International travel is so exciting. You’re going on what may very well be a once in a lifetime event and you want to make the most of it. You’ve done all the research, booked the flights, reserved your accommodation and packed your bags. Sleep the night before may be difficult, either because you have to be at the airport at 5 A.M. or because you’re so excited.
Before you go, you need to run through a small checklist of items to make sure you can have the happiest, most stress-free vacation possible.
Below is a list of items that can help you achieve that goal!
Put a Travel Alert on Your Cards
Even though the country you may be visiting might prefer cash over the plastic, you’re going to want to put a travel alert on your card. Make sure you put the exact dates you’re going and where you’re going.
Some card companies have the option to enter a travel alert via your online account while others request that you call and speak to a representative. It might be a tedious task, but a quick 20 minutes could save you a huge headache on your vacation. You don’t want to be sitting in your hotel talking to customer service when you could be out swimming with dolphins.
Cover the Red Tape
First and foremost, make sure your passport is up to date and you can travel to the intended country. Some countries ask that your passport be valid for six months after your intended travel date. Others ask that it’s only valid for the duration of your trip.
Many airlines don’t ask for your passport information until it’s time to check in, so it may not even have occurred to you that that’s the case. The airline may deny you boarding or you could get stopped at immigration and sent back on your way.
Some countries also require visas, depending on where you’re from. Some visas can be applied for online and merely take a few hours. Others you can acquire at the port of entry. Others take days or weeks to be processed. If you’re not sure, check with the State Department.
Lastly, you’ll want to register with the U.S. STEP program which will notify the embassy or consulate in the area of your travel plans. Should you run into any problems, it will be easier for them to help you or get into contact with you should an emergency arise.
The Tech Side
Before your trip, you may be looking at what kind of phone plan you will have while you’re traveling. If you’re going somewhere for a short time, it may be best to extend your current phone plan to cover international travel.
If not, you should look into the local phone plans which tend to be much much cheaper.
If you’re going to do neither, make sure and download a messenger app like WhatsApp, Viber or even simply Facebook Messenger. All you need for these is a WiFi connection.
If you need to contact a landline, buy some Skype credit. It’s relatively cheap and never expires.
If you have a navigation app on your phone, see if it has the option to download the map of the city you’re going to. While getting lost and finding a hole in the wall cafe is fun, what’s not fun is wandering around an unknown city at midnight with no idea how to get home.
Even if you are not planning on using your phone’s data plan, the location feature on your phone will still work in airplane mode. Make sure you have the map downloaded and you can easily find your way back to the hotel or to the big tourist destination.
Let’s say you want to take some of your home entertainment with you, what are your options? While you can log in to your Netflix account from almost anywhere in the world, you may not have the same TV shows or movies. Airplane movies aren’t always the greatest anyway.
Thankfully, Troypoint makes it easy to install a VPN on any device. Not only does it add that extra layer of security, but it allows you to access content that may not be available to you in your geographical region.