Travelling overseas is something we all dream of, and something most of us get to do at least once in our lifetime. Seasoned travellers will have a wealth of tips and tricks they follow, gleaned from other travellers, or their own experience.
Check Your Passport
A wise tip to follow is to check that your passport has at least two blank pages left in it, and that it is valid for at least six months after your planned exit date in the country you will be travelling to. Some countries will deny you entry if there is less than six months of validity left on your passport, but it is safer to follow this rule at all times.
Notify Your Bank
When your bank or credit card provider suddenly notices multiple charges on your account from a foreign location, they’ll immediately suspect fraud, and cancel your cards. And getting a replacement card in a foreign country can be nearly impossible, so avoid this hassle by notifying them of your travel plans in advance. Let them know your departure and return dates, along with details of which countries you’ll be visiting.
Turn Off Call & Data Roaming
The biggest shock for many first time travellers comes in the form of an extremely high phone bill once they get back home. Call and data roaming costs vary considerably from one country to the next, but it is always advisable to check that international roaming is turned off with your carrier beforehand. Use local WiFi hotspots whenever you need internet connectivity, or – if your phone is compatible with local networks – buy a SIM card when you reach your destination.
Pack a Medicine Kit
While you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding over-the-counter medicines for most common ailments, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by packing a small medicine kit to travel with. Include antidiarrheals, pain pills, and antihistamines, along with any prescription medication you need. Visit your doctor beforehand, so that they can sign a letter listing all the medications you are travelling with. This isn’t required by all countries, but it is better to have it, and not need it, than to need it, and not have it.
Research the Language, Culture, and Weather
It is easy to get wrapped up in planning a host of activities and sightseeing excursions ahead of your trip, and while this is an important part of travelling, it shouldn’t detract you from researching a bit more detail about the country you will be visiting. This includes learning a few important phrases in the local language, finding out a bit about the local culture, and also paying attention to what the weather will be like. Don’t rely solely on travel guides when it comes to this. Listen to podcasts, check what the weather is like right now, and look out for any travel advisories that may be in effect.
Pack a few Essentials in Your Carry-On Luggage
Lost or stolen luggage is an unfortunate reality of international travel, and while the airline or your travel insurance could reimburse you, this won’t happen immediately. Packing a change of clothes, and a few toiletries (and any prescription medication you need) in your carry-on luggage won’t negate the inconvenience of having your luggage lost or stolen. But it can make the experience a little less unpleasant for the first 24-hours.
Convert a Small Amount of Currency Before Departing
Travelling from the airport to your accommodation may require cash in hand. Additionally, there are any number of transactions in your destination country that may also require cash. Save yourself from having to find a currency conversion centre in the airport, by visiting your bank before departing, and converting a small amount of currency.
Buy a Power Adapter or Voltage Converter
There are up to 15 different types of electrical sockets in use around the world, and many are not compatible with each other. At the very least you will need to charge your mobile phone throughout your trip, and while you should be able to buy a power adapter once you reach your destination, it is more convenient to travel with one. If you will be travelling through multiple countries, make sure you have an adapter that will work in all of them.
Sign Up for Travel Insurance
Serious illnesses and accidents can happen anywhere, but they can be especially costly and inconvenient when you’re in a foreign country. By taking out comprehensive travel insurance, you won’t be stuck having to accept the cheapest available treatment, should anything go wrong.
Preparing for your first international trip is exciting, no matter if you’re 20-years old, or already in your fifties. And following the tips outlined above will help ensure your excitement doesn’t disappear once you reach your destination.