International Travel Tips & Checklist
My friends are taking their first trip to Europe next week and I’m very excited for them! They’ve traveled to the Caribbean but this will be their first truly international trip, so they asked for tips as well as a packing suggestions.
Would you find this helpful when traveling for the first time? What advice would you add?
Download a printable checklist here.
Prepping for the Trip
- As soon as you book the trip, determine if you’ll need any vaccinations
- Determine whether you’ll need power outlet converters to power your electronics
- Hold your mail
- Figure out how to turn off data roaming on your cell phone
- For iPhone: Settings->General->Cellular, turn Data Roaming to OFF
- For Android: Settings->Mobile Network->Data Roaming
- Scan your passport and email yourself an electronic version, print a copy and tuck into whatever luggage is not on your person, should something happen to your passport, this will make things a little bit easier
- Print out a copy of your plane itinerary and all reservations. Having written confirmations can help bridge the language barrier if you run into trouble
- Call your bank and credit card companies and let them know what countries you’ll be traveling in.
- Bring copies of any prescriptions
- Apply for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you don’t have one
(you may not need any of this, but if you do, you’ll be glad you don’t have to find a pharmacy!)
- Pepto Bismol
- Motion Sickness medicine
- Blister Bandaids
- Hand Sanitizer
- Sunscreen (if applicable)
- Mosquito repellant (if applicable)
- Nyquil/Dayquil or the equivalent
- Universal plug converter (if applicable)
- External battery for phone and/or tablet
- $100-$200 in cash for emergencies
Feeling Better In-Flight:
- Inflatable travel pillow
- Amenity Kit with face moisturizer, hand moisturizer, eye drops, toothpaste or mouthwash, face towelettes, and a comb
- Bring $100-$200 in cash, just in case something happens to your credit/debit card
- If you have a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transactions fees, use that for every purchase possible to get the best exchange rate.
- To get foreign cash, use your debit card to withdraw money from an ATM rather than traveler’s checks which can be a pain. You’ll pay the ATM fee, but get the million dollar exchange rate, far better than what the airport or hotel will offer.
- If you have excess currency at the end of the trip, don’t bring it home (where the exchange rate will be even worse) put it towards your last hotel bill or other large expense.
- Automatic Back Up – if you’re taking pictures with your phone or wifi enabled camera, make use of one of the many free options to automatically back your photos up when connected to wifi – Dropbox, Google Photos, iStream, and more.
- Bring a flash drive and make copies of all your photos each day so if your camera falls into the water you don’t lose everything.
- If you get service in the country, your cell phone will ring. You will only be charged if you pick it up or make an outgoing call.
- Text messages usually run $.05 for each text received and $.50 per text sent (depending on your plan)
- Download an app like Viber or Skype to make cheap phone calls while traveling, if you’ll have access to wifi. I prefer Viber which is easy to use and has excellent clarity. Calling another Viber user is free, calling a cell or landline in the US is a reasonable 2 cents a minute. Calling other countries isn’t much more. It makes coordinating that tour, calling the hotel, etc much easier.
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