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Traveling abroad for the first time as an American can be quite overwhelming. There is more to travelling than just booking the airfare and accommodations. The way to have the most successful worldwide travel experience is to be prepared for anything!
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Give yourself enough time to prepare for your trip abroad. If you have never been outside the United States, do some research and use this worldwide travel checklist as a guide so that you are ready for anything life throws at you.
13 Things to do Before Traveling Abroad for the First Time
1. Get your passports early! Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for your Passport. You will want to make sure that you get them back in time for your trip! Here is the easiest way to get your US passport.
2. Make your reservations. Choose where you are going to travel and make your plans early to get the best deals. Don’t hassle with searching through various sites when one site will search them all for you! Let BookingBuddy do the work for you.
3. Book flights. When you are traveling abroad for the first time, you may not understand all that booking a flight entails. Not only do you need to find a plane that can get you from point A to point B, you also want to make sure of their baggage requirements. Do your homework. Some no-frill airlines may have cheaper airfare but will charge you hefty fees for your baggage.
4. Consider travel insurance. Why might you want travel insurance? Well, if you happen to get sick (or have a family emergency)and need to cancel your trip, you don’t want to lose everything you put into your trip. Travel insurance also covers things like lost luggage, missed connecting flights and other trip interruptions!
5. Call your credit card company and let them know where you are traveling. This helps them to know not to flag your account as suspicious or fraudulent. You will also want to make sure that you know your PIN code in the event you need to pull out cash from your card while you are abroad.
6. Get the proper currency. While you can exchange money at the airport, you will pay more in fees. You are better off getting it from your own bank or from AAA.
7. Decide whether or not you will purchase a SIM card to use in the country you are travelling OR whether you want to purchase a Global package through your provider. I do suggest that you do one or the other.
8. Make copies of all of your travel documents, tickets, etc and take pictures with your cell phone as well (download to a drop box or cloud) so that you have access to them in the event you lose the originals.
9. Pack smart by using things that help you consolidate space and will help you travel with ease. Use our international packing hacks & tips!
10. Photograph EVERYTHING you pack. In the event your luggage goes missing, you will need this to file a claim. In addition to having a luggage tag with contact information (use your cell phone # not home), write it inside your luggage where it is visible.
11. If you are planning to drive during your international trip, be sure you have your Drivers license and understand your coverage through your own auto insurance so you don’t get conned into buying additional insurance through the rental car agency.
12. If you take prescription medication, be sure you keep them in their properly marked containers and put them in your carry on luggage. Wondering what else you need to pack in your carry on luggage for a long flight?
13. Since you are travelling internationally for the first time, you probably should take the time to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. When you let the government know where you are travelling, they will be able to contact you in the case of an emergency. It is just a safe guard to help you in the event you need it.
Travelling out of the country can be scary! If you make sure that you do these things before traveling abroad for the first time, you will be setting yourself up for a successful trip!