7 Steps to Take Before an International Trip

Travel abroad

You have set aside vacation time from work, purchased guidebooks and are ready to hop on the plane and jet off to your beautiful destination. However, you should first stop in your tracks, check this list and ensure that you have truly dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s.

1. Get Your Passport and Any Necessary Visas

Of course, this should be done well before your trip. In fact, the quickest that you can expect to receive an American passport is three weeks, and that is only if you spend extra on expedited shipping. Also, make sure to get any necessary visas. If you are American, note that Brazil, Russia and China require American visitors to get a visa.

2. Make Sure to Take Care of Your Monthly Bills

While you have your credit card out, ready to buy your plane ticket and pay for your accommodations, make sure to also take care of any bills that will become due while you are out of the country. Even though you may be able to pay many of them from anywhere in the world via the Internet, it will surely take a load off of your mind to not need to worry about bills while excitedly exploring new parts of the world.

3. Get an International Plan for Your Phone

Actually, you have several options available when deciding what to do with your phone prior to leaving the country. First, contact your provider and see if an international plan is available for it that makes financial sense. You can also replace your SIM card with one from the country you are visiting; doing so will give you a temporary phone number that is local to where you are staying. Lastly, consider downloading the Viber app as you can make free or cheap calls to your loved ones with it.

4. Bring an Adapter or Converter for Your Electronic Devices

Research the countries you are visiting and determine what plug adapters or voltage converters you may need in order to ensure that your phone and laptop remain charged.

5. Stop Your Mail or Make Other Arrangements for It

This is especially important as you do not want prospective burglars to be able to easily tell that you are on a trip by seeing how stuffed your mailbox is getting. The U.S. Postal Service will hold your mail for you, a service that you can request from 30 days prior to your departure to 3 a.m. ET on the day that you are leaving. You can also ask a trusted neighbor, relative or friend to regularly pick it up for you.

6. Let Your Credit Card Company Know You Are Leaving the Country

Fortunately, credit card companies are vigilant in ensuring that your card is not being fraudulently used. Unfortunately, that means that they may put a hold on your account shortly after your trip has begun because they became concerned when charges originating from a foreign country suddenly started appearing. To ensure that this does not happen, let your credit card company know of your trip a few days before you depart. Many companies don’t require such notification, but it’s good to check.

7. Make Copies of Your Passport and Credit Cards

Make at least three copies apiece of your passport and credit cards. Two of these will be physical copies; you should leave one set at home and bring one with you. The third should be electronic; e-mail those to yourself so that you can easily access them from any computer in the world that offers Internet access.