What You Need to do Before Traveling Abroad

Planning a trip outside your home country is an extremely exciting time. However, with that excitement comes a bit of stress. Before traveling abroad to relax on a beach or backpack through a foreign country, you’ll need to do a few things. Take care of these nine things and enjoy your vacation with a bit less worry!


1. Get No Foreign Transactions Fees Credit Card or Bank Account

Foreign transaction fees are the worst part about traveling abroad. It’s never fun to see the bank charge extra money each time you use your card. Getting a “travel” credit card before you leave the country is the best way to avoid the extra fees. Plus, you’ll typically get ridiculous travel points and perks when signing up! We recommend the Chase Sapphire Visa, as we have had nothing but great experiences with it.

If charging a card isn’t your thing, check into Charles Schwab Bank Accounts. Our friend over travel-hax did a great post about opening a Charles Schwab bank account (you can read it here).

{Traveler’s TipAlways carry at least two cards when you travel! You don’t want to be stuck with a card that gets hacked and shut down!}

2. Inform Bank and Credit Card Companies of Traveling Abroad Plans

Don’t get locked out of using your cards, or at least have less of a chance of it. Before you leave, call your bank and inform them of what countries you’re traveling to and when you’re going to be there. In doing so, they won’t flag charges on your account from those countries.


3. Plan a Way to Contact Home

Exchange emails, Skype numbers, or even get WhatsApp or Google Hangouts so you can contact people back home.  All these things can be used with a simple WiFi connection (which you’ll find most places abroad) and you won’t get crazy fees from your phone company!

{Traveler’s Tip… If you’re going to be gone for a long time, we suggest exchanging this info with your grandparents and friends too. That way, when you wake up one day missing someone, you’ll have a way to contact them.}


4. Arrange for Someone to Collect Your Mail

This one’s often forgotten, but seems like a no brainer. You don’t want your mail sitting out for the duration of your trip letting everyone know you’re not home. Have a neighbor or trusted person collect your mail for you!


5. Take Care of the Bills 

Bills, those dreadful things! If traveling abroad for a long time, be sure that you have a way to receive and pay your bills. Setting up electronic payments and paperless statements are both great ways to do so. Check with your utility companies to see if they offer these two options. You may even get a discount for “going green”!


6. Ensure You Have a Valid Passport and Visa

Okay… yes, of course, you’re going to check your passport. But make sure to check this post to see how long it needs to be valid for. In some countries, your passport needs to be valid for six months to travel! On top of making sure your passport isn’t expiring soon, check for visas you may need for the country you’re visiting! Trust us here, doing this before leaving the country will be a much easier process!

{Traveler’s Tip… Visas often take 3-6 weeks to get authorized, so be sure to do this long before your travel dates!}  

7. Check Necessary Vaccinations

Along the same idea as the travel visas, check to see if you need any vaccinations before traveling internationally. When we went to Africa, we had to get quite a few extra vaccines to be able to enter Tanzania. Although we’ve never been stopped from entering a country, we have been questioned and asked to show proof of current vaccinations.


8. Put Together Small First Aid Kit

No matter where you’re traveling to, you should gather simple first aid supplies and throw them in your pack. If you’re backpacking the countryside, you’ll want a more in-depth first aid kit, but if you’re visiting major cities, a few bandaids, ibuprofen, and zinc oxide will do! (We’re putting together a post on what’s in our first aid kit, but if you want more info now, shoot us an email and we’ll help you out!)

{Traveler’s Tip… Zinc oxide works miracles for chafing! You’ll be walking around a lot more than normal and have a pretty good chance of chaffing. Get some zinc and rub it on your sore areas and you’ll be good to go in no time!}


9. Collect Everything for Your Essentials Pack

Before traveling abroad, be sure to put together a day pack. This pack should include all these essential pack items. Whether you’re heading into big cities, or out hiking the trails, these eight items are must haves!


Can you think of other things to do before traveling abroad? What’s on your list of things to get done each time you travel internationally? We’d love to hear your ideas, and other travelers will be able to see them too!



Never forget where to find this post. Use these pictures and pin this post for your next adventure!


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