I am only four – that’s right…FOUR – days away from my next trip to Rome! As I’m nearing my trip, I find myself making lists to ensure I do the things that need to get done before we leave. Most, if not all, of these things I do prior to every trip, but writing them down and checking them off a list makes me feel better (OCD, anyone?). I thought I would share some of the top things that you should always do before traveling, especially on an international trip.
I’m leaving out the obvious things like “pack”…because if you can’t remember to do that, then you shouldn’t really even be leaving your own house, let alone the country.
- Make sure your passport is currently valid and will not expire within six months of your dates of travel. Many countries have different requirements, so do your research. Customs officials can be very strict about this!
- Call your credit card companies to let them know you will be traveling out of the country. They will ask you where you are going and on what dates and make a note on your account. If you don’t do this and plan to use a credit card while traveling, you will likely face some embarrassment when your card is declined while trying to buy that fabulous leather purse/wallet, followed by some frantic phone conversations with your credit card company
- Make photocopies of the front and back of your credit cards (and ATM card) and keep them in a safe place while you are traveling just in case you lose your cards or have them stolen. If you have the photocopies, you can call the credit card companies right away to cancel them. Some people simply take pictures with their phones, which will work too…but what if your phone is lost/stolen along with your cards?
- If you plan to use an ATM card to withdraw money while you are traveling (which is probably about 99.99% of you), also call your bank to let them know. Taking into consideration any exchange rate, you may also want to increase your daily withdrawal limit.
- If you are taking your cell phone, call your provider and see what kind of international plans they offer. I have Verizon, and for $5, I can get better rates on texts and calling when traveling out of the country (still not cheap, but better). Also, if you are not tech-savvy (like me), ask them about turning off data and other things that can really jack up your bill if you are unaware of them. Some people get SIM cards or buy phones in the country they are traveling to, but I have not ever done that so I can’t advise on it.
- As a side note to this, do yourself a favor and download Viber or a similar app. This allows you to text and call FOR FREE while you are connected to wi-fi. The person you text/call has to have the app downloaded as well. It’s free and works great. I’ve used Viber my last several trips.
- Get some euros, pounds, zloty, etc. to take with you. Not a lot, but enough to at least cover your transportation upon arrival just in case the ATM machine in the airport is broken or you can’t find it, etc. Better safe than sorry!
- Put a hold on your mail and newspaper delivery
- Got pets? Make sure you’ve made the proper arrangements to have them taken care of while you are gone.
These are just some, but not all, of the things you’ll need to do before departure. Got any feedback on some of the things you do to prepare? Let me know in the comments below!