When it comes to international travel, keep in mind is buying the ticket is only the first step.
Before ever stepping foot on the plane, there are a few “checklist” items every travel should address. They are, frankly, pretty simple and will make any trip more enjoyable.
Make sure your paperwork is in order
One of the simplest, and perhaps most apparent, steps is making sure the passport is up to date. But, also check to see what entry papers your destination nation requires. Some countries such as Curacao allow visitors to complete customs forms in advance. That can save a lot of time upon arrival.
Exchanging money at the airport is a losing proposition. At many banks, the process is easy and can often be completed without human interaction. They may also cut you a break on the usual fees if you order a certain amount.
Make sure your cell phone is international ready
Let’s face it. With the exception of people in North Korea, most people use the internet. You probably will too on your next trip. For Instagram, if nothing else. While you may be ready for the getaway, is your phone? You might want to double check what data and calling packages your wireless carrier provides. Unless you like expensive surprises.
Alert the credit card
Let your credit card company know when and where you’ll be traveling. Be sure to confirm what are the foreign transaction fees. Doing so could play into how much money you exchange on the front end. That said, consider a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
Know what you can bring (in and back)
No vacation is complete without souvenirs. But, before you bring back a suitcase full of wine, check on what customs will allow. It might save you an awkward encounter with a federal agent. And, we can all use less of those these days.
Learn a few phrases
Look, you’re probably not going to learn a new language before your escapade. But, you can — and should — quickly pick up a few key phrases, such as hello and thank you. They often go a long way when visiting a new destination.