Nine Essential Steps to Prepare for an International Trip
The excitement and anticipation before a long-awaited trip are hard to contain, and you may daydream about it for many weeks or even months before your flight takes off. But instead of using all that time for daydreaming, spend a few hours preparing to ensure you have the best experience possible. Fortunately, safetravelRX has nine easy steps to follow so you can hit the road with confidence.
1. Make photocopies of your essential documents
Create copies of all your important documents, including credit cards, passports, visas, itineraries, etc., and upload them to the safetravelRX App. The app can also securely store medical information such as allergies, blood type, health insurance documents, prescriptions, and medical conditions.
2. Check if your destination requires a visa
If traveling internationally, you can check on the safetravelRX app to determine whether you need a visa. There are currently 41 countries that require visas for American citizens. Though some countries do issue them upon arrival, most don’t, so ensure you plan for that well before your trip. Sometimes it can take several weeks to months for a visa to be processed.
3. Download a translation app
Learning a language before and during travel can be as exhilarating as the trip itself. However, many American tourists don't make that effort, assuming everyone already speaks English. That is not always the case, especially in more remote locations, which can lead to frustration or even vulnerability if you can’t communicate your needs. So, unless you're already fluent in your destination's native language, download an app like Google translate in advance to ensure you can get the most out of your travel experience.
4. Pack appropriately
Before packing your bag, make sure you familiarize yourself with your destination’s weather conditions. You want to ensure you have the right clothes to be as comfortable as possible. Also, remember that seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are the opposite of those in the Southern Hemisphere. So, when it’s winter in the U.S., it is summer in Australia, and vice versa. In addition, make sure you bring compatible chargers, set up an international calling plan, and alert your credit card providers in advance of where and when you will be traveling, so they don’t detect suspicious activity and cut your cards cut off.
5. Learn what is culturally acceptable
Most countries are culturally very different from the U.S., and unwritten rules or laws govern what is acceptable behavior. For example, in places like India, you will want to dress more conservatively as a woman. In other cultures, profanity is considered highly disrespectful, and even how you greet someone can be offensive if not done correctly. So, take the time in advance to do some research so that you don't come across as a bad-mannered tourist.
6. Create a budget
Prior to your trip, create a budget. It’s common to want to buy souvenirs as remembrances, so allow for a few spending indulgences. That said, things that look unique in a store have a different cache when you put them on a shelf at home, so consider whether you really need something before you buy it. Also, some cultures don't expect you to take the written price at face value. In other words, it’s customary to bargain before settling on a price. To stay on track with your overall spending, keep your budget and your expenses somewhere handy, like your phone, and make sure to have some extra money set aside in case of an emergency.
Before getting on your flight, determine how you will get around while on vacation. Transportation might not be necessary to worry about if you're traveling to a tropical destination without any intentions of leaving your resort. But, if you're traveling to a location with many sightseeing opportunities, know your transportation arrangements in advance. Most major cities offer public transit options such as the metro, buses, and trains. You can also usually get a taxi or even an Uber or Lyft in many places. If you choose to rent a car, ensure you know all the costs in advance and that you have a valid international driver's license.
8. Be aware of your surroundings
You should always be aware of your surroundings whether traveling or not. However, when going to a new destination, it is even more crucial to know where you are at all times, how to ask for help, and how to get back to your hotel. Also, try to avoid looking like an obvious tourist. The safetravelRX app offers multiple features that give real-time updates on travel risks, extreme weather conditions, transportation delays, and more. In the case of an emergency, the safetravelRX app also has a built-in GPS that can connect to an emergency responder (domestically and internationally).
9. Consider travel insurance
With COVID outbreaks still a possibility and geopolitical turmoil, you never know when your trip could be interrupted. While travel insurance may seem like just an unnecessary expense, it can be really useful if you have to cancel or postpone your travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances. However, make sure you weigh your options carefully and know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t before you sign on the dotted line.
In conclusion, if you follow these steps, you will be as prepared as possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. And though it means a little work upfront, it will be well worth it when you are relaxed and anxiety-free during your travels.
For more information about how the features in the safetravelRX can keep you safe and informed while traveling, click here.
The safetravelRX app is available to download on your mobile at the Apple Store and Google Play.
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