20 Tips Before Traveling Internationally

Deal Expert, New York
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Ismir, Turkey, by Meg Mitchell

If this is your first time traveling abroad, or maybe you just need a refresher here’s a list of 20 tips you should do or bring before your trip.

Security & Health

1. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask you medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.

2. Bring copies of your passport. If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can still get back into the country, or be able to prove your citizenship.

3. Leave a copy of your passport. For extra backup, leave a copy of your passport at home or with someone you trust. Consider making an electronic copy you can store in your email account as well.

4. Register with your embassy. If there’s a problem in the country, this will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety.


5. Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Finding out that one Danish Krone is equal to just 19 cents … bad surprise. Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.

6. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.

7. Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. The conversion centers in the airport or around the city tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.

8. Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses.

9. Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.

10. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from $25 to $200.

Local Research

11. Buy tickets now for places you know you want to visit or see. By buying in advance you’ll be able to skip more lines, and find more deals targeted toward you.

12. Get guidebooks. Guidebooks usually include maps, key words or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And download apps before you travel. Avoid downloading charges from your wireless carrier and get your apps before you leave.

13. Research events going on while you’re there. This will help you make sure that you’re not missing the best events going on in the city — fun things like festivals, ceremonies and natural events. Also be sure to research as a few national dishes to try. You don’t want to leave the country without experiencing what its known for.


14. Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your iPod, make sure you can charge it.

15. Check the voltage of your electronics. From my own experience I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country.

16. Activate your phone’s global capabilities. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t.

17. Download Travelzoo app. The Travelzoo app can help you find great deals in a variety of countries, and has options from local deals to transportation options.

Luggage & packing

18. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. Don’t be one of those travelers decked out in J’adore Paris apparel because the airline lost your luggage and you have nothing else to wear.

19. To check a bag or not to check bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees.

20. Bring snacks. Traveling abroad is fun, but eating in a foreign country can sometimes become a task. Bring small snacks that will tide you over until you find that perfect restaurant or food cart.

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Show 20 Comments
  • http://nikhil-misra.strikingly.com Nikhil Misra

    Thank you for the tips! It helps a lot when they make their first itinerary.

  • Chris

    First: Make sure your passport is VALID (I once witnessed an older couple be denied check in to Paris because one had an expired passport.). Second, check to see if the country or countries you’ll be visiting have a 6-month beyond requirement. In other words, your passport must be good for 6 months beyond the end of your visit. US Citizens can find out who requires this of Americans at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.

    Requirements will vary for holders of other passports.

  • Bob Lyman

    Here’s some additional points. 1. Consider getting travel insurance to protect you against cancellations. 2. Buy a good travel guide for the country you are visiting, including one that has the translation of simple phrases in the local language that are important for travellers. 3. Be very careful about what you eat and drink, especially in countries that have generally poor living conditions; drink bottled water, even though even that is not a guarantee of safety in some countries.

  • Cindy Van Vreede

    I have a P-38 army issued can opener on my keychain. You can get them for very cheap at any army-navy surplus store. You can open cans and even boxes with this little gem. I’ve been carrying one with me since 1975.

  • http://blog.getcentre.com Bash

    Beautiful & enlighting article. Can i share on my blog

  • http://boostandroid.blogspot.com Travelers Todos

    Thanks for your tips Dari 🙂

  • http://www.bestdesertsafariindubai.com/ Ela

    Yes..at the traveling time, it is very necessary to take care of electronics equipment’s. Security and health tips shared here are really informative.

  • Marilyn

    I would add one more item to the money tips: Take along some of your own currency. As an experienced traveler, I knew to call my credit card company and had taken care of all of that before leaving home this past fall. However, the ATMs in Hungary would not accept my cards. When I called the credit card company about this, I was told that they were not blocking my card, that they could see that I had tried to draw out cash but it was denied. I tried several different machines at different locations because I thought it might just be a particular ATM, but with no luck. At that point, as I needed some forints I had to disregard any concern about exchange rates so I located a change bureau and changed some of my USD. Oddly, when I got to Poland, I had no trouble getting money from an ATM there. So moral of the story–don’t rely solely on your cards. Take along some money that you can change if you need to.

  • Seldomever

    Hi. How do you copy a passport? Mine is a small book!

    • Lauren Malone Newcomer

      Just copy the page with your picture and demographic information. You can scan it and save yo your cellphone, iPad or laptop. Bring a paper copy and keep it in a separate place from your real passport.

      • Seldomever

        Thank you so much.

  • lb

    My wife and I always put a change of clothes in each other’s bag just in case one bag gets lost. It happened once and I had clean clothes for the next day until my bag arrived.

  • Ronit Roy

    Hello Dari,
    Thanks for your information. I think a traveler must follow your advice.

  • nathanphotographer

    Two great tips:
    1. If you are leaving from the United States or Canada, BEFORE you leave the country, sign up at Skype.com for a one month subscription to the United States and Canada for only $2.99. It’s much cheaper then the minimum $10 Skype credit, and you will be able to make unlimited phone calls back to the United States and Canada anytime you’re on Wi-Fi.

    2. Buy a cheap four or six hour outlet power strip that does NOT have surge protection and one plug adapter for each country you’ll be visiting. Many hotels often only have one or two outlets in the room, and if you need to charge multiple devices this will allow you to do that.

    • Felisa Jackson Randle

      Thanks very helpful.

  • HansLysglimtJohansen

    Make a free virtualized version of your mobile phone number online. Numbercom gives you a free virtualized version of your mobile phone number online. So if you lose your phone while traveling you can log on to your number with any browser. You can the send SMS, receive messages, make calls using you mobile number.

  • cindy

    Looks like you have almost covered all the points to be careful about. I would also advise to keep a security check of you house and surroundings by keeping a home video security system installed. We have a mobile app of API alarms ( http://www.apialarm.com/ ) installed in our phone and the whole place is monitored even when we are not around.

    • Felisa Jackson Randle


  • Minal Kapoor

    These are really helpful travel tips

  • Guest

    The day of the flight make sure you have your drivers licence and passport. Know someone who lost or forgot one of these valid ID’s when they arrived at the airport. Some countries will require you to take pills and get shots. 6-8 weeks before you depart you have to check with your local health department. If your advised to take pills like for Maleria – we had to have a doctors check up and get a prescription. Know all of this info from experience. Have travelled extensively! When you arrive back in the states your adviced not to bring certain things into the country. One woman at baggage claim brought something she wasn’t suppose to. Customs had a dog that was walking around sniffing peoples luggage. This dog kept circling around her and he finally sat down. She was question and admitted that she brought something in.