Planning your next trip overseas? There is a lot more than catching an Uber to consider before you go. Here are our top 6 tips to do before you leave for international soil:
#1 Do Your Research on Cost
The worst thing that can happen when you travel is unpleasant surprises, like services or activities costing more than you had planned. So, to ensure that you arrive prepared, we suggest to do your research before you go. Find out how much you meals will be and determine a daily food and beverage budget, learn what tours or activities are offered and how much they cost and most importantly look into ground travel costs, which is something many people forget. This will ensure you arrive prepared, enjoy a stress free environment during your stay and leave feeling fulfilled - instead of over budget!
#2 Invest in Health Insurance
Although you may have health insurance in the United States, your policy may not cover you when you are traveling internationally - and the last thing you want to experience on vacation, or to take with you, is thousands of dollars in medical bills. There are many different types of travel insurance from trip-cancellation insurance all the way to full medical insurance with coverage for evacuation all the way home to the USA.
#3 Ensure Your Passport is Current
When you travel internationally your passport must be valid for your entire trip, and to be safe we also suggest that it's valid for at least 30 days after your return date as well. Just in case your travel plans change, you get delayed on your way home...or you are simply having too much fun and want to stay a bit longer. The absolute last thing you want to have is an expired passport when you arrive home to the USA. It takes about 6-8 weeks to obtain a new passport, or renew your existing passport and in most cases you can do either through mail or always in person.
#4 Give Your Bank and Credit Cards a Heads Up
Similar to going over budget, you don't want to put in all the work to ensure you know how much things are going to cost only to have your card declined because your bank or credit card company think that they are fraudulent charge attempts. All you'll need to do is give your bank and/or credit card companies a call and let them know where and how long you will be traveling - some even offer travel discounts, additional theft protection, insurance and even travel rewards to rack up during your travels - so also be sure to ask for any promotions or offers.
#5 Get Cash Before You Go
In order to save in fees and high percentages we suggest getting money at your bank instead of at the airport, or even worse, at your final destination. In fact you can save upwards of 15%-20% by getting cash at your local bank - which you can then spend on experiences rather than fees.
#6 Invest in an International Cell Phone Plan
In order to avoid roaming and data fees give your cell phone carrier a call to see if they offer an international add on plan to use during your travels. Many now offer options that you can add just for the time of your travels and then remove once you return home, which means you aren't locked into a long term international plan.
By doing so you will be able to text and/or call home, utilize data and wifi remotely and avoid any international fees.