Planning your dream vacation, getting great deals on flights and picking the perfect place to stay in is part of the excitement when traveling overseas. Then there is the boring- responsible stuff. So, before you get ready to take off on your adventure abroad you need to plan carefully and take some important steps. It can be overwhelming the thought of going overseas to a foreign country, with stangers, where you don't speak the language, especially with your family- but if you follow this checklist, you will be prepared before you take off.
Your Checklist before you travel abroad / overseas:
Before you travel you need to make sure there aren't any government alerts or warnings. It could be everything from weather warnings, sicknesses, terrorist threats, ect. Always check to be on the safe side.
The obvious is your passport, but you should also keep your driver's license or any other kind of state issued ID in a seperate bag. MOST IMPORTANT! Take a photo of all of your passports and email it to yourself. If you happen to loose or get your passport stolen you need this to get a temporary passport issued at the US embassy. Check the expiration date on your passport, some countries won't let you enter if it expires within 6 months.
No, not the credit card, haha. Check to see if the country you are traveling to requires you to have a VISA before entering that country! For instance as a US citizen you must have a VISA before you can go to Brazil. You won't even be allowed to check-in without one and it takes several weeks to acquire. That could put a damper in your vacation plans!
When you are flying with children some countries will ask you for a letter and proof of your relationship with your child (I have even showed a C-Section scar once). With all the child abduction and trafficking, its a great thing they are strict. Also, when flying solo with your children outside of the country you need to have a letter from the other parent with a copy of their passport- stating you have their permission.
Three things you need to know:
Where is the closest embassy
Where is the hospital
What is the police & emergency phone number
911 is only the emergency number in the USA-so take a note of the number and even register it in your phone. Hopefully you don't have any issues, but it's better to be prepared. I have honestly used them all at this point.
I do not recommend getting that TRAVEL INSURANCE when you are paying for your airline ticket, if anything talk to your insurance provider there are travel insurances out there for less than 100.- a year that can keep you protected. Bags, Hotels, Accidents-anything can happen.
HEALTH INSURANCE you will need to check with your provider to be sure you are covered outside of the country. Otherwise that Travel Insurance just became neccessary.
CAR INSURANCE if you plan on renting a car outside of the country, check to see if you are covered driving abroad. You might have a nice surprise and get that 20.- a day insurance fee waived. Be sure to have a copy on hand to show to the car rental agency.
You always need cash! My recommendation is before you leave on your vacation check the currency rate. Careful using cash exchanges abroad you can really get screwed over. Go for cash exchange places that have a flat rate exchange - for instance you exchage 200.- us dollars for euros and the fee is a flat 5.- charge. Always be aware of the exchange rate that you are getting. I personally use my debit card to withdrawl money from a cash machine once I arrive in a new country, my bank gives me the current rate- so I don't loose money.
Before you leave home be sure to call your bank to give them the countries that you will be traveling too, that includes airport layovers. Also, never have all your credit cards in the same place. Have one credit card on you, and one in your hotel. You never know when you might forget or have it even stolen. That also goes for your ID's,
I am all for home remedies, but you need to check with your doctor to be sure your families vaccinations are up to date. Then you need to check to see if you need a vaccination for the country you are traveling too. You have to understand you will be in an environment you have never been exposed too- cooked, canned or capped- isn't going to just keep you safe.
Luna and Monkey got their vaccinations for their first trip to Thailand
If you are taking any prescribed medicine you will need to make sure you have enough on you for your trip. Even if you have your prescription it won't be recognized outside of the country (some countries are more relaxed). Also, bring any preventitive meds with you- especially for kids.
If at all possible, whether its a friend, your cousins roommates sister's boyfriend......HAVE A CONTACT IN THE COUNTRY YOU ARE TRAVELING TO. You never know when that contact could come in handy.
I always have these three items with me in my carry-on. The travel adapter for your electronics always comes in handy, you always need a charged phone & heck even the iPad for the kids. Maps and Translator can also come in the form of applications on your phone. You need the layout of where you are going and never expect that everyone speaks english.
I recommend getting a multi-plug adapter so you are always covered