By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Gov Connect | Travel Alerts And Advisories
Traveling can be both a thrilling and somewhat daunting task, particularly when traveling overseas. On the one hand, there is the excitement of a totally new and different sensory experience, from taking in new and unusual sights, to hearing a new and unusual language and even tasting unique and different foods. On the other hand, traveling also requires leaving behind what is safe, comfortable and familiar. In addition, you also should make arrangements for what you are leave behind to be taken care of in your absence. Between booking flights, planning outings and trying to remember what needs to be planned for at home, it can all get overwhelming. Here is a checklist to help you plan for your next overseas trip.
Check to make sure your passport is up-to-date and that it is not close to expiring. Some countries require your passport to be good for at least 6 months after you return home and you will want to have at least two full blank pages in it. Remember that adult passports are good for 10 years, but children's passports are only good for five. You may potentially need visas for certain countries you may be traveling to, so make sure and contact the embassy of the countries you plan to visit to find out what the requirements are.
Make sure you have at least a small amount of currency from the country you are traveling to and check exchange rates to ensure you budget enough for expenses while you are there. You may not want to carry a lot of cash with you but exchange rates can also vary drastically depending on where and how you exchange money. Contact bank and credit card issuers to let them know that you will be traveling and what countries you will most likely be making charges in.
Make sure you read up on the area you are traveling to and stay up-to-date on any travel alerts, advisories or warnings for the area you are traveling to, including weather alerts. Remember that in many countries, women, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI persons will potentially have more difficulties, so be sure and study up on what you will need to do when traveling in certain countries and what kinds of difficulties you might encounter.
Make sure you have all the appropriate immunizations and vaccinations required for the area you are traveling to and that you are aware of any potential health threats in that region. In addition to taking any prescription medications you might need, you should also take along a prescription for refills in case of an emergency, as well as a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses if you need them. Some countries will require you to have a note from your doctor for certain prescriptions, so check on that as well. Some countries even have strict laws concerning even over-the-counter medications so be sure and check up on that. If your cell phone offers health data to emergency providers, make sure any pertinent health data is up-to-date. If you have serious medical issues, you may want to take a digital copy of your own health records along with you.
If you want to have cell service on your trip, be sure and check with your cell phone carrier to enable international calling or unlock your phone so it can be used temporarily with a local carrier in the location you are traveling to. You may want to enroll in an international plan with your local carrier to cut down on fees or at least check and see what the international fees will be.
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