International Travel Checklist

Preparing for a getaway to an overseas destination? Ensure you make the necessary preparations early and you will save yourself plenty of time, money and stress. Plan your overseas trip with FareCompare and this handy dandy checklist. We can make customs painless and have you jet-setting in no time.

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Flights

Four to Six Weeks Before Departure

  • Check medical coverage to see if you are covered in foreign countries. If not, you may be able to purchase an inexpensive policy that will cover you while you are abroad. Make sure to include evacuation insurance to cover the expense of bringing you home in the event of serious illness or injury.
  • If you have not purchased travel insurance, do so. It is generally inexpensive and can save you a lot of heartache should your plans change at the last minute or during your trip.
  • Make sure your passport is current and will not expire while you are gone. In fact, make sure your passport will not expire until after the maximum amount of time you are allowed to stay at your destination on a tourist visa.
  • Get required vaccinations at least a month before you leave so that you can build up the necessary immunity before departure.
  • Determine your spending options. Will your ATM card work overseas? Make sure the credit limits are generous enough on your credit cards that you will not exceed them while abroad. Find toll-free numbers for your credit card issuer that work from the countries you’ll visit and write them down.
  • If going to a non-English speaking country, get a phrasebook in the native language. Invest time in learning some language basics and practice regularly in the weeks leading up to departure.

One Week Before Departure

  • Refill your prescriptions. Keep them all in their original containers.
  • Call your bank and credit card issuers to inform them you’ll be traveling overseas. Otherwise, they could flag your ATM card as stolen or freeze your credit card, citing unusual spending activity.
  • If you can arrange with your bank to exchange some currency to that of the countries you will visit, go ahead and convert at least a day’s worth of cash.
  • Figure out a cell phone strategy so that you do not accidentally incur roaming charges abroad.
  • Make copies of the identification page of your passport, your driver’s license, credit cards you are taking, and your airline tickets. Take one set of copies with you and leave the other with a trusted friend or family member.

One Day Before Departure

  • If you will be checking luggage, bring a change of clothes in your carry-on bag in case your luggage does not arrive when you do.
  • Use the smallest carry-on bag that is practical. Many foreign airlines have smaller overhead bins and less under-seat room than U.S. airlines.
  • Pack light: one skirt or pair of slacks can go at least three days, and tops or shirts can be worn multiple times. You can wash undergarments and small items by hand in your hotel to stretch your wardrobe further.
  • Bring power adapters for foreign voltage systems. And don’t forget your phone charger!

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Published: June 11, 2012