additional medication in case your trip is unexpectedly extended. Some drugs are difficult to obtain in other nations. Check with your doctor to see if any of your medications are restricted in your destination. For the most part, you’ll need a prescription for your medications. The bottle label is sufficient as long as it has your name, the drug’s name, and a valid prescription number.
If feasible, swap a small amount of money at your bank ahead of time. It may take a few days to obtain foreign cash, but it is well worth the wait when compared to airport prices. Purchase enough money to cover a couple of cab journeys and tips. It’s better to pay for as much as you can from home, so you can take advantage of your credit card’s travel and return policies. Also, the exchange rates on your credit card are usually the greatest.
The poorest prices are usually found at airport currency exchange booths or “Bureau de Change” locations. Traveler’s checks are no longer popular, thus they are not advised. If you can, bring at least two credit cards, but call ahead to let them know your plans. Avoid purchasing more local currency than you require, as returning it at the conclusion of your trip may be problematic (in some countries). Also, carrying “too much” cash at any time is not a smart idea, both for safety reasons and because transporting more than a few thousand dollars across borders may be prohibited in many countries.
Wherever possible, it is always better to have a precise travel itinerary. Divide your days into thirds (morning, afternoon, and evening) and write down where you intend to go and what you intend to do in each section. This will make it easier for you to keep track of things like tickets and transportation, as well as inform your friends and family about your movements. Sometimes you just want to go with the flow; in certain locations, this is safe and enjoyable, but not always. Before you “wander,” check the international travel advice for all of your locations on the US or Canadian government websites. Pre-planning can improve your trip’s safety and comfort while also allowing you to manage your expectations.
Travel to and from
While booking flights may appear to be simple, there are a few things to keep in mind. Consider going a day ahead of time if your plans demand you to get somewhere by a certain time. This will remove the chance of missing your flight. In addition, jet lag is a real thing. Allowing yourself an extra day to acclimate before embarking on your journey might be really beneficial. Flights from east to west, as well as red-eye flights, are the worst for this. If there are any changes, it’s a good idea to have the international phone numbers for all of the airlines you’ll be flying with written down on your travel documents. Set up alerts on your phone for your flights if feasible, so you’ll be notified of any changes in advance.
If you intend to hire a car in your destination, be sure you have your driver’s license and insurance. It’s worth noting that certain countries need you to have an international driver’s license before renting a car to you. It’s a good idea to double-check whether there are any significant variances in terms of which side of the road to drive on and speed restrictions (miles vs. kilometers). Make sure you know whether public transportation or taxis (or ride-sharing services like Uber) will be able to pick you up from the airport. Spending a few minutes planning how to go from your hotel to an outing and back to the airport will save you time and aggravation.
Important things to bring
When visiting a new location, especially one that is foreign to you, you should pack items that you require but may not be able to obtain. Prescription medications and toiletries are the most evident. Non-prescription headache, cold, and stomach drugs are also good choices. You can avoid needing to figure out which local products are the best if you carry ones you’re familiar with. An adapter to charge all of your electronics is next on the list. Check official travel websites to see which nations use which adapters; they aren’t all the same. Sanitation may not always fulfill your expectations, depending on where you go. Bringing a little hand sanitizer and a pack of wet wipes is an excellent idea.
If you visit a place where English is not the first language, you can bet that many residents will be unable to understand you if you talk (or yell) in English. In major tourist destinations, most people speak English to some extent, but the more you can prepare yourself by learning a few basic phrases in the native tongue, the better off you’ll be. If you at least try to speak in their language, you may discover that natives deliver greater service. Even if they respond to you in English, people will usually appreciate your efforts. To assist with simple translations, bring a pocket phrase dictionary or download an app to your phone.