So, now that you’ve chosen your destination and booked your ticket, it’s time to start planning your trip. Here’s some helpful tips for you to start preparing:
- Print out or screen shot your itinerary. You might need to refer to your flight or hotel information multiple times before you leave. Having a hard copy or taking a screen shot of your booking information makes it easy to access.
- Make sure your documents are up to date. Please CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK AGAIN to make sure your documents are not expired. I’m talking about, most notably, your passport, but this goes for your driver’s license, too. Keep in mind that many counties will NOT allow you to enter the country if your passport expires within six months of your trip. So make sure you have plenty of wiggle room with your expiration date.
- Call your bank/credit card company. Tell them that you will be traveling and they need not flag charges made while you’re away. I usually tell them include a few extra days before and after in my travel window in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
- Call your cell phone company. Y’all, international fees are no joke! They can be outrageous and can certainly be an unpleasant surprise after a relaxing vacation. Most companies have plans that will cover you fairly well for short term trips. My provider, AT&T, has multiple Passport Plans that automatically activate when you leave the country. One provides you with the same plan that you have in the U.S. for $10/day. For longer international trips, it may be best to get a phone with an international card when you get there.
- Take care of your mail. If you’re going to be away for a while, temporarily stop your mail from coming to your house or arrange for someone to pick it up for you. Nothing says, “Come on in!” to an intruder more than an overflowing mailbox.
- Give someone your itinerary. We completely expect your vacation to be wonderful and enjoyable and without incident, of course, but in these days and times, we must never be too cautious. It is always good for someone else to know your plans in case of an emergency. Provide a trusted friend or family member with your flight plans, including your flight numbers, and where you’ll be staying. If you’ll be off the grid, make it a point to try to check in periodically to let someone know that you are safe.
- Obtain necessary vaccines. The good news is that most international places that you travel don’t require you to get vaccines, but for some exotic places, it would be a good idea to get them. Visit this website to see what some vaccine recommendations are for particular countries.