Traveling Abroad? Put These 7 Things on Your “To Do” List

sneakers next to a suitcase - travel

Planning some travel abroad this holiday season?  Using a reputable limousine service to get to the airport is a safe and reliable way to get your trip off on the right foot. But before you ride, improve the odds that things will go smoothly with a bit of advance planning – especially if you’re traveling internationally. In addition to booking flights and packing, you will need to cover all of your bases when it comes to essentials like health, finances, and communication.

Here are seven things to include on your “To Do” list when prepping for your next overseas journey:

1. Put Your Travel Documents in Order

Make sure your passport and any necessary travel visas are up to date. Some countries will not allow you to enter unless your passport will be valid for at least six months past your entry date. Keep in mind that many countries require visas for Americans, including travel hotspots like Australia, Brazil, Cuba and China.

2. Check Insurance Coverage

Renew all essential prescriptions and determine whether your medical insurance policy will cover overseas emergencies. If your coverage is limited, consider purchasing a travel medical insurance policy and look into other travel insurance options. Travel insurance can cost as little as a few dollars per travel day, and cover everything from replacing a broken camera to emergency medical attention.

3. Focus on Financial Necessities

Familiarize yourself with exchange rates in the country you’re visiting, and stash a small amount of local currency to cover transportation or a meal in case you can’t get to a bank or ATM immediately. Notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel dates so they don’t deny your purchases. And don’t assume your credit card will work everywhere you go – carry a backup card if possible.

4. Get Vaccinated ASAP

Research required immunizations. Talk to your doctor about getting CDC-recommended shots, as the protocol for vaccines varies by country. Get the necessary vaccinations out of the way as soon as possible, since it may take time to build up full immunity.

5. Stay Connected

If you need to stay in touch while you’re away, check into communications options before you leave home. Make sure your cell phone will work in the country you’re visiting and ask your provider about international phone plans. (If your data plan is too expensive, mobile hotspots could be an affordable alternative.) Avoid charges from your wireless carrier by downloading entertainment or travel apps before you leave. Many countries have different size electrical outlets and voltage, so pack a power converter and plug adapter.

6. Read Up on Your Destination

Whether you’re into travel apps or prefer old-school guidebooks, reading about the location you’re traveling to will help you gain insight into important details such as useful phrases, tipping norms, clothing, and customs. Research restaurants and things to do, and skip the lines by buying tickets in advance for places or events you want to see.

7. Be Smart About Ground Transportation

Have a plan for getting from the airport to your hotel, cruise ship, train station or rental car office. If you decide to drive, find out where to park your car and whether there are any local parking rules or restrictions. Taking a taxi may be a good option for shorter distances, but be on guard for any situation that feels like a scam.