5 things you should do before traveling abroad – words Al Woods
All enjoyable and fun trips generally are the result of good planning. This is especially true when traveling abroad. Unfortunately, many people start fantasizing about their “dream vacation” and forget to double-check a few essentials. In truth, checking a few key things can make your travels a lot less stressful and can prevent unforeseen problems.
Vaccinations and Medication
Although it depends on where you travel, medications and vaccines are a safety measure against different diseases. Actually, some vaccines are required before you can travel to certain places. For instance, the International Health Regulations currently require a yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling to certain parts of Africa; and the government of Saudi Arabia requires vaccination for meningococcal meningitis if you are entering the country during the Hajj. Likewise, it is best to know medical recommendations before you go abroad. An excellent and comprehensive reference for health advisories by country is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Moreover, if you take medication on a regular basis, make sure that you bring enough to last the duration of your trip so that you do not run out. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to bring extra medication in case your trip is extended. It is also a good idea to pack non-prescription medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and medications for allergies, itching or bee stings.
Passports and Documentations – Before You Travel Abroad
Most countries require a passport to be valid for 6 or more months after the trip. Make sure that everyone’s passport is current. In addition, scan all passports and documents and then email the copies to yourself. This ensures that you have a copy of all important information in case your luggage gets lost or stolen. You can access the information from any computer.
It is extremely important that you have at least one color copy of your passport’s ID page. Make sure to put the document in a safe and secure place that is separate from your passport. This is to ensure that you have at least one copy if something were to happen. Likewise, make copies of your visas that are in reference to your current travel arrangements. You should also make hard copies of your hotel reservations, airline tickets, train tickets, and all other travel documents. Never assume that you will always have access to the internet.
Check Current Travel Advisories and Warnings
One of the most important things to verify before you travel abroad is to check for any travel advisories and warnings. A reliable source for travel alerts is the state Department’s Consular Information Program. Another good resource is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Frankly, it is a good idea to enroll with STEP in case there is an emergency. Registering with STEP will make it easier for the State Department to help you in the event of a disaster or emergency.
No matter where you plan to travel, make sure to verify all traveling conditions including weather, politics or other possible concerns. Check conditions when you are planning your trip and again right before you depart. Security and safety conditions can change between the time you booked your reservations and your departure time. Also, be aware that conditions can change quite rapidly in a country at any given moment.
Organize your Finances
Before traveling abroad, make sure to contact your bank and credit card providers. Financial institutions have strict guidelines, especially nowadays with the high potential of identity theft and fraud. In fact, once your bank sees any foreign charges they will likely freeze your card immediately. This can be very frustrating if you are trying to pay for dinner or go shopping.
For instance, if you’re planning to have a fantastic vacation in France, make sure you have enough in your budget to cover all possible expenses. You can do some advanced research to find the best possible deals on the widest assortment of holiday rentals France has to offer. And by being aware of the rate you will have an idea of what things may cost. For example, there are over 7200 homes, villas and holiday rentals to choose from for a unique traveling experience in France. In truth, it will make a lot easier to budget vacation in France and other pristine locations beforehand. Additionally, if you want to use traveler’s checks, be aware that some places may not accept them.
Get an International Driving Permit
In order to drive in other countries, you will need an international driver’s permit as well as insurance. Car rental companies will often offer insurance. Contact either the National Auto Club or AAA for an International Driving Permit. For added protection, make sure you learn the local driving laws.
Preparing for your trip in advance is the key to a successful adventure. Although unforeseen circumstances can happen, following a few simple guidelines will drastically reduce the stress. In fact, your trip will be a lot more fun if you follow good travel practices prior to going abroad.