International travel (prior to the global pandemic at least), had been on the rise more than ever before. Still, traveling internationally can be quite a unique plus eye-opening and even life changing experience.
While many people enjoy traveling out of the country, it’s not always as easy as other types of travel, like long weekend getaways. There are some international travel tips everyone should know about when planning and before deciding they are ready to leave the country so you can have a less stressful experience.
What do you need when you travel Internationally?
Don’t let travel ruin your life, like it did to me. To travel without worry, there are a list of simple things you should do before you go and make part of your international travel checklist.
Some of these things include answers to questions like:
- Passport vaccines?
- What forms of ID do you need to travel internationally?
- What should I do with my iPhone when I travel internationally?
- Can you travel internationally without a passport?
If you easily sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom of this post), you will be instantly directed to a free “travel cheat sheet” that you can download before your next trip.
Traveling Internationally and 11 Secrets to Know
1. Make sure your Passport is up to Date
Now I know this sounds simple but you will surprised at how many times over the years I have seen people get ready to travel internationally only to discover their passport has expired.
Before planning an international trip be sure to check your passport and/or visa and see that it’s up to date. If it isn’t, make sure you take the steps to get it renewed in time to travel (there are expedited options).
Certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Covid 19 vaccine passports or proof that you are vaccinated may now also be a requirement, depending on where you travel to.
What is a vaccine passport? A vaccine passport is proof that you’ve tested negative for or been protected against certain infections.
2. Check for Risks
Safe travels — no really — you want to make sure to stay healthy while traveling.
There are some areas that pose risks and have international travel restrictions from time to time, so you should check the international travel advisory list. This way you can ensure that you’re not planning on travel internationally to a location that’s been deemed too risky for travel at a particular time.
3. Update Health Records
I am not trying to scare you, but I want to make sure you are well informed and know that traveling internationally can open you up to health risks.
Always be sure to check vaccines, and it’s also never a bad idea to get a quick checkup with your doctor before visiting another country to find out if there are any specific travel vaccinations you need.
Ask your doctor’s office if you can have a copy of your health records and vaccines to take with you too. Passport Health has a great app that allows you to access your health records on the go.
4. Register your Itinerary
As an extra measure to stay safe while traveling internationally you can register your itinerary, travel destinations and more with STEP (Smart Travel Enrollment Program).
STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, so they know where you are in case something happens to you while traveling internationally.
5. Check your Wallet
Fraud is definitely a real thing no matter where you travel. Make sure you have some cash and just the necessary credit cards that you’ll be using when traveling internationally in your wallet.
There are some great travel wallet options, like one on this list of best travel essentials, which has Rfid blocking capabilities and more.
Keep additional cash, credit cards and more important documents locked away in safe. This way if you unfortunately get pickpocketed you can at least continue your trip knowing that you haven’t lost everything and have other monetary options.
Don’t forget to immediately have any stolen credit cards shut down and reported as stolen.
6. Purchase Travel Insurance
A lot of travelers neglect this part of traveling (including me sometimes) and it’s important that you look into travel insurance. International travel insurance can really help as another layer of protection when you’re traveling internationally, in case of any emergencies or accidents.
Sometimes certain credit card companies offer travel insurance (as a free card perk), especially if you booked your travel with that card. Contact them during the planning stages of your trip to find out and always read the fine print.
7. Pack Essentials in a Carry On
While traveling internationally you may not want to carry a bunch of luggage with you everywhere. You could be traveling on various forms of transportation, like planes, trains and taxis, and you don’t want to carry heavy baggage.
Sometimes international locations don’t have the same amenities that you might be used to. Make sure to research and plan accordingly when you are packing.
8. Stock up on Medicine
In addition to getting a checkup at the doctor and making sure your vaccines are up to date, it’s important to stock up on any medication you have to take. Your doctor should be able to give you an appropriate supply to fit your travel plans.
One of the things I can never forget, no matter where I travel, is my migraine medication.
9. Call your Bank
Call your bank before traveling internationally and notify them of your travel plans. This way any use of your credit card for international travel won’t trigger fraudulent activity on your account.
Since you won’t be close to home to get this corrected in a timely fashion, don’t forget this important tip.
10. Contact your Cell Phone Provider
This is something I didn’t think of before traveling internationally for the first time and I paid for it afterwards.
Simply contact your cell phone provider, ask what international plans they offer as well as pricing and how to add it on or activate it.
11. International Driving Permit
If you think you’re going to be driving in another country you may need to get an international driving permit.
An international driving permit (IDP) will allow you to drive legally in 174 countries when it is accompanied by a valid US driver’s license.
How to start traveling Internationally?
If you still feel as though you aren’t ready to travel far, but want to see the world, then I recommend starting out by exploring via some free virtual tours.