With the pandemic finally slowing down enough for people to be traveling again, you may be preparing for a vacation abroad. In addition to making sure you pack your sunscreen, here are a few other ways you should plan ahead to make sure your trip goes smoothly, and you come home refreshed.
Make sure your passport is valid
While most countries don’t require a visa, if you have a valid U.S. passport, you should check ahead of time and make sure to apply for the visa at least nine months before you travel.
The same with your passport – if you need to apply for one or renew your existing passport, make sure to give at least nine months. Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to arrive back home.
It takes up to 12 weeks for a passport application or renewal to be processed. You can expedite the process, but it can be expensive to do so.
Check any health and travel advisories beforehand
The U.S. State Department has a website that you should check to make sure there are no warnings that you need to know about.
Vaccinations and prescriptions
Consult with your doctor about any vaccinations you might need before you go abroad. Typically, if you need a vaccine, you should get it at least 6 weeks prior to travel. You will also want to make sure that you have enough of any medications you need to take before you pack for your trip.
Make sure to have enough money
If you are planning to use a credit card, call the issuers beforehand to let them know where you will be traveling. Creditors can deny charges if they suspect fraudulent international activity. Make sure to have a way to report a lost or stolen credit card and keep this information in a secure location separate from your wallet.
For cash on hand, foreign ATMs will give you better exchange rates than the kiosks at the airport. Make sure to memorize your PIN number if you plan to use them.
What if you have a medical emergency while traveling? Or what if your trip gets canceled and you lose a large deposit? Travel insurance can cover these costs.
If you are going to a conservative country, don’t pack your short shorts. Even if you are going to a warm climate, it might be a good idea to pack a light coverup. If you have prescription eye-wear, pack a spare. Same with other types of prescriptions – if you have asthma, for example, keeping an extra inhaler is a good precaution.
Also, leave your valuables at home. If you must bring something that would attract thieves, keep it in your hotel safe.
What if you need cash quickly while abroad?
What if, despite all your planning, you end up stranded abroad and need cash right away?
Western Union has been used for over 150 years to send money internationally. It’s proven to be a reliable and fast way to do so. It’s also very convenient since you can either go to a storefront, use an app, or go online to make your transaction. Make sure to have an emergency contact that can arrange for this beforehand.
While you hope you won’t need to have money sent to you while you travel, it’s good to know there is a safety net available if you need it.