I’m beyond excited to be heading on another overseas trip this week. As I was packing and getting ready for my trip I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips for traveling overseas.
Make Copies of Your Passport
Knock on wood… but if your passport is lost or stolen on a trip, you could be stuck in the country you’re visiting or even denied entry into your home country. The State Department recommends that you make two copies of your passport. Give one to someone you trust, and keep the other with you. God forbid, but if it does get stolen you want to make sure you have a way to prove your citizenship.
Register With the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program also known as STEP, is a service the US Department of State offers to US residents. With the program, the local US Embassy in the country you’re visiting can get in contact with you during an emergency whether it be a natural disaster, civil unrest or a family emergency. The program also allows your friends and family to get in contact with you in an emergency. You’ll also receive security messages in the event something occurs while you are away. Once you create an account, you’ll be able to register your trip with the State Department by providing travel dates, contact numbers and the address of where you will be staying.
Check Out the State Department Travel Warnings
We live in a crazy world, so its important to stay up to date on travel alerts prior to traveling and while you are away. The State Department’s Travel site provides up to date information on the safety of traveling outside of the US. The site also provides details on weather warnings (cyclone season and hurricane season) and provides contact information for all US Embassy’s.
Get the Correct Power Adapter
Do your research prior to traveling to make sure you have the right power adapter needed for the country you’re visiting. Power Plugs and Sockets of the World provides details on the right adapter you’ll need for any country you plan on traveling to. The site also provides details on where you can purchase the correct items.
Download a currency app that let’s you see what the conversion of currencies are. When I went to Iceland in May I didn’t understand the conversion of Icelandic Krona and US Dollars. When I went to withdraw 60000 Icelandic Krona, my request kept getting declined. I didn’t have cell service so I couldn’t call my bank for help and the airport hadn’t fully opened so there wasn’t anyone around for me to call. I was seriously in panic mode. Luckily, a gentleman explained the conversion to me and I realized 60000 Icelandic Krona was $566 and I couldn’t complete my request because my daily limit was $300. This app will also help you keep track of how much money you are spending while traveling.
I typically like to use my credit cards when I travel out of the country because my credit card company doesn’t charge for international transactions like my bank does. Banks charge 3% or more on international transactions and that can add up. So, if possible check with your credit card company to see if they charge for international transactions. If they don’t, save your money and use your credit card instead of your debit card. Just be sure to pay your card off immediately so that we aren’t accruing debt in 2018 (end rant).
Another way to save money on international transaction fees is to get cash at the ATM.
You can also exchange your currency at a currency exchange at the airport or any currency exchange in your area. Many banks like Wells Fargo will allow you to obtain foreign currency at a local branch. They typically only carry Euros, but if you need another form of currency they can mail it to you. You’ll just have to be sure to have someone available that can sign for it.
Notify Your Financial Institutions of Your Travel Plans
I swear there is nothing worse than being out-of-town or out of the country and swiping your debit/credit card and it being declined because of potential fraudulent activity. I completely understand that financial institutions just want to protect us and our money but man it is so embarrassing when this happens. Prior to traveling, whether it be domestic or international take a few minutes to contact your bank and inform them of your travel plans. This will prevent your accounts from being flagged for potential fraudulent activity while you’re away.
Research if There are Entry Fees or if a Visa is Required for the Country You’re Visiting
Some countries require entry fees when visiting. These fees can range from $10 to $200. Many countries also require a visa prior to traveling. In order to visit Australia, I had purchase a visa permitting me to visit for no more than 90 days. You can find a full list of countries that require entry fees and visas here.
Many countries have clothing laws. When traveling to The Dominican Republic last year, my travel agent informed my group of the restrictions in the country. To my surprise camouflage attire was strictly prohibited. I wasn’t planning on wearing any camo gear but I was still surprised. There are quite a few countries that have strict clothing laws. You can find a complete list of clothing laws by country here
I definitely wish someone would have shared many of these tips with me prior to my first out of the country trip. So glad I have an opportunity to share with you all!