Traveling Overseas…what to do before you go!



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You’ve dreamed about it for as long as you can remember and now it’s here. Tickets are booked, that packing list is beginning to swirl in your brain and you’re counting down the minutes until you head to the airport…now what? Although that aforementioned packing list will differ between long and short term travelers, some things are constant. Of course, not everyone will have the same amount of time available to plan, but the more you take care of ahead of time, the less you’ll have to worry later. No matter where you’re traveling from or heading to, certain things apply. Taking care of yourself, having access to finances, making it across borders safely and connecting with family and friends are priorities across the board. Perhaps these few suggestions will make your pre-trip planning easier. Enjoy the journey!


  • Let your banks know when and where you’re traveling (travel notifications)
  • Check that your ATM card will work with the same pin number
  • Find out if there are any banks/partner banks with NO international ATM fees
  • Have access to an emergency fund if necessary
  • If you choose: use a pre-loaded card for easy budget record keeping
  • Call credit card companies in advance for a travel notification
  • Perhaps open a credit card with NO international transaction fees for you travel
  • Be sure to bring at least 2 different cards; often VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted worldwide; AMERICAN EXPRESS is less accepted overseas
  • As often as possible carry US dollars/Euro and the currency of the country you’re visiting

Phone Service:

  • For long term travel: Use smart phone apps for free texting as long as WIFI is available and purchase low cost mobile phone with interchangeable sim cards for less expensive calling options
  • For short term travel: Use smart phone apps for free texting or purchase an international phone for a one-time fee that only costs when in use


  • Check with your state department & that of the country you’re going to regarding visas needs, processing fees & times
  • Always allow for extra time for processing
  • If purchasing a visa at a border, check ahead of time which currency is valid for purchase
  • If visas are purchased online, always bring an extra print out for proof or purchase
  • Check in advance how many pages are necessary for visas in passport to be sure of enough pages; if need be add pages to passport in timely fashion
  • Make a few copies of the front page of your passport for easy travel and security


  • Purchase travel insurance from a separate company (not only your credit card) that covers healthcare situations as well as delays/luggage details
  • Carry documents with you that display: allergies, vaccinations, & medications taken
  • Be sure your travel companion knows of your allergies to food/medications
  • If traveling with an EPI-PEN; be sure to have a label on the pen or the box with your own name on it/prescription; some airport securities check them
  • If have severe food allergies/medical condition, perhaps carry a card with those details in the language of the country you’re visiting
  • Check state department websites far in advance to see if any vaccinations or medications are necessary prior to your arrival (some vaccinations are a series needing time while others take at least 10 days to take effect)
  • Be sure to have your doctor’s number available if any questions regarding travel medications (reactions/side-effects to anti-malaria medicines)

Safe and happy travels!


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