Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad: Your Ultimate Checklist
Travelling internationally will be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Don’t let your adventure fall flat because you forget about something important! Click here for a full checklist of things to do before traveling abroad.
The last few days before an overseas trip can be hectic.
From passports to packing lists, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be done before you set foot on the plane.
Whether you’re traveling abroad for a month or three months (or more), you need to manage some of the more essential tasks before you go. Even after you’ve nailed down airfare, hotel bookings, and rental cars, there’s a lot more that’s still on your list.
If you want to have a smooth, headache-free trip, then understanding all the things to do before traveling abroad is key.
Don’t leave home before you’ve accomplished these vital tasks.
Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad
To help alleviate stress and any last minute panic, we’ve put together the ultimate pre-travel checklist for your next big trip. If this is your first time traveling–or you just need a quick refresher–here’s a traveling checklist to take care of before you go.
1. Plan Your First Day
Depending on how you like to travel, your trip could look very different. Some travelers like to plan out every detail in an itinerary while other prefer a more spontaneous travel strategy.
In either case, make sure that you have a plan for your first 24 hours after you set down.
Book your first night at a hotel or hostel in advance. You really don’t want to be scrambling for a place to sleep after sitting on a plane for hours and hours.
You can also take care of financial details like calling your bank ahead of time to let them know your location. If you make a purchase on your credit or debit card in another country without notification, the bank could lock your account.
Usually, you’ll be able to withdraw money in the local currency at an ATM in the airport. But just in case it’s a smaller airport without that option–or if you just want to avoid the high fees–withdraw some cash in advance at your bank.
2. Take Care of Health and Security
First off, check in with your doctor to make sure that you’ve renewed any essential prescriptions and that you’re up to date on all your vaccinations.
If you have private medical insurance, take a look at the fine print to see if your policy applies overseas in case of an emergency. If not, consider supplemental insurance. You can also purchase travel insurance to cover emergency medical needs, lost luggage, evacuation, and trip cancellation.
If you’re especially concerned about safety, register with the American embassy. You’ll get regular updates about alerts and travel advisories. In an emergency scenario, the government will be able to get you to safety.
3. Pack a Survival Kit
The key to staying comfortable throughout a long, exhausting travel itinerary is being prepared. Pack a survival kit with essentials like band-aids, painkillers, earplugs, sleeping aids, headphones, spare chargers, prescription meds, and hand sanitizer.
You can also include items more geared towards comfort, like an eye mask, slippers, a travel blanket, and more.
Don’t forget to stock up on food too–you don’t know how long it will be until food options are available. Always plan to bring some snacks to hold you over until you get to your destination, as well as a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
4. Get a Visa and Passport
Without proper paperwork, you could be in serious trouble when trying to travel. If you don’t have a proper visa, you could be turned away from the country on the next available flight–which means that one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars.
Do some background research to see if you’ll need a visa for the country you’re visiting. Depending on your country of origin, the length of your stay, and some other factors, you may or may not need a visa in order to travel.
You will, however, need a passport. Always bring copies of your passport and leave one copy at home with someone you trust. Make sure you have it before you leave and keep it in a safe place in your luggage.
Keep in mind–if your passport is 6 months away from expiring, some countries won’t let you in.
If you lose your passport or realize you’re too close to the expiration date, you can order an expedited passport to help you continue traveling as soon a possible.
5. Get Your House in Order
Before you leave home, turn off any lights or electronics.
For your yard or landscaping, either set your sprinklers to run automatically or get a friend to come over and water your plants. You can also place a hold on mail, deliveries, or other services.
To avoid worrying about finances while on the trip, either pay your bills in advance or set them up to automatically pay while you’re traveling.
If you have any pets, either leave them at a kennel or hire a friend or house sitter to come and take care of them.
6. Do Your Research
The last thing you want is to be surprised by bad weather or a closure. Do your research and plan out some of the things you want to see–and when you want to see them.
Make sure you take a look at the weather forecast so you know how to pack for the country’s climate and the local weather patterns.
Also, be sure to research a few of the popular dishes. You don’t want to leave a country without experiencing everything it has to offer!
The Bottom Line
Taking care of things like paperwork, finances, and insurance might seem like a hassle, but they might mean the difference between a safe, successful trip and a disaster.
If you stick to these essential things to do before traveling abroad, your trip will be smooth and (mostly) stress-free.
Looking for more tips and tricks for your next adventure abroad? Check out our blog for more information.