A successful trip is a product of preparation. That applies to any trip you take, but when you’re going to a foreign country, it is especially true.
Fantasizing about your getaway and booking a ticket can be enticing but traveling is more than that. There’s work to be done and planning to get into.
In addition to planning the nitty-gritty of your trip (lodging, restaurants, activities, etc), international travel calls for additional measures and research to ensure a stress-free experience.
Fortunately, we broke it all down into a ten-point strategy that will help make a success of your next international getaway.
1. Make Sure your Passport is in Order
Making sure your passport is in order before you leave the country is so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget as well.
Check to ensure that you have at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires.
If your passport expires in less than 3 months, a vast number of countries, including every country in the European Union, will turn you away. Many Asian countries require at least 6 months.
There is nothing worse than getting to your destination only to be stopped by a bad-tempered passport control officer who will be forced to send you back – unceremoniously to boot!.
2. Get Vaccinated and Stock up on Medicine
Depending on where you are planning to travel to, as a precaution against different diseases you can need to get specific vaccinations or medicines.
For the most detailed and current medical recommendations, search the website of the Centers with Disease Control and Prevention, which also publishes country-by-country health advisories.
Also, if you are using some prescription medication on a routine basis, ensure you have enough to cover the period of your trip so that you will not run out while you are traveling.
Finally, if you’re going to any remote region – it’s smart to pack non-prescription drugs that might not be easy to find.
3. Purchase Travel Insurance
This is really only important if you are traveling outside your home country.
Travel insurance will provide the necessary cover you need should something go wrong on your trip. For example, some travel insurance policies will handle all or some of the financial costs of any medical emergency you have while overseas. Others take care of the cost of any loss or damage you suffer.
There is a range of travel insurance policies and options, but usually, they include emergency medical services, evacuation, lost luggage and cancellation of trips.
If you are unsure of how to proceed with travel insurance, you can get explore options by visiting New Zealand’s State Insurance website. You can even ask questions of the experts there so that you don’t make a mistake.
4. Ensure that your Home is Secure
Your home is an important asset, which is why ensuring that it remains safe and untouched in your absence is of prime importance.
That can mean a host of things. For some, this means having a good home security system installed.
For others, this can mean setting the lights on timers, stopping mail, and parking a car outside the garage instead of inside it.
All these techniques are fantastic, so there is really no limit on how many you can put into practice. Use all of them if it makes you feel more secure.
You can also tell a friendly neighbor to keep an eye on your property while you are away or have someone come and stay in your home until you return..
5. Plan your Finances
Before you travel abroad, contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you will be.
This is because if your financial institution sees international charges with no warning that you’re overseas, they may freeze your cards, which can be quite inconvenient if you’re in a store or trying to pay for dinner.
When you travel internationally, be mindful of the exchange rate and know the average cost of things wherever you go so you get an idea of how much you’re going to spend.
If you want traveler checks, feel free to do so, just remember they’re not widely accepted and are traded at a less desirable rate than the cash you’ll find at an ATM, regardless of where you are in the world.
6. Check your Packing List Twice
You may be sure that you’ve got everything you need, but it doesn’t hurt to verify.
The last thing you want to do is get to that lovely stretch of beach, and remember that you left your bathing suit behind at your house.
You also don’t want to make the mistake of heading out off the beaten New Zealand track for that epic hike just to find out that your hiking boots are still by the front door.
Therefore, check your packing list, and double-check it to make sure you have everything you need for your trip. You’d be shocked to hear what people forget to pack while traveling.
7. Learn Key Phrases in the Local Language
Of course, learning basics such as ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘where can I get a restaurant?’ is best practice when traveling to a foreign country, but the more you can speak in the local language, the easier and more enjoyable your trip will be.
Then there are times when being able to communicate effectively is a matter of health and safety.
For example, if you have any medical conditions, learning how to educate others in a foreign language about those issues is vital.
Thankfully, there are lots of polyglot websites where you can either translate on the go or learn handy phrases quickly and easily.
8. Make Copies of your Passport
Better safe than sorry right?
Having a copy of your passport is good: if you lose your passport, have at least one copy.
A copy may be needed for certain accommodations.
For example, hotels and Airbnb tend to ask for a copy of your passport for immigration and security purposes. Instead of giving them your passport and have them lose it, it is better if you have several copies prepared in advance.
As you can see from the tips outlined here, preparation is the key to a successful trip. Once you are well prepared, chances are slim that anything will go wrong.
For your next trip, adopt all or some of these suggestions and come back to tell us how great your journey was because of them.