7 tips to follow before your next trip abroad

You can’t wait to go on vacation to an exotic place but to have a carefree vacation, it’s wise to invest a little time in advance to make sure you’ve everything planned. Follow this checklist of 7 tips to follow before your next trip abroad to make sure your finances are in order, your luggage is well packed, and your trip runs smoothly.

Make sure your passport and visa are up to date

Most countries require your passport to be valid for up to six months after your return. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises you to renew your passport at least nine months before its expiry date.

Check your passport’s expiration date now, and if you need to renew it, check the U.S. Department of State’s website to find your nearest passport agency.
Allow six to eight weeks to process the passport application. If you need the passport faster, use the expedited service for an additional fee and receive your passport in two to three weeks. Private acceleration services can do this faster, but they charge much higher fees.

The Foreign Ministry’s country information provides important information about your destination, such as whether or not you need a visa and where to get one, as well as other important details about crime, special circumstances, medical information, etc.

If you plan to rent a car or drive to your destination, find out if an International Driving Permit is required or if your U.S. driver’s license is sufficient.

Make a photocopy of the information page of your passport and the visa page(s) for your destination(s). Pack them separately from your passport.

Consult health notices and travel advice and advisories.

Check to see if the U.S. government has issued a travel advisory for countries where long-term problems create a risky environment for travelers, or a travel warning, for countries where short-term issues may pose a threat to travelers, to your destination. Many travel insurance policies do not cover travel to countries where a travel advisory applies.
In late 2019, a new virus was identified in China and then spread to other parts of the world. The impact of this coronavirus (COVID-19) will continue to unfold in the coming year. Many destinations around the world remain spared. However, for your next trip, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the latest information and travel tips.

Ensure vaccinations and fulfill the rules

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for health information and vaccination rules for your destination. For maximum protection, you should receive the necessary vaccinations six weeks before departure. If you are traveling to a country where the disease is rife, consult a doctor who specializes in travel.

The CDC website is also a good source of information about the health risks of drinking water and food at your destination, over-the-counter take-out items, and other health tips.
Check with the embassy of the country you are traveling to or passing through to find out which medicines are allowed or illegal in the country.

Take photocopies of your prescriptions, packaged separately from your medication, and write down the name of the generic drug. Always pack your medications, in their prescription bottles, in your carrying bag. If you must use syringes, make sure you have a letter from your doctor. Always indicate syringes before going through security checks.

Carry more than enough medication for the duration of your trip, as it can be difficult to fill your prescription abroad.

Record your trip

One option, especially if you’re traveling outside of industrialized countries or in remote areas, is to register online with the U.S. Department of State and list your itinerary there. In the event of an emergency, the U.S. government will be aware of your presence in the country and know where to contact you. Similarly, if your family and friends indicate that your travel information may be shared with third parties, you can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to locate you if necessary. Registration is free.

Save your wallet

Choose one or two credit cards to take with you and call the publishers shortly before you leave to let them know the countries you will be visiting. Otherwise, your credit card may be rejected because the issuing company may be wary of international activity. However, remove unnecessary items, such as cards that you do not plan to use during your trip.

Travel vouchers are no longer widely accepted and are difficult to use in many countries, especially in developing countries. Instead, use your bank card to withdraw money from ATMs, which can be found even in the most exotic destinations. Do not forget your numeric PIN, because many vending machine keyboards do not display the numbers and letters we use, or they are placed on the keyboard in a different way. In general, the most favorable exchange rate will be that of the ATM, although most companies charge a transaction fee.

Write down your credit card numbers, but don’t put the list in your wallet. Know how to contact your company abroad. Freephone numbers do not operate outside the United States, but credit card companies accept collect calls to a particular number.

Buy travel insurance

It is likely that your health insurance does not cover you when you travel abroad. Depending on your destination, you may want to consider medical evacuation insurance and emergency medical insurance. Even if your trip requires a large down payment or is booked several months in advance, trip interruption and cancellation insurance can offer you valuable protection against the unexpected.