How to Prepare for a Trip Abroad

Traveling to another country is one of the most exciting and enlightening experiences, but to increase the odds of a smooth and enjoyable trip, you’ll want to know how to prepare if it’s your first time.

Whether you plan to embark on your trip by flying out of Chicago O’Hare after buying one of the Madison houses for sale, or from anywhere else, here’s what you need to do.

Essential Documents

When traveling internationally, there are a number of important documents you must have with you, like a passport. Research to find out exactly what’s required well in advance. Some foreign destinations require a visa too, and the process is likely to take some time. Another thing to consider is that many countries require you to have six months left remaining before your passport expires, so you may need to get it renewed before you go. Other documents to bring include your health insurance information and travel insurance. Be sure to make several copies of your passport and store them in various places just in case it’s lost or stolen. With copies, it will be much easier to replace.

Research Safety Precautions

According to a global study of CNN consumers’ travel perceptions and behavioral trends, more than two-thirds said safety and security were the most important concerns. Before booking your trip, you should research how safe the destination is – while government sites can help, you may get the most reliable information from expats who live there and travelers who have visited before. There are travel forums available on Facebook for many countries around the world that make it easy to chat with others about their experiences. Do a Google search (or ask others) about possible scams as well so that you’re aware of what to look out for, as well as researching the safest areas to stay.

Learn about the Culture 

Gain as much knowledge of the people, customs, and particular etiquette of your vacation destination before you go. Every country has its own protocol for how things are done – learning more about that can help you avoid being offensive, blend in better with the locals and perhaps even make some new friends. Remember that not everyone speaks English – even if it is commonly spoken in the area you’re visiting, odds are there will still be many that don’t, assuming it’s not an English-speaking country.

Ideally, you should learn some common phrases of your destination’s language to facilitate communication. Google translate can be a big help too.

Make Sure You Have the Necessary Adaptors for Electronics

If you’ll be traveling outside of the Americas, you’ll probably need a power adapter to use your electronic devices. Look into the exact type of outlets that are used in the countries you plan to visit. You’ll need at least one for each, and ideally two just in case you lose one. 

Packing

One of the most challenging parts of traveling internationally is figuring out what to pack. Overpacking is going to make it much more difficult to get around, not to mention the stress over worrying if your bags weigh too much at the airport. Plus you’ll want to save room for items you’ll buy when you’re there. In most places, you’ll be able to wash your clothes at a laundromat, or if you book Airbnbs, you may have access to a washer/dryer. Either way, there’s no need to bring a different outfit for every single day of your trip. Do some research to get an idea of what the weather will be like when you’re there and keep an eye on it as you get closer to your departure date.