I generally like to be prepared. I’m the person who has a plastic shoebox in her car, with a bottle of water, a first-aid kit, a spare leash (and some Milk-Bones, and a collapsible water bowl), a pair of work gloves, a few hard candies, and a blanket.
Because.....what if you go off the side of the road in the winter, and a stray dog comes up to you?
I wish I were joking.
So, when it comes to travel -- especially international travel -- you can bet I’m a planner.
Things are a little extra complicated right now, so on top of some general items you may want to do before heading out, I’ll share a few updates in Number 7.
1. Cell Phone
Contact your provider to see what coverage you have and if you may need to add an international plan temporarily. Pay attention to what the data allowances are.
And -- here’s something I learned from experience -- if you have a large email inbox, that can rack up the data usage pretty quickly, if your phone is trying to download all your past messages.
Take a photo or make a copy of your passport and leave the copy with a trusted family member or close friend at home as a backup, should anything happen with your passport abroad.
Also -- your travel advisor would REALLY like to have a copy of your passport on file.
Tip: Create an album in your phone’s Photos, called “Docs” or something similar, and save a photo of your passport there, for quick access.
Make sure to check quantities for any prescriptions or supplements you have before you leave. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you need to refill anything before your trip.
And -- I hate to be the one to talk about this -- it’s a good idea to make sure you not only have enough supplies for the duration of your trip, but also <heaven forbid> enough to last through a 14-day quarantine. Just in case.
4. Get Registered
Enroll your trip with STEP, a program of the U.S. Department of State. They will send you travel alerts before you leave, so you are aware of any extra precautions you need to take. This program also helps the nearest embassy contact you in the event of a local emergency.
Check to see what type of currency is needed at your destination(s). Just because a country is in Europe doesn't mean they use the Euro.
If you want to take some currency with you, your local bank may be able to order the currency you need -- but they'll need at least a few days' notice, if not a couple of weeks.
Check with your credit card company to see if there are any fees to take out money via international ATMs.
Don’t forget to check if your credit cards and bank need a travel alert.
Headed to Europe? I've got a whole article about money in Europe.
Europe in the summer is very different from Europe in the winter. Sailing on a European cruise vs an African safari vs an Alaska cruise will require very different clothing choices. Be mindful of where you are going and the time of year. If you're heading to the Southern hemisphere, remember that while we are getting into summer, other parts of the world are heading into winter.
Apps or sites like DarkSky or Weather Undergound can be helpful in looking forward 7-10 days, to get an idea of what weather to expect. You can also get an idea of historical weather in your destination: go to Weather Underground, search for your destination, and look for the "History".
7. Health & Safety Protocols
As of this writing, you will need to carry your original vaccination card with you. Keep it with your passport, so then both items are together.
Tip: Take a photo of the front & back of your vaccine card, and save it in the “Docs” album in your phone’s photos.
You may need to be tested prior to leaving, and you may need to fill out and present some health forms on arrival. I do try my best to keep up with the constant changes in the world, but it is also your responsibility to make sure you are set with everything before departing.
As you enter the week before travel, check a trusted website (the country’s tourism board is a good start) daily, as requirements can change literally overnight.
This is not an extensive list of things to do, but these are just a few of the items I always remind myself to check off. When in doubt, you know you can always reach out to me, should you have any questions or need some advice.
Did a friend share this article with you? (aw, that's just like them, always thinking of you...) Want to know when new ones are published? Sign up for tips, inspiration and special opportunities.